Helen Deloney cares for Medtronic patients from a virtual health clinic.
For as long as Helen Deloney can remember, she’s wanted to do exactly what she’s doing.
“I don’t know where it originated, but I know from the time I was in second grade I was going to be a nurse,” she said.
Over the years, her dream has taken many forms.
A wife and mother of three, she has been a hospital nurse, a clinic nurse and a school nurse.
A registered nurse for 27 years, Helen does her nursing these days from a virtual health clinic.
Helen is part of a team of registered Medtronic nurses, using specially designed software to monitor the health of patients all over the country.
“So obviously my hands are not directly on the patients. But I’ve got vital signs, I’ve got weights, I’ve got symptoms being reported. There’s an assessment that goes with that,” she said.
Corky LaFleur is one of Helen’s patients.
Every day he steps on the Medtronic scale in his home and answers questions. His information is transmitted immediately to Helen. If she spots trouble, it’s time to turn on the bedside manner, digital style.
“If she thinks there’s something wrong I’m going to get a call, I guarantee you,” LaFleur said. “She’s gotten on my case a couple times, because I gained a couple pounds. Ooh, she’s not a nice person to talk to. She’s terrific, fantastic in fact,” he said.
“There are some things you can’t sugarcoat,” Deloney said. “When it comes down to they’re about to be in trouble with their fluid weight gain and their heart failure is exacerbating, you can be nice at the same time you’re being tough though,” she said.
“I think it holds the patients more accountable. They know the same nurse is going to be watching them and knowing what’s going on, communicating with them. They’ve told me that. It does provide them with some accountability to do the right thing,” she added.
Since starting the Medtronic Care Management Service program, LaFleur’s trips to the emergency room have been cut by two thirds. He admits he takes better care of himself and credits his care management relationship with Helen. He says it’s actually more personal than a face-to-face trip to the doctor.
“You don’t know what nurse you’re going to get when you go to the doctor, but I got Helen,” he said.
“That’s what’s great about care management nursing is you develop relationships with these patients, with their family and caregiver,” Deloney said.
“It’s more like a personal thing. Someone that really, really cares,” LaFleur added.
Which might be the ultimate compliment to someone who has known since childhood that helping others with their lives, was how she wanted to live hers.