Author Archives: Jennifer Kellner

It Takes a Village

Sharla Norris, RN, Amelia Baker, RN, Becky Fletchall, RN, BSN, and Jamie Brobst, RN of Ringgold County Public Health

Caring is our Calling is the ideal expression for Ringgold County Hospital. For the hospital staff, it’s not simply a job, it’s a mission. Luckily for area residents, the mission goes far beyond the walls of the hospital itself and extends across the entire county. Ringgold County Hospital works closely with Ringgold County Public Health to keep area residents as healthy as they can possibly be. The two organizations work especially close together with patients who have been hospitalized and are ready to be discharged.

“I start looking at discharges from the time they come through the doors of the hospital,” said Amy Mobley, BSN, RN, Utilization Review Quality Improvement Manager for Ringgold County Hospital. “I look at the home situation, the kind of help they have, and the kind of help they’re going to need.” That’s when Amy will pick up the phone and reach out to start lining up the needed resources.

Becky Fletchall, RN, BSN, Nurse Administrator for Ringgold County Public Health explains, “Many people don’t understand the scope of what we can do. Public Health can provide skilled nursing, home health aids, even light housekeeping. We provide services to patients who need help outside of the hospital. We try to aid in the recovery process.” Becky adds, “We serve all county residents beginning at birth with the ‘Parents as Teachers Programs,’ immunizations for qualifying children, and seasonal flu shots for anyone, at any age.”

Becky acknowledged that Ringgold County has many elderly residents, and often they do not have family members living close by. Public Health can assist families to find available services so residents can stay safely in their homes for a longer period of time.

Amy shared that the hospital also works closely with the community. “We have a community care coalition,” she said. “We bring together all the health-care related entities for a monthly meeting. We include the department of public health, hospice, the emergency management director for the county, nursing homes in Ringgold County and even facilities in neighboring towns.” The coalition ensures that the right resources are available for all patients and that we are all working together.

When it is determined that assistance is needed from one of the many resources, it is as simple as a phone call to request a referral for the patient. “If we’ve determined a patient has a terminal illness and the patient desires hospice care, we’ll go the hospice route and set them up with their services. If someone is recovering from surgery or a more difficult illness and is just not quite independent yet, we will contact Public Health and they can assist them with services in their home. There is almost always some community resource that we can get to assist our patients when they need services outside of the hospital.”

“No matter what the situation,” added Becky, “We welcome communication from the hospital when patients are admitted to make sure there is no gap in service upon discharge.” The philosophy of the agency is to provide the highest quality in nursing, home care and public health services to all county residents. The agency assists and educates the public in the maintenance of general health, the prevention of disability and disease, and rehabilitation to the highest potential.

The ultimate goal of both the hospital and public health is keeping people as healthy as they can be throughout their lives. A Wellness Coalition was formed four years ago after a Community Transformation Grant was received from the State of Iowa. A community garden was planted, and the committee encourages walking and biking and hosts annual events. Anyone in the county is welcome to join the coalition which meets at least quarterly at the Ringgold County Hospital. For more information on the wellness coalition, contact Vicki Sickels, Ringgold County Public Health, at 641-464-0691.

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Urologist Now Available in the Specialty Clinic

RCH welcomes Ryan Schulte, MD

Ringgold County Hospital is pleased to welcome Dr. Ryan Schulte to our specialty clinics. Dr. Schulte is a board-certified urologist with The Iowa Clinic. “I enjoy my work because of the variety of patients and procedures I can see daily,” he said. “I work with men, women, and children of all ages and it’s rewarding to build long-term relationships with my patients.”

The Iowa Clinic, P.C. partners with local medical centers and hospitals to provide leading edge healthcare for the patients of Central Iowa. Dr. Schulte will be seeing patients at Ringgold County Hospital the fourth Thursday of each month beginning in March. To make an appointment with Dr. Schulte, call: 641-464-4409.

Harvesting for good health: The Mount Ayr Community Garden

Community planting service day

For four years, Vicki Sickels, the vice chair of the Ringgold County Hospital Board, has managed a community garden in Mount Ayr along with her husband. Located behind the Lutheran Church, there are four raised beds. The garden is watered with rain water collected from the roof of the church. She’s applied for, and received, grants to help with the costs. If more grant funding is received, they’ll build additional beds.


Vicki would love to see even more members of the community participating in the project. Master Gardeners have been invited to help with the garden. Students from the local schools are invited to come to the garden and help plant during the planned service day each year.

Ringgold County residents are welcome to come to the garden anytime and take whatever produce they need. Excess vegetables are donated to the Neighborhood Center or simply given to those who may need fresh food. Sustained community participation would be welcomed throughout the spring and summer. Anyone interested in volunteering or learning more can call Vicki at 641-464-0691.

Katie Routh: Eating for good health

Katie Routh enjoys consulting with patients individually

Some people seem to grow up knowing what they want to do in life. According to Katie Routh, the dietician at Ringgold County Hospital, she is one of those people. “As a kid, I was always interested in nutrition,” she said. “When I was growing up, I baked and cooked a lot with my grandmother.”
A Ringgold County native, she thought about a career in nursing, but decided that the nutrition side of health care was where she wanted to focus. She has her Bachelor of Science in dietetics and is accredited through Iowa State University.

Being a dietician at a hospital involves visiting patients while they’re in the hospital. “I look at their lab work and their medications and help them get the nutrition they need while they’re in the hospital. I also help the dietary manager with menu planning and sign off on all the menus,” said Katie.  In addition to caring for people staying in the hospital, Katie does a lot of outpatient counseling. “I really like the counseling part of my job. I talk to people with diabetes, heart disease, and people who are interested in weight loss,” she said. The majority of her consultations are with diabetes patients. “Some have had the disease for years, but they’ve never really had any education on how their eating habits affect it. Some have just discovered they have diabetes and are trying to control it with better nutrition.”

Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is the advice of nutritionists everywhere and Katie agrees. In winter, if you can’t find fresh, frozen is a good option. Growing your own vegetables is the best of all. “The healthiest people I know are gardeners!”

Katie has been in her position at RCH for just over two years. She came back to work after her third child was born. She is very practical when it comes to providing advice for good nutrition. “Follow the 80/20 rule,” she advises. “Be a healthy eater at least 80% of the time. Splurge on treats only 20% of the time. After a splurge, start right away again on eating well. But don’t feel like you have to eliminate any food forever. Just watch your portions.” She adds that eating well is really a lifestyle, not a diet. It’s a permanent change you can live with. “Just relax and make healthy choices!”

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Red Flannel Walk February 27

Ringgold County Hospital cares about your heart health. Join us for a quick walk to raise awareness for keeping hearts healthy through activity. All ages are welcome to participate in this FREE event!

Tuesday, February 27
Registration: 4:30 – 4:45
Walk: 4:45 – 5:15
Mt. Ayr High School track
For more information, call 641-464-4452
(In case of inclement weather, registration will be in the Commons, and the walk will be indoors)

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