Highland Block Nurse Program and Our Lady of Peace Home Health Care
Maria Duwenhoegger has served Our Lady of Peace for over a decade. In her role as case manager for the Highland Block Nurse Program and Our Lady of Peace Home Health Care, she makes sure patients get the help they need. She works with patients, caregivers, and family members, approaching care from a holistic viewpoint, and has built long-term relationships. Maria often eases the transition from home health care to hospice care for patients living in houses, apartments, assisted living communities, or wherever they call home.
With a background in public health, Maria enjoys working in neighborhoods and communities, serving Highland Park and half of Macalester-Groveland. She does outreach visits, and helps people determine the services people need to remain in their homes. She also conducts blood pressure clinics four times a month at senior apartment buildings where residents get the opportunity to learn about other services available to them. As Maria and her colleagues build a relationship with their patients, the patients are more likely to ask about other services and how they can help them.
“Knowing I can help people stay in their homes is rewarding,” says Maria. “And so is scheduling the same nurse and home health aide to care for them for continuity. A lot of patients have touched my life over the years.” Maria references a woman who was in the Highland Block Nurse Program for 12 years. “We helped her as she aged, she turned 100, and at end of life, she transferred to our hospice team. Being present in her life for that long is a good memory.”
Maria manages care for patients seen every week, every other week, once a month, and some, every couple of months. Maria says, “Most receive home health aide services, others need medication help, and some receive care when they return home from the hospital, so we monitor them until they are stable. We explain to people that we’re very experienced and committed to quality care, which helps them become comfortable with accepting health care.”
Maria was a senior in high school when she realized she wanted to be a nurse. She liked science, and while earning her degree at the University of Minnesota, was attracted to how nurses incorporated science into how they cared for people. Maria now combines the science of nursing with love and compassion. She says, “We want what’s best for our patients, and that is providing excellent care.”
The Highland Block Nurse Program is part of Our Lady of Peace’s community services, so many care options are available as needs change. Maria manages those changes and is greatly appreciated and respected by patients and colleagues. Program Director Paula Fischer says, Maria is very dedicated to the mission of the Living at Home/Block Nurse Program. Her skills of patient care, advocacy, and caregiver support make a huge difference in people’s lives and their ability to remain healthy and living at home.”