Behind the Scenes: Dr. Brian Matysiak

Dr. Brian Matysiak, anesthesiologist at Ministry Door County Medical Center (MDCMC), found his specialty through an unconventional path. He began his academic career as a chemistry major, switched to engineering, and then decided to become a surgeon. But he discovered his true passion while in his surgical residency. “I was in an anesthesiology rotation, and I knew right away I had found my calling. Anesthesia is such an exciting area of practice. You need to be knowledgeable about anesthesia and overall medicine, and the work entails all the vital organs of the body,” he says.

Now in his fifth year of practice at MDCMC, Dr. Matysiak appreciates working in a community-based hospital. “I’ve practiced at larger hospitals, and I love the community feel and patient-centered focus here. Because there aren’t many intermediaries between patients and doctors, patients at MDCMC have direct, repeated contact with their providers. Those personal relationships are what make great care.”

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Anesthesiology has changed in recent years. “It used to be that a doctor would meet with a patient just before surgery, and then provide medication. Now, we have much more involvement – working behind the scenes, getting patients ready for surgery and following up with patients and family members after a procedure.”

A team of three full-time anesthesiologists staff MDCMC: Matysiak is joined by colleagues Dr. Michael Bruno and Dr. Martin Finck. “We have a close professional and personal bond,” he says. “Unlike at larger hospitals, we work directly with our patients – not through intermediaries who administer medication for us.”

Dr. Matysiak is passionate about helping patients, but he’s just as passionate about living in Door County. He enjoys family time with his wife and two young children, taking hikes in the park or building sandcastles on the beach. “I love that I’m able to work, play and raise my family in the community, alongside my patients and colleagues.”

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Lauren Baumann: Helping Athletes Cross the Finish Line

Lauren Baumann always thought she would become a teacher. Now, as Ministry’s athletic trainer at Sturgeon Bay Schools, she works with young people in a different capacity. “I love seeing kids having fun and doing what they love,” she says, “and keeping them safe and healthy while doing it.”

As a certified athletic trainer, Lauren is present at all of Sturgeon Bay’s high school home games and sporting events, providing emergency care, taping and bracing, and caring for athletes.  She also supports student athletes who are recovering from injury by helping them through individualized exercise programs. “Many people don’t know that as athletic trainers, we provide care for opposing teams, too,” says Lauren. “It’s part of our mission to support all the athletes at an event, and it really contributes to the overall feeling of sportsmanship.”

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Lauren has worked with Ministry for five years, but she is already taking on leadership roles. This summer she will coordinate medical services for the Door County Half Marathon and serve as co-medical coordinator for the Door County Triathlon. “I enjoy the organizational part of the job, taking care of details and recruiting people to help. It’s incredible to watch the community come together for these events.”

Lauren especially loves watching the athletes cross the finish line. “It takes a lot of hard work,” she says, “especially for the athletes who are first-timers, trying something new to become healthier.” Inspired by the athletes she serves, Lauren recently competed in her first triathlon and half marathon. “I just love being part of Ministry,” she adds. “We do a lot for the community, and that feels good.”

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Giving from the Heart: Karen Bournoville and the Door County Medical Center Auxiliary

Karen Bournoville retired from her job in administrative support at Ministry Door County Medical Center five years ago, but she continues to serve local patients as a volunteer through the Door County Medical Center Auxiliary.

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Karen volunteers 20 hours per week as the coordinator of Ministry’s Foot Clinic that serves more than 200 seniors, caring for their feet and cutting their nails. Since many seniors can’t afford to pay privately for this type of care, it’s an important service to the community. Karen keeps the schedule, makes appointments, orders supplies and calls patients. “People are so grateful for what we do,” she says.

Several times a month, Karen also assists in the outpatient surgical and medical departments, helping transport patients, clean rooms, and perform administrative duties. In her interactions with hospital staff, she is known to say ““You let me do that, so you can do what you need to be doing.”

Karen is one of more than 200 Medical Center Auxiliary members who actively serve the community through their volunteer work at the hospital. “Collectively, this group provides hundreds of hours of volunteer patient services each month,” says Mike Herlache, executive director of the Door County Medical Center Foundation. “That time is such a valuable gift to our community.”

This month, Karen will honored by the Volunteer Center of Door County as a nominee for the 2016 Lifetime of Service Golden Heart Award. But for her, giving back is a natural way to spend her time. “I like people,” she laughs. “Volunteering keeps me young.”

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Back on the Trail: Bruce Schaufer

After a lifetime of working as a carpenter in Door County, Bruce Schaufer’s knees were worn out. “Last spring, my wife and I went on a hiking trip. I wound up having to take the bus back because I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t work either, and the pain was bad.”

