With Support, Patient Becomes Self-Advocate

July 30, 2012
February 19, 2021
Using the complex care core competencies to support treatment for substance use disorders
Our National Center and Clinical Redesign teams worked together to adapt the complex care core competencies for two NJ SUD navigation programs.
Dayna Fondell, Shelby Kehoe, Rebecca Koppel, Mouy Pan
February 8, 2021
Camden Promise Neighborhood’s School Based Health Center fosters health and learning
Camden Promise Neighborhood operates a health clinic within a local school to address the health needs of its students.
Evelyne Kane and Aaron Truchil of the Camden Coalition; Candice Dias and Louis Klein of Camden Promise Neighborhood at Center For Family Services
January 27, 2021
Addressing COVID-19 vaccine concerns
Dr. Jubril Oyeyemi addresses concerns he is hearing about the COVID vaccine in this short video!
Jubril Oyeyemi
January 14, 2021
Camden Coalition pilots DEI discussion series
The Camden Coalition pilots a series of internal diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) conversations to discuss race, equity, and health justice.
Lisa Mojica and Danielle Hodges, Chair and Vice-Chair Camden Coalition DEI Committee
December 22, 2020
Op-ed: Our Medical Director shares why he is eager to receive the COVID-19 vaccine
The Camden Coalition's Medical Director, Dr. Jubril Oyeyemi, provides assurance about the safety and efficacy of the new COVID-19 vaccine.
Jubril Oyeyemi
Medical provider holds a cellphone in hands
October 2, 2020
Two new data sources for the Camden Coalition HIE broaden its impact and scope
New long-term care and hospital admission, discharge, and transfer data make the Camden Coalition HIE even more useful for providers in South Jersey.
Christine McBride and Natasha Dravid

As an EMT, I have had my share of “frequent fliers” — patients who are high utilizers of the emergency department (ED) with non-emergency complaints. If these patients have chronic pain for non-specific reasons, they eventually earn the label of “drug-seeking.” At first glance, my first patient at the Coalition would have earned that label, with 15 ED visits in six months for chronic abdominal pain. But my time with her taught me to go beyond the labels that we in the health care field can be so prone to give easily.

Her abdominal pain was due to chronic pancreatitis, and she also had untreated diabetes. Yet in spite of her situation, she never felt sorry for herself and managed to remain thankful for what she had: her family.

She was also thankful for what our team did for her, but we always reminded her that she was the one who did all the hard work. When we first met the patient, she had been scheduled for surgery but was never medically stable enough to undergo the procedure. Her physicians were concerned that the surgery could actually cause the patient’s health to deteriorate more quickly. With that in mind, we set her up for a consult with palliative care, but ultimately she was determined to have the procedure.

We supported her determination by setting her up with pain control services, beginning with a transition to her primary care physician post-hospital discharge. She was also referred to Manna, a meal delivery program that provides nutritious food for at-risk individuals. In addition, she was referred to pain management to address her need for long-term pain medications.

With these simple interventions, the patient was able to stabilize to undergo the surgery. She reports marked pain reduction post-surgery. Other than the hospitalization post-procedure, it has been four months since her last ED and hospital use. I continue to be in awe of how, with the support of her family, this patient has taken ownership of her health and transformed her label to “proficient self-advocate.” But it is sobering to realize that she would not have become the empowered individual she is now had we simply discounted her with the “drug-seeking” label.

By Health Coach Shelly Lluz

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