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Testimonials

In the various roles he has undertaken through the years, Val J. Halamandaris has been a singular driving force behind the policy and program initiatives resulting in the recognition of home health care as a viable alternative to institutionalization. His dedication to consumer advocacy, which enhances the quality of life and dignity of those receiving home health care, merits VNA HealthCare Group’s highest recognition and deepest respect. 

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VNA HealthCare Group

I have the highest respect for them, especially for the nurses, aides and therapists, who devote their lives to caring for people with disabilities, the infirm and dying Americans.  There are few more noble professions.

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President Barack Obama

Home health care agencies do such a wonderful job in this country helping people to be able to remain at home and allowing them to receive services

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U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Chair, Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee

Heath care at home…is something we need more of, not less of.  Let us make a commitment to preventive and long-term care.  Let us encourage home care as an alternative to nursing homes and give folks a little help to have their parents there.

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Former President Bill Clinton

Home care is a combination of compassion and efficiency.  It is less expensive than institutional care...but at the same time it is a more caring, human, intimate experience, and therefore it has a greater human element...it’s a big mistake not to try to maximize it and find ways to give people the home care option over either nursing homes, hospitals or other institutions

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Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich (R-GA)

Medicaid covers long-term care, but only for low-income families.  And Medicare only pays for care that is connected to a hospital discharge....our health care system must cover these vital services...[and] we should promote home-based care, which most people prefer, instead of the institutional care that we emphasize now.

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Former U.S. Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-CD)

We need incentives to...keep people in home health care settings...It’s dramatically less expensive than long term care.

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U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

 

Home care is clearly the wave of the future. It’s clearly where patients want to be cared for. I come from an ethnic family and when a member of our family is severely ill, we would never consider taking them to get institutional care. That’s true of many families for both cultural and financial reasons. If patients have a choice of where they want to be cared for, where it’s done the right way, they choose home.

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Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services

A couple of years ago, I spent a little bit of time with the National Association for Home Care & Hospice and its president, Val J. Halamandaris, and I was just blown away. What impressed me so much was that they talked about what they do as opposed to just the strategies of how to deal with Washington or Sacramento or Albany or whatever the case may be. Val is a fanatic about care, and it comes through in every way known to mankind. It comes through in the speakers he invites to their events; it comes through in all the stuff he shares.

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Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence

Val’s home care organization brings thousands of caregivers together into a dynamic organization that provides them with valuable resources and tools to be even better in their important work. He helps them build self-esteem, which leads to self-motivation.

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Mike Vance, former Dean of Disney and author of Think Out of the Box

Val is one of the greatest advocates for seniors in America. He goes beyond the call of duty every time.

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Arthur S. Flemming, former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare

Val has brought the problems, the challenges, and the opportunities out in the open for everyone to look at. He is a visionary pointing the direction for us. 

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Margaret (Peg) Cushman, Professor of Nursing and former President of the Visiting Nurses Association

Although Val has chosen to stay in the background, he deserves much of the credit for what was accomplished both at the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, where he was closely associated with me and at the House Select Committee on Aging, where he was Congressman Claude Pepper’s senior counsel and closest advisor. He put together more hearings on the subject of aging, wrote more reports, drafted more bills, and had more influence on the direction of events than anyone before him or since.

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Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Val’s most important contribution is pulling together all elements of home health care and being able to organize and energize the people involved in the industry.

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Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Anyone working on health care issues in Congress knows the name Val J. Halamandaris.

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Kathleen Gardner Cravedi, former Staff Director of the House Select Committee on Aging

Without your untiring support and active participation, the voices of people advocating meaningful and compassionate health care reform may not have been heard by national leaders.

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Michael Sullivan, Former Executive Director, Indiana Association for Home Care

All of us have been members of many organizations and NAHC is simply the best there is. NAHC aspires to excellence in every respect; its staff has been repeatedly honored as the best in Washington; the organization lives by the highest values and has demonstrated a passionate interest in the well-being of patients and providers.

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Elaine Stephens, Director of Home Care of Steward Home Care/Steward Health Systems and former NAHC C

Home care increasingly is one of the basic building blocks in the developing system of long-term care.  On both economic and recuperative bases, home health care will continue to grow as an essential service for individuals, for families and for the community as a whole.

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Former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

NCOA is excited to be part of this great event and honored to have such influential award winners in the field of aging.

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National Council of Aging

Home Care Nurses Tell Their Stories

Alabama

Richardson_AlacareI’m Amanda Richardson, and I’m a nurse at Alacare Home Health & Hospice in Birmingham, Alabama. My 60-year-old patient Ferrel Cochran has spina bifida and lives with his elderly mom. He depends on me to provide urostomy care and assist him with his gastrointestinal program. He knows he can depend on me to help him whenever his mother is sick. I regularly call to make sure he’s okay and see if there’s anything he needs. He doesn’t have to worry if he gets into a tight situation or needs help getting back into his wheelchair. He knows all he has to do is call and I’ll be there.
LA_Mr_Ellis2My name is Bonnie Young. I’m a home care nurse with LHC Group in Ashland, Alabama. My patient, Ellis Kelly, is a Korean War veteran and recipient of a Purple Heart. While in battle, he sustained extensive, lifelong muscle and vessel injury to his right arm and right side. He also has poor circulation and congestive heart failure. Our nurses monitor his blood sugar, medications, and vital signs, besides helping him with activities of daily living (ADLs). Veterans like Woodrow are proud to have sacrificed for our country. We should feel just as honored to care for them in the comfort of their homes.
Grant_Muscle_Shoals,_AL_(Williams_AL)I’m Becky Williams, a nurse at Alacare Home Health & Hospice in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. In the five years that I have provided hospice care, I have met many wonderful families, among them my patient, Mrs. Emma Grant, and her daughter Bonnie Grant. Ninety-year-old Mrs. Grant has congestive heart failure that has left her bed-bound and weak, but she remains spiritually strong. My routine visits with Mrs. Grant are a pleasure because she always has a smile on her face — even when she doesn’t feel well. Mrs. Grant’s priority is to stay at home, and we have made it possible for her to do so. Bonnie has said many times how grateful she is that Alacare Hospice came into their lives, even under these conditions. She knows her mother would have had to move into a nursing home without the care we provide.

Alaska

Jake_Malouf2I’m Jacob Malouf and I’m quality improvement clinical coordinator at Southcentral Foundation Home Based Services. I began my career as a nurse, and I still visit patients because I’ve seen what an impact I can make. As my agency’s only male nurse, I was often assigned some of the toughest patients, including Frank. He was a 50-year-old paraplegic with multiple stage 4 infected decubitus ulcers, along with drug and alcohol problems. I treated his pressure ulcers and helped get him off alcohol and drugs. It’s such a joy to help someone heal both their body and soul, as I tell all the nurses I guide in my new role today.
Yonkers_AKMy name is Julie Yonker. I am a nurse at Home Health and Volunteer Hospice Agency in Ketchikan, Alaska. My patient Christopher Basham was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer at the age of 47. The first time met him, his wife and soul mate, April, was close by his side. Chris’s cancer was spreading fast. A tumor was growing in the back of his neck, occluding his voice box, and making it hard to swallow or breath. But cancer didn’t take away Chris’s gentle smile or soft-spoken manner. He knew the cancer caused a horrible stench, but he laughed it off by saying, “Julie, mouthwash helps,” words that live on in my mind. I feel blessed that I was able to keep his pain under control, to keep him out of the hospital, and to let him die in peace with his soul mate by his side.
AlaskaMy name is Michael Schliesleder, and I’m a home care nurse with Fairbanks Memorial Hospital Home Health Care of Fairbanks, AK. My patient, Fred Meyn, is 61 years old and has been paralyzed for many years. He is bedbound and suffers from peripheral vascular disease and stage 4 pressure ulcers. He recently had to have a leg amputated and requires negative pressure wound therapy. Our nurses provide wound care, monitor his healing progress, and report any changes in his condition to his doctor. Without the compassionate care delivered by our staff, Mr. Meyn would be unable remain in the comfort of his home and would have to live out his years in a nursing home.

Arizona

Maribeth_Gallagher_and_Margaret_NanceI’m Maribeth Gallagher, and I’m a nurse at Hospice of the Valley in Phoenix, Arizona. I had the privilege to care for 98-year-old Margaret Nance, a retired nurse with end-stage dementia. Despite her cognitive problems and impaired speech, Margaret continued to teach indelible lessons well into her last days. She taught me that dementia can never silence a person’s heart and soul, though it steals their power of speech. At a time when medications could only make small improvements in her well-being, Maggie’s eyes would clearly speak of the pleasure she’d get when I recited the Lord’s Prayer, sang Amazing Grace, massaged her hands, offered her chocolate, or gave her a baby doll to hold while providing care. What an unexpected lesson to get from a fellow nurse that in this high-tech world the most fulfilling and effective care I can offer still centers around kindness and sharing of simple pleasures.
Rodriguez_Phoenix,_AZ_(Rodriguez_AZ.jpg)My name is Sonya Rodriguez, and I’m a home care nurse with Hospice of the Valley in Phoenix, Arizona. I serve mainly Hispanic patients, many of whom rely on emergency rooms as their sole source of health care. I am passionate about providing education, reassurance, and service that allows patients to stay at home. My 83-year-old patient, Victoriano Rodriguez, has end-stage cardiac disease, hypertension, and diabetes. He used to call 911 and visit the ER weekly. Since he became a Hospice of the Valley patient five months ago, he has not been to the hospital. Our interdisciplinary team keeps Victoriano’s symptoms well managed at home. “I like the treatment I receive. I like that they come to my home. I feel loved,” Victoriano said.
AZ_EdnaBonhamMy name is Corinne Rogers. I’m a home care nurse with Banner Home Care in Gilbert, Arizona. My 65-year-old patient, Edna Bonham, suffers from diabetes, hypertension, urinary incontinence, and cerebral palsy, resulting in wounds. Three years ago, severe osteoporosis led to a spontaneous fracture of her ankle and confined her to bed. Since then, we’ve provided her with wound care and catheter care. Her wounds have now healed, and she’s able to sit up in her wheelchair again. She appreciates our help and often tells us, ‘If I didn’t have these services, my life would be over.’
ArizonaMy name is Ann Despain and I am a home care supervisor/caregiver with At Home Solutions, a home care company in Mesa, Arizona. My client, John Robinson, can neither speak nor write due to complications from a stroke. When I first met John, he exhibited frustration and depression at his inability to express himself. To make communication possible for him, I created a homemade communication board by writing the alphabet and numbers 1 through 10 largely on a poster board. Now John points out the letters and numbers, and I or another caregiver or his wife spells out the words on a notepad. Helping clients like John more actively participate in their own lives is the most gratifying part of my job.  www.athomesol.com

Arkansas

Beene_Crittenden_ARMy name is Cheryl Beene, and I am a nurse with Crittenden Regional Hospital Homecare in West Memphis, Arkansas. I have held many different positions within our agency over the years, but I have always continued to see home health patients. My passion is caring for elderly people, like Jewel Burns, who suffered from chronic heart failure and rheumatoid arthritis. She lived alone with her puppy Cutie and her goal was to avoid placement in a nursing home or other institution. I helped her achieve this goal in the eight years that she was my patient. My agency provided her with physical therapy, nursing services, and education. Over time, she became very knowledgeable about her conditions, medications, and safety. At 95, she suffered a spontaneous fracture that led to her death, but her warm, independent spirit keeps her alive in my heart.
Walters_Searcy,_Arkansas_(Kiihnl_AR)My name is Amanda Kiihnl. I’m a nurse with White County Medical Center Home Health in Searcy, Arkansas. Our 71-year-old patient, Harry Walters, began receiving home care due to heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in June 2011. Through our Chronic Disease Management Training program, Mr. Walters learned how to monitor his weight, swelling, and breathing. I am proud to say that even after he was discharged from our home health program, he continued to monitor his health and called us as soon as he began having concerns about his breathing again. We were able to help him immediately, which allowed him to stay at home and prevented further hospital stays.
Cover_July_09_1I’m Wendy Clausen, a nurse at Baptist Health Home Health Network in Little Rock, Arkansas. Latanya Alexander has been a patient of ours since July 2008 with congestive heart failure, and she is awaiting a heart transplant. A ‘Heart Mate’ device helps her heart pump blood, and Latanya can be at home and can get around fine, whereas before she would have had to have been hospitalized. Her prognosis is good, and so is her quality of life.
ArkansasI’m Pat Creasy, a home health aide with St. Vincent HomeCare in Little Rock, Arkansas. When Edward Bowen found himself in need of private duty services, he remembered the care his wife Marjorie had received from our agency and asked specifically for me and Lois Hunter, another of our home health aides. Edward and Marjorie’s was a love story; he wanted only the best for her. Marjorie developed Parkinson’s and needed someone to help care for her at home. Lois used to say how Marjorie was such a sweet lady and that she loved to dance — and she did, as long as she could. Our agency cared for Marjorie for many years, and Lois was with her on the morning she passed away. Today, Edward is 93 years young and has me and Lois as his home health aides. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we are employees of St. Vincent and not family.  www.vnaarkansas.org

California

PhotoCAI’m Daisy Briseno and I’m a nurse at Rescare Home Care in San Leandro, California. My 59-year-old patient Robert Myers has a developmental delay and functions as an eight- to ten-year old. He is obese with hypertension, diabetes, glaucoma, cellulitis, and a pacemaker. He used to call 911 several times per week when he felt anxious or short of breath. My challenge was to keep him out of the emergency room, and I tried several techniques. I finally succeeded by turning self-monitoring into a game and giving Robert a pocket calendar that included his doctor’s appointments and med list. That calendar became his pride and joy, so much so that he finally took his own meds, checked his blood pressure, monitored his blood sugar, and usually called me when he had concerns. In the past five months, he has only called 911 four times, so outcome achieved!
Twigg_Emeryville,_California_(ROZARIO_CA)I’m Emily Rozario, a nurse at Sutter Care at Home in Emeryville, California. My 85-year-old patient, Sara Twigg, is a retired schoolteacher with hypertension and anemia. She was recovering from an arterial valve replacement with help from her Jack Russell terrier who liked to get into the health care act. This little terrier was a true companion and always wanted to be there when I took Sara’s blood pressure. It was very cute and Sara was a great patient. She also had a great recovery because of our trend-setting new model for care. Integrated chronic care management, or ICCM, focuses on each patient’s unique needs and goals. Doing everything right, focusing on patients’ needs, and keeping them out of the hospital. That’s just what we do at Sutter Care at Home.
Denise_BuchholzEngaging patients with chronic diseases can be a challenge. Many believe they lack control over their care, as Denise Buchholz has seen. So the physical therapist from Sutter VNA & Hospice (www.suttervnaandhospice.org/services/) in Emmeryville, California, uses evidence-based methods to empower every patient. After providing exercise instruction, for example, she may ask patients to design their own exercise program and teach it to her when she returns. This strategy worked with Ruth, a patient who had been disengaged from her care. She was all charged up when she recently met Denise at the door and showed her a spiral notebook, where she had created an exercise program of her own. Since then, Ruth has constantly challenged herself to do more with Denise’s support. “Conveying a belief in my patients’ abilities lets them know how much I value them,” Denise said. “This preserves their dignity and self-respect.”
California_NEWI’m Chris Felix, a nurse at California Home Care & Hospice in Merced, CA. My patient, Victoria Sisneros, has congestive heart failure, acute lumbar pain, diabetes, hypertension, kidney failure, and cellulitis. She was admitted to home health after spending nearly a month in the hospital. Upon our first visit, we found her very weak and hyperglycemic and discovered that her diabetic medications had been stopped while in the hospital. We contacted her physician and resolved that major issue, and after receiving care and education regarding her diseases and prescribed medications, Mrs. Sisneros is growing stronger and is ambulating with assistance. Her greatest wish is to stay in the comfort of her own home, where her good friend and hairdresser can come to make her beautiful!
California1Hi, my name is Naedine Austin, and I am a home care aide with At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California. My client, Marie Maple, needed help after a stroke to move around safely and manage her daily activities. Since she came home from the hospital, I do things Marie would do for herself if she were still able. I help with medication reminders, personal care, and cooking. Every time I give Marie a shower, she says, “I feel like a million bucks!” I was my mother’s caregiver for six years, and I treat all my clients like they are my mom. Marie is like family to me.

