December 31, 2013

St. Anthony Regional Hospital anticipates a Jan. 13 launch of its new Chronic Care Center, which will merge its Diabetes Center, Wound Care Clinic and new Health Coach services into the space that was formerly housed the hospital's OBGYN Clinic.

"The Chronic Care Center combines services and adds an exciting, innovative program for patients with chronic disease," said Karen Timm, vice president for Patient Services. "The addition of Health Coach services is designed to help patients track and report their health status and management issues to the medical team, as well as help them find a balance to maintaining wellness."

Hospital officials plan to use the Health Coach services to help patients understand and manage their medical conditions.

Sara Payer, a St. Anthony nurse, is specially trained and certified to pioneer St. Anthony's Health Coach services. Payer will be a patient advocate and will help patients interact with their doctors, take medications properly and suggest lifestyle changes to help manage a chronic disease.

"My nursing experience gives me a solid background into the clinical side of chronic disease such as diabetes, wound care, congestive heart failure, and obesity," Payer said. "Being able to help patients find their way through the healthcare maze and work toward a healthier lifestyle is what my Health Coach training will offer."

"Part of the job of a Health Coach is to help each individual become the expert in the management of their own condition," Timm said. "The health coach does this by identifying high-risk clients, then proactively working to set goals that put them on a path towards better health."

Support from a health coach has proven to be a key difference in helping patients realize lasting changes in behavior that impacts their health and their family's well being and also results in fewer emergency room visits and recurring hospitalizations, officials said.