Not every coach is as well known as Pete Carrol of the Seattle Seahawks, but Susan DeLong, our nurse case manager and health coach in our Wenatchee office, is key to our team.
She’s smart, caring, a good listener, and a compassionate advocate. You will probably never see her on TV, but in our members’ eyes, her work is just as important and meaningful as any superstar’s.
Managing a health condition can be hard, and a health coach is someone with extensive experience who can be a consistent source of support. There’s so much information that it can be hard to know what’s key. One of the benefits of a Medicare Advantage plan like ours is the free education and support a health coach can provide.
At Health Alliance, a health coach like Susan can give our members:
- Answers to questions about their conditions
- Tools and lifestyle skills to minimize the risk of problems
- Information about self-care skills
- Free educational materials and resources about managing conditions
- Support on the phone at their convenience
- Help keeping them, their provider, and their caregivers connected
- Help making the most of their healthcare benefits
Health coaches do not replace medical care from a doctor, but instead work with their primary care physician as part of a team to make sure their management plan is working.
Compassionate nurses like Susan also help identify warning signs for possible health problems, and they make sure members have a plan, day or night, to handle those issues if they become serious.
Susan also works hard to troubleshoot these issues before they become serious health problems. For example, she helps members understand the importance of refilling prescriptions and outlines what they should do if their drugs run out too soon.
Susan even partners with community resource agencies, like Meals on Wheels and the Confluence Health Patient Service Department, to help our members overcome barriers to their care. She knows when a member has a hospital stay or ER visit, and she tracks follow-up appointments and makes sure any meds they’re sent home with will work well with their current prescriptions.
But just like famous coaches, a big part of the job is to motivate. Susan empowers our members to take an active part in their health by setting attainable goals, and we value the important role she plays in our team and in lending a helping hand to our members.
Shannon Sims is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan counties in Washington. She has four sons and two grandsons. During her time off, she performs as part of a rodeo drill team on her horse, Skeeter.