After months of hospital visits, CCPGM patient Barrett Grassi was ready to improve his health. 

By Christopher Sardelli

Barrett Grassi knew he needed to make a change.

After months of almost-daily emergency department visits, the 38-year-old Charlotte resident was ready to reclaim his life.

“I was getting tired of going to the ED every day for no apparent reason. I had to be admitted all the time,” Grassi said. “I was having a lot of suicidal ideation and some other related medical reasons.”

With help from his care team at CCPGM, as well as his parents Bob and Ann, Grassi began talking about his concerns instead of heading to the emergency room.

“What’s kept me out of the ED is I’m the one doing all the work. It makes me happy I’ve only had one visit in three months when I used to go every day of every month,” he said. “I can see a big improvement in not having to go to the hospital all the time. I talk to my mom or I call my team when I need help. It’s been helping me to have somebody I can talk to.”

CCPGM Emergency Department Care Manager Sharelle Hatley, a member of Grassi’s care team, said his transformation has been remarkable.

“We are proud of him. He didn’t have any emergency room visits in February and was only under observation once in March. This is a huge accomplishment because he has been trying not to utilize the emergency department, which he was doing especially for socializing purposes,” she said. “Many times he was going there just to talk to people.”

She said Grassi has been working closely with his CCPGM team to find constructive ways to avoid going to the emergency department.

“The team is very proud of him for being able to keep his visits down and for being able to seek the appropriate resources for his situation,” Hatley said. “He has a very supportive team and we are going to continue to encourage him.”

She recently asked him how he’s been so successful.

“I asked him ‘what worked? What made you want to stay out of the emergency room?’ He said he was keeping himself busy, working on crossword puzzles and anything just to keep his mind off going to the emergency room. I keep encouraging him to divert his attention from going,” she said.

That advice seems to be working. Grassi has since joined a weekly bowling league, has started teaching himself how to draw and makes a point of attending Charlotte Hornets or Knights games with his family.

“I’m happy with the improvements I have made since working my team. I’m happy because I’ve got activities I look forward to now,” Grassi said. “My team has been showing me new ways to care for myself. I listen to the radio and watch my TV. I also do relaxation therapy now and listen to relaxing CDs and calm myself down with mediation. It seems to be working.”

“I was going to the ED a lot. Now everybody is saying I’m doing so well. Sharelle said my team is very happy,” he said. “So now I’m feeling really good about myself that I don’t need to seek out negative attention.”

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