Adams business owner regains independence after Gundersen Moundview Swing Bed care
'It was important for me to be close to home'
Carole Janssen woke May 7 and dressed for work before her life changed at breakfast.
"We were at the table and I looked at my husband, Martin, and said, 'What happened to your face? You look like a Picasso painting,'" Carole remembers. "I was seeing eyes and noses where they're not supposed to be."
Martin, a retired physician, noticed his wife's right eye moving side to side, while her left eye was still. She's having a stroke, Martin thought.
Within minutes, the couple reached the Emergency Department at Gundersen Moundview Hospital in Friendship, where a provider activated telemedicine to connect with neurologist and stroke director Sunil Mutgi, MD, at Gundersen La Crosse Hospital.
"I remember seeing him on the screen, and that's all I remember," Carole says.
A computed tomography (CT) scan revealed a brain clot that doctors would dissolve using medication delivered intravenously.
Through interactive video, Dr. Mutgi explained to Carole that a helicopter would take her to Gundersen La Crosse Hospital, where staff would use information gathered during the telemedicine evaluation to prepare tests and treatment for her arrival.
"This is a great example of how telemedicine can improve access to care with a specialist, allowing a customized and expedited treatment plan for each patient and helping triage when transfer is appropriate," Dr. Mutgi says.
En route to La Crosse, Carole lost her vision as blood formed at the base of her nerves.
"I remember them saying, 'Look at the stars. Aren't they beautiful?'" Carole says. "And I said, 'I can't see anything.'"
Carole recuperated at the La Crosse Hospital after doctors found no additional signs of bleeding. After a week, she was ready for discharge but not yet ready to return home.
Gundersen Moundview's Swing Bed program offered Carole the oversight and rehabilitation services she needed, just minutes from her home in Adams.
"La Crosse is about an hour and a half away," Carole says. "It was important for me to be close to home. I could have Martin with me whenever I wanted."
Physical therapists aided Carole as she regained leg strength through walking and monitoring exercise. Occupational therapists worked to help her regain the skills necessary to return home, like feeding, toileting and dressing, says Pamela Cantrall, OTR, CLT.
"When we have a patient in Swing Bed, that patient is seen multiple times a day by multiple therapists," Pamela says. "Each therapist brings their uniqueness to the patient. We care for your loved ones like they are our own."
As Carole improved, therapists also performed home assessments to keep her safe as her vision slowly restored itself.
Carole returned home after 10 days in Swing Bed. Today, she works three days a week at Carole's Fashion Delights, the retail business she owns in downtown Adams.
"I think I'm doing very well. I'm up and doing things," she says. "I can't drive, but about 90 percent of my vision has returned."
Carole credits her recovery to her reliable and knowledgeable care providers who helped her regain her independence.
"This situation proves that our community is fortunate to have a Critical Access Hospital to treat and stabilize patients with serious or critical situations, transfer to a higher level of care and then provide care and rehabilitative services in their hometown, where they have the support of family and friends during their recovery," says Diana Broniec, RN, MSN, director of Nursing.
To learn more about Gundersen Moundview's Swing Bed program, call (608) 339-8336.