Harry Estes

Care Coordination Made ALL the Difference
Eighty-one year old Harry Estes isn’t happy about one thing. “They won’t let me drive right now, not my car, motorcycle, or my lawn mower.” And frankly, that’s okay with his wife Shirley. After 61 years of marriage, she knows it would take an order from Vince Michaud, MD, at EMMC’s Husson Family Medicine to keep Harry safe during his recovery from a stroke in July of 2012.
Harry, a retired airplane mechanic at the Air National Guard Base in Bangor, and Brewer High School alumni of 1951 has come to depend on his wife. “I jokingly call her Nurse Fuzzy Wuzzy,” smiles Harry. He is a tall strapping man who prides himself on having a close family, a meticulous yard, and supporting his Brewer Witches in all their school sports.  There is no doubt the Estes have seen a lot change over the years in his beloved town and in healthcare. When Harry was 51, his heart troubles started and he required a quadruple bypass, something EMMC didn’t offer at the time. “We had to go to Portland, which meant we were away from our family, friends, and our home. Plus it meant staying a few extra days to make sure Harry was strong enough for the travel north,” shares Shirley. The recovery process was slow with many trips in and out of EMMC’s emergency room and hospital.
Heart troubles continued to plague Harry over the years. With every stent procedure came the inevitable bumpy road to recovery. “They took such good care of us at EMMC; the cardiologists really knew what they were doing.” Even with exceptional care and a primary care doctor that was on top of Harry’s health plan, Harry’s blood pressure would spike and out of fear and worry Shirley would take him back to the hospital. That is until now. “When we came home from the hospital in July it was the first time he's gone in to the hospital and come home with support.”
Care coordination is making all the difference in how well Harry is recovering from his stroke. "I think it's wonderful - it's given me a lot of confidence to care for my husband." With the help of Kathleen Bates, a nurse care coordinator, Harry has had no re-admissions to the hospital or emergency room visits. “The goal is call our patients when they go home from the hospital, answer any questions, do a medication reconciliation, and become a resource for them,” says Kathleen.
For Shirley, this meant someone to call when she wasn’t comfortable with a blood pressure reading or if something seemed not quite right. The women talked as often as they needed to and Dr. Michaud was able to adjust medications or see Harry in the office if his symptoms warranted it. All the Estes know is that they received the right care, at the right time, in the right place and life is getting back to normal. In fact they’ve been telling all their friends about Kathleen and the kind of care they are getting and were happily surprised it’s just part of how we care for our patients and it wasn’t going to be an extra cost to them.  "I don't know what I would have done without Kathleen."