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Via Christi Transitional Care Clinic patients, team 'like family'

catrice hagler with alison hodge

Catrice Hagler, who has been a patient of Via Christi Transitional Care Clinic in Wichita since 2016, exemplifies the clinic’s mission of meeting patients where they are.

“The staff here has really taken Catrice under its wing,” says Alison Hodge, a social worker at the clinic. “Over the years, she has become like family.” 

Catrice has a long history of health problems ranging from coronary heart disease to seizures and eventually a stroke that left her unable to speak. The stroke cost Catrice the use her right arm and her right ankle is in a brace, making it challenging to walk. 

Despite her many medical conditions, Catrice hadn't had a consistent healthcare provider prior being seen by the Transitional Care Clinic team. In fact, her cardiologist had been serving as Catrice’s primary care physician for several years – care that was supplemented by multiple trips to the emergency department – as many as four in just two months. 

“Because Catrice lives alone, it was a big challenge for her to manage her medications because she wasn’t being seen by a PCP,” says Alison. “But that was just the beginning – she also struggled with housing and transportation. It was really a mess before the clinic stepped in to help.”

That help made such a difference for Catrice that she went from four emergency room visits in two months to just one in twice that amount of time.

The clinic helps Catrice with every aspect of her clinical care – setting up appointments, managing medications and conducting regular tests because of a blood thinner she takes. The clinic also sets up transportation for her appointments and recently helped her settle into a new apartment in the assisted living facility they found for her. 

“Like many of our patients, we never know what Catrice will need when she comes into the clinic,” says Alison. “We’ve done everything from hanging pictures up at her new apartment after hours to filing a police report when her electric wheelchair was stolen.

"It’s more like we are her life coach than her medical providers and we wouldn’t have it any other way.” 

Catrice has a difficult time communicating, but she makes one thing crystal clear: How much she appreciates the clinic staff. 

“I love you so much,” says Catrice. “You are my bright sunshine.”

About Roz Hutchinson

Roz Hutchinson is a Wichita wife, mother and chief spoiler of six grandkids and three Chihuahuas, a die-hard women's basketball fan, and director of Communications and Public Relations for Via Christi Health.