M.IN.D. Workshop Supports Those Coping with Memory Issues

You can do something about memory issues. Door County Medical Center presents Memory In Development (M.IN.D), a free workshop for people coping with an early dementia-related diagnosis or mild memory concerns. This six week, research-driven exercise and caregiver support workshop empowers participants and caregivers through access to education, strategies, and sPicture1upport in a socially enriching atmosphere.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers will be offered consecutively with MIND.  Powerful Tools for Caregivers is an evidence-based workshop researched to promote caregiver health by offering tools that enhance not only caregiving but caregiver wellbeing.  Any adult family caregiver, even those who do not have a loved one participating in MIND, can participate in Powerful Tools.

There are two locations for the workshops:


Northern Door: Scandia Village Good Samaritan, Sister Bay. Wednesdays, Sept. 7- Oct. 12, 12:30-3:30 p.m.

Sturgeon Bay: United Methodist Church. Wednesdays, October 17-Nov. 23, 12:00-3:00 p.m.

M.IN.D. is offered in collaboration between Ministry Memory Clinic, Door County YMCA, Scandia Village Good Samaritan, United Methodist Church, and the ADRC of Door County/Aging Services.  Lunch and materials are included. For more information or to register, please contact Program Coordinator Christy Wisniewski, at (920) 746-3504.



Living Well Workshop Serves Those with Ongoing Health Conditions

Door County Medical Center (DCMC) presents a free six-week workshop for those with ongoing health conditions, starting Monday, September 12. Developed at Stanford University, the workshop has been offered at hundreds of locations throughout the United States. It helps participants with ongoing health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, heart disease, anxiety and others to:

  • Find better ways of dealing with pain and fatigue
  • Discover easy exercises to help improve or maintain strength and energy
  • Learn the appropriate use of medications
  • Improve nutrition
  • Talk effectively with family, friends and health professionals
  • Understand new treatment choices
  • Feel better about life

For most of her adult life, local resident Doris didn’t worry much about her health. Then at 67, she was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure. She tried to follow her doctor’s advice to take her medications, exercise, and eat better. But often she was tired and even a little depressed. “I figured it was just part of getting older,” she recalls.

Man hand puting the red soft heart in woman hand

Then Doris discovered the Living Well workshop. “I now have a new sense of being in control,” said Doris, “The workshop has really helped me put life back in my life.”

Taught by specially trained volunteer leaders, some who have health conditions themselves, the program covers a new topic each week and provides opportunities for interaction and group problem solving.  “We are really more like coaches,” says Christy Wisniewski, Geriatric Outreach Specialist at DCMC and a leader for the Living Well workshop.  “The answer to someone’s question is usually in the room.”

The next Living Well workshop begins Monday, September 12th, and will take place every Monday from 1:00 to 3:30 for six weeks at Door County Medical Center.

For more information or to enroll in the Living Well workshop, call Christy Wisniewski at (920) 746-3504.


Nursing As Ministry: Rachel Mallien, RN

For Rachel Mallien, being a nurse isn’t just a job. “It’s who I am,” she says. Her career at Ministry Door County Medical Center (MDCMC) has spanned 10 years – four as a medical assistant at North Shore Medical Clinic, and six as an RN in the Medical/Surgical Department and Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where she currently works.

IMG_5552“I love the ICU,” says Rachel. “It keeps you on your toes and engages your critical thinking.” Above all, it’s the teamwork she enjoys. “As nurses, we are encouraged to be the eyes and ears of the hospitalists. The doctors respect us and depend on us, and they are wonderful physicians. It’s a great working environment.” Rachel’s day-to-day job includes everything from administering medication, to helping patients ambulate, to providing family support for patients being discharged. “Of course, the rehab team, emergency team and medical/surgical team provide so much support for our patients. I never have to worry if my colleagues are going to be there to provide help – they’re just there.”

Rachel went back to school for nursing after starting a family. She, her husband, and her 13-year-old daughter live in Sturgeon Bay. “I wouldn’t have been ready for this career straight out of high school,” she says. “My life experience made me a better student and nurse.” While studying nursing at NWTC, she spent a summer in DCMC’s Nurse Externship Program. “That summer gave me a great understanding of the field. I worked with Ellen Knipfer, and learned that MDCMC was where I wanted to be.”

Recently, Susan Johnson, hospital chaplain, was visiting with a patient under Rachel’s care. The patient commented on the high quality of care she received and Johnson said of Rachel, “Being a nurse is truly her ministry.” Rachel couldn’t agree more. In addition to her work in the ICU, she enjoys volunteering as camp nurse at her church’s yearly summer youth camp, as well as serving as nurse for a recent mission trip to Haiti. “I’ll do it again next year, and any time I can,” she says.