All that has changed since Schaufer had both knees replaced at the Bone and Joint Center of Door County at Ministry Door County Medical Center. Dr. Dan Tomaszewski performed the surgeries, and Schaufer couldn’t be happier with the results. Schaufer is even walking the Nicolet Bay 5K this year.

“I knew the recovery rates at Ministry were top notch, and that’s why I chose Ministry. Dr. Dan and his staff were just great.” Schaufer also enjoyed the group therapy sessions provided in the hospital after surgery. “It gets you moving right away, and gives you a chance to bond with other people who are in the same boat.”

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Schaufer knows that joint replacement patients have to commit to therapy in order to get great results. With the encouragement of his family, doctor and therapists at Ministry’s Sister Bay Rehab facility, he did just that. All the hard work paid off. Recently, Schaufer traveled to Ecuador to visit a friend, and had the opportunity to hike the Amazon Basin and Cloud Forest. “It was some rough hiking, but it was incredible. I couldn’t have done it a year ago. It’s like someone gave me my life back.”

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LEAP – The Human Kindness Project Empowers Youth

LEAP -The Human Kindness Project is an innovative multi-media performance featuring high school performers from throughout Door County. The show will take the stage at the Southern Door Auditorium Friday, April 15 at 7 p.m., after being performed at local high schools throughout the week.  LEAP is sponsored by Ministry Door County Medical Center (MDCMC) to encourage conversations on anti-bullying, compassion and inclusion as well as promote mental health in teens.  “The most effective tools anti-bullying advocates have are prevention, education and raising awareness. LEAP is triumphantly educating local audiences and raising awareness through their art,” says Kevin Grohskopf, chief business development officer at MDCMC.

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LEAP (Learning to Empower and Appreciate all People) expands on a violence-free message and challenges prevailing attitudes towards acceptance and social injustice. The performance is dedicated to encouraging positive thinking, passion, and personal growth through movement and the art of dance, spoken word, songs, visual arts and multimedia imagery.  By advocating a message of acceptance and tolerance, the project creates a platform that empowers young artists with the knowledge, compassion and understanding necessary to create works that address the most pressing issues of today’s youth.

This year’s story centers on 30 adolescents who portray “rebels” sent to an Adolescent Wilderness Therapy Treatment Center. The audience will be awed while watching these young artists take on a fearless moral inventory of their lives – critically analyzing addiction decisions, relationship failures and coping processes – telling their stories through dance, multimedia imagery, spoken word, song and visual arts- all the while employing a theory of action and change. This year’s original script was created by 8 of its artistic directors.

“A special thank you needs to go to the facilitators of LEAP,” says producer Terry Lundahl. “This project has turned out to be so much larger than my wildest dreams. We not only have the expertise of over 30 local, talented Door County high school performers, but also that of local artists and educators in the area of dance, visual arts, spoken word, multimedia imagery, sound and lighting.”

Tickets are available online at the Southern Door Auditorium, or will be available the night of the performance. Ticket price is $12 for adults, students free.

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Teens and Mental Health: Keeping the Conversation Going

Being a teen isn’t easy. Parents of adolescents can help kids navigate difficult periods by being aware of signs and symptoms of depression, says Ministry behavioral health coordinator Barb Johnson-Giese, LCSW.

According to the Federal Center for Mental Health, depression affects as many as one in eight adolescents. “In teens, depression can manifest in different ways, including sadness, hopelessness, withdrawal from friends and activities and lack of enthusiasm,” says Johnson-Giese. “Anger and irritability as well as changes in eating or sleeping habits can also be signs of depression.” High expectations, school stress, relationship stress and other factors all take a toll on teens, and some are prone to depression because of family history.

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Handling concerns directly can go a long way in helping teens who are struggling. “Just as a child with a toothache needs to be taken to a dentist, a child with an emotional ache should be seen by a professional.” Ministry’s Behavioral Health Services can help.

Here are some tips for handling the ups and downs of teen life:

  • Check in every day. Teenagers might not admit they like parents asking how they’re doing, but underneath, they’re appreciative. Make a simple check-in a ritual at dinnertime or bedtime. It can also be helpful to ask teens if they have any concerns about their friends, as it shows parents care about other aspect their teens’ lives.
  • Manage expectations. Helping teens have realistic expectations of themselves helps keep balance, and is great preparation for adulthood. No one can “do it all” or excel at everything.
  • Put feelings first. Instead of greeting kids after school with questions about homework, job or other responsibilities, give your teen time to unwind and talk about what’s on their mind.
  • Love united. No matter your family structure- two parents, divorced or separated parents, or multi-generational family – make sure adults are united in their approach to kids, and set appropriate boundaries together.
  • Monitor online. It can be an expectation that parents access their children’s social media accounts. “It’s not a lack of trust, but because kids still need guidance in dealing with powerful tools like social media, where normal teenage feelings and talk can quickly get out of control.”

