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Health Watch/Gladys Polzien, RN, MSN, CHPN

Wellness begins with you and your annual Medicare wellness visit

January 26, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

In Home Health, we see a variety of patients with many different medical conditions. These patients may be acutely ill or recently discharged from the hospital or nursing home following an illness or surgery. Our focus is to care for patients by providing skilled nursing care, physical, speech, occupational therapy, nurse aide visits for bathing and medical social services if needed for long range planning and arranging for additional help from community resources. The goal is to promote optimal wellness and achieve positive outcomes.

Once all is well, it is important for you to maintain your level of wellness. With the start of a new year, it is a great time to schedule or plan for your annual Medicare wellness visit with your doctor.

With Medicare Part B, you can get this wellness visit once a year at no cost to you - providing your doctor accepts Medicare patients. You may be eligible for Medicare if you are age 65 or older, are younger than age 65 and have a disability or have end stage renal disease. Medicare is a federal health insurance program.

During the wellness visit, your nurse or doctor will obtain information about your health history and determine your health assessment risk. They will measure your height, weight, blood pressure and pulse. Based on these findings, you and your doctor will make a plan to improve your health status. This plan may include eating healthy foods, increasing your physical activity or getting important additional screening tests.

Before you go in for your yearly Medicare wellness visit, make sure it has been at least 12 months since your last wellness visit. Prepare for your visit by making a list of important medical information such as medications that you take and include all prescriptions, over the counter medications and supplements such as vitamins. Write down your medication schedule, dosages and why you take them. Better yet, bring all of your medication bottles with you to your appointment. Also include a list of shots your received (flu or pneumonia), name of a family member or friend to contact in case of emergency, any health conditions you have and allergies. Any questions you want to ask your doctor related to your medications, general health, activities or pain and discomfort are also handy to have written down.

After you've had your yearly Medicare wellness visit, try to keep your medical information up to date at home by writing it down and filing in a safe place so you will have the information handy for the next year.

So remember we are here to assist you when you need health care at home, but we also want you stay healthy. Your yearly Medicare wellness visit is one way to stay on track For additional information, you may visit online at or or by calling Aspirus Keweenaw Home Nursing and Hospice at 337-5700.

Editor's note: Gladys Polzien, RN, MSN, CHPN is director of operations at Aspirus Keweenaw Home Health and Hospice.



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