We all know that quitting smoking is one of the most significant changes a patient can make to improve their health. As the COPD Navigator for Respiratory Care, Tony Bollhorst has helped dozens of patients stop smoking.
Tony connects with each patient on a personal level, spends time developing that relationship, and is committed to ensuring their improved health. This is not something Tony learned in a guidebook for COPD navigators. His personal investment in each patient demonstrates the very fiber of who he is.
Tony embodies the word "ownership" every day in his role as COPD Navigator. He freely gives out his cell phone number, and "his" patients call him at all times to ask questions, or even to boast about how long it has been since their last cigarette. Tony mails a certificate to each of his patients who have remained tobacco-free each month. He even purchases gift cards with his own money to send with the certificates to encourage and reward those patients who make it to 100 days tobacco-free. He routinely visits patients in their homes on his own time to help them troubleshoot their nebulizer or oxygen tank or even fix their lawnmower. He will do anything that he can to positively impact these patients' lives.
When patients couldn't afford nicotine patches, Tony enrolled them in a program that supplied free patches. When there was a delay between discharge and the patients receiving patches at home, Tony developed a plan for NHRMC to pay for the patches in the interim.
Tony has even helped improve his patients’ marital relationships. He had one patient who would smoke on the front porch every night after dinner, and his wife wouldn't want to be around him. Tony helped the man quit smoking and after some time, the husband was able to go for a walk with his wife and hold her hand. The wife felt like they had renewed their relationship, and thanked Tony for making a difference in their lives.
For his dedication to his patients and the health of our community, Tony Bollhorst is the NHRMC Employee of Excellence for May!
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