Colorado

Judi__PershingMy name is Judi DeVore, and I’m a nurse at Home Care of the Valley in Grand Junction, Colorado. My patient Q. Pershing DeVore is 94 years old and has high blood pressure. He’s one of the many patients I’ve seen in my 38-year career in nursing. I have worked across the continuum of care, and I finally settled in home care after working in hospitals and hospice. I find home care so satisfying because it presents the challenge of meeting patients in their homes and making an impact on their lives. The most gratifying part of my job is helping my patients learn to deal with a chronic disease or recover from a recent illness in the place where they feel most comfortable and safe.
CO_PhotoI’m Wendy Schimek, a nurse at Home Care of the Grand Valley in Grand Junction, Colorado. My patient, Jan, has a history of Parkinson’s and chronic pain. She’s also wheelchair bound, has a neurogenic bladder, and needs a suprapubic catheter. Last year, she fractured her hip and watched her husband fight cancer. They stayed in the same room while she was in rehab and he died a month before she was discharged. I saw her the day after she came home, worried about living alone. Since then I’ve eased her concerns by working with her doctor, along with a physical therapist and social worker. Jan has not returned to the hospital and she enjoys her independence with Wishbone, her little dog. These days, I see Jan every three weeks to change her catheter. And I look forward to these visits because Jan is both my patient and my friend.
CO_Sarah_Andrews___Lena_CostanzoI’m Sarah Andrews, a home health care nurse with Mountain Home Health in Gunnison, Colorado.  One of the patients we serve is 106-year-old Lena Costanza.  Lena is diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and also suffers from acute episodes of congestive heart failure.  We manage her medications. Our care allows Lena to remain in her home with her loved ones. We also have provided her with physical therapy when that was ordered by a physician. Without Mountain Home Health, Lena would be institutionalized at a facility that costs up to $1,500 a day.  Home health instills happiness and independence in patients like Lena.
ColoradoHi, my name is Tonya, and I am a caregiver with All the Comfort of Home, Inc. in Denver, Colorado. Barbara, my client, is a wonderful lady who suffers from the effects of aging and diabetes. Her husband Peter has serious back pain that limits what he can do for his wife. I help Barbara with her activities of daily living, walking, and transferring. I also prepare nutritious meals to help manage her diabetes. I love doing Barbara’s hair and getting her ready for family gatherings. She loves watching her grandkids play until they get too noisy! By having some help at home, she can live comfortably with her husband, children, and grandchildren nearby. What I love the most about being a caregiver is the enjoyment I feel helping others.

Connecticut

SapiaConnecticutMy name is Cherie Sapia and I’m a nurse at Visiting Nurse Services of Connecticut in Bridgeport. My 95-year-old patient Joseph Ruwet has arteriosclerosis, peripheral vascular disease, and foot ulcers. I care for him based on my agency’s HEART values: humor, excellence, attitude, respect, and teamwork. I also strive to act on these values as I relate to my colleagues and peers in home health, along with my patients and their family members. I knew I had achieved my goal when Mr. Ruwet expressed praise for the care he had received. “I thought I’d never heal,” he said, “but Cherie did what she had to do, and it worked. She had to return many times over the past 10 years, and we like her so much that many members of my family have become her patients. She really has become part of our family.”
Mordecai_New_Haven,_CT_(Norton_CT)My name is Elizabeth Norton. I’m a nurse with TotalCare Homecare & Nursing Services in New Haven, Connecticut. My 63-year-old patient, Mr. Paul Mordecai, has a history of lymphedema, leading to chronic leg ulcers that require complicated wound care. The complexity of his condition and limited mobility also put Mr. Mordecai at risk for developing pressure ulcers on other areas of his body. In response, we have developed a treatment plan that involves wound care and patient education, along with management of mobility and pain. Now Mr. Mordecai’s wounds are healing, and he has not developed more complications. Best of all, he has been able to stay in the comfort of his home while getting the treatment that he needs. “I would have to live in a nursing facility,” he says, “if it were not for my home care nurse.”
Donna_CasablancaDonna Casablanca is a physical therapist at Constellation Home Care in Norwalk, Connecticut. She began working with 95-year-old Assunta “Sue” Panza when Assunta was admitted to the Constellation Cardiac Recovery Program. Assunta’s primary diagnosis was congestive heart failure. She was also subject to secondary conditions and multiple falls, leading to further health declines and putting her in a wheelchair. Donna’s primary goal was to educate Assunta about her condition and the signs of exacerbation. Donna also worked with her on strengthening exercises, and she taught Assunta’s family about wheelchair mobility and proper transfer techniques. This collaborative approach, along with physical therapy, improved Assunta’s health, Donna learned in a recent phone call to her patient. “I feel great,” Assunta said. “I’m so happy to be on my feet again.” In fact, she was going to a casino the very next day!
Laura_LeifertPhysical Therapist Laura Leifert received a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in 2010, after practicing for 20 years. She has been employed by VNA Northwest, Inc. of Bantam, Connecticut, for 19 years. For the past five of them, she has provided therapy to Barbara Arnold of Canaan. Barbara has limited mobility in her head and neck area due to scar tissue left by radical neck dissection surgery. She currently receives periodic Botox injections, and Laura regularly performs manual therapy on her neck. Barbara says the therapy helps allow her a greater range of movement. In this photo, Laura manipulates one of Barbara’s fingers, which has been causing her some pain. Barbara looks forward to Laura’s visits, and the two enjoy some lighthearted chats and laughs during their time together.
_MB17725I’m Betty Shaake, a nurse at Connecticut VNS in Southbury, CT. Our 93-year- old patient, Margaret Carlquist, suffers from multiple chronic illnesses which in part are the residual effects of a heart attack in December of 2008. Margaret suffers from Diverticulitis of the colon, hypertension, arthritis, coronary heart disease, spinal stenosis, aortic stenosis, and heart failure. We also saw her through an angioplasty and gastrointestinal surgery. With our help, Margaret has recovered from her surgeries and continues to receive care at home. She’s not just surviving; she’s thriving in her home.
Brad_Panico“I need to know ‘why’ and Brad was able to help me understand the physiology of the situation,” said Peter Firla, physical therapy client of the Visiting Nurse Association of South Central Connecticut (VNA/SCC), which is located in New Haven (www.vnascc.org). Firla was discharged to home just three days after having a left knee replacement. “Just five years ago, almost everyone went to a rehabilitation facility,” physical therapist Brad Panico recalled. “As a home care physical therapist, I am able to provide not only a plan of care for physical therapy but I’m also able to perform other aspects of therapy.” During Brad’s visits with Peter, he has checked his PT/INR, removed staples from the surgical site, provided wound care, communicated directly with the doctor’s office, and provided education and teaching, in addition to establishing a written and illustrated home exercise program and providing mobility training.
Simone_Savage-RourkPhysical therapist Simone Savage-Rourk developed a close bond with Paul Borzanski and his wife, Helen, during the seven months she spent providing therapy to Paul. She also arranged for a new customized wheelchair for Paul, who has only partial use of his legs and cannot stand. The chair has improved life for both Paul and Helen, his primary caregiver. The chair’s advanced features allow Helen to transfer Paul from his bed on weekends, when caregivers don’t come to the home. And Paul is happier now that he can move from room to room, instead of being confined to the bedroom. Simone has been a full-time employee of VNA Northwest, Inc. of Bantam, Connecticut, since 2009. In this photo, taken in the Borzanskis’ kitchen, Simone guides Paul in his upper-body exercises.
Visiting_Angels_photoHi, my name is Lisa Ecchervaria, and I am home care aide with Visiting Angels in Brookfield, Connecticut. I have been with my client, Eleanor Landwehr, for over a year. She is the proud mother of five sons, two of whom are firefighters, following in the footsteps of their father who was also a veteran of the U.S. Army. Eleanor has Parkinson’s disease and suffered a stroke three years ago. Though her mobility is somewhat limited, she is very active. We enjoy attending Visiting Angels’ annual luncheons and twice weekly social programs. We also enjoy shopping together, getting manicures and pedicures, and having our hair styled. Along with these activities, I assist her with all of her activities of daily living (ADLs) and physical therapy exercises. In the time that I have been with her, she has become a very special part of my life.

Delaware

Melinda_Hughes_LPN_DPSMy name is Melinda Hughes, and I’m a nurse with BAYADA Home Health Care in Milford, Delaware. My two-year-old patient Jude has a tracheostomy and requires ventilator nursing care. I know he depends on me, so I make it a point to be as reliable as I can. I have only missed four shifts in the past four years because I’m very serious about my job and my commitments to my clients. I am primarily a night-shift nurse, and I want families to know that I will be there to take excellent care of their children when they sleep. Knowing that my patients are okay helps me sleep better, too.
DE_029My name is Nikki Carter, and I’m a nurse at Addus HealthCare in Wilmington, Delaware. During the five years I’ve worked there, I’ve tried to do whatever I could to help patients. And it’s what I’ve tried to do for my 88-year-old patient Mr. Homer Jennings. He has CHF, weakness, and unsteady gait, so I started him on our CHF program, which consists of daily weights, monitoring for edema, and medication education. Mr. Jennings looks forward to his visits from me and enjoys the conversations we have about his medications and how they work. He is learning quickly and has been able to stay out of the hospital and in his home where he wants to be.
DelawareMy name is Amber Palo, and I’m a nurse with Christiana Care Visiting Nurse Association in Wilmington, DE. My patient, six-year-old Beau Smith, was born with multiple complex medical conditions and several physical genetic anomalies. Reactive airway disease requires Beau to have regular respiratory treatments to prevent his lungs from closing, and insulin-dependent diabetes requires frequent blood sugar monitoring. He also receives continuous nutrition through a feeding pump. Our nurses administer Beau’s medication, respiratory treatments, tube feeding, and insulin care and accompany him at school and in therapy. Our care helps relieve some of his parents’ caregiver stress, and Beau is growing, gaining weight, and making developmental and cognitive gains. It’s empowering to see how happy and full of life Beau is, despite his medical problems.

District of Columbia

DCMy name is Addie Ogundipe and I am a nurse with Professional Healthcare Resources, Inc. in Washington, DC. My 89-year-old patient, Mr. Ernest Blakemore, was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease, diabetes mellitus, and hyperkalemia (elevated potassium levels in the blood), which can cause heart arrhythmia. We have been providing skilled nursing care to Mr. Blakemore and have been monitoring his condition closely. By teaching him disease process and management as well as instructing him on the proper diet regime and on his medications, Mr. Balkemore is managing his conditions better and is able to remain in the comfort of his own home.

Florida

Sprain_FLI’m Corinne Sprain, a nurse with Senior Home Care in Clearwater, Florida. My patient Elizabeth Young had a chronic wound that would not heal, as she learned from her physician. When Elizabeth told me this news she was very upset, but I urged her not to give up hope. As I continued to care for the wound, she began saying, “I believe it will heal because you are doing the wound care and your love will heal it.” They were words that gave me an idea, based on an experiment by a Japanese researcher who claimed consciousness affects health. So I began writing positive words, or love notes, on her dressings. In a few months Elizabeth’s wound was completely healed though there had been no other change in her care. It seems that positive thinking works wonders and words that come from the heart build people up.
Petersen_amelia_island,_fl_(verrier_FL)I’m Tracey Verrier, director of professional services for Live Long Well Care at Osprey Village, a senior living community on Amelia Island, Florida. Eighty-seven-year-old Pete Petersen is one of our favorites. He is an avid reader who has travelled the world and kept his dry sense of humor despite a long list of diagnoses: CAD, PVD, HTN, COPD, and spinal stenosis. As much as Pete tries to convince us otherwise, he takes our recommendations seriously (after he “thinks” about it). At one point, Pete decided he didn’t need to take his Plavix anymore because he had found a natural supplement on-line that would cure all his ills. Safe to say, after some education, he is now back on his Plavix ... Score one for the nurses!! Because of the home care we provide, Pete continues to enjoy his life at home where he spends much of his time entertaining us!
Florida_2My name is Rita Miranda, RN and I’m a home care nurse with United HomeCare Services in Miami, FL. It was my pleasure to take care of J. B. Spence of Coral Gables, FL when his doctor prescribed at-home attention for his fragile medical condition. He was such a joy to help and I learned so much from my time with him. Judge Spence, a World War II veteran, served for over 50 years as a trial attorney and was recognized for his great work both in the courtroom and in the community. It was my honor to help a veteran and of one Miami’s prominent lawyers in the comfort of his home when he needed it the most.
Live_Long_WellCare_photo1My name is Jaime Cooke and I am a home care nurse with Live Long WellCare in Amelia Island, Florida. My patients, Ed and Eleanor Doda, have no family and both have declining health. Ms. Doda is bedbound on hospice and requires tube feedings three times a day, assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), and medication management. Mr. Doda has Lewy Body Disease and requires medication management, assistance with ADLs, and assistance with errands. Our nurses and certified nursing assistants make it possible for them to stay together in the comfort of their own home for the remainder of their days. The Dodas had this to say about our home care team: “You have become like an extended family; we don’t know what we would do without you.” 

Georgia

NEWbetsy_kane_collins_patientMy name is Elizabeth Kane, and I’m a nurse with THA Group Island Hospice in Savannah, Georgia. My 72-year-old patient Homer Collins had end-stage cardiac and renal disease. When he wound up in the hospital, he missed his dog Max. The two were very close, so I tried to think outside the box and pulled every string I could to get Max in for a visit. I made phone calls, I chased down the people in charge, and I cut through all the red tape. Finally Max was able to come into Homer’s hospital room and stay with him a while. Having his dog by his side made Homer feel loved and helped him through this difficult time. By the time Max left, Homer was calm enough to say goodbye.
Donna_and_meMy name is Vicki Beatty, and I’m a nurse at St. Joseph Hospice in Augusta, Georgia. Every nurse has a special patient who they’ll never forget. Mine was Pam. I met Pam just minutes after she learned that her cancer was terminal. To complicate matters, Pam lived alone and had no family available to help her through the traumatic times ahead. Colleen, her close friend, was with Pam when I arrived to talk about hospice and the three of us bonded right away.  Although Colleen had her own family and home, she moved in with Pam — and I promised to be there for them both.  Pam remained an upbeat person until the end, and her friend’s have honored her by putting together a Relay for Life team called “Pam’s Posse.” I will be there walking with them, remembering “our friend” who touched all our lives in such a positive way.
GeorgiaMy name is Donna Merritt. I’m a home care nurse with Amedisys in Atlanta, Georgia. My patient, Ms. Maddie, is a 77-year-old grandmother of four, a beloved wife of 61 years, and a victim of terminal colorectal cancer. She is being fed intravenously, and her prognosis is poor. Fortunately, home care has let her spend her final days at home surrounded by the family she loves. She’s one of the many extraordinary seniors I’ve taken care of during my 20-year career in nursing. Like Ms. Maddie, they prefer to receive their medical care at home.
Georgia1Hi, I’m Elyse McCool, care manager at Atlanta Home Care Partners, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. My art and music education spurred me to begin giving painting classes, performing live music (as seen in the photo of our client, Marion, and me), drawing portraits, and conducting other activities as part of our Art and Music Enrichment Program. We track and encourage caregivers’ efforts in utilizing their passions and strengths to enhance the satisfaction of clients. Among other things we’ve seen boosted self-confidence, recovery of long lost memories, a prolonged sense of well-being, and regaining of abilities to walk and even dance! This program has improved our hiring, training, and client-caregiver matching. We feel we’re now more thorough, attuned to clients’ unique needs, and able to bring more to the elderly than they thought possible!

