Position Spotlight: Director of Recovery Care at Home

Deidra has been a registered nurse for 31 years and started her career in a small rural hospital where she was cross-trained in all departments. She became an emergency medical technician (EMT) in 2001, and advanced to assistant director of that service, which she retired from in 2019.  

Deidra joined Marshfield Clinic Health System as a nurse in 2001. She first worked on a post-operative unit servicing orthopedic, gynecology and urology patients until 2013. She then took a role in the education department, helping to onboard new hire RNs. In 2016, Deidra had the opportunity to join Contessa as its 12th employee, aiding in the successful launch of its very first “hospital at home” program. Today she oversees the program at both Marshfield Clinic Health System and Gundersen Health System.

In addition to her nursing career, Deidra is a mom to two grown children. She recently remarried and moved to her dream location in the woods on the river, where she enjoys hunting and fishing.  

What does a Director of Recovery Care at Home do at Contessa?

The director oversees the day-to-day processes within their markets. I’m responsible for ensuring that the operational and quality metrics are being met and that action plans are implemented. I also review admissions and denials to verify the appropriate patients are being referred to the Recovery Care at Home program. 

Additionally, Recovery Care Coordinators (RCCs) report to the director. I provide education to the RCCs and communicate with them regarding the number of expected admissions. I also offer feedback on patient escalations and satisfaction surveys and guide any process changes.  

Why did you choose a career in healthcare leadership? Specifically, this career?

Nursing has always been my passion. As I advanced my education, my focus turned more to the education and management career path of nursing. When applying for my position with Contessa, it initially was as a Recovery Care Coordinator. It allowed me to continue to care for patients, but in the comfort of their own homes. As the Recovery Care at Home program expanded, I transitioned into more of a leadership role as a Lead RCC. From there I became a manager of Recovery Care at Home, and finally a director. The best part of this role is I am still a part of patient care but have expanded to more models and patient needs in their homes.  

How does the work you do at Contessa differ from other jobs?

Recovery Care at Home was on the forefront of telehealth. When you are a bedside nurse, you could be caring for 5-7 patients all needing your undivided attention. When the patient is in the home and a nurse is visiting, the doctor is virtually rounding, or an RCC is completing a phone call, that patient has their undivided attention. In addition, the patients are surrounded by their family. This ability to care for patients in their homes was a very important part of healthcare during the height of COVID-19. Patients would otherwise be admitted to the hospital without any visitors for the duration of their stay. We were able to transition stable patients home to continue their hospitalization and COVID-19 treatment. This allowed for beds to be available for more critical patients and allowed our patients more personal contact.  

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of this job is hearing how happy the patients are. Many have been admitted to Recovery Care at Home more than one time and request it again if they require a hospitalization. I have had patients admitted who have heard of the program from family or neighbors and are excited to be eligible. Patient satisfaction is the most important part.  

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging is also the most fulfilling: ensuring that we have staffing to provide patient care to more people. There are many working parts to the team, and we need to ensure that we have enough of each part to ensure good patient care.  

What inspires you to come to work every day?

I have been with Contessa since July of 2016. Watching the growth and expansion is inspiring and knowing I was there at the beginning is humbling. The people that work for Contessa from the top all the way to the boots on the ground are the greatest people to be with. We are truly like a big family.