Meet Another Angel, Kim Schoaf, Nurse Clinical Liaison

Kim Schoaf, Nurse Clinical Liaison

Kim Schoaf, Nurse Clinical Liaison

At Angel MedFlight, we are dedicated to exceeding our patients’ expectations and fulfilling our promises. To get there, we need great people. And as you have read in previous posts, great people we have!

Meet Kim Schoaf, our newest Nurse Clinical Liaison. Kim comes to us following an eight-year career as a Labor & Delivery nurse, in which she touched the newest lives with the greatest care.

The story of how Kim became an L&D nurse starts with her first pregnancy; it was a career choice she never envisioned. She was in college to become an elementary school teacher when something went terribly wrong. “I was surrounded by terrible nurses,” she exclaimed. “I had the worst care you can imagine. I swore then and there that I was going to become the best L&D nurse ever.” And echoing values Angel MedFlight holds dear Kim adds, “I knew that I was capable of providing the quality care, timely attention to needs, and emotional support that patients deserve.”

In her new role at Angel MedFlight, that passion and commitment go a long way in helping patients and families. Kim, as a liaison, spends her day examining medical records, doing research, and using her expansive medical knowledge and experience to communicate with medical staff and families worldwide, all in an effort to ensure a safe and successful transport for each and every patient we fly.

Within every company you will find committed people affecting charm, intrigue, and humor. And there is Kim, greeting everyone she meets with a smile and genuine conversation. And when you hear laughter in the hallway, Kim’s humor is often behind it. In self-deprecating fun, Kim mocks, “After being told I was going to be profiled, I went home and asked my family what redeeming qualities I had. Silence filled the room…for far too long.”

In all sincerity, she says, “You should know that I absolutely love my family. We love to play. There is constant laughter in our house,” she chuckles. “Even cleaning the house, we are singing and dancing.” When not at work, Kim’s life revolves around being a wife, a mother of three, and a doting daughter (her father, by the way, is the mayor of Litchfield Park, Arizona).

When asked about the approaching holidays, Kim asserts, “Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year.” From decorating to viewing the neighborhood lights, watching her father light the city tree, shopping for the perfect gifts, and eating her mother’s prime rib and au gratin potatoes, the holiday season is truly a time of joy for her. And she boasts with full voice, “Every year, I make the best sugar cookies anywhere. The entire process is strictly managed. You won’t find a better sugar cookie.” Kim’s colleagues at Angel MedFlight decided she must prove that intrepid claim.

In 2014, Kim looks forward to finishing the renovations on her house as well as completing the children’s book she is writing with artistic assistance from her oldest daughter. Professionally, she is excited to see what her new role here at Angel MedFlight brings and what she can contribute to the company and our patients.

We’re excited to have you here, Kim. Welcome to the team!

A Month to Think More about Alzheimer’s Patients and Caregivers

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Chicago’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s in 2012

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

Every 68 seconds, an American develops Alzheimer’s disease. In this year alone, an estimated 5.2 million Americans of all ages have this form of dementia which gradually robs our loved ones of their memory and their dignity. The disease also has a devastating impact on families as often a spouse or child becomes overburdened by the responsibilities of being a caregiver. Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance is often called upon to transport Alzheimer’s patients and proudly recognizes November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Because more than 5 million in this nation are living with the disease, it’s virtually impossible to find someone who hasn’t been impacted. Too many have undergone what is often referred to as “The Long Goodbye.” Anyone who has lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s understands this description because of the patients’ gradual decline as the disease progresses.

The signs start innocently at first. Dad may start writing a lot of notes to himself to remind him of simple tasks. Or he’ll ask you something over and over, not remembering he asked you that same question just a short time ago. Often a spouse steps in and recommends testing. What may be surprising to some is there is no single test that proves a person has Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association points out that “a diagnosis is made through a complete assessment that considers all possible causes.” Medical care providers will review the patient’s medical history and there will be a physical exam and diagnostic tests. The assessment will also include a neurological exam, mental status tests and brain imaging.

The patient’s long decline may involve anxiety and drastic mood swings. Loved ones who were mild-mannered before the disease, decline to a stage where they may resist being fed or bathed and then lash out at the caregiver, sometimes violently. What the Alzheimer’s Association wants all caregivers to know is there are ways to get help. The Alzheimer’s Association website is full of information and tips for the caregiver. The site provides a 24/7 helpline where their highly trained staff will provide information on the basics of Alzheimer’s, medications and treatment options plus legal, financial and living-arrangement decisions.

