A Project Access Patient Spotlight
By Allison Howard
How can you access specialty care when your most basic medical needs are going unmet?
“Angela” was stuck. Osteoarthritis in her left hip was holding her hostage. The 52-year-old mother of three had to stop attending family gathering and doing performance-based tasks because the pain was too extreme.
“I felt overwhelmed and frustrated because I would wake up with intentions of getting things done but then as I started moving the pain in my hip was so severe that I had to completely stop what I was doing,” she says. “I could not even sit comfortably without having pain.”
The burden was even greater than that, though – she was no longer able to help her husband of 26 years support the family. Working was impossible when even household chores caused too much pain.
She sought treatment with rheumatologists as self-pay when she could afford it, but there was only so much they could do. She needed surgery.
Angela was frustrated; she felt like she was stuck in a never-ending cycle. Her family was suffering both financially and emotionally because of her hip problem, yet she could not rectify the situation because the cost of medical care was just too high.
And though Angela did need the hip replacement, her arthritis was only one piece of her medical puzzle. While she had been able to access some rheumatology care, she did not have a primary care physician to manage her routine care, or the comorbidities associated with her arthritis.
Project Access had a bigger part to play than solely connecting her to a volunteer. Angela needed more services, and we were determined to find them for her.
Since Angela did not have a primary care physician, it was important establish her with one so they could address her numerous secondary issues. NTACHC seemed to be a good fit, and Project Access was able to connect her to their care. NTACHC provided routine checkups and preoperative testing, and Project Access worked with them to guide Angela through the hoops of surgical clearance.
Finally, it was time for the pain to go away.
Tune in tomorrow to hear the rest of this patient’s story in Angela – Part II.