The good news about teens is given the chance, they are open with their feelings and accepting of differences. “If parents are open to conversations about mental health, there’s a good chance their kids will be too,” says Johnson-Giese.

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It Takes a Team: Gerald Worrick and the Culture of Collaboration

Gerald Worrick believes that team building is the best way to adapt to the massive changes happening in health care. In the 28 years he has been president and CEO of Ministry Door County Medical Center, he has seen health care change from an inpatient model to an outpatient model, with recent emphasis on primary care and prevention.

In 2010, Worrick’s decision to build a new two-story inpatient tower transitioned inpatient care in Door County to a private yet family-centered environment. The creation of North Shore Medical Clinic, which operates in five locations and is staffed by primary care providers and specialists, was also one of many accomplishments during his tenure.

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These results are bringing awards. In 2015, MDCMC was recognized as one of the top 50 Critical Access Hospitals in the United States, and one of the top 100 for five years running. Becker’s Hospital Review recently named Gerald Worrick one of the 50 Rural Hospital CEO’s to know nationwide, one of only three in Wisconsin. Worrick attributes these honors to his team of employees at the hospital.

Worrick’s leadership style is to surround himself with the best and brightest in the field. “I can’t take the credit. We’re being recognized because of the people I surround myself with.”

Worrick builds his team with those who, in his words, “make up for my shortcomings.” A self-proclaimed big picture guy, he seeks team members who are creative, but also detail-oriented. He enjoys inspiring others with new information and ideas, and then empowering them to lead their own teams and projects.

“I get my best ideas in the shower, and also from my wife – she’s my secret weapon,” laughs Worrick. “But the really great, creative ideas come from my team. For example, Jody Boes, chief nursing officer, is developing a new idea right now for ‘nursing in the field,’ providing post-discharge home visits for older patients. It’s innovative, it’s responsive to patients’ needs, and it’s in keeping with who we are as a hospital, providing high quality care, close to home.”

Worrick travels often to attend conferences and bring back new ideas to the hospital. One of his strongest legacies is the creation of MDCMC’s “Journey to Excellence,” a quality management tool that empowers employees to create change, and charges leaders with the responsibility of regular “rounding” to visit employees, communicating constantly about successes and areas of challenge in the organization.

For Worrick, rounding is nothing new – he has been managing by walkabout visits with employees for decades. “Jerry is a true leader, and keeps his finger on the pulse of the organization by constant communication with his team,” says Kevin Grohskopf, chief business development officer. “Above all, he keeps the hospital’s values of caring for the community top of mind in everything he does.”

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Veronica Behme: Seeing Patients Through

You might think Veronica Behme spent her whole career preparing for her position as orthopedic care coordinator at Ministry Door County Medical Center. In her role, she uses her professional background that includes teaching in the Milwaukee Public Schools, working in outpatient mental health as a therapist/social worker, and caring for patients as an RN in an inpatient surgical unit.

All of this training helps Veronica ensure patient care in Ministry’s Bone and Joint Center is seamless. Veronica and the orthopedic team including surgeons Dr. Steve Davis and Dr. Dan Tomaszewski, meet the needs of joint replacement patients from their initial visit, through surgery, rehab and and recovery. In addition to overseeing the process, Veronica has one-on-one contact with each patient who undergoes surgery. “I love working directly with patients and seeing them through their journey,” she says. “It’s fulfilling to see how our team helps restore patients to being able to enjoy life and do what they love.”

20151007_VeronicaBehmeBehme was instrumental in creating the orthopedic care program, working with her colleagues and guided by experts from the Marshall Steel program. “We took about a year to create a program that guides the whole process, from start to finish. We look at the patient not only medically, but also within their family context. What supports do they have at home? Who is going to be participating in the patient’s care? We help bring together those resources to make sure the patient will be successful.”

The patient experience is enhanced by thorough patient education and navigation through the surgical process.  Teaching begins in the pre-operative class that helps patients understand what to expect during surgery and rehab, and continues to inpatient group rehab classes which include the patient and their coach. The coach is a family member or close friend who who helps support the patient through recovery.

Guiding the patient through what can be a complex web of services is key. “Joint replacement patients are seen in almost every department in our facility: clinic, lab, radiology, inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, surgery and the medical surgical unit in our hospital.  Helping the patient navigate across all those settings and making that process simple and seamless for the patient is the goal.”

As with any aspect of health care, in the end, it’s all about compassion. “People wouldn’t be seeking joint replacement if they weren’t in pain. We’re here for them every step of the way, to teach, guide and reassure. Seeing how well our patients do post-operatively and knowing our program outcomes are some of the very best in the nation is very rewarding for all of us.”

