Thrive by IU Health

June 01, 2023

Caring for the heart, from the heart

Caring for the heart, from the heart

When Penny Hunsberger was in college, her grandfather’s complications from heart failure kept him from one of his favorite pastimes: golf. “He would go to the hospital, receive diuretics and then go directly to the golf course,” Hunsberger said. “I would tease him that I didn’t think that was part of his discharge instructions. He would tell me it was the only time he felt well enough to play.”

Twenty-five years later, Hunsberger is a nurse practitioner at IU Health in west central Indiana, focused on treating congestive heart failure (CHF). Her position was made possible through the philanthropic support of the Gary and Shelly Henriott Fund and the IU Health Foundation.

According to the CDC, nearly 5 million Americans are currently living with CHF. “CHF patients are high risk and vulnerable, and are often readmitted,” said Ashley Pleasant, director of philanthropy for IU Health West Central Region. “By having a position devoted to this high-risk population, we can help patients stick to the plan of care created for them.”

Hunsberger works with Crystal Davit, a fellow nurse practitioner, to ensure these patients get more time and frequent follow-ups. “We get to build relationships with our patients during this time and are truly privileged to have their trust,” Hunsberger said. “Through all these visits, you get to know patients and what matters most to them: to get to go to their grandkids’ games, work in the garden, go to Florida for vacation. It’s rewarding to see that the work we do makes a difference in their quality of life.”

Hunsberger appreciates the philanthropy that makes her work possible. “It takes a special person to see the needs of others and be willing to give their hard-earned money,” Hunsberger said. “The generosity of those donors is greatly appreciated. We are diligently working to make sure that it’s worth their investment.”

For information on how to support philanthropic initiatives at IU Health, contact the IU Health Foundation at 317.962.1777 or foundationinfo@iuhealth.org.