Hawaii

HICheryl_GrayI’m Cheryl Gray, and I’m a nurse at St. Francis Healthcare System in Honolulu, Hawaii. My 72-year-old patient Merko Route has coronary artery disease and has had coronary artery bypass grafting. She also has hypertension, osteoarthritis, and bilateral venous thrombosis in her lower legs. When I visited Mrs. Route for the first time she was tachy and dyspneic, but she declined my recommendation to go to the ER. As the matriarch of her family, she’s not used to being told what to do. But I informed her I would call 911; then we would discuss it! And later she saw my point. Upon her return home, Mrs. Route realized that I had probably saved her life. She’s now grateful for my help and she knows what symptoms she needs to report so she can stay safely in her home.
Swanson_HIMy name is Sharon Swanson. I’m a home care nurse with CareResource Hawaii in Kailua-Kona. My patient Emmanuel “Manny” Delacruz is eight years old and was born at 26 weeks with congenital anomalies, epilepsy, and developmental delays. But with the help of our nurses, Manny has overcome physical and developmental obstacles. When he was two years old he was unable to hold his head up; now he is learning to crawl. Our nurses follow treatment plans set by his PT, OT, and speech therapists, as well as administer medications, respiratory treatments, and tube feedings at home and school. Our care provides respite for his mother and grandmother, and it allows him to safely attend second grade. What brings a smile to Manny’s face is being able to interact with his classmates, and with support from our nursing staff he is able to do just that.
HawaiiMy name is Cindy Kawasaki, and I’m a nurse volunteering with Prime Care Services Hawaii. One of our patients, Mrs. Rowena Keaka, is diabetic and had to have the toes on her left foot amputated. I helped her through her healing afterward and instructed her on diabetes care, and she was glad to be at home. Mrs. Keaka looked forward to her nursing visits and learned how to manage her diabetes and diabetic foot care, which prevented any infection from setting in on her foot. A physical therapist also assisted Mrs. Keaka with exercises and techniques to ambulate and transfer safely. Home health care helped her avoid a prolonged and costly hospital stay, and it made her happy.

Idaho

Photo2My name is Mary Clarke, and I’m a nurse at Panhandle Health District’s Home Health Division in Hayden, Idaho. I provide education and care to Millie Francis, who overcame celiac disease, COPD, breast cancer twice, and recently underwent a Whipple procedure to defeat duodenal cancer. Millie is a tiny lady who weighs just 98 pounds. Yet she is strongly determined to beat the odds, presenting me with a number of challenges and rewards as I strive to improve her life. I educate her about her condition so she knows what to report to keep her out of the hospital and in her home. I coordinate with her physicians and her family so she feels safe. And I ask myself every day what else I can do to improve her life.
SDC11248I’m Stacy Thesan, and I’m a nurse with Progressive Nursing Services in Boise, Idaho. I have provided little Peter with ventilator, tracheostomy, and G-tube care since 2009. His mom eagerly participates in her toddler’s care, but she has other children to care for so she’s glad I’m there to help. “Having nursing care at home,” she says, “has kept Peter out of the hospital and reduced acute-care re-hospitalizations.” It also allows Peter to be with his brother and sister, who love him very much. Now that he no longer needs a tracheostomy or ventilator, I supervise his care to ensure his developmental progress and health. When I think of how far Peter has come, I reminded of the reasons why I find my job to be so rewarding.
IdahoMy name is Shawna Fuller, and I’m a home health nurse with Idaho Home Health and Hospice, LHC Group in Twin Falls, ID. My patient, Dorothy Fetzer, has chronic lymphocytic leukemia with a history of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolus, and a post-diverticulitis colostomy. She also has osteoarthritis, with a knee that’s so affected that the pain limits her mobility. Our nurses monitor her cardiopulmonary status, pain control, nutrition and fluid intake, and medication compliance and also assist with colostomy care. Without home health care, Dorothy would not be able to stay in her home. She appreciates home health for allowing her to do that while maintaining her safety.
IdahoHello, my name is Sherman Newman. I’m a live-in caregiver with Assisting Angels Home Care based in Boise, Idaho. My client, Bob Newgen is 86 years old and resides nearby in Malheur County, Oregon. He’s visually impaired and his mobility is extremely limited. Bob is also prone to depression, so in addition to his physical needs, I strive to help him maintain his emotional health. Social interaction is a key component of his activities of daily living, so I devote much time to conversation. Bob enjoys sharing stories about his life and I enjoy listening and learning. He also enjoys day trips on the road; so far we have visited 86 of 101 historical sites listed in a book about Historic Malheur County. The travel presents additional opportunities for interaction conducive to Bob’s emotional well-being. 

Illinois

DAVID_TAYLOR_IL2My name is David Taylor and I’m a nurse at the Visiting Nurses Association of the Rockford Area in Rockford, Illinois. I started working on an as-needed basis and moved into the role of telehealth disease management nurse one year ago. In this role, I oversee home monitoring for patients with many diseases, especially those with congestive heart failure. One goal of the program is decrease hospital readmission rates. Another and more important goal is to educate patients about their disease and get them to take more ownership of their care. There are many patients whose lives I’ve touched and I feel great when a patient answers the phone and says, “Hi, David, I knew you were going to call.” These words tell me they know there’s a problem they need to address. I look forward to helping more patients take charge of their health as telehealth continues to grow.
Burke_Rockford,_Illinois_(Molly_Hospice_Caring)My name is Molly Bakulski and I am a hospice nurse. For the past three years, I have been part of the hospice team at the Visiting Nurses Association of Rockford, Illinois. I became a nurse because I wanted to make a difference in my community and be inspired by the patients I serve. I feel that I’m reaching this goal when I care for Leona Burke, who is 87 years old and suffers from malignant sacrum cancer. Hospice has empowered Leona to remain in the comforts of her own home and stay as independent as possible during her struggles with illness. When she feels well enough, Leona enjoys baking and having company. Both Leona and I believe our nurse-patient relationship to be a gift. I am proud to be a hospice nurse and plan on continuing my career in this field for many years to come.
Inna_Cho_RN_and_patient_1_(2)My name is Inna Cho. I’m a home care nurse at Lake Forest Hospital Home Health Care in Gurnee, Illinois. My patient, Corinne Whitely, had peritonitis after her colon bled into her abdominal cavity. She lives alone and needed home care after a post-surgical evisceration. Our nurses provide Corinne with wound care and monitor her closely for another infection. With our continued assistance, Inna soon will be able to leave home and resume her lifetime work as a registered nurse in the VA system.
Open_Arms_photo1My name is Walter and I am a live-in caregiver for Open Arms Solutions in Northbrook, Illinois. Currently I am working with a couple — the husband is legally blind and the wife previously had balance difficulties. Over time, both have made tremendous progress. I implemented a daily exercise regimen and the wife can now ambulate without any assistive devices. The husband’s ambulation was restricted by his blindness, so I rearranged the furniture in their home to allow him to feel his way around using walls and the sides of furniture to navigate. I realized that he can differentiate shades of daylight, so using windows and mirrors I created a “trail” throughout the house to help him move freely. Despite their challenges, they can enjoy some independence and remain in the comfort of their home.

Indiana

INMy name is Anne Marie Labenburg. I’m a nurse and the owner of Home Healthcare Associates in Marion, Indiana. My goal is to provide client-centered care, based on the needs of private pay clients and their families. As a business owner, I ensure compliance with state laws and regulations, directly supervise 36 home health aides and four RNs, deliver training, and much more. In my role as a nurse, I serve as a patient advocate, develop care plans, and do all the supervisory visits. Some of them are to Gloria Jeppson, a 90-year-old patient with neurogenic bladder and chronic UTIs. Due to her complex conditions, Gloria’s health varies from day to day. Her children live outside the state, so they rely on me for advice on Gloria’s care. I enjoy our time together because she always smiles and says, “Thank God you’re here.”
RobinHang-Photo-IndianaI’m Robin Heng, a nurse at Visiting Nurse Association of the Wabash Valley in Terre Haute, Indiana. Mrs. Ellington is a senior with congestive heart failure who came to us following six hospitalizations in nine months. She is at high risk for re-hospitalization, so we provided her with a HomMed monitor and assured her that we would act quickly on any change in her medical status. In the last 18 months, our agency has had 52 encounters with Mrs. Ellington in regard to her monitor readings. We have contacted her when her medical status declined and changed her medication. We have also congratulated her when her vitals are on track, and she feels safe knowing we are always there. “My anxiety is almost gone,” she says, “due to the fact that I know someone is watching. It’s just like having a nurse in my home.”
IndianaMy name is Judi Taylor, and I’m a home health care nurse with Hoosier Uplands Home Health Care and Hospice in Mitchell, IN. My patient, Mary Rachel Edwards, is able to remain living at home even after 90 years old. She has a pacemaker and suffers from hypertension, osteoarthritis, and a frozen right shoulder. Rachel devoted her life to caring for the young as a full-time babysitter, and now it’s her turn to receive care. Our nurses and home health aides help Rachel monitor her vital signs and medications and assist with activities of daily living. She is very happy to be at home; we’re happy to help her stay right where she wants to be.
IndianaMy name is Barbara Lanouette, and I am an attendant with Alliance Home Health Care in Indianapolis, Indiana. My client, Charles Thorp, is blind and has rheumatoid arthritis, for which he uses a cane. I assist Charles with activities of daily living and home care duties to help him function independently at home. We caregivers at Alliance Home Health Care develop trusting relationships with our clients, and Charles is no different. Charles was my very first client; I have worked with him for 13 years now, and we have become quite attached. I proudly represent Alliance Home Health Care with the goal of positively impacting my clients, but clients like Charles are making an impact on my life, too. He is more than a client to me — he is a friend.

Iowa

Romanco_Saint_Jude_Hospice_(Gasper)2My name is Mary Jo Romanco, and I’m a nurse with Saint Jude Hospice in Des Moines, Iowa. Saint Jude has a Goals of Care program in which I educate patients and their caregivers on their life-limiting conditions and help them define their goals. The program was a big help for 86-year-old Gaspar Anania and his daughter Lucia. Gaspar has dementia, along with atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes, so Lucia is his surrogate decision maker when it comes to health care. She felt challenged in making decisions for her dad based solely on his physical condition because she realized that it was equally important to respect his deep Catholic faith. Based on her wishes, we took a very holistic look at Gaspar’s needs to develop a care plan that included nutrition, hydration, and physical care that comforted his body, along with sacraments and prayers to comfort his soul.
May-JaneanI’m Janean Powell, a nurse with Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa in Des Moines. My 80-year-old patient May has arthritis and hypertension, but she doesn’t want to move out of the house where she has lived for 40 years. I help her remain there by monitoring her prescriptions and keeping her in contact with her physicians, work that I enjoy far more than caring for patients in institutions. Patients are more relaxed and more comfortable during home care visits, and you’re actually able to learn more about them when they are in their home setting. You also have the chance to grow close to them, the way I have with May. I felt so good when I heard her say, “Janean is special in my life. I can depend on her. She’s not only a nurse, she’s like a friend.”
IowaMy name is Debra Nafziger, and I’m a registered nurse case management coordinator with Advanced Home Health Care, LTD, of Burlington, IA. One of our patients, Jayden, was born prematurely at 35 weeks gestation with numerous complex disorders and remains totally dependent on others for her care. Our nurses have provided her daily care that includes monitoring neurological and gastrointestinal status, administering medications, and gastric tube feedings. Over the past 5 1/2 years, we have drastically reduced the number of hospitalizations and emergency room visits Jayden requires and, most importantly, she has been able to stay at home with her family, surrounded by their love.

Kansas

Hayes_KSMy name is Ginger Hayes and I’m a nurse at Douglas County Visiting Nurse Association in Lawrence, Kansas. My 81-year-old patient Shirley Shockley had chronic heart failure, osteoporosis, and lumbago, which limited her mobility. I provided her with bi-weekly monitoring, and we quickly established a strong relationship. As Shirley’s health declined over the years, I intervened to prevent her from having to go back to the hospital. And despite some bumps in the road, she was able to remain in her home until the last few months of her life. At that time, I shifted to my agency’s hospice program. The change let me close the loop and take care of Shirley until the very end.
Young_Topeka,_Kansas_(Bailey_KS)I’m Vicki Bailey, a nurse case manager for Caregivers Home Health in Topeka, Kansas. Our patient, Steve Young, is a retired special education teacher of 30+ years. A worsening of his spinal stenosis left him unable to walk, and aggravated his COPD, CHF, and neurogenic bladder. Steve and his wife Marilyn credit Caregivers Home Health with making it possible to go home. Our services include ongoing catheter management, monitoring of vitals, bath aide visits, and medical supplies. “This really would have been impossible for us to manage by ourselves,” says Steve. “Just knowing we have someone to call who can help with a catheter problem at any hour makes it possible. They’ve been a real support system with my doctor’s office and have caught several issues that were really important.” Steve is now almost as big a fan of Caregivers Home Health as he is of college football — and that’s BIG!
KS_patti_pope_and_joan_baker_(2)My name is Patti Pope. I’m a home care nurse with Douglas County Visiting Nurses in Lawrence, Kansas. My patient, Joan Baker, is a diabetic with serious skin issues, including ulcers. I would see her several times a week to set up insulin syringes and perform assessments. Afterward, I told her physician about any changes so he could adjust her plan of care. Joan also relied on me for advice, and would often call me about her concerns. The care we gave Joan kept her out of the hospital and in her home much longer than anyone had expected.
VNA_photoHi, my name is Amy Arnold and I am a certified nurse’s aide with Douglas County Visiting Nurses’ Private Duty Plus program. My client, Shirley, is a retired realtor who grew up in Chicago and now lives in Lawrence, Kansas where our agency is based. Shirley is confined to a wheelchair after suffering a heart attack on Mother’s Day in 2010 and a stroke the following week. I help her with dressing, bathing, meal assistance, and whatever else she needs. One thing Shirley particularly likes doing is going to IHOP for breakfast with her husband of 53 years, Jerry. I go along to help her get in and out of the vehicle and use public restrooms when necessary. Shirley is very happy to be out in the community and says, “I love Amy,” which makes me blush.   www.kansasvna.org

