An Inside Look at Population Health in Action
Jan. 1, 2023
By Danielle Andersen
Knute Nelson has launched a new pilot project
The pilot project is called Connected Communities for Healthy Aging. This innovative initiative is facilitated through our Population Health division and funded by a grant through LeadingAge MN Foundation and UCare. The goal of Connected Communities is to provide a more integrated system of caring for seniors by working collaboratively with community and health care partners who can collectively support individuals and make the aging journey easier to navigate.
Shortly after launching the Connected Communities for Healthy Aging program, we began to see encouraging results from participants. Among the success stories is Annette Wacker, an Alexandria resident who connected with Knute Nelson through her 2018 back surgery. After the loss of her husband and a series of injuries, she recognized the importance of interconnected care firsthand. “You have to get out there. You can't sit back in your apartment, because you're not going to get through anything.”
Delivering Holistic, Personalized Care
In addition to her back surgery, Annette had undergone hip and knee replacements. As a result, she needed a broad range of care. By focusing on Annette’s overall wellbeing across multiple wellness domains, the Connected Communities Program gave her more complete access to care. “I go over there (Nelson Wellness Center) for swimming three times a week. I've had a lot of good referrals to different programs.”
Connecting with Caring Professionals
To help patients like Annette navigate the aging journey and connect with relevant resources, the program takes a people-first approach. After connecting with the Age Well Care Manager, Annette was able to balance in-person care, telehealth, financial paperwork, and more with newfound confidence. She discovered the answers she needed to questions she didn't know to ask. “I feel like when she walked through that door the very first time, I really connected with somebody who could be a sister… She helped me with all of the services that I was afraid to ask my own sisters about, and all of the medical issues that I had."
Overcoming Personal Obstacles
Before beginning the program, Annette wasn't sure what to expect. What she did know was that “I really needed to find somebody that could help me take care of myself.” After a lifetime of independent living, reaching out for help is a stumbling block for many people. Fortunately for Annette and her family who worried about her health from afar, Connected Communities came at the right time. “Pride holds you back from asking for the help that you need. I needed help and she (Teresia Mortenson, Age Well Care Manager) came and provided it.”
Enjoying Elevated Care
Throughout her time in the program, Annette has gained a community of support, an interwoven care and action plan, and a mosaic of continued opportunities doing what she loves. Every step of the way, she receives tailored recommendations that take her whole health picture into consideration. “I get to play the piano. I get to sing as much as I want to. I get to crochet and do things like that. All of the things I've enjoyed doing!”
Thank you to Connected Communities partners for making this possible: Knute Nelson, Alomere Health, Horizon Public Health, Lakes Area Age Friendly, Dancing Sky AAA, Leading Age MN, Prime West, UCARE, West Central MN Communities Action.
Connect with us to contact our Age Well Coordinator and learn what services are available to you through Connected Communities.