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Ministry’s Skilled Nursing Facility: Award-Winning Care, Close to Home

Richard Woldt of Sturgeon Bay says the care his 96-year-old mother receives at the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) at Ministry Door County Medical Center “feels like family.” After being injured in a fall, Woldt’s mother required expert care. “My family and I couldn’t be more pleased with the care that mom has received,” says Woldt. “And since the SNF is in the same building as the hospital, she has immediate access to all the doctors, nurses and physical therapists who are helping her.”

He also touts the home-like environment. “The staff went out of their way to provide mom’s favorite breakfast cereals, so she’d feel at home. The Rehab and nursing staff approach her like she was their own family. And the activities keep her engaged. There are even two resident cats and a bird.”

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Patients and their families aren’t the only ones singing the praises of Ministry’s Skilled Nursing Facility. Recently, the annual State of WI nursing home survey found the SNF to be deficiency-free. “The survey is an intensive, three-day assessment where state evaluators directly observe our facility, perform chart reviews, and make sure we are adhering to all state and federal regulations,” says Judy Sinitz, RN, director of nursing at the SNF.

During the staff’s meeting with evaluators, it came time to discuss deficiencies. “There were none, “says Nancy Bohrman, nursing home administrator. Instead, evaluators took the opportunity to compliment staff on the culture of caring they observed, noting the high level of personal interactions between staff and residents. “One evaluator said she was moved to tears by reading an account of one patients’ needs and follow-up care in her chart.”

Ministry’s SNF also has a five-star rating in all areas on Nursing Home Compare,  Medicare’s website that rates facilities for staffing and quality of care. Ministry’s SNF is the only facility within 100 miles to achieve such a rating. “It comes down to the dedication and commitment of our staff. Our primary focus is the residents,” says Sinitz.

Sinitz notes that her staff go above and beyond the state’s professional development requirements, pursing education in areas such as Alzheimer’s Care, cognitive stimulation and wound care. “For example, one of our young nurses received training in the Music and Memory program, and is bringing this wonderful approach to cognitive stimulation to our residents.”

For Richard Woldt, the ultimate recommendation comes from his mother. “She says she feels safe and loved here. She wants to be here. She doesn’t want to leave.”

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Simple Tips for Healthy Sleep

Dr. Andrzej Kurek, family medicine and sleep medicine doctor at MDCMC, knows a good night’s sleep is one of the keys to good health. “So much happens when we sleep: muscle growth, tissue repair and brain regeneration.” Quality sleep is tied to improved concentration, memory, immunity, emotional stability and libido. On the other hand, lack of sleep is associated with obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, early mortality and a higher incidence of automobile and other accidents.

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That’s a host of reasons to get a good night’s rest. Here are Dr. Kurek’s tips for healthy sleep:

  1. Don’t sacrifice your Zs. Most adults need 8 hours of sleep each night, and children need more. The number one sleep problem doctors see is self-induced sleep deprivation. “In our busy world, people sacrifice sleep. It’s a national health problem,” says Dr. Kurek.
  2. Keep to a schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same times each day, even on the weekends. The body likes predictable rhythms.
  3. Practice sleep hygiene. No, you don’t need to wash your sheets every night. But do keep your bed a dedicated place for sleep: no working on the computer, reading or eating.
  4. Get out of the bedroom. Although it may sound counterintuitive, don’t lie awake in bed for hours if you’re restless. If you’re awake in bed for more than twenty minutes, get up and read something boring until you feel sleepy, then go back to bed.
  5. Skip the wine. Although you may fall asleep faster after having a drink, alcohol actually interferes with the quality of sleep. Minimize alcohol consumption and don’t drink before bed.
  6. Turn it off. Bathing yourself in artificial light – be it from a cell phone, tablet, computer or TV – right before bed suppresses melatonin and can prevent quality sleep. Don’t rely on the TV or radio either, as eventually the background noise will disturb you.

If basic sleep hygiene isn’t helping you feel rested, you’re not alone. An estimated 15 percent of Americans suffer from some type of sleep disorder.

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Ministry’s Sleep Disorders Facility, where patients can be diagnosed and treated for a variety of disorders, can help. Sleep apnea is the number one reason patients visit the facility. Sleep apnea is often associated with obesity, but losing weight can be hard when sleep quality suffers, as metabolism is negatively affected by poor sleep. “Patients who use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine can jumpstart their weight loss efforts,” says Dr. Kurek. “They feel better, their weight should normalize and they will have more energy, so it could be easier to lose weight.”

For more information on sleep, or to schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist, call (920) 746-3585.

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