Any form of chronic disease can be scary and particularly, heart problems can be frightening. The heart pumps blood through the body supplying oxygen and nutrients to keep it alive. For this reason, it is important to keep the heart healthy in order to avoid, manage or lessen the effects of cardiovascular diseases. Sara Kuzma, from Medibank’s CareComplete, spends her working days offering help and support to those who are living with chronic diseases.
With a background in dietetics, Sara has extensive knowledge and passion when it comes to health and wellbeing. It was during an 18-month stint working overseas, mainly in London, that she saw the importance of focusing on preventative health. Upon returning to Australia, Sara knew she wanted her next career to focus on a more holistic approach to healthcare. It was during this time that CareComplete came up on her radar.
Sara (left) living and working in London.
As a Care Coordinator, Sara works across the full suite in the CareComplete program, which consists of CarePoint, CareFirst, and CareTransition. The program has a strong focus on supporting people to better manage chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, as well as other complex needs.
“We aim to both encourage and empower our patients to take ownership of their health. For example, for someone who is recovering from a heart attack, we work with them to see what support we can place in their home to keep them out of the hospital. We also support them to navigate the healthcare system and promote relationships with their GP’s and specialists, such as cardiologists, to ensure they have access to the best care.”
The Queensland CareComplete team.
Sara says that it’s often when people find themselves in delicate situations that they open up and trust the advice and support that are being offered to them. This is what happened with one of her recent patients.
“His wife had just passed away, he was living alone and wasn’t looking after himself. After suffering from a heart attack, he was referred to the CareComplete program. During our earlier conversations, he admitted not having spoken to his children about any health concerns for fear that he would end up in a nursing home.”
CareComplete employees take the time to visit patients in their homes. They sit with them to talk about their health, any concerns they may have and develop tailored care plans to help them get back to better health. The CarePoint program runs for two years which means there are many opportunities to build a strong rapport and have in-depth conversations about patients’ health and how they are managing with activities of daily living.
“As I was able to visit him in his home, this particular patient and I had the chance to really talk to each other. He opened up to me about his worries and was so grateful to be able to speak to someone who is there to listen. During our conversations, I’ve been able to help him manage that overwhelming feeling of not being on top of things, as well as organise social support and transport so that he can get to his appointments. He is so grateful to be regaining his independence and to have a little extra assistance to be able to stay within his own home.”
Sara with her Queensland team in a CareComplete workshop.
Our CareFirst program also has a positive impact on people living with Cardiovascular Disease. Whether it is newly diagnosed or they have had the condition for many years, our people empower patients to manage their health and make proactive, lasting behaviour changes.
“I work with a team of health professionals who all have the vision of preventative health and taking an innovative approach. We have so many programs available and there is always so much opportunity for clinicians to put ideas in. Our programs are constantly improving, which is both a positive thing for members and employees. There’s also a lot of room to grow and develop. If I’m interested in gaining experience in different areas, I know I’ll be supported, it’s incredible.”
At the end of the day, Sara’s mission is simple – to assist individuals to take steps to achieving healthier hearts.