Ramsey woman wins Home Care Professional of the Year

Karen Goedeke’s kindness and willingness to take on a challenge has earned her the Home Care Professional of the Year Award from the Minnesota HomeCare Association.

Integrated Home Care nurse Karen Goedeke with patient Kofi Mensah. Goedeke recently received the Minnesota Home Care Professional of the Year Award by the Minnesota Homecare Association. Submitted photo.

The 27-year-old Ramsey woman is a home care nurse with Health Partners’ Integrated Home Care, St. Paul.

The award was presented May 18 at Cragun’s in Brainerd at the annual Minnesota HomeCare Association conference.

Goedeke exhibits an incredible expertise for someone relatively new to the field, said Denise Edgett, her supervisor and nominator.

Goedeke started with the company in November 2010 and one of her first cases was taking care of Kofi Mensah, a Mounds View resident.

During a trip to his childhood home in Ghana, Africa, last June, Mensah had scratched his knee and contracted a flesh-eating infection.

He was able to return to Minnesota, but spent eight months in the hospital fighting the infection.

Mensah ended up losing his left leg to the infection and experienced other complications.

Prior to being able to return home, Mensah spent time in a transitional care unit where Goedeke met him and observed his complex wound.

Goedeke was able to make a plan for Mensah’s care at home.

Goedeke is so dedicated that she was with Mensah on the day he returned home, even though it was her day off, according to Integrated Home Care press release.

For the next several weeks, Goedeke visited him daily to assess his medical status, changed his dressings, took draws for lab work and provided coaching to Mensah on managing his own health needs as well as worked with his numerous physicians.

Although patients like Mensah are at very high risk for re-hospitalization, the man, who is in his early 60s, has not needed to be re-hospitalized, Edgett said.

“Karen follows up on everything and goes all the way to get to the bottom of things,” said Mensah.

“Home care is critical to my being able to be home. We wouldn’t be where we are today without her.”

Goedeke is an exceptional employee and has helped her patients achieve their medical goals, Edgett said.

“I like that I can have an impact with the patients in their own home, with their own equipment and their… family present,” said Goedeke.

Prior to become a home care nurse, Goedeke was a private home care aid, worked in a internal pain clinic and was a hospice care nurse.

“(Goedeke) has consistently been there when we needed strong nursing skills and she is strong team player,” said Sue Angerer, supervisor.

She chose to care for Mensah even though he was not in her territory and she was excited by the challenge his care presented, she said.

Goedeke is constantly willing to take on challenges with eagerness, Angerer said.

“I was shocked. I was really humbled by it {the award},” Goedeke said.

Tammy Sakry is at [email protected]