Led by Carol Garrean, MD, PPG – Internal Medicine, and Eileen Muzzillo, MD, PPG – Internal Medicine, PAC delivers a comprehensive, team-based approach to navigating the complexities that go hand-in-hand with managing multiple chronic medical conditions, as well as the changes that accompany aging. In this post, we feature one of the experts available to PAC patients to serve as a dedicated guide along their health journey.
The benefits of behavioral health support
Michael DeWinter, LCSW, licensed clinical therapist, Parkview Advantage Clinic, shares that having a social worker and behavioral health specialist embedded in the PAC ultimately leads to improved health outcomes and adherence to recommendations.
“The biggest barriers we see at PAC is that patients don’t feel heard, they don’t feel understood, which can make them less likely to follow through because they don’t feel like anyone cares about them, as patients and individuals,” Michael said. “So, we really try to listen.”
In addition to focusing on what the patient is really saying, a big part of the behavioral health aspect of the PAC model of care is pulling in those close to the patient. “I work hard to help family members, friends, etc. understand that being a caregiver is one of most difficult jobs you can do for another person,” Michael said. “It’s exhausting, and you have needs as well. It’s OK if you need a day off, because at the end of the day, you’re going to be better for your loved one.”
Additionally, there is so much change in this phase of life for older adults. “I also try to help caregivers understand what their loved one might be going through. Not just physically, but emotionally. As we age, we start to lose our faculties, including our physical and mental abilities, and there’s a loss of independence. Those losses add up. We can help patients understand their condition(s) and accept those limitations, but also work with family members to be more patient with their loved ones as they navigate this new stage of life.”
Michael said that, if he could give caregivers with aging parents or loved ones one piece of advice, it would be to “Be patient with yourself, your loved one and the process of care, because these things aren’t fast moving. Give yourself the grace you need to be the caregiver you need to be.”
Who is PAC for?
PAC accepts Medicare Advantage, MR UHC, MR Humana, MR Anthem and MR Aetna insurance. To make an appointment, please call 260-425-5600.