Published on February 10, 2014

Healthcare with heart

Patricia has been coming to Mercy LIFE for two years.

Dr. StratonBut not so long ago, she was miserable: Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) had severely reduced her quality of life.

“I was isolated and anti-social because of my health,” says the 67-year-old Brookhaven woman. “My legs were swollen like tree trunks. It was very difficult just to get out the front door.” But because the Mercy LIFE Day Centers have on-site clinics accessible five days a week, Mrs. Curless is able to receive help from the LIFE medical staff to manage her condition.

“Patricia’s heart failure had a dramatic effect on her quality of life,” says Dr. Joseph B. Straton, MD, MSCE, Mercy LIFE’s Medical Director for Delaware County.“But we’re working with her to manage her heart disease so that she can be as functional as possible and enjoy her life,” he adds.

Starting this year, Mercy LIFE expanded into Delaware County; Dr. Straton, who is board-certified in family medicine and hospice and palliative medicine, was recruited to be Medical Director of LIFE in Delaware County. He was named to U.S. News and World Report’s list of the nation’s best doctors in family medicine and palliative medicine in 2013.

Mercy LIFE has Geriatric doctors onsite every day at each of the four day centers. LIFE nurses and primary care physicians monitor Mrs. Curless’ weight, blood pressure and medication regularly. Because they see her so often, they are able to respond right away if she reports feeling short of breath, or if her legs become swollen.

“We’re able to keep her from needing to go to the ER or the hospital,” says Dr. Straton. Mrs. Curless also receives help at home from Mercy LIFE, which provides light housekeeping; it’s a service that helps keep her independent and living in her home.

And these days, she is happy for the constant care LIFE provides.

“When I was on my own, I didn’t want to face my illness,” she says. “But I’ve learned to accept help. And now I feel better.”