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Iora Primary Care Spotlight: A Family Affair

At all stages of life, health is often looked at as a family affair; something that you collectively work toward achieving by working together and being there for each other. But this sentiment is even more true when your parent is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In this month’s Iora Primary Care patient story spotlight, we’re focusing on the importance of including the whole family in a patient’s health by sharing one of our own employee’s stories:

“I have a special relationship with a particular new patient at Iora Primary Care – her name is June and I could share stories about her travels through all 50 states, how she learned to rivet airplanes together at Boeing, and even more about her love/hate relationship with her previous doctors. I know all of these stories and more because this patient is my mom; my brother and I have been her caregivers since her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

I started working for Iora Primary Care in 2016 after realizing that this was the change that healthcare needed – personalized care that meets people where they’re at in any stage of life. I witnessed numerous interactions with patients, noting to myself each time the intention that care teams gave to addressing each patient differently rather than just going through the motions. I knew that this was the care my mother needed, so I spoke to my brother about it and we made the decision to sign her up.

When my mother had her initial appointment with her doctor and Health Coach at Iora, my brother accompanied her so he could experience all of the “goodness” I had been speaking about. Sometimes seeing is what’s needed to get to believing. Going to any appointment with a mid-to-late stage Alzheimer’s patient is not something either of us looked forward to, but my brother came out of my mom’s first appointment at Iora smiling. I followed up with him after work:

Me: “How was the appointment?”

Brother: “That was cool. Very different. They actually talked to mom instead of me and they made sure I understood, too. I really liked the layout – it doesn’t feel or smell like most doctors’ offices. I kind of wanted to hang out with mom by the fire for a while. It was amazing to come out of the doctor’s office and not have mom mad or confused.” (Side note: most doctors have only spoken directly to me or my brother, which really pushes my mother’s buttons)

Me: “So, it went well?”

Brother: “Yeah.” Pause. “I want a doctor like that. You only work with seniors, right?”

Me: “So far. I’m holding out hope, though.”

Brother: “Thanks for finding this place, Kev. I feel really good about this.”

Empathy, humility, creativity, courage, and passion – I can find all of these things every day at work, but when I saw them being exercised in the care of my own family? Absolutely priceless.”

– Written by Kevin Coomer

Always remember that you, as a caregiver, are an important part of the healthcare equation. If you are interested in learning more about the importance of including caregivers in a patient’s primary care, we encourage you to ask your physician.

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