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New initiative should help those with chronic illnesses

Lafayette area residents with chronic conditions now have a new place to manage their medical problems.

Franciscan Saint Elizabeth Health opens its Healthy Living Center Monday. It is designed to help those with diabetes, heart failure, and other problems. It also will offer out-patient palliative care.

Karen Bullard is director of Cardiovascular Services. She says the center will be for patients after they’re discharged from the hospital for follow-up care.

"It allows them time to digest what we're telling them, ask questions, for us to really assess their understanding their compliance or adherence to their medical plan."

She says one goal is to reduce the number of people who have to be readmitted to the hospital.

The team of nurses and education specialists plan to see about a dozen patients a week this summer and open it up to more in the fall.

Bullard says eventually, more services will be added to make the Center a comprehensive facility.

"There are specific disease management clinics out there that focus on pulmonary disease or heart failure, but there aren't many that focus on disease management collectively. So, this is a little bit of a hybrid."

While the Center will open with patients recently released from the hospital, it will take referrals from other doctors in the area later this year or early next year.

The facility has exam and consultation rooms, along with space for classes and support groups. It’s in the Lafayette Heart Institute building on North 16th Street by Saint Elizabeth Central Hospital.