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Laurel Circle’s Health and Wellness Navigator increases peace of mind and reduces stress by helping residents handle healthcare needs

Seniors holding hands

Patricia Strupp, MSW, enhances health by connecting, coordinating, educating, enabling, and empowering

Navigating the healthcare system can be a headache, especially for seniors and their families.

Residents at Laurel Circle have a unique and powerful ally in care coordination and care management in the form of Patricia Strupp, MSW, the community’s Health and Wellness Navigator/Director—Residential Health Services.

“The goal is to make sure that everyone who moves into Laurel Circle is aware of the services and support that is available to them here,” explains Strupp. “After that, I connect them to the resources they need to maintain their overall well-being and maximize their independence.”

For instance, if residents are looking for a new provider, Strupp can facilitate the search and the scheduling of appointments, if needed. If transportation is needed, Strupp will connect residents to transportation to schedule an appointment.

When someone has a procedure scheduled, she will work with the resident, discuss options, and create an initial plan for post-procedure to determine if home assistance versus a stay in the Arbor— Laurel Circle’s health center, would be the most beneficial, pending provider’s discharge recommendations.

“The goal is to decrease stress, improve outcomes, and prevent readmissions,” she says, adding, “it’s best to err on the side of caution. You can always discontinue services if it’s not needed, but you may not be able to obtain a service easily if it’s after hours or the weekend.”

The wellness way of life begins for Laurel Circle community members before they even move in.

Before moving day, each resident meets with Strupp for a memory health assessment.  We discuss what their interests are and what they are looking forward to after moving in. “Staying mentally, physically, and socially active keeps the gears going,” she explains. “Laurel Circle’s NIFS (National Institute for Fitness and Sport) instructors lead fun dance, fitness, yoga, tai chi, and strength-training classes, while the community’s 8 Dimensions of Wellness programming offers many clubs, meetings, events, lectures, classes, and performances for people with a variety of tastes and hobbies ways to improve their social, emotional, vocational, spiritual, environmental, and intellectual wellness.”

And later, if residents appear to be withdrawing from activities, are having trouble moving around, or appear to be self-isolating, Strupp will check in with them to see what might be going on and determine if certain interventions might be appropriate. “A resident withdrawing from activities might indicate an ambulatory issue — maybe they are having difficulty getting around. Sometimes hearing loss can lead people to change their behavior,” she says. “If a person is having difficulty hearing, they may tend to pull back and not engage.  This can lead to self-isolation.  Other times it may be a matter of mood or cognition. No matter what it is, we can provide support options and resources. The Laurel Circle community does its best to make sure no one falls through the cracks.”

Strupp holds a master’s degree in social work and a bachelor’s degree in social work with a geriatric certification. She is also a Certified Dementia Practitioner.

Strupp previously worked with Area Agency on Aging and Health Networks. Her areas of specialization and interest include comprehensive geriatric assessments with individualized care plans and family conferences, dementia education, and caregiver education, along with individual and caregiver counseling and facilitation of Alzheimer’s support groups.

Though care management and care coordination can enhance quality of life, reduce stress, and increase peace of mind, Strupp understands that everyone is different and what they want in terms of help varies.

“I respect boundaries and autonomy,” she says. “If you want me to call your family regarding a health and wellness matter, I will. But if you prefer I don’t, I won’t. I will maintain your privacy. I meet the resident wherever they are and am as hands-on or hands-off as they’d like.”