Nurse practitioner and team lead
Ruiz, nurse practitioner and team lead with the Gilchrist Elder Medical Care at Home program, helped develop and implement the program that has grown to cover more than 350 patients with six nurse practitioners, a medical doctor, a medical director, two medical social workers, and a registered nurse care manager and care coordinator.
“Patients with chronic conditions or serious illnesses can face frequent health crises,” Ruiz said. “These crises can lead to a cycle of hospital, rehabilitation, home that repeats over and over. Our goal is to break that cycle and intervene before the patient ends up back in the hospital. To do that, our team brings primary care services to people who are home restricted.”
Ruiz has been a nurse practitioner for 20 years and has worked in primary care, cardiology and geriatrics. “What makes home care different is the ability to see the whole person and the environment in which they live,” she said. “The right pharmaceutical intervention means less if basic needs aren’t met.
“Everyone needs a caregiver, whether they can get out to the doctor’s office or not. Rather than ending up in the emergency room frequently, we bring the care and support to our patients.”
Lori D. Mulligan, senior director of strategic initiatives with Gilchrist, said Ruiz never slows down. “She tirelessly works to improve the program, figuring out ways to enhance the delivery of care to our patients while making sure the needs of providers and staff members are met. She has impressed her peers, patients and superiors with her devotion, dedication and excellence in care.”