Role of the Wellness Nurse Navigator at The Clare

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Overall wellness for residents of The Clare encompasses many facets, from an active lifestyle and healthy dining options to stimulating social interactions.

Of course, maintaining health at its core is a critical wellness component, too, which is where The Clare’s Wellness Nurse Navigator steps in.

The main duty of the Wellness Nurse Navigator is to act as a liaison for residents to help them navigate their health care needs. By serving as an advocate, the Wellness Nurse Navigator helps residents to maintain their independence in a safe manner.

First and foremost, the Wellness Nurse Navigator is charged with running the Wellness Center at The Clare, which is open daily from 9am to 3pm. In recent months, as The Clare navigated the pandemic, the community’s Wellness Center served as a source for COVID-19 testing for residents. Otherwise, residents are free to walk in for anything and everything from vital sign and blood sugar checks to wound dressing changes and any medical-related questions.

The Wellness Center proves quite convenient for residents, because they don’t have to leave the comfort of their home for a checkup. During a Wellness Center visit, the Wellness Nurse Navigator can help the resident to determine next steps, whether that’s sending out to urgent care or continuing to monitor symptoms.

This convenience is certainly appreciated by residents.

“When it’s important information, get it from a professional,” says resident Beth Mitchell. “We’re fortunate to have those people right here at The Clare. An elevator ride to the Wellness Center can bring comfort in a matter of minutes.”

Another important aspect of the Wellness Nurse Navigator role at The Clare is facilitating resident transitions from hospital stays back home, ensuring they go as smoothly as possible. Whether a resident has a planned surgery or makes an unexpected trip to the emergency room, the Wellness Nurse Navigator checks in, consults follow-up orders from doctors and helps to arrange for therapy services or home health care as needed.

“Following my experiences with the Wellness Center after major surgeries, the benefits of moving to The Clare have been reaffirmed,” says resident Carolyn Rusnak. “[The Wellness Nurse Navigator] dispenses skill and guidance, along with peace of mind. I am most grateful.”

This may alternately entail referring residents to private duty caregiving agencies, such as Custom Home Care, which provides concierge-style a la carte services in increments of 15 minutes to 24 hours, depending on the task or level of care needed. Some residents need assistance bathing and getting dressed after a hospital visit. Others require medication management for a short period of time each day.

The Clare also welcomes a variety of visiting medical providers each month, including podiatrists, dentists, dermatologists and audiologists, among others. The Wellness Nurse Navigator is responsible for coordinating and advertising their hours and appointments. They can also arrange for a visiting lab technician from Northwestern Medicine to complete lab orders per doctor requests. These ancillary services are yet another way of promoting physical wellness for residents right in the community they call home.

Additionally, the Wellness Nurse Navigator coordinates health-related programming that stems from resident interest and feedback in a monthly series called “To Your Health.” Recent topics included grief, sleep medicine and an overview of life care offered at The Clare.

Ultimately, the Wellness Nurse Navigator at The Clare wears many hats. But the main purpose is simple: promoting independence and confidence among residents that their health is in their own hands.