Kentucky

Robin-McPeek_3I’m Robin McPeek, and I’m clinical director of Home Care Health Services in Petersburg, Kentucky. I also work in conjunction with Appalachian Hospice, not far from the coalfields of eastern Kentucky where I was born. And I have stayed close to my roots to help vulnerable patients who need my care. My career began at Pikesville Medical Center Hospital, but it was interrupted when my mother became terminally ill. She received home care before she died, and afterward I decided to leave the hospital and give home care a try. That was 22 years ago and I’ve never regretted making the switch.
D._CoatesI’m Crystal Fields, and I’m a nurse at ResCare HomeCare in Louisville, Kentucky. My patient, Dell Coates, is a Vietnam vet who was living in a homeless shelter and battling an infected wound on his right hip. After spending months caring for Mr. Coates, I developed a relationship with him and came to understand how he had ended up sick and homeless. So I worked with our medical social worker to help him reclaim his life. Mr. Coates is now on the road to recovery and living in an apartment that he calls home. It’s what he deserves as someone who has served our country, but it’s still nice to hear him express his thanks for what we have done. “I don’t know what I would have done without my home care nurse,” he says. “She was there and did more for me than I ever could have imagined.”
Gretchen_RoentzGretchen Roentz is an occupational therapist with Caretenders Home Health in Lexington, Kentucky. Her client, Sally Drymon, had lived independently in her own home until she sustained a fall that resulted in loss of the ability to ambulate, loss of vision, and significant loss in the use of her upper extremities. Following discharge from a skilled nursing facility, she went to live in an assisted living facility, where she was referred to Caretenders. Her home health treatment plan has included nursing for medication management, physical therapy for ambulation, and balance training, along with occupational therapy for low vision compensatory techniques, ADL training, and energy conservation. Altogether, “it’s given me a new life,” Sally Drymon said. “The therapists have taught me how to accept, adapt, and appreciate this new stage of life.”
KY_Tarter-Eldridge_Our names are Amber Tarter, Marcia Eldridge, and Becky Hamm.  We provide visiting nurse and home health aide services through Lifeline Home Health of Somerset, KY.  Our homebound patient, Iva Goff, is able to remain in the comfort of her own home through the support of our qualified clinicians who coordinate the delivery of in-home services with her physician. Her diagnoses are end stage COPD with oxygen dependence, congestive heart failure, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and diabetes.  Lifeline nurses conduct comprehensive physician assessments to ensure proper cardiac and respiratory functioning, as well as lab services to monitor Iva’s blood.  Iva also receives case management, personal care, and homemaker and social services through our home and community-based waiver program. In addition to clinical services, our nurses have also successfully educated Iva about her chronic health conditions, which helps her to participate in her health care and gives her a comforting sense of independence.
KentuckyMy name is Charlene McFall. For many years, I worked as a nursing home aide. During my career, it came to a point that I could not physically keep up with the pace, but I missed caring for the elderly. Working for Caring People Services in Paducah, Kentucky, I can do that again. My client, Mr. Thee, is my favorite. He is 98 years old, and it has become increasingly difficult for him to complete daily household tasks. Every day when I arrive at Mr. Thee’s home, I am greeted with him saying, “I am so glad you are here!” Mr. Thee naps while I tidy up and help maintain his home, and he loves to turn trips to the doctor into “lunch dates.” I know Mr. Thee wants to stay in his own home and I love being able to help him do just that.

Louisiana

HebertLAI’m Kenny Hebert, and I’m a nurse at Jeff Davis Home Health in Jennings, Louisiana. In my 15 years with the agency, I’ve had the privilege to care for many wonderful patients, among them 85-year-old Eva Daigle. Ms. Daigle has chronic heart failure, osteoarthritis, and diabetes. She is oxygen dependent and lives alone, but I do my best to make sure she isn’t lonely. I spend many hours after work and on weekends helping her out by going grocery shopping, running errands she can’t do herself, or just taking time for a cup of coffee and a social visit. Like many of my patients, she doesn’t get a lot of visits from family or friends, so I’ve made her an extension of my family.
Louisisana_2My name is Rochelle Vallier, and I am a nurse with Synergy HomeCare in Lafayette, Louisiana. I have had the wonderful opportunity to care for people in their homes for many years. My patient, Joan Sonnier, is 80 years old and has successfully battled cancer. Ms. Joan is a very receptive learner, has become independent in managing her colostomy care, and is now learning to manage her hypertension. Until his recent passing, Ms. Joan’s husband, Hubert, was also a home care patient. She is a huge New Orleans Saints fan and wants to be able to travel to a home game very soon. What fun it will be to see this spunky lady cheer for her football team!
LA_Carter_RoscoeMy name is Yolanda Carter. I’m a home care nurse with Hood Home Health in Amite, Louisiana. My 91-year-old Medicare patient, Roscoe Fussell, is so ill from congestive heart failure, COPD, and arthritis that he is unable to leave home without assistance. We provide him with much-needed services that allow him to remain independent and at home. A few months ago, Roscoe required surgery after falling and sustaining a compression fracture to his spine. My colleagues and I worked together with Roscoe and his daughter. He is doing much better today.

Maine

MEMy name is Angela Richards, and I’m a nurse with Androscoggin Home Health & Hospice in Lewiston, Maine. My 75-year-old patient Shirley Brann has heart failure and diabetes. She was living alone for the first time in 56 years because her husband was in a skilled nursing facility, and her health was getting worse, leading to multiple ER visits and hospitalizations. On my first visit to her home, she identified four goals. She wanted her husband transferred to a facility closer to home. She wanted to get the medical alert service Lifeline. She wanted to get Meals on Wheels restarted, and she wanted to resume an exercise program that would get her conditions under control. Together we accomplished all four and Shirley was better able to care for herself.
IMG00210-20120403-1030_MaineMy name is Leann Sebrey, RN. I am a pediatric home health nurse at Kno-Wal-Lin Home Care & Hospice in Rockland, Maine. My patient, Brayson, is a preemie who was exposed to multiple illicit street drugs during pregnancy and diagnosed with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Despite getting regular doses of phenobarbital, Brayson was showing all the signs of withdrawal when his grandmother called me to their home. The local emergency room was not used to treating newborns, so I quickly called Brayson’s doctor, who prescribed a bolus and increased the baby’s medication. I followed up by teaching Brayson’s grandmother how to carry out the doctor’s orders. Within three hours, Brayson was content and calm. I love being a home health nurse, and I am grateful to work with physicians who care about our little patients just as much as I do.
Valerie_and_PatriciaI’m Valerie Garrigan, a nurse at Know-Wal-Lin Home Care and Hospice in Rockland, ME. Our patient, Patricia Sylvia, is 55 and has multiple sclerosis, which has left her bed- and wheelchair-bound with no ability to reposition herself. Ms. Sylvia had a stage 4 decubitus ulcer that has now closed; we’ve maintained skin integrity through the use of a rotating air mattress and barrier creams along with diligent skin monitoring by both home health aides and nurses. Though she’s had frequent urinary tract infections, an unfortunate complication of MS, our nurses have been able to manage this at home through necessary catheterization for urine sampling. “Kno-Wal-Lin Home Care and Hospice has made it possible for me to remain in my own home versus going to a nursing home,” Patricia says.

Maryland

Randi_and_Mrs_SpeakesI’m Randi Levin, and I’m a nurse with Potomac Health Care in Rockville, Maryland. My 75-year-old patient Mary Speakes has MS, seizure disorder, and related pressure ulcers on her lower back. I’ve been taking care of her for 10 years, so she’s usually a little anxious when I go on vacation. She accepts one of our other nurses because she knows they will provide her with very good care. But she’s always happy when I return. She knows she can count on me to see her rain or shine and she knows that I will always serve as an advocate for her concerns.
Clay_Baltimore,_Maryland_(Angela_and_Miss_Bessie)I’m Angela Lewis, a nurse with P-B Health Home Care Agency in Baltimore, Maryland. I have been a home health nurse for 24 years, 14 of them at P-B Health. My patient, Miss Bessye Clay, is a very sociable and gracious 75-year-old who is spending her retirement years at home after a long life well lived. She first came under our care several years ago after having back surgery for a herniated disc. She had a laminectomy and a discectomy, and I provided her wound care while she recuperated at home. I also made sure she received appropriate care after complications resulting from a fall. To help her remain independent and safe, we provided education about disease process, pain and medication management, and nutrition. In addition, we arranged for her to receive occupational and physical therapy. She is now walking and enjoying life at home.
MD_Leslee_HammettMy name is Vicki George. I’m a home care nurse with HomeCall in Frederick, Maryland. My patient, Leslee Hammett, has had Multiple Sclerosis for the past 10 years, is incontinent, and stands a significant risk of blood clots due to inactivity. Over the course of her illness, we’ve given her Foley catheter care, administered blood thinners, and provided IV antibiotics for her intermittent urinary tract infections. If not for our help, Leslee would be in a nursing home. Instead she’s enjoying a better quality of life at home.

Massachusetts

Photo2MAI’m Monica Susskind, and I’m a nurse at Holyoke VNA and Hospice Life Care in Holyoke, Massachusetts. My 62-year-old patient Jeremias Nazario has throat cancer, along with a history of stroke, and he is waiting for a liver transplant. I visit him three times each week to manage his pain and severe fatigue. I collaborate with a certified dietician because Mr. Nazario has lost a great deal of weight. I also work with a social worker because Mr. Nazario is depressed following the suicide of his son. I helped him and his wife through the grieving process and gave all the support I could to bring light and hope into their lives.
Kennedy_Longmeadow,_MA_(jamesava)I’m Ava Wills, a nurse at Spectrum Home Health and Hospice Care in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. My patient James Kennedy is a Korean War veteran and a diabetic. I was providing wound care for him when I discovered that he was having trouble getting the prescriptions he needed to manage his diabetes. Of course, I helped him because part of our job is to be an advocate for our patients, and that requires building trust. You’re also responsible for making sure that everyone involved in a patient’s care is doing the best they can. James certainly deserves it because he’s such a good soldier and such a joy to care for. He’s also lucky that he has a devoted wife who takes part in our visits so she’s knowledgeable about what we do.
_MB17605I’m Kelly Macero, a home care nurse with the Overlook VNA in Charlton, Massachusetts.  Marietta Stanton, a 72-year-old Medicare patient, has been on our service since December 2006 when she was forced to undergo three surgeries and the installation of eight screws to stabilize her back. We helped with her physical therapy and assisted her in learning how to walk again. We still monitor her care, which involves the use of a spinal bone growth stimulator to strengthen her back and lately have treated her for high blood pressure that was so erratic that she was passing out. Today she is doing fine.
HouseWorks_photoI am Elza Etchu, a personal care attendant with HouseWorks in Boston, Massachusetts. I work with three other women who provide Barbara Hally, age 93, the care and services she needs to remain safely at home. Mrs. Hally takes genuine interest in each of us. She loves learning about our cultures and countries of origin (Cameroon, Uganda, Ghana, and Trinidad). With art as her lifetime passion, she listens to our stories and then creates the most beautiful sketches about what she hears. She also uses her art to recreate photographs we share with her. With each visit, her book of sketches increases, documenting rich pieces of our lives like our weddings and children. We relive our stories and care for Mrs. Hally while she shares her amazing talent and can remain at home, and we all continue to grow!

Michigan

MI_SandyI’m Sandy Peer, and I’m a nurse with HomeCare Connection in Monroe, Michigan. My 84-year-old patient Art Benner has congestive heart failure and significant swelling in his lower legs. I see him twice a week to assess his cardiac status, weigh him, and wrap his legs in Ace bandages to reduce swelling and increase his circulation. Art lives alone, so I call him every day to make sure he is okay and his bandages are in place. In addition, I buy him clothing and home essentials to improve his quality of life. I don’t want anything in return except the satisfaction that I’m giving him the best of care. I know I succeeded after Art said, “If it was not for Sandy seeing me as a nurse I would not be alive today. She’s more like family than just a nurse to me.”
Villella_Livonia,_MI_(ROGERS_MI)My name is Paul Rogers and I’ve been a nurse with Angela Hospice Home Care in Livonia, Michigan, for 10 years now. One of my patients is Anna Villella, who is 88 years old and has end-stage dementia.  She was born in Italy and has a traditional Italian family who wanted to take care of their mother at home. She lives with one of her daughters, and her two other daughters are very active in her care. I visit twice a week, helping them to take care of Anna at home and address any new symptoms that arise. Having hospice at home has allowed Anna to stay out of the hospital, and be with her loving family. Her three daughters take such good care of her that they really make my job easy! On the day this picture was taken, Anna’s daughters, granddaughter, and great-grandchildren were there to visit with her.
MichiganMy name is Joy Lance. I’m a registered nurse for MidMichigan Home Care’s hospice program in Midland, MI. My patient, Loring Hock, has been battling liver cancer. In the final stages of this battle, Loring and his girlfriend Kathy Kablik decided that after their six-year journey together as a couple, they wanted to exchange vows. Members of our hospice team pulled together to make this special day happen. One of our staff volunteered to make Loring and Kathy’s wedding cake, another delivered Loring’s boutonnière and our spiritual coordinator performed the ceremony.  I am honored to have shared in Loring’s life—especially this special day.

Minnesota

Photo2MNMy name is Savanna Steidl, and I’m a nurse with Knute Nelson Home Care in Alexandria, Minnesota. My 24-year-old patient Cassie Socha has had Lyme disease since she was 19. She suffers from migraines, chronic pain, and chronic bronchitis. She vomits 10 or 20 times daily and requires one to two liters of IV fluids each day to keep her hydrated. She has struggled to maintain a Hickman site, and her poor immune system puts her at high risk of infections. In addition, she is allergic to antibiotics so infections are very difficult to treat. Fortunately, I have managed to keep Cassie out of the clinic by providing her with weekly education, intervention, lab draws, IV care, and physician coordination. I feel good when she says, “Savanna understands what is going on with my health and helps me better understand my disease so I can take better care of myself.”
Johnson_Detroit_Lakes,_MN_(Cleveland_MN)My name is Connie Cleveland and I’m a home care nurse with Essentia Health St. Mary’s of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. My patient, William Johnson, is almost three years old and has just had his third open heart surgery. The first time I cared for him, he was less than two weeks old, and today he is still at home with his mom and dad. I help him remain there by caring for his chest incision, performing cardiac assessments, and providing antibiotics through his PICC line. It’s less traumatic to a three-year-old when he gets this care at home instead of in the hospital. Less stress means he eats better and heals faster, which is good for him and for his family, too.
MinnesotaMy name is Jamie Sterner. I’m a home care nurse with Prairie River Home Care in Hutchinson, MN. My client Sandy Hunter is 66 years old with COPD and congestive heart failure. Before home care, Sandy had a difficult time managing these health conditions, which led to frequent hospitalizations. She was short of breath, weak, and forgetful. With disease management coaching, monitoring to catch changes or problems quickly, and medication management, Sandy’s been able to stay at home with her husband and pets. One home visit helped identify her need for a pacemaker. Also, with education and encouragement from our nurses, Sandy has kicked a 50-year smoking habit!
Right_at_Home_MN_photoMy name is Greg Schaffner and I am a caregiver with Right at Home in Bloomington, Minnesota. Every Thursday afternoon I work with Jim Baker, an engineer who survived a major stroke that left him with significant aphasia, or language difficulty, and partial paralysis. Our greatest project together has been building a wooden boat. Because of how it helped Jim progress after his stroke, this project — our therapy work together — stood the ultimate test: a maiden voyage on Lake Harriet! It’s amazing how Jim has progressed since his stroke and what he has achieved. Through everything, he has remained very positive and eager to get the most out of what he has to work with. I am his caregiver, but he inspires me every day.

