Personal POV: Advocating for a kidney transplant, diabetic patient before digital collaboration

Personal POV: Advocating for a kidney transplant, diabetic patient before digital collaboration

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By: Terri Embry, RN, BSBA, Customer Success, CitusHealth

In this blog series, our CitusHealth employees share personal stories about their experiences having family members and loved ones in home-based or residential care—and how technology could have led to more positive outcomes.

Diagnosed at 19 years old after years of problems, my mother was a juvenile diabetic whose medical complications spanned most of my lifetime. She was in and out of the hospital, legally blind, and had to stop working by the time I was in ninth grade.

My father was her primary caregiver, working a full-time job by day and rushing to the hospital at night to make sure the nurses and doctors were on the same page—all while raising two teenagers. Miscommunication was common, as were medication errors. Disagreements with her care team were related to things as simple as her getting the right diabetic diet and preventing duplicate insulin shots when communication wasn’t clear at shift change, often ending with my dad stepping in to stop them from harming her in some way. My mother was a compliant patient and educated herself on what she needed to do to allow her best quality of life.

Navigating dialysis in the home
Before receiving her transplant, my mom was on home peritoneal dialysis, where an entire room in our house was made as sterile as possible and dedicated to her care. Our family had to participate and learn what we needed to do or not do around her and the equipment, to prevent infection or any other harm.

In a time before technology could help coordinate care, my dad would spend hours chasing after errors or trying to live through errors that happened as a result of miscommunication. I watched my mom battle this illness throughout my childhood, and my dad was a great example of what a patient advocate really is for someone they love. The care teams who knew them quickly understood how dedicated they both were to my mother’s health and survival.

After about eight months of home dialysis, my mom received the call (beeper, actually) that a transplant was available. Without it, she would have likely not survived another year. Thankfully, her transplant gave her and our family another beautiful 11 years, until she passed in 2001 at the age of 58.

This experience led to my love of infection prevention and is one of the main reasons I worked so hard to make a difference as a nurse later in life.

Better communication should be the standard of care
With technology like CitusHealth that allows caregivers and alternate contacts to use the platform without the requirement of user licensing for every single person in the patient’s ecosystem, the barrier of communication is removed, and it can do a lot of good.

I was an early employee of CitusHealth because I saw instant potential in this technology and the value it could bring to patients and their loved ones. I’m passionate about helping to shape these digital tools and seeing the positive outcomes our customers experience. When care teams and caregivers have the right information, at the right time, it can make such an amazing difference to the patients they serve. Although I’m not doing bedside nursing, I do feel I am contributing in a big way to shape and improve upon the healthcare experience for patients everywhere.

My hope for the future of healthcare is that we continue to drive true automation and sharing of information so that communication only needs to happen once, it goes to everyone who needs to know, and patients have more control over their data and are always aware of their plan of care.

Request a demo today and we’ll show you the difference CitusHealth can make for more collaborative, cohesive care in the home and beyond.

Terri Embry
Terri Embry
RN, BSBA, Vice President of Customer Success, CitusHealth

A registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing, Terri’s career has spanned almost three decades in regional and national home, specialty and long-term care infusion operations, sales, and informatics leadership. Her experience with cutting-edge workflow optimization has allowed her to understand the challenges both customers and their patients face. With CitusHealth, she leads the adoption and retention team helping to bring the voice of customers to the product development roadmap.

Terri has been in leadership, sales, and nursing roles for companies such as BioScrip, Omnicare, and Olsten-Kimberly Quality Care.