The Alzheimer’s Association can also direct patients and caregivers toward support group, care training resources, free e-learning courses and an e-newsletter. Their website also has an “In My Community” page where users can type in their state or zip code to find out what programs and services are available in your area, such as support groups and educational workshops.

Angel MedFlight’s medical crew members see the devastating effects of this ravaging disease as we often are chosen to transport patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia on medical flights. If you are a caregiver, know that you don’t have to go at it alone — there are ways to find support. For more information visit

Hooked by the Autonomy in the Sky


Angel MedFlight Clinical Educator Matt Greenwell

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

You’re a traditional emergency room nurse transitioning into the air medical transportation wing of the health care world. Nursing and paramedic work on the ground involves the same science, but in air ambulance work, you’re introduced to altitude physiology and new levels of autonomy are reinforced. At Angel MedFlight, that specialized training program is headed by Clinical Educator Matt Greenwell, R.N.

Greenwell’s entry into the emergency medical care field got started after a few words of advice from his mother, a registered nurse. Many years ago, Greenwell was working in the aerospace industry and wasn’t all that thrilled about it so his mother suggested he look into volunteering at a hospital emergency department. The hospital that is now Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz., had an opportunity for him. “I was a volunteer in their ER. I’d go in there one night a week and kind of hang out, have some fun and learn some things and realized that was the direction I wanted to head,” says Greenwell.

With his interest in the medical field piqued, he went back to school to become a basic EMT. From there, Greenwell says he realized then that was just the starting-off point in terms of  emergency health care and it “really grabbed a hold of me.” He then went to paramedic school and shortly thereafter he realized that nursing was what he wanted to do. “When you become a paramedic, your choices are primarily either EMS and working on an ambulance or working for the fire service and I had no desire to be a firefighter.”

So it was off to nursing school for Greenwell, who also started  working as a paramedic and ER tech at Mesa Lutheran Hospital.  “I got my nursing license and they hired me into their emergency department.” After a few years at Mesa Lutheran he returned to Banner Desert and worked several years as a  member of their emergency room staff. “It was a very, very busy facility,” Greenwell says, “but as a young aggressive nurse we were into that. It was a very fast-paced ER.”

Ironically, someone who had left the aerospace industry would find himself — working in the air.  Greenwell says he had some friends who worked in the air medical industry and one day they invited him to go on a ride-along. He really hadn’t been attracted to air ambulance work but after a couple of helicopter rides, he knew he had found his calling. “I ended up in that arena and flew for a program for a number of years and then got into their education department.”

It was the autonomy Greenwell felt while treating patients in the air made him realize he was in the right place. “As an emergency department nurse we have quite a bit of autonomy  but yet we still have the physicians right there to back us up. They clearly make the decisions. In the air medical arena we still have medical direction, we have a number of standing orders and guidelines we follow — but that autonomy is there.

Greenwell began his clinical education work with another company and eventually landed at Angel MedFlight as chief flight nurse. He has since rejoined our team as the clinical educator where he stresses compassion in his training. A patient needing air ambulance transport is obviously going through a difficult time and Greenwell makes certain our medical crew members deliver the highest level of compassion and care. Our flight crews go through quarterly and annual training, both didactic (classroom) and in skills labs.

Why did Greenwell come to Angel MedFlight? “What has impressed me all along is how we really do continue to raise the bar. Our equipment is second to none, I’ve worked for a number of flight programs and we have the best of the best with everything.” Greenwell says when you mix in the company’s training and staff, “it’s a very powerful package.”

Angel MedFlight Salutes Case Managers


By Angel MedFlight Contributor

Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance has a very special relationship with case managers. They are often the bridge between patients in need of air medical transportation and our company. Much like our team at Angel MedFlight, case managers act as patient advocates. Whether it’s a medical flight, X-rays, or prescriptions, the case manager navigates through all the paperwork and red tape. Case managers are dedicated, compassionate workers and we salute them during National Case Management Week (NCMW).