Mississippi

Burch_MississippiI’m Karen Burch and I’ve been a nurse with Mississippi Home Care of Hattiesburg for three years. For the past four months, I have cared for 86-year-old Katie Lackey, herself a lifelong nurse. She was still working as a nurse when she developed atherosclerosis and lower extremity wounds that resulted in multiple lesions. Mrs. Lackey had 14 wounds when she was admitted to our services for negative pressure wound therapy. The doctors were all but sure they were going to have to amputate her leg, but I wouldn’t call it quits. I worked several times a week to heal her wounds until she no longer needed her wound vac and started to recover. Mrs. Lackey is very satisfied with the care I gave her, and coming from her that means a lot. As a former nurse, she knows how valuable a great nurse is.
Mitchell_Hattiesburg_MS_Clark_Rials_MSWe’re Bobbie Clark and Lark Rials, two nurses at Forrest General Home Care in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Our patient Mrs. Billie Mitchell is 67 with a history of multiple re-hospitalizations for congestive heart failure, COPD, and lung cancer. Living in a rural area made it hard for Mrs. Mitchell to travel to see her physician, so we’ve put her in touch with one who is closer to home. It’s also hard for her to get to the pharmacy, so we pick up her medications. And we check up on her all the time. Whenever we leave we tell her, if you need us call us. And we’re glad she takes comfort in knowing that she can count on us for help. It’s so rewarding to hear her say, “You do so much for me. You always make me feel like I belong to you.”
Miss_9_13_10_2I’m Kim Eure, a registered nurse with Deaconess HomeCare in Hattiesburg, MS. My patient, Wilmer Backstrom, has congestive heart failure, diabetes, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure. Home health has kept the doctor informed of her health status and has reduced trips to the doctor’s office, which is very beneficial due to transportation difficulties. We provide her education and evaluation of her health conditions as well as personal hygiene services. Mrs. Backstrom stated, “I live alone, so home health means a lot to me. They show genuine concern for my well-being. The home visits build good relationships with the staff and a strong enough bond that I can discuss problems with ease. They meet all of my needs.” She enjoys getting to know the staff and really appreciates the assistance she has received.

Missouri

BrashearMOMy name is Tricia Brashear and I’m a nurse at St. Luke’s Home Care and Hospice in Kansas City, Missouri, where I’ve had the privilege to join one family on its journey through hospice. It began when Marjorie Roseburrough was admitted to hospice. For three months, I worked with her eight children and her husband Walter to give her comfort and care. When Marjorie died, Walter’s heart was broken. Besides his grief, he suffered from chronic heart failure, and he, too, was admitted to my care. He breathed his last at age 93, but not before giving us all a little scare. One night his chest ached though hospice aide Raiza Guevara and I did our best to help him. When I asked his children if he did anything unusual that day, they said he ate a huge German meal. So I gave him three Tums, and soon his pain was gone. Guess it was the wurst.
MO_McCabeI’m Wendy McCabe, a hospice nurse for Mercy Home Health and Hospice in Springfield, Missouri. My 78-year-old patient, Richard Scoughton, has end-stage COPD. Following a hospital stay, Richard was unable to live on his own. Rather than go into a nursing home, he began receiving hospice services at a friend’s home and he remained determined to live independently again. Richard is on oxygen and finds it hard to breathe. Yet he has kept a feisty demeanor and a sparkle in his eye. After a couple of months, he grew stronger and was able to reach his goal. We enjoy talking about our experiences, his military service, my missionary work in India, and my homeland of New Zealand. And I find comfort in knowing that my patient is living his life to the fullest where he wants to be — at home.
Missouri_1My name is Mary Jo Neunuebel. I am a nurse case manager with BJC Home Care Services, which serves patients and their families in Missouri and Illinois. Before I started working with my patient, Mattie Brinkman-Moresi, in her home in St. Louis County, she was in a harmful pattern of emergency room visits and rehospitalizations. She had a hard time managing her COPD and congestive heart failure. As a specially trained RN on a pulmonary team, I’ve been able to educate Mattie and her daughter on the signs and symptoms of Mattie’s disease. Thanks to home health, Mattie has been able to avoid rehospitalization and is breathing and feeling much better.

Montana

PhotoMTMy name is Lorri Mindt and I’m a nurse at Benefis Spectrum Medical in Great Falls, Montana. My 80-year-old patient Carlos Garcia has rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, he was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and came to us though our home health diabetic disease management program. With our help, he learned how to better manage his conditions: controlling his blood sugars, monitoring his diet, and working with therapies to increase his mobility and strength. After being discharged from the program, Mr. Garcia literally danced his way into our office and told our team about his ongoing progress. He was elated to share the news that the circulation had increased in his feet and he only had to take insulin once a day. He felt so much better that he was planning on buying a new van and setting off on his very first trip outside Montana.
Eblen_Kalispell,_MT_59901_(office_032)My name is Robin Riley, and I’m a hospice nurse manager at Home Options Hospice in Kalispell, Montana. Our state still has residents who we honor as homesteaders and pioneers, among them Bertha Eblen. She is an 85-year-old woman who has lived on a remote family homestead in the Montana mountains for her entire life. During much of it, she was a stubbornly independent widow, raising cattle, crops, and kids. Since being diagnosed with stomach cancer, she’s been living in town with her daughter, who works at Home Options Hospice. Our hospice team is honored to join in caring for the hearty, little woman who is the picture of true Montana grit. Recently, Bertha made a video about her years on earth. It’s called “A Life Well Lived.”
MTJill_and_TonyMy name is Jill Harvie, and I am a registered nurse with Spectrum Medical Home Health in Great Falls, Montana. Anthony Krohmer is a 42-year-old patient under our care since December 2008. Mr. Krohmer was in a motor vehicle accident that left him paralyzed. Comprehensive home care services have healed his multiple advanced pressure wounds and other health care issues that often accompany paralysis. In addition, home care has prevented unnecessary emergency room visits, which were frequent. Mr. Krohmer is grateful that home care allows him to remain at home where he can function at his optimal level of independence.

Nebraska

StaufferNebraskaI’m Juliet Stauffer, and I’m a nurse at Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society Home Health of Central Nebraska in Kearney. My 55-year-old patient Ivan Hanks is a veteran who recently had a partial foot amputation. Afterward he developed osteomyelitis, which required frequent dressing changes and infusion of IV antibiotics. I advocated for home infusion of antibiotics, and when I saw that his wound was not healing right, I advocated for a wound vacuum. It quickly made his wound improve and helped him fulfill an important goal. Since he had spent the past year in the hospital, he wanted very much to remain in his home. I helped him succeed.
Cook_Norfolk,_Neb_(Donna_Cook_and_Danielle_Krohn)My name is Danielle Krohn. I’m a nurse at AseraCare Hospice in Norfolk, Nebraska. My patient, Donna Cook, has breast cancer with metastasis as well as a large wound, and she has overcome numerous challenges while on hospice. She suddenly lost her husband, and primary caregiver, around Thanksgiving, and she has been bed-bound since getting a severe infection in her right arm. With the help of our hospice staff, Donna has been able to remain in her home under the care of her children. The hospice staff monitors her wound, keeps her comfortable, and assists with her various needs. Donna tells us her hospice care has been a good experience, surpassing her expectations.
Nebraska_2My name is Angela Snyder, and I’m a home care nurse with Hillcrest Home Care in Bellevue, NE. My patient, Madonna Marek, is an 86-year-old World War II Navy veteran and former elementary school teacher who lives at home with her daughter. Madonna had a hip replaced in May 2010, and her family has gone to great lengths to keep her at home. Home care services helped make that possible. Our nurses provided wound care and medication instruction, and our physical and occupational therapists helped her regain function and independence. Madonna’s smile says it all — how happy she is to be able to remain with her family at home!
NebraskaMy name is Helen Rosin, and I have been a home care nurse with Right at Home in Omaha, Nebraska for nine years. It is an honor to provide others with the type of care they deserve. My client, Dennis Bertrand, is a retired farmer and a cancer survivor. He has adult onset diabetes and requires oxygen. I assist him with activities of daily living and also help manage his medications, monitor his blood sugar, and assist him with oxygen use. I enjoy my time with Dennis and I feel fortunate to provide him with the opportunity to remain independent in his own home. Knowing that I’ve made a difference in someone else’s life is truly rewarding.

Nevada

ShellenbergerNVMy name is Christopher Shellenberger, and I’m a nurse with Medical Services of America in Henderson, Nevada. My 49-year-old patient Daniel Cognac has severe cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. He suffers from neurogenic bladder, requires a Foley catheter, and has limited speech. He is also very smart and he wants to live independently at home with his dog. We have helped him fulfill this goal by giving him IM antibiotics when infections arise that might lead to frequent hospitalizations. And Daniel takes an active role by regularly conferring with his physician to ensure his hypertension is kept in check and he is free of infections. When I see how good quality care has allowed Daniel to enjoy an independent life, I am reminded how important home care is.
NV_Forww_Tafoya_WardMy name is Marjorie Tafoya. I’m a home care nurse with Family Healthcare Services and Family Home Hospice in Las Vegas, Nevada. My 71-year-old Medicare patient, Vernon Foree, has end-stage liver disease. Five months ago, Vernon decided against life-extending treatments that would hurt his quality of life. Since then, he has been at home, where we oversee his medication, provide oxygen, and monitor his pain. He has a hospice volunteer and a certified nursing assistant, Joan Ward, who help keep his spirits up. Last year, Vernon played Santa for his grandkids, maybe for the final time.
 

New Hampshire

Alic1_NH_2I’m Senada Alic, and I’m the home health nursing coordinator at Concord Regional Visiting Nurse Association in Concord, New Hampshire. I provide in-home medication review and care coordination within 24 hours of hospital discharge for at-risk home care patients. One of them is 75-year-old Robert Bailey, who suffers from coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, hypertensive chronic disease, and lung cancer. I saw him after a hospital stay and discovered that the hospital had changed his medication, but he was not complying with the hospital’s orders. So I corrected his mediplanner, as I do for many patients. It’s one of the ways our agency improves life for at-risk patients, cuts down on their hospital stays, and makes the transition from hospital to home much smoother.
French_Rochester_NH_(Morris_NH)My name is Melissa Morris, and I’m a nurse at Rochester District VNA in Rochester, New Hampshire. My 63-year-old patient, Ed French, came to us after multiple hospitalizations for exacerbation of his chronic conditions of heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes. He was tired of going back and forth to the hospital. His goal was to stay home, so I worked with him in changing some of the behaviors that hurt his quality of life. Gaining his trust was the most important task because it allowed him to open up and share some his negative feelings. He told me he felt so hopeless and overwhelmed that he had given up. But he has since overcome some of the barriers that caused poor outcomes for him in the past. Now he takes pride in his accomplishments and is able to manage at home with his family’s help.
NH_4My name is Angela Quinn, and I’m a home care nurse with Concord Regional Visiting Nurse Association in Concord, NH. My patient, Cynthia Madden, received wound care treatment for complications following surgery to repair a small bowel obstruction. During visits, we provided wound care along with education on her conditions to Cynthia and her husband. We also taught them about the importance of exercise and proper nutrition to promote wound healing. Cynthia’s wound has now healed and she has happily returned to her active lifestyle.
NewHampshireMy name is April Nile, and I’m a Licensed Nursing Assistant with Live Free Home Health Care in Bristol, New Hampshire. One of the clients that I had the pleasure of providing care for was Tina Saad. Tina had congestive heart failure and once suffered from a stroke. I began caring for Tina after her hip replacement surgery. As part of my visits with Tina, I helped prepare her meals, encouraged exercise, assisted her with the use of oxygen, took her shopping, and assisted her with bathing. I feel rewarded knowing that because of my help, Tina was able to stay in her home surrounded by the things that brought her comfort. Tina has passed on now but I will always cherish the time I cared for her.

New Jersey

Smith-GaleI’m Marjorie Smith-Gale, and I’m a nurse with BAYADA Home Health Care in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. My 20-year-old patient Christopher Sebastian has Down syndrome and is dependent on a tracheostomy and ventilator. His weekly tracheostomy changes frightened him, making him oppositional and combative. So I used a training doll to help him conquer his fears. I taught him why his tracheostomy needed changing and built up his self-confidence through ongoing praise. I also tried to create life-enhancing experiences to improve his life. I made his prom a memorable event by dressing him in a suit, providing flowers, and encouraging him on the dance floor. Connecting with my patients is part of my job.
Santana_MoorestownNJ_Adult_Jose_KikaRN_1I’m Kika Garcia-Awan, and I’m a nurse at BAYADA Home Health Care in Moorestown, New Jersey. My 73-year-old patient, José Santana, had been preparing meals for his family for decades. Then a stroke left him paralyzed on the left side and unable to use his hands to cook his family’s favorite dish. He was anxious when I made my first visit, but I quickly put him at ease by communicating with him in his native tongue of Spanish. During my subsequent visits, I checked his vital signs, made sure that he and his wife understood how and when he should take his medication, and educated them about stroke and the disease process. José’s blood pressure is under control, and he’s now doing much better. He even has hope that he will cook again soon.
Elizabeth_CurtisWhen Stuart Thau first met Elizabeth Curtis, he asked her a simple question: “What can I do to help you?” Her answer was “I want to garden.” And she would, with help from Stuart, a physical therapist with Community VNA of Somerville, New Jersey. Since Elizabeth suffers from fibromyalgia and chronic pain, Stuart set out a care plan that included body mechanics, exercise, and assistive devices. Body mechanics allowed her to reach the soil for planting. Resistive exercise improved her strength so she could complete activities, and switching to forearm crutches gave her more freedom of movement. With time, she was able to achieve her goal and garden again, much to Stuart’s satisfaction. “It’s an extremely rewarding experience,” he said, “to help patients regain their confidence and independence so they can regain their lives.”
IMG_2384My name is Claudette Rawlins. I’m a home care nurse for the VNA of Somerset Hills, New Jersey. I have been providing intermittent home care services to 80-year-old Mrs. ‘A’ for more than a year. My home care visits began after Mrs. A, who lives alone, suffered complications from a major operation. My services, along with a supportive family, have allowed Mrs. A to resume the independent lifestyle she maintained before her surgery. And if she does have a problem, Mrs. A knows I am only ‘a phone call away.’

