We believe no one simply takes a job at OSF HealthCare. We’re here because we were called to serve. And every single Mission Partner, regardless of role, is a caregiver in some respect, because it takes all of us to provide compassionate, quality care. That call to serve is present in so many ways. Here are a few.

survivorship-trainingCancer treatments can cause significant pain, fatigue and disability. The journey to wellness for cancer patients can be a difficult one. OSF HealthCare is committed to offering the best services available to all cancer survivors. By implementing the STAR Program® – Survivorship Training and Rehabilitation – the goal is to help cancer patients minimize the effects of cancer treatments and partner with them to achieve the best quality of life possible.

OSF Mission Partners are trained in the latest oncology rehab care and research-based protocols, proven to help cancer survivors optimally heal and function. The STAR Program is open to all survivors in need, whether beginning treatment, finished with treatment or experiencing late effects or unresolved issues from past treatments.

Previously only available in the Bloomington and Pontiac areas, OSF HealthCare recently expanded access to this care by adding the service in Escanaba, Michigan, as well as the Illinois communities of Galesburg, Kewanee, Monmouth, Ottawa, Peoria and Rockford.

In September of 2014, a native Liberian who had returned from his home country just five days earlier visited an emergency department of a Texas hospital. He was treated and released, but returned far sicker a few days later. He would become the first person to die of Ebola on American soil. Two of his nurses at that hospital also contracted the disease, but recovered.

And everything changed in health care.

Surg_TechsIt quickly became apparent that U.S. health care workers needed to be prepared to safely identify and treat Ebola – a disease that to that point was thought to be contained to Africa. At OSF HealthCare, an interdisciplinary team of clinical leaders cleared their calendars and devoted many hours to learning about Ebola, educating others, and identifying needs, tools and processes. Two infectious disease physicians took turns being on call, ensuring any OSF Mission Partner with an Ebola question could get an answer immediately, 24 hours a day.

That collaborative, interdisciplinary approach proved so successful, we used it to strengthen processes and resources for our caregivers for influenza, measles, and other infectious disease, as well.

It’s an important realization: Behavioral health care is as important to health and wellness as medical care. And with access to behavioral health care limited in our communities and nationwide, OSF Medical Group needed to take the initiative to expand access to behavioral health care within our service areas.

We started by adding a full-time behavioral health provider to a busy, 12-provider practice. We introduced the site’s providers to motivational interviewing and coaching techniques. They also were trained to recognize patients who could benefit from brief interventions and do a “warm hand-off” to the behavioral health provider. Through 30-minute interventions, the behavioral health provider helped patients with anxiety, depression, bereavement, chronic pain management, stress, smoking cessation, weight loss and treatment plan adherence. More challenging needs were referred on for traditional therapy.

Patients and providers loved the service. Since that early pilot, five more behavioral health providers have been added to other practices, and there are plans to continue expanding this important service.