As a DCMC ambassador, Rachel has changed several people’s minds about the hospital. “Some older people have perceptions about MDCMC left over from years and years ago,” she says. “I’ve encouraged friends and family to try us again, and when they do, they have been very pleased with their care, and amazed at our state-of-the-art facilities.”

As for her future, Rachel hopes to someday take a turn in the Emergency Department. “I thrive on learning new things. Really, I’d like to work in every department at some point!” Although her retirement is years away, she is already planning a second career as an outreach nurse, continuing her own ministry through faith-based trips and camps.


Dr. John Arnold: Ready to Listen

Dr. John Arnold is thrilled to join Dr. Amy Fogerty in providing pediatric care at The Children’s Center of Door County Medical Center (DCMC). A native of Appleton, Arnold was a firefighter for 20 years before attending UW-Madison to pursue a medical degree. “I originally thought I would be a family practitioner, but I fell I love with pediatrics during my residency,” he says.

After obtaining his medical degree, Arnold practiced pediatrics in Lander, Wyoming and Missoula, Montana, where he also integrated sports medicine into his work. Dr. Arnold also spent several years traveling nationally to educate physicians on asthma and allergy issues, in particular food allergies. He brings a strong background in allergies to his practice at DCMC.


Arnold describes himself as a listener. “I learn the most by listening to children and their parents, and observing,” he says. “My style is definitely laid-back, and I particularly enjoy well-child visits and getting to know children and families over time.” Himself a father and grandfather, he is known to share the photo of himself as a ladder truck driver with his patients.

After living in the west, Arnold is glad to find himself once more in Northeast Wisconsin. “Growing up, I spent time fishing and golfing here in Door County. It’s great to be back, especially working at an organization like DCMC which is so committed to community health.” An avid hockey player and golfer, Arnold is looking forward to the recreational possibilities of Door County as well.

To make an appointment with Dr. Arnold, call The Women’s and Children’s Center at (920) 746-3666.


MDCMC Southern Door Community Clinic Expands Hours, Welcomes New Provider

In order to meet increased demand for primary and family health care services, Ministry Door County Medical Center’s Southern Door Community Clinic will expand its hours of operation. The clinic is now open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday hours are 8 a.m. to noon. The facility is located on campus at Southern Door Schools, 2071 County Road DK in Brussels.

 Nicole WeNicloleWelter_wCoat-1lter, APNP, is the new provider at the clinic. She brings 10 years of experience in a variety of clinical settings, including family practice and cardio-thoracic and surgical units. Welter holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Bellin College and a Master of Science in Nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner credential from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. She looks forward to serving the Southern Door Community and meeting the health care needs of adults and children.

MDCMC’s Southern Door Community Clinic, established in partnership with Southern Door Schools, serves all members of the community for primary and preventative care, urgent care, pediatrics, sports physicals and lab services. Call (920) 746-3664 for an appointment.


Ask the Expert: Back to School Health Tips

by Dr. Amy Fogarty, Pediatrician, Ministry Door County Medical Center

For families with school-aged children, August brings a flurry of preparations for the new school year. In addition to school shopping and registration, keep in mind these back-to-school health tips:

fogarty_head shot

  • Immunize. August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and because of back to school and sports physicals, it’s a good time to be sure kids are up-to-date with their immunizations. In addition to the roster of childhood immunizations, there are several important vaccines for teens including those that protect against meningitis, Hepatitis A and human papillomavirus (HPV). “The HPV vaccine is important for both boys and girls,” says Dr. Fogarty. “Not only does it protect against cervical cancer, but it is also effective against most cases of head, neck and throat cancer.”
  • Timing is everything. Mid-August is a good time to start transitioning back to school year schedules, since it often takes a few weeks to get back into the swing of appropriate bedtimes and wake times. “When considering wake times, be sure to account for adequate breakfast time, as well as enough time to prepare school lunches,” says Dr. Fogarty. To keep kids’ appetites on track, serve meals at times when they will be served during the school year. Kids who are hungry don’t do as well in school as those who eat regular meals and snacks.
  • Stress less. The beginning of the school year can be a stressful time for kids. Talk to your child daily about their activities at school, teachers and friends, and homework and expectations. “As a provider with a strong interest in mental health, I tell parents if they notice changes in a child’s sleep or eating habits, reactions that are out of proportion to events or a excessive crying or complaining about school, it may be time to seek medical attention.” Touch base with your child’s teacher three to four weeks into the school year. This is enough time for teachers to get to know your child, and allows parents to address concerns early.

MDCMC Opens New Rehab Clinic in Algoma

Ministry Door County Medical Center (MDCMC) recently opened a new Rehabilitation Clinic in Algoma. Although located in the same building as the previous facility, the new, more expansive clinic features additional state-of-the art equipment and technology in an easily accessible location. Eleven therapists who specialize in various types of therapy provide services. “It’s a bright, spacious and welcoming clinic,” says Deb Whitelaw-Gorski, Director of Rehab Services at MDCMC. “We’re excited to continue to serve the Algoma community in this new space.”