New Mexico

Pepper_NMMy name is Cecilia Pepper, and I’m a nurse with Heritage Home Healthcare in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mary Crespin, my patient for the past three years, suffers from congestive heart failure, renal disease, diabetes, chronic leg swelling, and cellulitis. Despite all these conditions, Mary has a very independent spirit and wants to stay in her own apartment as long as she can. And I have helped manage her conditions so she could fulfill this wish. Mary is one of the many inspiring people I’ve met as I’ve gone into the community to provide care. I feel honored to do my work and get a real sense of pride when I can make a positive impact on my patients’ lives.
Heritage_Hospice_Pic_JuanitaI’m Juanita Cannon, a nurse with Heritage Hospice in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I love making connections that touch the heart of my patients. Building relationships of trust, like the one I have with Alfredo Fernandez, are important to me. Alfredo lived at home and needed to move to a nursing facility for increased care. I was able to speak to him in Spanish and assure him he would be moving to a place where people would understand his language and have foods that were familiar to him, two important concerns for him. He was so delighted when he arrived and was able to speak with staff and residents, plus enjoy his bologna and favorite pastilles! These seemingly small issues were big ones for Alfredo, and I knew addressing them would make his transition to the nursing facility smoother.
New_MexicoMy name is Terry Leach, and I’m a nurse at Heritage Home Healthcare and Hospice in Albuquerque, NM. My patient is a humble and distinguished veteran, Don Spiers, who served during World War II, the Korean War, and the Viet Nam War. With the love and support of his wife Virginia, his positive attitude, and the compassionate care he receives from Heritage caregivers and staff, he’s been able to cope with a longstanding disability and remain in the comfort of his home. He and Virginia are an inspiration to any who cross their paths, and we at Heritage have been blessed to be among those who care for him.

New York

Kuiper1_NYI’m Dea Kuiper, and I’m a nurse at VNA Homecare in Syracuse, New York. My 10-year-old patient Fardowsa Suleiman had Eisenmenger’s Syndrome and weighed 63 pounds. She had respiratory problems, was oxygen dependent, and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after watching her parents killed in Somalia’s civil war. She had come here with her aunt, Sadya Dahir, seeking surgery or a heart/lung transplant. When I visited their humble home I saw a brave woman who cared deeply for her niece and a small girl who didn’t let suffering rob her spirit. I helped them by making sure Fardowsa was home schooled, bringing a fan to lessen the heat that aggravated her condition, and arranging for payment of the expenses incurred in running oxygen 24/7. Fardowsa couldn’t speak English, but she thanked me with smiles and touches of her hand. These gestures were evidence that the bond we built would transcend Fardowsa’s death.
Vasquez_Bronx,_NY_(BridgesNY)I’m Barbara Bridges, RN, and I’m a community health nurse for CenterLight Healthcare located in the Bronx, New York. Fifty-five-year-old John Vasquez is one of four patients I tend to who live together with an aide in a shared housing arrangement. I come every other week to monitor their vital signs and pre-pour their medications. John is a Type 2 diabetic with spinal stenosis in the cervical region, hypertension, asthma, and a stomach disorder, among other ailments. On my visits, I pre-fill two weeks worth of insulin syringes, check his blood sugar, and look at his daily diabetic log to ensure the levels have remained acceptable. I also monitor his skin and feet to make sure he doesn’t get any ulcers or pressure sores. Our program has kept him so healthy he goes to our day center six days a week to play pool and dominoes, and make lots of beaded creations.
NY_Margaret_DiLascio_Home_Visit___1_VNAHVI’m Margaret DiLascio, a home care nurse at Visiting Nurse Association of Hudson Valley in Tarrytown, New York. Judith Fosina, a patient of ours for seven years, has multiple sclerosis and diabetes, as well as cardiac problems. Judith only has the use of one extremity. VNA of Hudson Valley provides assistance to Judith in many ways, including changing her catheter, arranging for her medical equipment, and performing daily functions such as personal hygiene, dressing, and eating. Since she came on service, the quality of her life has significantly improved. Without home health Judith would have to leave her family for a hospital or nursing home—diminishing her quality of life and resulting in higher costs to Medicare. Home health is a vital benefit to Judith and countless others like her.

North Carolina

LambertNCI’m Renee Lambert, and I’m a nurse at BAYADA Home Health Care in Raleigh, North Carolina. My 15-year-old patient Lindsey Efird has mucopolysaccharidosis. No one thought she would live after she suffered a grand mal seizure and injury to her brain stem. She was sent home with little hope for a meaningful life, but I helped her family learn to support their young daughter, who depends on a feeding tube, ventilator, and trach. At first Lindsey was in and out of the hospital every four to six weeks, so I convinced Medicaid to cover the cost of a chest vest, believing this added piece of equipment would improve Lindsey’s quality of life. And it has because Lindsey hasn’t been in the hospital in 10 months. During that time she has met with her legislator to discuss the benefits of home care: better outcomes, lower cost, and more patient satisfaction.
Mintzer_Durham,_North_Carolina_(Plonk,B_NC)I’m Beth Plonk, a hospice nurse with Duke HomeCare & Hospice in Durham, North Carolina. My 91-year-old patient, Dorothy Mintzer, has COPD and asthma, which leaves her oxygen dependent. She also has liver mass, and she’s been bed-bound since fracturing her shoulder in a fall. She has been able to remain in her home with help from our hospice team. As the case manager, I assist Dorothy in identifying individual care goals and taking it one day at a time. I listen to her stories and concerns, meet her needs, help her face any alarming symptoms that appear, and find ways to bring her comfort. It is a privilege and an honor to do this sacred work and care for patients like Dorothy every day.
NC_Chloe_and_Kathie_2My name is Kathie Smith. I’m a home care nurse with Maxim Home Care Agency in Louisburg, North Carolina. My patient, 21-month-old Chloe Garris, was born with Goldenhar syndrome, a rare congenital birth defect that affects formation of the facial bones and can affect other organs. She spent the first year of her life in and out of the hospital. Our nurses provide Chloe with G-tube feedings, tracheostomy care, and 24/7 monitoring, allowing her mother to sleep. Chloe faces more surgery, but she can remain at home until then with the care we provide.

North Dakota

PhotoNDMy name is Ruth Olson. For the past 24 years, I have been a nurse at Sanford Home Care in Fargo, North Dakota. My 84-year-old patient Darrell Miller has nephrostomy, chronic heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He has a pacemaker and a history of cancer, besides being oxygen dependent. He also knows he can depend on me to avoid emergencies by intervening promptly. I have helped him deal with the early signs of pneumonia, exacerbation of his chronic heart failure, failure of his oxygen concentrator, and a blockage of his nephrostomy tube that required same-day replacement. My efforts are rewarded when I see improvements in Darrell’s health and I am able to help him avoid a hospital stay. That is why my passion lies in home health care.
Olivieri_Fargo,_North_Dakota_(HomeHealthNursing_CherylMurch_LucasOlivieri_JL_063)My name is Cheryl Murch, and I’m a nurse with Sanford Home Care in Fargo, North Dakota. My patient, Lucas Olivieri, is two years old and was born with myoneural disease, which has weakened his immune system. As a result, he has significant acute and chronic respiratory failure, which makes him dependent on oxygen at home. He has already undergone difficulty heart surgery, respiratory failure, and more. We try to keep Lucas as safe as we can by partnering with his medical team at Sanford Children’s Hospital, and we’re making an impact, based on what his parents have to say. According to his mom, “the help from Sanford Home Care was absolutely life-changing,” and his dad agrees. “Lucas went from just surviving to living a life. A big part of that has been because of the consistency, helpfulness, and professionalism of these nurses. They’ve helped us keep our sanity, too.”
ND_Merit_Care2My name is Susan Rasmussen. I’m a home care nurse with MeritCare in Fargo, North Dakota. My 55-year-old Medicare patient, Barry Ellison, has multiple sclerosis, which robs him of the ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs). We come every day to transfer him from his bed into a wheelchair, give him personal care, and get him dressed. We also provide him with Foley catheter care, along with therapy, nursing, and bath aids. Without these critical services, Barry would have to live in an institution and lose many of the freedoms he enjoys.

Ohio

Photo2OHMy name is Jane Randall, and I’m a private duty nurse with Cincinnati Children’s Home Services in Ohio. My three-year-old patient Scarlett Landefeld has spinal muscular atrophy type 1, but I treat her like she’s a regular little girl. We blow bubbles, bake cookies, sing, and have other kinds of fun. Her family members also join in and I encourage them to accept her the way she is. Her mind is unimpaired but her body is frail and recently she had such a bad respiratory infection that it wasn’t clear she would survive. She required respiratory treatment every two hours, and her mom was overwhelmed after two night shift nurses called in sick. The family was without help, so I offered to work night shifts though I usually work days. I’m glad I did because Scarlett’s feeling better and we look forward to celebrating her fourth birthday in June.
Labanc_Independence,_OH_(Peticca_OH)My name is Megan Peticca, and I’m a nurse at Cleveland Clinic Hospice at Home in Independence, Ohio. My patient, Joseph LaBlanc, wanted to visit Hawaii with his daughters after learning that his cancer was terminal. We worked with Mr. LaBlanc’s doctor to prepare him for the trip and made sure he enough had medication while he was away. We also contacted a hospice in Hawaii so he would have support if need be. Two weeks later he returned a little tanner and much rejuvenated. He relayed stories of his vacation with such a satisfied smile that it made the extra work worthwhile. Every time I visit his home I glance at the picture of him and his daughters standing in the ocean. When I do, I remember that my job is not just to help patients die. It is to help them live the fullest lives they can.
Cooper_PriceCooper Price helps physical therapist Abbi Tidball encourage his two-year-old sister Campbell to stand. Campbell was born with multiple heart defects and tracheomalacia. She spent the first six months of her life in the hospital and has been subsequently hospitalized 11 times. Abbi works for Nationwide Children’s Hospital Homecare in Columbus, Ohio (www.NationwideChildrens.org/Homecare). She says, “Physical therapy in her home has allowed Campbell to gain strength and further her play skills without adding additional risk of illness. She has learned to sit, get toys for herself, and most recently start standing, something her family has never seen before. As a therapist, being able to treat Campbell in her home is ideal, as she is in her most comfortable environment and we can maximize what she can do in the setting where she spends most of her time.”
OH_Weise_McDowellMy name is Bonnie Dowell and I’ve been Evan Weise’s nurse since he arrived home from the hospital after being diagnosed with a very rare disease known as Spinal Muscular Atrophy Respiratory Distress (SMA-RD). Not only were the nerves in Evan’s hands and feet degenerating, but his diaphragm was paralyzed which required him to have a tracheotomy tube for breathing and a gastrostomy tube for feeding. Children’s Homecare Services provides him with specialized in-home skilled nursing care as well as a therapist and teachers to stimulate him and help him grow. Exceptionally bright and caring, Evan currently attends school accompanied by his home care nurses.
Home_Care_by_Black_Stone_photo3Hi, my name is Dee Downing and I am a home health aide with Home Care by Black Stone in Cincinnati, Ohio. My client, Wanda Jean Cox, is also my mother. She has had two full knee replacements and back surgery and also deals with ongoing heart problems. As a professional caregiver, I noticed when she came to require assistance, and we discussed the idea of me becoming her in-home aide. For three hours every day, my mother is my client. I help her bathe, dress, curl her hair, prepare her meals, and manage her medications. Providing care to my mother gives me comfort knowing that her needs are taken care of; each day we accomplish something special, and she knows I am just a phone call away.

Oklahoma

Phelps_OK_2My name is Summer Phelps, and I am a nurse with Mays Home Care in Ardmore, Oklahoma. My 81-year-old patient Anna Smith suffers from chronic pain and severe migraines. We have assisted her with support and pain management resources. We also referred her to a specialist who ordered weekly injections that decreased her headaches. Daily life can be a battle when you’re suffering with chronic pain, so our goal was to outweigh her bad days with good days to improve her quality of life. We also helped her relocate from her home by raising funds for moving expenses to ease the harsh transition. I love knowing we have made a positive impact on her life, and it’s one of the reasons why I believe being a home health nurse is a blessing.
BLALOCK_OKMy name is Sharon Blalock, and I’m a nurse with Integris Regency Home Care and Hospice in Miami, Oklahoma. My 84-year-old patient, Betty Thompson, suffers from congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation for which she receives anticoagulant therapy. She also has coronary artery disease, hypertension, and debility. She was recently hospitalized for pneumonia, and I cared for her when she came home, as I have on and off over the years. It is because of the services she receives from our agency that she has been able to stay in her home and limit her hospital admissions. I am proud of the care we provide to our community and it is an honor to assist seniors, like Betty Thompson, after all they have done for us.
OklahomaMy name is Amy Hafner and I am a home care nurse with Encompass Home Health in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. With me is Judith Conklin, who has numerous health problems including a potential susceptibility to congestive heart failure. The scorching Oklahoma summers can be life-threatening for many patients too poor to afford air conditioning or even to buy a fan. When we saw this dangerous situation and knew that no federal or state program would pay for help, we at Encompass joined with local merchants and urged them to donate fans which we volunteered on our own time to install. We didn’t expect anything in return except perhaps to have prevented vulnerable elderly persons from having heat stroke. What we got back was the look of gratitude in the eyes of the high-risk patients who would never ask for but were so happy to receive this small act of kindness.

Oregon

Landgren_OR_2My name is Shirley Landgren, and I’m a nurse with Visiting Health Services Mid Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles, Oregon. My 71-year-old patient Marilyn Farrer has type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and recurrent pneumonia. She also suffers from multiple lower extremity ulcers, Charcot foot tabes dorsalis, and vacular insufficiency. I make sure to treat her as a person, not just a patient and I show respect when I teach her how to care for her conditions. Over the past six months, I helped her transition from a wound vac to less complex care, allowing her to take a shower after years of sponge baths. She’s happy, and I’m glad she can now heal in the home she loves.
OregonPictureMy name is Julie Clark, and I’m a nurse at First Call Home Health in Salem, Oregon. My patient, Mr. Shumway, has a stasis ulcer that has been recurring for 20 years. The wound was 12 centimeters long when we started seeing Mr. Shumway, and he had little hope that it would ever heal. But our help, combined with more nutritious meals and his wife’s excellent daily care, has made the wound shrink to half its former size. It continues to heal very well, and I’m still thinking of new ways to help Mr. Shumway progress. I’m happy to address his needs, and those of his family, too, because I love home health care nursing. We truly have the resources and time to make a positive impact on our patients and improve their quality of life.
Oregon3I’m Julie Clarke, a nurse with First Call Home Health in Salem, OR. We were amazed when we met 60-year-old Cynthia Jewitt, who over three years had transformed her life and dropped from 474 lbs. to 250 lbs. She needed surgery to remove excess skin, which left her with multiple surgical wounds and two holes for fluid drainage. With wound care and nutritional support and education, Cynthia was discharged in about a month with no open wounds. Thanks to her diet compliance and will to make a positive change, she has discontinued insulin use for diabetes and many other medications. She continues to lose weight and to secure a healthier future for herself and her family.