According to the Case Management Society of American (CMSA), plans for National Case Management Week began in 1998 and was first celebrated a year later on October 10. The date was chosen in honor of the association’s establishment on October 10, 1990. It was later decided to mark the second full week in October as National Case Management Week. Other organizations began to establish their own NCMW celebrations,  but the CMSA approached them about unifying the annual event and celebrating it during the same week.

Over the years several lawmakers on the city and state levels have recognized NCMW, but just last month, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution declaring the week of Oct. 13-19 as “National Case Management Week.”  Senators Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and John Boozman, R-Ark., introduced the resolution this summer through a collaborative effort between the American Case Management Association (ACMA) and the CMSA. “Case managers are vital to the health care system. I was proud to join Senator Boozman to introduce this legislation and give these individuals the recognition they deserve,” said Pryor.

CMSA President, Nancy Skinner was happy to see NCMW receive recognition on a national level saying, “Case management and care coordination are a vital aspect of health care delivery in America. Yet, too few consumers understand the important role case managers play. With this action, the United States Senate brings richly deserved recognition to the practice and may assist us in moving from the shadows of health care delivery to the full understanding of the advocacy and care coordination roles that case managers offer.”

ACMA President Sharon Mass points out how the role of case managers will become even more important with the changes in health care. “As health care continues its transformation, case management has become even more essential to the care process. National Case Management Week is an opportunity to recognize the dedication, compassion, and outcomes achieved by case managers.”

Case managers are invaluable to Angel MedFlight as they streamline the process when a patient is in need. We value their work and we help simplify the process of coordinating a medical flight with our team of highly qualified flight coordinators. By providing them this assistance, case managers are able to focus more on their patients.

Angel MedFlight joins in the celebration of National Case Management week and hopes that others will learn more about case managers’ commitment to patient advocacy and improving health care.

Angel MedFlight Wears Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness


Angel MedFlight at the Phoenix Race for the Cure

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

Nothing looks more pretty in pink that seeing a group of employees come together for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We at Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance are showing our support for this health initiative by taking part in special events and encouraging employees to wear pink around the office on “Pink Fridays.”

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States.  It accounts for nearly 1 in 3 cancers diagnosed in women.  In 2013, it is estimated that more than 232,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed among American women.  By the end of the year, an estimated 39,620 will die from the disease.

There are statistics that show some progress is being made.  A new report from the American Cancer Society reveals death rates from breast cancer in the U.S. have dropped 34 percent since 1990. But the report also says, “the rate at which new breast cancers  are diagnosed increased slightly among African-American women from 2006 to 2010, bringing those rates closer to those of white women, who still have the highest diagnosis rates among women ages 40 and older.”


Angel MedFlight employees (with Dexter) taking part in “Pink Fridays” at the office.

Part of the battle against breast cancer is making people aware of the disease and ways to fight it.  Angel MedFlight is holding “Pink Fridays” during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with employees encouraged to wear pink around the office. Our business development team has designed a special pink Angel MedFlight t-shirt which is being sold at the office and on our online apparel store. A portion of the proceeds from the t-shirt sales are going toward the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The simple gesture of wearing pink at the office may remind someone to get a mammogram or clinical breast exam. The American Cancer Society recommends both for women 40 and older.


Thousands took part in the Phoenix Race for the Cure

This past Sunday, Angel MedFlight took part in the 21st  annual  Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in downtown Phoenix. Among the thousands of area residents who took part in the morning one-mile walk and the 5K race was Angel MedFlight Director of Community Relations, Jackie Martinez. “It was great to see the community united for a cause. I saw mothers, daughters, sisters, grandchildren, husbands. All that have either lost the battle against breast cancer or know someone who is fighting it.”

Martinez has an aunt who has been directly affected by breast cancer and one of her good friends was just diagnosed. “It was very emotional being out there as you really see the toll breast cancer has taken on so many lives,” says Martinez.  She says after running the five kilometers and then catching up with her family for the remainder of the walk, she became quite tired, “but I thought this isn’t a part of what breast cancer patients have to go through” and she pushed herself to the finish.

While many great strides have been made , Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance reminds you so much more needs to be done in the fight against breast cancer. There’s more information on the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month website (

It’s the Month to Talk About Prescriptions


By Angel MedFlight Contributor

An increasing number of Americans rely on prescription drugs to manage chronic illnesses. But taking those medications incorrectly can lead to serious health problems. This is why it is extremely important to know exactly what medicines you are taking and to manage your prescriptions safely and effectively. Each year, the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) sets aside October as “Talk About Prescriptions Month.” Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance sees the great importance of this initiative.