Algoma Gym from Other Direction

“We are proud to provide a variety of therapies right here, close to home” says William Bluett, Physical Therapist at MDCMC who has served the Algoma community for 12 years. In additional to physical therapy, the clinic provides speech, occupational and massage therapies as well as hand rehab, return-to-work programming and specialty pain management services.

MDCMC’s Algoma Rehab Clinic is located at 1510 Fremont St, and is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Direct access or self-referral is available for physical therapy and massage therapy services. Call (920) 487-9888 to make an appointment.



Ministry Door County Medical Center Named One of 50 Top Critical Access Hospitals

For the second consecutive year, Becker’s Healthcare, a leading source of information for the healthcare industry, has named Ministry Door County Medical Center (MDCMC) as one of the 50 Critical Access Hospitals to Know in 2016.

There are more than 1, 300 critical access hospital in the United States, and MDCMC was selected as one of the 50 highlighted facilities for “going above and beyond to care for their patients.” To develop the list, the Becker’s team conducted research and used several reputable hospital ranking sources, including the National Rural Health Association, Healthgrades, and iVantage Health Analytics, who recently named MDCMC as one of the Top 20 Critical Access Hospitals in the country.

“We are honored to have been recognized again for providing outstanding healthcare in a rural setting,” says Gerald Worrick, CEO of MDCMC. “This designation recognizes that we are leading the health and wellness of our community by providing a wide range of care – from our award-winning emergency department, to our cancer treatment center, five local clinics, and three rehabilitation facilities. Above all, it’s a tribute to our trusted and experienced doctors, nurses and staff who live and work in the community alongside the patients they care for.”



Ask the Expert: Alzheimer’s Disease

by Christy Wisniewski, Geriatric Outreach Specialist, Ministry Memory Clinic

Q: My dear friend was just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  She hasn’t come to bridge group for a while and I’m not seeing her at church as much as I used to.  How can I support her as she struggles with this diagnosis?

AlzheimeElderly woman having supportr’s disease not only robs a brain of memories, but often dignity and personhood.  As your friend’s ability to remember names, follow conversations, and navigate her familiar routines becomes more challenging, she may prefer to stay home. But an Alzheimer’s diagnosis does not have to be a tragedy.   She is lucky to have a friend who wants to remind her of the capable person she is!

Research has shown that certain lifestyle choices can improve wellbeing for people who have Alzheimer’s disease.  Exercise, a nutritious diet, and socialization are three key components that can benefit the brain and improve daily function. Start by inviting your friend on a walk to your favorite eatery while engaging in conversation about the valuable person she still is.  Allow her to talk about her fears, and let her know she is not alone.

The Door County Memory Café is a gathering place where people who have memory loss, as well as their friends or family, are enlightened and engaged in activity and conversation.  This free program takes place at Sturgeon Bay’s United Methodist Church the first Monday of each month from 2:00-3:30.

For more information on the Memory Café, call Christy Wisniewski at (920) 746-3504.


Dale Massey: Leading by Example

Dale Massey smiles a lot, and it’s infectious. When he greets his staff in the morning, sometimes he’ll say “Thanks for coming to work today!’’ “If I can make anyone smile, patient or staff, I’ve done my job,” he says. As patient registration manager, Dale oversees 25 staff members in the ER, Urgent Care, Outpatient Services and North Shore Medical Clinic. But when it comes down to it, he describes his work as “making people feel extra special.”


Dale came to MDCMC 11 years ago, after a varied career in natural resources, banking and national sales. “This is definitely the best job I’ve ever had,” he says. “The people here really care about the patient experience. The bottom line here isn’t money. It’s the care, and making people feel at home.”

Dale tells a story about an older woman he helped recently during the holidays. He was working a registration desk shift, as he will often do if the department member calls in sick. “I like to stay connected to what’s happening on the front lines and what my team is dealing with,” he says. Dale greeted the woman, who seemed down, and asked her what she was looking forward to at Christmas. “She didn’t have much to look forward to, and no family coming,” he says. “So I spent some time with her and just made her smile while I helped her down to her appointment.”

A week or so later, the woman returned to the clinic. “You don’t remember me,” she told him, “but you made my day last time I was here. Because of you, I had a good Christmas.” “For some of our older patients, their trip to the clinic might be the only time that day or even week that they see other people,” says Dale. “To make that person feel extra special is easy to do, and it makes such a difference.”

Dale often tells his staff it’s important to remember that Door County patients can be on the highway to Green Bay for their care in 30-40 minutes. “We have to give them the reason to come here instead. To know that here, they’re home. That we care, and we’re willing to go the extra mile.”