Spotlight on Caring: Cassandara S.

HouseCalls advanced practice clinicians, like Cassandara in this example, are known for their astute assessment skills. Their systematic approach can uncover serious issues that members may have been ignoring or minimizing. As Cassandara demonstrated so well, it also takes thoughtful determination to identify how to best connect a member to the appropriate care team and enlist family member support to ensure action is taken.

Cassandara’s story

As Cassandara entered the home, it was clear that the member was unsteady and dependent on a walker. In fact, the member showed muscle weakness with very little grip strength. Her right hand was cool, and she was not able to squeeze Cassandara’s fingers. The member had been having pain in her arms and bilateral numbness in her fingers, which put her at significant risk for falls.

The member had been referred to a neurospine doctor, but the appointment was a month away. The member’s daughter arrived during the visit and said that her mother had an MRI that showed severe cervical spinal stenosis. She was also concerned about her mother’s instability.

With the member’s permission, Cassandara contacted the member’s primary care provider (PCP) to discuss her clinical findings and the member’s worsening symptoms. The PCP reviewed the member’s MRI and concluded that the member needed timely follow-up with a neurosurgeon to evaluate for possible surgical intervention. Cassandara then coordinated for a neurosurgeon to review the member’s case. The neurosurgeon stated that the member would likely need surgery and the surgery should occur as soon as possible because the member could be paralyzed if she fell. Cassandara assisted the member to get an earlier appointment with the neurosurgeon. The member had surgery two days later.

The daughter called HouseCalls to express her gratefulness for Cassandara’s “above and beyond” support. She said Cassandara was just the advocate her mom needed for appropriate, timely care. Cassandara notes that being insightfully proactive is all part of her role as a HouseCalls clinician.

This is the kind of positive and caring experience that Optum HouseCalls clinicians deliver every day.

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About the Author

Jennifer Pryce AHNP-BC, GNP-BC, CNE, DNP
Vice President, HouseCalls Clinical Field Operations, Optum

Dr. Jennifer Pryce is a nurse practitioner currently serving as Vice President of clinical field operations for Optum HouseCalls. Her responsibilities include oversight and management of the clinical workforce. Dr. Pryce earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Masters of Art with dual concentrations of Adult Health Nurse Practitioner and Gerontological Nurse Practitioner from New York University. She completed George Washington University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program in 2014 specializing in nursing education and has since achieved Certified Nurse Educator designation.

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