According to the NCPIE, almost four billion prescriptions were filled in the U.S. in 2010.  Statistics from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey show that over two-thirds of all doctors’ visits end with a prescription being written. It has become increasingly important to manage the prescription medications we put into our bodies since many Americans are also taking over the counter (OTC) medications and vitamins/herbal supplements along with their prescription medicines.

MedicineSmartTiny (2)The NCPIE was founded in 1982 and is a non-profit coalition of around 100 organizations. The council says on its website that its mission “is to stimulate and improve communication of information on the appropriate use of medicines to consumers and health care professionals.”  One of NCPIE’s values is to “empower consumers to be more informed about and active in decisions affecting their use of medicines by stimulating communication between consumers and health care professionals on the safe and appropriate use of medicines.”

Did you know that one out of every three people experience at least one medicine-related problem? These problems might include over use, under use, not following instructions and drug interactions. In order to avoid these problems, the NCPIE recommends talking with your doctor or healthcare provider and pharmacist and learning about your health conditions and medicines.

Another useful tip to avoid problems with medications is to make a medication list that includes:

— Names of all medications you use, including OTCs, dietary supplements and herbal remedies

— Who prescribed each medication

— What each medication is used for

— How often and at what dose (amount) you take each

— Whether refills are needed

Always be sure to update your list when you start taking something new or if a medicine’s dosage is changed by your health care provider.

The NCPIE recommends you make a copy of your medicine list for your records and make extra copies to share with your loved ones and health care providers.

That is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to helpful tips on the safe use of prescription drugs. Much more information  on managing your prescriptions can be found on the NCPIE website and at

Angel MedFlight Worldwide Ambulance encourages you to take the time to ensure that you and your family are managing your prescriptions safely and effectively. Talk about prescriptions.

You’re Back Home, But is the Home Safe?


By Angel MedFlight Contributor

Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance delivers our trademarked Bedside-to-Bedside® service when chosen as the air medical transport provider for you or your loved one. But just how thorough is that service? Take for example when we transport an elderly patient back to their home. Our critical care flight nurses and paramedics make sure the patient is not only comfortable, but safe as well. To do that we give the living quarters a thorough safety check before leaving the patient.

Extension cords in a walkway, throw rugs that could trip someone or a water heater turned up too high.  These are just a few of the items that our flight crew members look out for in an elderly patient’s home. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that on average over 1.4 million people aged 65 and older are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with consumer products. The rate of injury is the highest for people 75 and older.

Director of Clinical Services Kevin Anderson says when we arrive on the scene, our medical flight crew members do a home safety assessment. “We don’t want to leave and then they get up and fall and break their hip because a rug was positioned right by their chair.”

“Usually when we walk in to an elderly patient’s home the first thing we’ll see is clutter. They’ll have furniture that they’ve had for 50 or 60 years and they’ve put throws over it. And those throws often hang down to the floor and people get their feet caught in them. We also see a lot of throw rugs on hardwood floors.”

It’s important to make sure flooring is flat and uniform and is slip-resistant or is covered with slip-resistant carpeting, rugs, mats or similar materials. Anderson says in the bathrooms, Angel MedFlight medical crew members will check to see if the elderly patient has easily graspable grab bars.

Communication is so important for an elderly patient, especially those who live alone. We’ll check to see there is a bedside phone and recommend numbers for speed-dialing. The CPSC recommends placing a phone low enough in case a person falls and is not able to stand. Those who have difficulty seeing the numbers on a regular phone should use one that has large, lighted number keys.

Older people can lose the sensitivity in their fingers and find it difficult to judge how hot the water is in the sink or bathtub. “We tell the family to make sure the water heater is set to the right temperature (no more than 120°F to help prevent burns) because sometimes they won’t even turn on the cold water and they won’t feel that,” says Anderson.

If there is no in-home care involved, our air ambulance medical flight crews will tell the patient and their family members where they can find detailed safety checklists online and where they can locate certified home inspectors to give a more detailed safety evaluation.

More than just a medical transport company, Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance is dedicated to exceeding our patients’ expectations. Yes, we are happy that we’ve delivered an older patient home, but we do our best to make sure that  patient has returned to a home that is safe.