Every 15 seconds an older adult is seen for a falls related injury in an Emergency Department...
How to Heal: One Patient’s Story of Hope and Acceptance [Video]
Most people don’t think about home healthcare until they or until a friend or relative needs it. Cynthia was no different, only that she had spent her entire professional career as a home health clinician, an occupational therapist. Still, she said she never thought she’d require the same services that she gave to others.
“I didn’t think I needed help,” she told us, noting that she struggled to identify what was causing her to fall and what she could do to prevent it. “I ended up having to go to the emergency room eight times because they couldn’t figure out what was going on,” she said. “By that time, other things started kicking in.”
She finally accepted that she needed home healthcare and asked around for referrals. The responses were, “VNA is the best.”
VNA of Ohio therapists provided specialty services like lymphedema care and other types of therapy. Over the course of her care, she received care from a nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist and lymphedema therapist, all VNA of Ohio staff.
Each week she would see results; she was getting better and stronger. “I had the best team ever,” she said. “I just can’t speak more highly for VNA and the therapists.”
Healing the Whole Person
Coming to terms with an illness or a deficiency is very hard. Addressing both the physical effects of an illness, as well as the mental impact is challenging, but both are required for true healing.
She recognized that she was depressed because she wasn’t working and didn’t think she’d get to work again. A friend recommended that she run for political office. She got excited by the idea and ran for office.
She didn’t say anything to her nurse or therapists, but they started noticing positive changes – she was walking better, looking better and talking better. “My therapists didn’t miss a thing, these were true therapists.”
Her VNA team built a strong level of trust by listening to her, making suggestions, but not telling her what she must do. She said the little things they did made a big difference. When her VNAO nurse first tried to visit her, Cynthia's legs were so large that she wasn't able to get up to open the door. The nurse called 911 and accompanied her in the ambulance to the hospital to make sure she received proper care. Cynthia said she hadn’t expected her to do that. Another time, one of her caregivers brought her a strawberry sundae because she had remembered her saying that she couldn’t wait to get one.
“It just opened me up to talking more, little things like that.”
Healing at Home
According to the AARP, more than 90% of people over the age of 65 want to stay in their homes. Cynthia said having the care in her home was essential. “If you can function in your own home, then you can function anywhere.”
Her VNA team helped problem-solve and think through all the reasons she could be falling. They reconfigured her home, thinking of creative ways to address challenges. They also helped her obtain specialized home equipment, including a lift chair for her bed, which aided her sleep and improved her walking.
“I absolutely fell in love with them after they let me know, ‘we’re going to get you going, Cynthia,’ she said. “And that gave me hope.”
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Call VNA of Ohio Today
Learn more about physical therapy at home and occupational therapy at home or call us today at 1-877-698-6264.
Photo credit: Thien Nguyen