Pennsylvania

GEDC0246My name is Sharon Fleming, and I’m a nurse with Neighborhood Health in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Twelve years ago, I began seeing Rita Barrett, a 63-year-old patient with multiple sclerosis. The progression of her disease has caused her to have multisystem problems, resulting in several ostomies, wounds, and issues related to decreased mobility. Yet she has been able to maintain a great attitude and sense of humor. She has also been able to keep her independence with our oversight and help. Our nursing assessments, ostomy care, personal care, and therapy have allowed her to lead a normal life, something which is very important to Rita. She also cares about the relationship we have developed over the years. We know what to expect from each other no matter who is visiting, whether me, the therapist, or the aide. For all of us, Rita is almost like family.
Stallard_Erie,_Pa_(Matthews_Ehman_and_Trish_Stallard_Photo)My name is Matthew Ehman, and I’m a nurse with AseraCare Hospice in Erie, Pennsylvania. My 66-year-old patient, Patricia “Ms. Trish” Stallard, had end-stage liver cancer. We started with the understanding that my number-one job was to advocate for her, and that sense of empowerment allowed her to confidently make every decision about her care. We spent many nights and weekends managing her pain and symptoms with humor, understanding, and a risk-vs.-benefit mindset. We worked together, combining her decisions and my support, to better her quality of life. With her pain and symptoms under control, she looked forward to “tomorrow, if it comes,” rather than hoping it wouldn’t come at all! Her daughter told me, “Mom’s days were brighter” when she knew I was coming. With the support of hospice, she finished her life her way — with dignity, comfort, and her family at her bedside at home.
DSCI0001_(2)Pete Shea’s mobility had declined due to ALS, and he was referred to Celtic Healthcare of Mars, Pennsylvania, (www.celtichealthcare.com). That’s how he met Amy Coulon, a physical therapist who provided him with an assistive device that increased his independence. Amy has already cared for many patients with chronic conditions, earning her considerable praise. “As Amy’s supervisor for many years, I have seen Amy improve the quality of life for so many individuals facing chronic illness,” says Tonya Miller, Celtic Healthcare director. “She is truly dedicated to her patients,” and in more than one way, according to K.C. Burkholder, vice president of Family Home Medical in Carlisle: “Amy is one of those clinicians who go above and beyond for her patients every time. She is not only doing her PT job with each patient, but is touching on the social aspect.”
PA_4_THIS_ONEI’m Debbie Travers, a home health nurse with Neighborhood Health Agencies in West Chester, PA. I’ve been seeing Brenda Dudek, a 49-year-old multiple sclerosis patient, since June 2001. Her disease has caused multiple complications that have all been addressed at home, and she’s had only a two-day hospital stay over the last nine years. Brenda has had multiple decubitis ulcers that have been healed under our nursing care. For the last year and a half, Brenda has been free of any bedsores. Neighborhood Health nurses provide support and monitor her feeding tube, nutritional status, skin integrity, and catheter. With our help, she’s been able to remain at home with her family.

Rhode Island

Hjerpe_VNA_of_Rhode_Island_Hjerpe_Su_2I’m Sue Hjerpe and I’ve been a nurse at VNA of Rhode Island in Warwick for 33 years. My patient Judy Nunez is a 39-year-old mother of three who requires weekly assessments and treatment for non-healing wounds. She has a history of diabetes and foot ulcers, besides being legally blind. Judy’s problems with sight make it difficult for her to assess her wound status so we’ve been creative with wound care training, as we often have to be in home care. We’ve also taken steps to help Judy eat better since this busy mom often skips meals or ends up making the wrong choices. We arranged a joint visit with a Spanish interpreter to help Judy plan healthy, enjoyable meals, and we’re enjoying the results. Judy is now confident in her ability to be healthier and stay at home with her kids.
Tingle_Warwick,_Rhode_Island_(Kane_RI)I’m Meghan Kane, a nurse with VNA of Care New England, located in Warwick, Rhode Island. My patient Marjorie Tingle is a 73-year-old widow with a history of COPD, emphysema, cardiac disease, and multiple hospitalizations. She had just finished 14 days in the hospital when I made my first visit to her home. I asked about her goals, and she said she wanted to live safely and independently at home. She also wanted to learn more about her condition, so she completed our home-based pulmonary rehab program, which includes breathing retraining, education, exercise, and telehealth. It’s now been 14 months since we saw her, but she reports that she hasn’t been back to the hospital once. “I continue to do my exercises three times each day, cook my own meals, and even get out to do my own grocery shopping. My pulmonary doctor cannot believe how well I am doing!”
Steve_ParenteauSteve Parenteau, physical therapy assistant at VNA of Care New England (www.vnacarenewengland.org) in Warwick, Rhode Island, takes great pride in helping his patients achieve their goals. One of them was Mrs. Susan Bergheimer, who underwent surgery for full knee replacement and chose to return home, where she saw Steve for five weeks. When she reflected on that time, she said, “Some days were difficult; I was emotionally drained and wondered when the pain would stop. Steve would arrive and provide encouragement and motivation. He clearly explained all of the exercises and reinforced the purpose of each. He even taught my husband how to assist with them.” Having achieved her goals, she can now enjoy long walks with her grandchild, and it’s thanks to Steve, Susan gratefully says: “His dedication, motivation, and true compassion drove me to work with him. Together, Steve and I were a great team.”
IMG_1930My name is Linda McCormick. I am a home care nurse with the Visiting Nurse Service of Greater Rhode Island. My 84-year-old Medicare patient, Concetta Ball, is so sick with diabetes and congestive heart failure that she cannot leave home without assistance. Four years ago she suffered a stroke, losing the ability to walk. We brought her back. Two years ago, another stroke took away her speech and my colleagues and I restored it. She is doing fine today.
RhodeIslandMy name is Felicia Addressi, and I’m a certified nursing assistant at HealthTouch, Inc. located in Wakefield, Rhode Island. I provide home care services for Rene Charpentier, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and is wheelchair-bound. However, he is determined to remain living in his own home, where he finds comfort and security. I provide personal care and meal preparation and we also take walks together when the weather permits. As a U.S. Army veteran, Rene gave many years of his life to help ensure our freedom. Today, I feel honored that I can give back to him by providing services that allow him to live safely and independently at home.

South Carolina

GA_new_jackie_youmans_finalI’m Jackie Youmans, and I’m a nurse with THA Island Health Care in Beaufort, South Carolina. My 47-year-old patient, Charles Frazier had end-stage renal disease and entered hospice. While he was getting hospice care, he also needed dialysis. But he was having trouble getting out of the house to receive it. I was worried about him so I arranged for a taxi to take him to the dialysis center and paid his fare. He died shortly thereafter, but I’m glad I did everything for him that I could. I can never say no to my patients and their family members. They know they can count on me to comfort them until the very end.
SCI’m Jessica Hubbard, a nurse at AnMed Health Home Care in Anderson, South Carolina. My 34-year-old patient, Litorey, is a paraplegic with multiple comorbidities. I felt sad for this young mom of four as I cared for her in her home. After a few months, one of her children accidently burned down the house, and I found myself lending a hand in a different way. Litorey and her children lost everything they had, so I brought them to live with my mother and me. I also used social media, email, and flyers to raise donations of money, food, clothes, and household items — enough to give them a good start when they moved into a new home this month. I wish more lawmakers could see the impact that home care makes. If they did, maybe they would reduce the regulations that can prevent us from helping those in need.
Matthew_ChambersLaughter is good medicine. No one knows that better than Matthew Chambers, physical therapist at Interim HealthCare of Greenville, South Carolina, who regularly uses humor to put patients at ease. “Patients need to feel confident they are moving properly and safely,” Chambers says. “They need safety instruction, training, and encouragement to get back on their feet,” as Jessica Clardy did after fracturing her lower back. At first, she had poor balance and difficulty walking, so Matthew worked with her on strength and balance exercises. He instructed her in safety and proper transfers, and soon she progressed from a walker to a cane. Thanks to his aid, she is independent and confident again. “Home health,” Matthew says, “lets you work one on one to address specific needs of patients in the home environment in ways that would be easy to overlook in another setting.”
Alan_JamesThere was an immediate connection when Alan James made his first visit to Cecil Meece. As veterans, the two could swap stories and make time go faster while doing the challenging, and sometimes painful, exercises Cecil needed after total hip replacement. The seasoned therapist from Interim HealthCare of Greenville, South Carolina, brought 30 years of experience to the tasks of helping Cecil learn his exercise program, transfer safely, and progress from a walker to a cane. He also instructed him in home safety, fall prevention, and pain management. “Patients and families are often faced with life-changing medical situations that occur as a result of aging or injury,” Alan says. “Homes become hospital rooms. Furniture is replaced by medical equipment. Many of our patients and their caregivers simply need help adjusting to changes in their lives and adapting to new schedules. Home health provides that ‘personal’ touch.”

South Dakota

Photo2SDMy name is Margaret Peterson, and I’m a nurse at Avera Sacred Heart Home Care in Yankton, South Dakota. My patient Carmen Strunk is 82 years old, and she had a total knee replacement. After five weeks in a swing bed recovering from the operation, she finally returned home. She had no family nearby to assist her, so I did everything I could to fill in the gaps. I listened to her whether she was happy or sad. I supported and encouraged her on every visit. I wanted her to feel she was in good hands and could call on me whenever she needed care.
MAAG_SDMy name is Niki Maag, and I’m a nurse at Sanford Hospice in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I always knew I wanted to take care of patients, like Mrs. Dixon, during the last days of their lives. During each one of those days, I spent time talking with Mrs. Dixon and her family members. I also worked with a hospice team in coming up with solutions for Mrs. Dixon’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. It meant so much to me to be part of her life at this important time because my calling is to provide patients with dignity and the best possible quality of life. People have the wrong idea about hospice care when they think that it’s all about death. Our patients celebrate milestones, and we have lots of happy times. Hospice is really about living each day to the fullest until the very end.
South_DakotaMy name is Delia Johnson. I’m a home care nurse with Rapid City Regional Hospital Home Health and Hospice of the Hills in Rapid City, SD. My patient, Ethel Christensen, is an 88-year-old World War II veteran who served in the Women’s Army Corps. Following her stroke and a heart attack, she’s been able to remain in her home with her husband and cat. Our nurses monitor her medication compliance, check vital signs, and help her control her conditions. That has helped Ethel avoid a more serious stroke, and our aides help her bathe and with activities of daily living. Ethel says she loves when our home care staff stop by.
SouthDakotaHi, my name is Sharon Haas. I am a homemaker with the Avera Sacred Heart Homemaker Program in Yankton, South Dakota. My client, Dale White, is a joy to work with. He has been with our program for two years, following knee surgery and numerous balance issues which led to falls. These issues have hindered his independence in performing his activities of daily living. I help Dale with his laundry and cleaning. Our services help him live as independently as possible, and as he puts it, “in the comfort of my own bachelor pad.” Dale says it is reassuring to know that he can rely on someone to get his tasks completed. He feels very fortunate that there is a service that provides care to seniors in need. I am thankful that I can assist him to meet his goal of remaining in his “pad.”

Tennessee

BreedingI’m Sherry Breeding, and I’m director of nursing for SunCrest Private Care in Smithville, Tennessee. My 21-year old patient Alicia Nance was in a motor vehicle accident that left her a quadriplegic with anoxic brain injury. I give her all the love and care I can, as I do for all my patients whether they’re aged or very young. I have been in homes to complete admissions and walked in on patients with no food, cleaning supplies, or family to give them care. Often a supervisory visit turns into so much more when patients need extra help. So I buy food, fix meals, and bathe them before I leave. I also fill in on cases when no nurse is available for night shifts. I do it all because I think everything will fall in place if you provide the best patient care.
KathyTwombleyPatientTNI’m Kathy Twombley, a home care nurse with ContinuCare HealthServices, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I helped design and now serve as principal nurse for Bringing Back the Black Bag, program that brings doctors and residents to patients’ homes. For my patient, Mrs. Wolf, who has limited mobility on her right side after a stroke, a home visit is the only way she has to see a doctor. These home visits foster a patient’s sense of trust and benefit physicians, too. By seeing patients in their homes, physicians learn about possible reasons why patients might fail to comply with their orders. They also discover details that they cannot glean during a 15-minute office visit. As for me, I am rewarded daily by seeing patients improve and seeing future physicians gain a deeper, more compassionate knowledge of how patients recover at home.
TennesseeMy name is Roslyn Sandel and I’m a home care nurse with SunCrest Home Health in Madison, TN. My patient, Franklin Griggs, has benefited tremendously from our Heart Failure Program. When Franklin came to SunCrest, he was suffering from congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation and was spending significant time in the emergency room (ER). His condition made him a prime candidate for telehealth, which allows daily monitoring and interventions from the comfort of his own home. I worked closely with Franklin’s physician to monitor his condition and, ultimately, change his diuretic and stabilize his weight. I’m happy to report that since coming to SunCrest, Franklin has not been back to the ER.

Texas

PhotoTXI’m Kelly Davalos, and I’m a nurse at Texas Home Health Skilled Services in Nederland, Texas. My 66-year-old patient Billy Franklin has hypertension and a history of strokes. He is weak and prone to falls so he needs education in managing his conditions. Recently he was able to move into his own apartment, and he was excited to live on his own rather than be a burden to family and friends. Unfortunately, he is on a fixed income and barely had the minimal necessities for living alone. So I worked with my fellow nurses to collect enough household goods to furnish Mr. Franklin’s new home. While he was at a doctor’s appointment we made a surprise visit, totally redecorated his home, and filled his kitchen with food. When he returned he kept smiling and saying “thank you.” Now Mr. Franklin can truly enjoy the comforts of his home sweet home.
Atkins_Shamrock,_Texas_(SHM_photo)My name is Kim McClellen, and I am a home care nurse for Accolade Home Care in Shamrock, Texas. My 61-year-old patient, Brenda Atkins, suffers from pernicious anemia and neuropathy in her lower extremities along with back pain. She is wheelchair bound 90 percent of the time, has great difficulty with transfers, and is receiving physical therapy. Every time we see her we monitor her skins for pressure areas or breakdowns. We give her monthly injections and we also give her spirit a boost. Brenda loves having her nails done, so I perform this extra duty on every visit. It’s the little things that make our patients smile, which in turn warms our hearts.
TX_IMG_0298My name is Kathy Brumley. I’m a home care nurse at Beaumont Home Health in Beaumont, Texas. My patient, Dorothy, suffered a sacral fracture after a fall. When we first saw her, she was bedbound and in pain. I provided Foley catheter care and gave her Lovenox injections to prevent deep vein thrombosis. A physical therapist helped Dorothy increase her mobility and strength. These services allowed her to stop using the catheter and get around with a walker. She’s now playing bridge with her friends and enjoying her family again.

Utah

KarstenUTI’m Carma Karsten, and I’m a nurse at Maple Creek Home Health and Hospice in Provo, Utah. My 98-year-old patient Mackie Bienvenu had atrial fibrillation, which led her to enter hospice. Her family was uncomfortable and frightened, but I put them at ease. I filled their emotional needs, as well my patient’s physical needs. And I tried to do it with sensitivity and caring. That’s one of the keys to successful hospice care, as I say when I give lectures to hospital staff on end-of-life conversations. I also conduct caregiver support groups, where I convey a vital message: hospice is not about giving up and losing hope; it’s about increasing comfort and quality of life.
Bristol_UT_sonya_004My name is Sonya Harmer, and I’m a nurse at Bristol Hospice in Murray, Utah. For the past year, I have been going to senior communities and talking about Namaste Care, an approach based on “honoring the spirit within.” During one recent presentation, I watched a sweet, elderly woman named Janet walk in and take a seat. After finishing my comments, I knelt on the floor beside her and offered a gentle hand rub with lavender oil. She seemed unsure at first as I began to caress her hands. Then she smiled and tears began to well up in her eyes. With a growing sense of calm, she thanked me for my acknowledgement and caring attention. When the hand rub was over, she grabbed my face and kissed my forehead. We both smiled as we embraced. For a moment, we were connected spirit to spirit and hand to hand.
Utah_We’re Executive Director Brady Russell, MSN, RN, Director of Patient Care Services Brenda Whitney, BSN, RN and Case Manager Shirley Daniels, RN of Bristol Hospice, Utah, LLC in Salt Lake City, and we are honored to care for Goldie Tibbs and her family. The hospice interdisciplinary team — comprised of physicians, nurses, hospice aides, social workers, chaplains, and counselors — provides services to Goldie and her family in their home including medical care, pain and symptom management, and emotional, spiritual, and bereavement support. We lighten the load for caregivers and bring sunshine into the lives of those we serve. Our work is about assisting others to live the best possible life they can until the very last moment.
At_Home_Personal_Care_photo1My name is Alan Abel and I’m a caregiver with At Home Personal Care in Salt Lake City, Utah. My client, Robert Wallace, is a veteran of the Vietnam War who served in the Navy and later retired from the Air Force. Robert has had both hips replaced and suffers from Parkinson’s disease. He struggles with daily activities such as bathing and dressing. Robert’s coordination has diminished to the point where he is unable to cook for himself, walk without crutches or a walker, or drive. As a caregiver, I help Robert maintain as much independence as possible and continue living in his home. I am proud to be able to serve a veteran like Robert who served our country.

