About Stepping Stone Advocacy

Lori Schellenberg

My Story: A Journey of Advocacy

As I married and raised four children, I searched for opportunities to stay engaged in my career. I have consistently been creative and willing to step out of my comfort zone to challenge myself when those new opportunities arose. This led me from staff nurse, to home health nurse, to occupational health nurse, to worker’s compensation case manager, and to travel nurse as a rehabilitation liaison. Along the way, I also became a medical record clinical reviewer for a major hospital organization. With every opportunity I looked for ways to improve processes and the quality of the care that was being provided.

During this time, my parents retired and moved closer to me so they could play an active role in my children’s lives. My Mom had already had to have cardiac bypass surgery. At that time, I stepped up to provide her with support, communicate her care with my siblings and care for her post-operatively. I attended appointments to make sure she was getting appropriate care.

My Dad had many chronic health problems, including sleep apnea for which a trach was inserted; this was prior to CPAP. This cured his apnea but introduced infection after infection with multiple surgeries and complications. In addition, he eventually went into kidney failure and had to start dialysis. He fought and we advocated for a kidney transplant, despite his age and comorbidities. He never gave up. I didn’t either! Along the way, we challenged the physicians, the facilities, and the care providers, to provide better or new evolving treatments. We called for team meetings and met with CEOs, Directors of Nursing and Patient Advocates. My Mom watched and learned to advocate for him and for herself. We have become quite the team!

My Dad passed away peacefully. We had advocated to transfer him to Hospice Care, and my family was able to be with him to share his last moments, together. Today, my Mom happily lives in a Continuous Care Community in Independent Living. I advocated for her to transition to this new community.

Even though I have retired from Nursing, I bring these experiences to help patients and their families navigate the complexities of our current health care system, as a Patient Advocate.

Lori Schellenberg
loris-parents3

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