Suzana Cane, APN

Nurse Practitioner Transitions Patients from Hospital to Home

“There is nothing more rewarding than helping someone get the care they need when they are at their most vulnerable.”

Suzana Cane learned the value of caring for others when she was just 17. She helped her mother with her uncle near the end of his life. “It gave me the idea that I wanted to be a nurse,” she said, “and be able to help patients and their families through difficult times.”

That experience launched Suzana on an educational journey that went well beyond her Registered Nursing (RN) studies. She earned her Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) credentials. “I wanted to be able to do more to help,” she explained. “Now I am able to treat the whole patient, make medical diagnoses and prescribe medications as needed.”

Suzana brings deep and broad experience to Vanguard. She has worked in a variety of settings, from hospitals to subacute rehabilitation facilities to long-term care. In her role as a transitional care nurse, Suzana visits recently hospitalized patients at home to help in their recovery and to prevent readmission.

The transitional care program starts with a visit to the patient in the hospital. That’s where Suzana introduces herself and explains the program. This is followed by the home visit, which involves a physical exam and time spent with the patient going over medications and follow-up instructions. During the visit, she may make follow-up appointments for specialists, check in with home care agencies, and advise on nutrition and exercise.

She especially enjoys that she can do all of that in a home environment. “In the hospital, it’s easy to become overwhelmed,” she noted. “When patients are home, they are less anxious and more comfortable. It’s an easier time to teach a patient and family members how to use devices, medications, etc. Importantly, I take the time to listen and address their concerns and make sure they are getting the correct care.”

When she’s not working, Suzana enjoys listening to music and watching movies with her two kids. Family is important to her, and she spends as much time as she can with her 93-year-old father.

Adaku Ezeadi, AGNP

Nurse Practitioner Offers Compassionate Care to Homebound Patients

“People are amazed at how many facets are involved in home care. Comprehensive medical care and education are at the core, plus we also address safety and financial concerns.”

With a childhood that spanned the globe – from Lincoln, Nebraska, to Nigeria – Adaku “Didi” Ezeadi saw the world at a young age. Her parents were college professors and she was destined for an educational journey in whichever field she chose. Didi found her calling in nursing, and ultimately, home care.

“I’m a very social person, and the other medical settings didn’t give me that chance to get to know my patients,” she said. “As soon as I started working in home care, I knew I had found my niche.”

Home care is just one way that Vanguard Medical Group increases accessibility to primary care. Didi brings a diverse background to her role as a member of Vanguard’s Primary Care at Home team, which includes geriatric specialists and experienced geriatric nurse practitioners who manage homebound patients. In addition to being an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, Didi is a certified wound specialist, a licensed nursing home administrator, and has experience as a case manager. She has worked in hospitals, long-term care, hospice settings and home care.

Her focus in home care includes keeping her patients home safely and out of the hospital. “The key is education,” she says. “You teach them about their medications and make sure they’re taking them safely. You educate them about side effects. You inspect their homes and look out for difficulties getting to the bathroom. You address their diet to ensure they are meeting their own nutritional needs. You look out for loneliness and depression. It’s a comprehensive and compassionate approach. We strive to meet all the needs of our vulnerable homebound patients.”

Didi often sees the impact she can have on her patients and their families. “Even years later, I will run into family members of my patients and they will ask, ‘Didi, remember me?’ I love that. That makes me feel as if I have made a real difference in their lives.”

When she’s not working, Didi likes to read Shakespeare and novels. She is a big fan of mysteries and especially enjoys Agatha Christie. She is also currently working on her doctorate in nursing.

Sivaraju, Kannan, M.D.

Dr. Kannan Sivaraju Makes House Calls for Good Health

“Our Home Care program offers two major advantages to our homebound patients: It gives them the personalized and comprehensive care they need while still being covered under primary care. That means it’s good for their health and for their pocketbooks.”

The first physician in his family, Dr. Kannan Sivaraju had always been interested in health care. When it came time to choose a career, it was a natural step to pursue medicine. He chose internal medicine because it is interesting and challenging.

“It’s very rewarding when you figure out the diagnosis and cure the disease,” he says, “and also help patients improve their quality of life.”

Dr. Sivaraju earned a certification in geriatrics to better understand the unique issues faced by his older patients. He works frequently with patients in the Home Care program, which means he makes house calls. Regular care at home helps patients avoid unnecessary admissions to the emergency room. “These are patients who have difficulty coming to the office,” he says. “They may be elderly and chronically ill. Importantly, we do more than simply see them and prescribe medication. We’re able to perform many of the services typically found in the office, such as blood work and other diagnostic tests, including Doppler ultrasound and echocardiograms.” The team also can refer patients to hospice care, a home health aide service or wound care at home.

Dr. Sivaraju enjoys the autonomy that comes from working in a physician-led practice rather than one dictated by a hospital. “The benefits to the patient are tremendous,” he says. “There are virtually no delays in patient care. Patients or caregivers can get in touch with us through the web portal or via phone. If they need a refill on medication, or if they want to schedule a same-day visit, they can do that easily. We also respond right away to patient messages. We work to deliver high patient satisfaction.”

When he’s not working, Dr. Sivaraju enjoys watching movies or dining out with his family at local restaurants.

Giangrante, Matthew, M.D.

Dr. Matthew Giangrante Builds Trust and Camaraderie with Patients

“I enjoy listening to my patients, and seeing how I can help them on a daily basis.”

Dr. Matthew Giangrante always loved science. That, and his passion for connecting with others, drove his decision to become a physician. He chose family medicine so that he had a chance to treat the full spectrum of patients and ailments.

He joined Vanguard Medical Group in 2013, a primary care practice that he says is “poised for growth without losing its focus on what’s important.” “We may be getting bigger, but quality patient care is still number one,” he says. “Patients may not even realize the depth and breadth of the practice because they still receive the kind of personalized attention that they did when we started.”

However, having access to an ever-increasing scope of services is important. Notes Dr. Giangrante, “We’re a very busy society, and when patients can get everything accomplished at one practice, from vaccines to phlebotomy, that makes it easier for them. Patients also have a level of trust when they’re getting these services done by their own doctor’s office.”

Dr. Giangrante practices the full scope of family medicine at Vanguard and has special interests in sports medicine and minor dermatologic procedures. He also has a focus on preventive care. “We handle everything from physicals to bloodwork, nutrition, weight loss strategies, vaccines for children and adults, and strategies for healthier lifestyles. When there are underlying medical issues, we help patients reduce their risk, using evidence-based research to support our recommendations.”

His easy-going, gentle nature and unique sense of humor help his patients, friends and colleagues feel comfortable around him. His patients frequently tell him that he is easy to talk to, addresses their concerns and makes them feel comfortable. Recently, Dr. Giangrante took home “New Jersey’s Favorite Kids’ Docs” honors, being listed in New Jersey Family magazine as one of the best in the business.

When he’s not working, Dr. Giangrante is an active volunteer and enjoys spending his free time with his wife and three children in his hometown of Union. He also enjoys golfing, boating and spending time at the Shore.