New coordinator looks to expand Wellness Program

Vicki Pilcher has been the Wellness Coordinator at Rauch for three months now and is already working toward helping the program grow.

Before coming to Rauch, Vicki worked as a home care nurse. She said the type of environment home care fosters is actually why she wanted to become a nurse—to connect with patients and be able to have a bond with them.

She believes treating a patient is not just about “treating the belly-ache,” but also about looking at the environment, the family situation, and nutrition among other things.

“I very much believe in a holistic approach to medicine,” she said.

Vicki wants Rauch’s front-line staff (Direct Support Professionals or “DSPs”) to be medically educated enough to be able to provide for all client needs. In order to achieve this, Vicki will be holding training with state requirements mixed in with skills Vicki thinks they should have such as how to medicate through a gastrostomy tube and how to care for diabetes.

“There’s a lot more to it than basic first aid,” she said. “I want to reeducate and educate DSPs and bring them more into nursing for what they’re doing.”

On top of making sure the DSPs are trained, Vicki’s role as coordinator also requires her to attend doctor visits and hold check-ins with clients if Rauch is their wellness provider. There are three tiers dictating how often visits and check-ins must take place. Which tier a client falls into is dependent upon how they rate on a state health scale. Currently, this service is limited to clients in Rauch’s Supported Living program who have this Wellness Coordination in their service plan.

Vicki has already been to a doctor’s visit recently when a client was preparing for surgery. She said one of the things she wants to project to clients and coworkers is that she doesn’t have all of the answers, but she’s willing to help find them.

“I don’t know everything and I don’t claim to,” she said. “If I don’t know the answer then I know how to look for an answer and we’ll find it out together.”

Vicki’s current goal is to have enough participation in the program to necessitate another nurse. She’s looking forward to gaining more clients.

Vicki had nothing, but kind words for the clients and staff at Rauch.

“The reception I’ve gotten at Rauch—never in my life have I had that. It’s just a feeling here. They have been so good to me,” she said. “I feel like I’m at a place I’ve always wanted to be, I just hadn’t been there yet.”

This post is from guest blogger Darian Eswine--an English and journalism major from Franklin College interning with Rauch this summer.