Education classes help patients become familiar with health condition after diagnosis (Healthy You)

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Transition Clinic, right across from United Regional Hospital is a prime place for patients who have just been cleared to leave the hospital. But sometimes, managing your health condition after leaving is the hardest part.

It may seem like the doctor is speaking an entirely different language as you listen on from your hospital bed.

“Sometimes when you’re in the hospital, there’s just a lot of things coming at you and you really kind of need to digest and you may have picked up on one word so they may have said heart failure and then you’re home and now you’re like well what is heart failure,” United Regional Community Health Nurse Amy Pontius Smith, RN said.

The United Regional education team is there to make things make sense.

“Anyone who has been recently admitted to the hospital for COPD, diabetes, any kind of heart failure or sepsis, we really recommend they take these classes or their loved ones,” Pontius Smith said.

Pontius Smith teaches survival skills classes along with other nurses. The classes are free and every day of the week.

“Whether it’s medication management, make sure that they’re weighing themselves daily, really it just tailors to that patient,” Pontius Smith said. “So whatever they’ve just learned, now we just take that information and try to help them manage it.”

Like most things these days, virtual classes have become a big hit. Pontius Smith said though, you decide whether you take the class face to face, through a screen or by phone.

“The virtual classes are through a secure network through Microsoft Teams and it is an appointment,” Pontius Smith. “So if someone is interested in taking a class virtually, they will actually call, make an appointment and we have a slot just for them.”

The classes cater to you and your specific health history and new diagnosis.

“Heart failure is kind of a broad term and they can have heart failure because of different reasons so it doesn’t mean my heart is stopped,” Pontius Smith said. “It just means it’s not working as efficiently and so with proper management and medical treatment and follow-up it can prolong their life and health status.”

It all comes down to action cards as the number one skill taught is how to know when it’s a good day versus a bad day and then be able to manage both.

“After you’ve taken a class, your symptom awareness is so important so that each day when you wake up you can decide am I in the green, the yellow, or the red,” Pontius Smith said. “Then you know what action step to take so you’re taking accountability for your health.”

Classes aren’t just for Kindergarten through 12th grade, learning about your health condition can be the difference in living a long and healthy life.

Again this is free for anyone and even loved ones who might need to be well educated on your condition too.

To make an appointment, call the education team at 940-764-5300.

Janelle B. Smith

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