Vermont

PhotoVTMy name is Jane Kearns, and I’m a nurse at Addison County Home Health & Hospice in Middlebury, Vermont. My 92-year-old patient, Marie “Mickey” Senesac has a multitude of medical problems, including Parkinson’s, cardiac disease, and type 2 diabetes. She requires clinical assessment and management of pain, medications, and blood sugars. She also needs help in monitoring the interaction of treatments for these various problems. With my support, Mickey has been able to stay home and enjoy a better quality of life than she would in an institution. I do the clinical part, and Mickey shares the wisdom of her years when I come to visit. She has a positive approach and embraces life despite her increasing limitations, making me look at my work from a more hopeful perspective.
Aiston_St._Albans,_VT_(Patterson_VT)I’m Sharon Patterson, and I’m a nurse with Franklin County Home Health Agency in St. Albans, Vermont. I’m part of the health care team that cares for Phillip Aiston, a 62-year-old retired nurse. Phil has chronic progressive multiple sclerosis, and we help him by providing health care, rehabilitative therapies, and personal care. Phil cannot use his hands, arms, or legs, and he has trouble swallowing and breathing. He is also adamant about pursuing a full and rich life. “I have the freedom,” he says, “to meet people, pursue educational opportunities, be self-directed, and also know that help will be easily available.” You could put a price tag on the savings we produce by helping Phil avoid infections and hospitalizations. But you can’t put a dollar sign on the added value that home care provides for Phil by preserving his dignity, security, and ability to remain with his wife at home.
Nancy_WaitkusEighty-nine-year-old Leo Pomainville suffered a debilitating stroke following a long struggle with multiple chronic health problems. Leo’s strength and health improved after weeks of medical care from Rutland Area Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice (RAVNAH) in Vermont. But Leo still needed extensive speech-language therapy, so speech therapist Nancy Waitkus visited Leo in his home twice a week. She gave him speech and reading exercises that enabled him to recognize and retrieve common words. He also needed other types of extensive care for the many problems he continued to face. He could easily have been moved to a nursing home, but he was determined to stay in the home where he had lived for 60 years. The services and support of RAVNAH made Leo’s wish come true.
VermontI’m Erin Webb, a nurse with the Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties in Colchester, VT. My patient, newborn Lucas King, caused his mother Catherine — a first-time mom — such concern when he began having feeding issues, wasn’t gaining weight, and had become so jaundiced that she almost took him to the hospital. A friend suggested that Catherine contact us for help. Shortly after she called us, a VNA nurse arrived at her home to help. Our nurses help answer new parents’ questions, perform post-partum check-ups on both the new mother and the baby, and can even offer help and support with breastfeeding. With coaching from our nurses, adjustments to Catherine’s diet, and regular home visits, both mom and baby (and dad, too) are adjusting well to their new lives together.
VermontMy name is Sue, and I am a home health aide with the VNA of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties in Colchester, Vermont. My client, Helen, is 95 years old and lives alone in her home. After a recent fall, Helen was eager to return to her home from the rehab facility. I help Helen with household tasks, shopping, bathing, and putting on her compression stockings. It is a wonderful feeling for me to know that because of what I do for her, she can remain at home. We have grown to become friends after all these years together. It’s all about the connection — we just click! Helen agrees and says I’m a friend, not a worker.

Virginia

DSCN2306_loI’m Kim Barber, and I’m a nurse at Paradise Home Care in Henrico, Virginia. Two years ago, I was assigned a 55-year-old patient discharged from the hospital with temporary colostomy after bowel resection. At the time, I had adequate training in ostomy care, but this case became the equivalent of an intensive ostomy course. To complicate matters, the patient had a nearby abdominal incision requiring a wound vac. Through trial, error, and many PRN visits, I used paste, powder, a belt, stool softeners, one- and two-piece types of wafers, and sample after sample until I found a solution that worked so well the patient didn’t want to take it off. As a result of this intensive “on the job” training with a happy ending, I became the ostomy expert on the Paradise Home Care staff.
MEDICALTEAM_VA_(CARING_image)My name is Deborah Goldstrom and I’m a nurse at THE MEDICAL TEAM in Reston, Virginia. My patient, Martha, is 91 years old with chronic heart failure. She was recently discharged from the hospital, and she is now participating in a comprehensive in-home cardiac care program to improve her quality of life and prevent re-hospitalizations. We made sure she had a smooth transition from the hospital to her home, and now we visit her on a regular basis, follow up with her physician, and use technology to monitor her health at all times. We also taught her how to check her vital signs daily and set weekly diet and exercise goals. Martha now reports that she is “feeling pretty good” and “back to normal activities.” Now that Martha is well on her way to managing her symptoms, she is optimistic that she will achieve her ultimate goal of travelling again.
Kristi_GregoryBen was born at 24 weeks weighing only one pound and six ounces. He spent the first six months of his life in the hospital and had to be fed through a tool in his nose when he finally came home. He had many medical management and therapy needs, so his parents got a referral to Commonwealth Home Health, Inc. of South Boston, Virginia. Commonwealth’s occupational therapist, Kristi Gregory, has been working with Ben since December 2009. She concentrates on gross motor skills, positioning, play initiation, range of motion, and family training. Today, Ben is walking, talking, and eating without a feeding tube. “Working with children like Ben is so rewarding,” Kristi says. “You see the progress they make each week, as well as the delight the parents have with each new goal achieved.”
VirginiaMy name is Donna Palmer, and I am a home health nurse with Bon Secours Home Care in Richmond, VA, part of Bon Secours Health System. My patient, Cheyenne Smith, had been suffering severe dehydration and complications after having tonsillectomy surgery. Cheyenne received a series of IV therapy and treatment to overcome her condition and get well in the comfort of home. Cheyenne is a bright and wonderful girl who, with the therapy, care, and education that Bon Secours Home Care provided, was able to make a complete recovery.

Washington

Photo2WAI’m Monica Hunt, and I’m a nurse with Evergreen Home Health in Kirkland Washington. My patient Kimberly came to us with end-stage multiple sclerosis, respiratory failure, a tracheostomy, access ports, and multiple ostomies. We assessed her needs and those of her caregivers to establish procedures for the care Kimberly needed at home. Then we developed an easy-to-read manual for her caregivers and family. It addressed care for her tracheostomy and catheter. It outlined steps for PEF tube feeding, suctioning, turning schedule, and ambu bag breathing when needed. None of it was much fun so we did our best to keep things light. Kimberly loved The Golden Girls, and we often sang the theme song to distract her during difficult and unpleasant procedures. She also loved to laugh at my bad jokes, and she especially loved being able to spend valuable time at home with her family and friends.
WA_Spa_DayI’m Yvonne Benoit, RN. For the past two years, I have been clinical director at Wesley Homes Home Health and Wesley Homes Retirement Community. As a care provider both at home and at work, I am blessed with the support of the best aides, nurses, and family a person could have. I also experienced the blessings of hospice when Franciscan Hospice helped care for my mother, Dorothy, during her final days. At 100 years young, she was a devoted mother who gave of herself until the very end. She helped me be a better caregiver to the seniors I serve, and Wesley Home Health helped me be a better daughter as I learned to cope with my mom’s severe dementia. Thank you Franciscan Hospice and Wesley. You prepared me for one of the most difficult times in my life.
RuthI’m Ruth Bates, a home health nurse with Gentiva in Spokane, WA. My patient, Ethel Allen, has struggled for some time with diabetes, COPD, and end-stage renal disease. Prior to home care, she was wheelchair-bound with swelling and wounds on her legs that weren’t healing. Ethel’s husband Louis took care of her basic needs, and she attended dialysis four times a week. Our clinical team developed a treatment plan for her involving wound care, disease education, and physical therapy with therapist Jeff Waters. As a result, Ethel’s cut back to three days a week of dialysis and can walk the block in front of her home. Ethel said, “Before Gentiva came into my life, I couldn’t walk, stay awake, feed myself, or get dressed on my own. But today, I do it all!
WashingtonMy name is Jenelle Coale, and I am an in-home caregiver at CareForce in Lynnwood, Washington. My client, Hilda Krahn, is 100 years old! Hilda developed shingles on her left leg last year and required full assistance with transferring due to her pain. While pain is a constant companion, Hilda shows courage and determination every day. With hard work, she now requires only stand-by assistance. I help her exercise and we walk together three days a week. Hilda is a wonderful example of how to overcome barriers. She plays bingo, although she says she would rather be playing golf. I have been with Hilda almost three years, and it is a joy and honor to work for her. Hilda says she enjoys our relationship and that our visits are something she cherishes, especially our conversations.

West Virginia

Morris_WaltersWVMy name is Carolyn Morris Walters, and I’m a nurse at Visiting Homemaker Service in Morgantown, West Virginia. My 69-year-old patient, Ronald Helmick has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic heart failure, and coronary artery disease. He is a type 1 diabetic with a history of stroke and prostate cancer. He also has a urostomy, which he sometimes loosens to get more attention. There’s a vacuum in his life because he recently lost his wife of 17 years. So I have tried to assist him with the grieving process. He calls me “Choo Choo” because I love hats, and he also has special names for all of the staff members who have given him care. Together we’ve helped Mr. Helmick remain in his home.
Taulton_Martinsburg,_WV_(Ruffner_WV)My name is Michelle Ruffner, and I’m a nurse for Panhandle Home Health in Martinsburg, West Virginia. My patient, Gary Taulton, is a Vietnam veteran who became a paraplegic while on active duty. Due to his limited mobility and circulatory issues, Gary also has pressure ulcers. So our nurses have provided IV therapy in addition to complex wound care. Gary’s doctors rely on us to alert them to any changes in his condition, and Gary relies on us too. Without home care, “I’d be in a lot of trouble,” he explains. “They keep up with my wounds and stay on top of any new ones as soon as I get them. They keep in touch with my doctors, and keep me at home where I want to be.” And we’re glad that we can help. As a veteran who served his country, Gary deserves the best care we can provide.
WVMy name is Dan Brindo, and I’m a nurse with Roane HomeCare, part of LHC Group, Inc. in Spencer, WV. My patient, Geraldine Garrett, had to have a pacemaker-defibrillator replaced in December 2009 and has diabetes, congestive heart failure, COPD, and asthma. With the care that I and the Roane HomeCare staff provide and the support of her family, Geraldine can stay in the comfort of home surrounded by her mementos and collections she loves. Geraldine told me, “I’m getting all the care I need to keep me well; they’re really good to me.” When the staff come to visit, “we just have a blast, and I feel I’m with good people,” she said.

Wisconsin

HoaglanWIMy name is Kimberley Hoaglan, and I’m a nurse with Gentiva Health Services in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. I believe that care at home leads to the best outcomes for patients. As a nurse advocate, I collaborate with the therapy team to make sure all a patient’s needs and goals are being addressed. I’m also peer mentor for all our agency’s newly hired nurses, and I work with them one on one as they progress through their orientation. I reinforce all the requirements for documentation and explain why certain criteria are so important to focus on during episodes with patients. In addition, I help them understand why the best place to practice their nursing skills is in their patients’ homes.
WII’m Annette Moslavac, a nurse at Horizon Home Care & Hospice in Brown Deer, Wisconsin. My patient Booker Roberts has battled infection, diabetes, wounds, and surgery. But he learned persistence as a soldier in the Vietnam War. He was injured while serving his country and he survived. He will do so once again, with the right support. So I try to be as kind, loyal, and caring to him as I can. I strive to be personal and sincere, so that he’ll know I have his best interests at heart. And I’ve think I have earned his trust because he recently said, “Annette is the best. She really cares.”
WISCONSIN_newMy name is Myra T-Yocum, and I’m a registered nurse with Independent Living, Inc. in Madison, WI. My patient, Margaret Wald, suffers from cellulitis and needs assistance monitoring her medications, blood sugar, and diet. Margaret’s roommate is her beloved cat, and since I’m an animal lover and know how much it means to her, I help her care for her kitty, too. Because she’s able to remain at home, Margaret is also continuing to use the college arts degree she earned — at the age of 79! I’m proud to be able to help Margaret remain happy and healthy right where she wants to be, at home. I’ve worked in many care settings but find caring for patients in their own homes most enjoyable.
Valley_VNA_Senior_Services_photoHi, I’m Marcia Siebers and I have been a personal care worker with Valley VNA Senior Services in Neenah, Wisconsin for 25 years. My client, Kate Brehm, remains living as independently as possible but needs some help with errands and transportation to appointments. She also enjoys the extra companionship when I come along. On our drives, she shares community history and many stories of her life and family. Kate was still in her home when I started working with her, but a few years ago, she and her family decided it was time to sell her house and move into assisted living. Leaving her home was difficult, but Kate said it was easier because I am still with her in her new home. We both really enjoy each other’s company and look forward to my weekly visits.

Wyoming

IMG_5497_2My name is Michelle Madden, and I’m a nurse at Community Home Health Services in Thermopolis, Wyoming. My 71-year-old patient Triss Herrington had back-to-back knee replacements and wanted to go back to work without assistive devices. Our entire team, from the CNAs to the administration, made that a common goal so that care was tailored to meet her tall order. And we try to give all our patients the extra time and attention that is not available in most health care settings. I might assist one person by making by making a little breakfast or chat with another about their grandkids because I’ve seen that it pays to go that extra mile — even when I have to travel hundreds of miles in a day. I’ve seen the results with Triss, who was back at her desk within months. She has recovered well, and we are still friends today.
Caring_Magazine_004I’m Hollee Bosch, and I’m a nurse at Platte County Home Care in Wheatland, Wyoming. My patient, Bill Dickinson, was paralyzed in a motor vehicle accident several years ago, and he’s so appreciative of the services I have provided him over time. Caring for my patients is something I take very seriously. I did work in a hospital in the past, but my current role is more fulfilling. It’s a privilege to be able to care for people so they can remain at home. I love my work and the rural community where I live, but I do encounter some unique challenges from time to time. It’s not uncommon to have to walk across a pasture or wait for a bunch of cattle before you can get to a patient’s house.
Wyoming_02I’m Karen Gonzalez, an RN with Cheyenne Regional Medical Center’s Home Care Services in Cheyenne, WY. My patient, Margaret Meeker, suffered a stroke and required extensive physical and occupational therapy to be able to walk and write again. When she first returned home, we performed a home assessment to ensure it was safe. With a history of blood clots and edema, Margaret relies on us to monitor her medications and check for swelling in her legs. We also watch over her general well-being and are on call 24/7 if she needs help or has a question. She says she prefers being at home with her husband to any other living situation, and we’re proud to be able to serve her.

 








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