Getting home health was more than Barbara Dempsey bargained for – in a good way.

Senior woman showing female caregiver how to crochet.

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You’d never guess that Barbara Dempsey has cancer nor that she is 89 years young. Nevertheless, while she looks healthy – and in many respects is healthy – the chemotherapy she started a few months ago took its toll, particularly on her balance. That’s why her doctor ordered home health care, and Barbara chose VNA, who she’d hired before. “I was stumbling around (my doctor’s office) trying to get up,” recalls Barbara.

Barbara’s plan of care included physical therapy. For several weeks the physical therapist visited her twice a week at her home and helped guide her through different exercises to help improve her balance. The exercises included marching in place, lifting her legs one at a time to the side, and kicking her feet up one at a time while sitting. And although her physical therapist is no longer with her, he left detailed written instructions so Barbara can practice on her own, which she does. “It has helped and if I just would keep up the exercises faithfully, I wouldn’t have near the trouble… I try to do them every day,” she says.

In addition to physical therapy, Barbara’s plan of care also included a weekly visit from an RN who checked her vitals, reviewed her medications, and checked for any side effects from the chemotherapy. Barbara and her VNA nurse, Tracy Woods, became quite friendly after they learned they shared something in common: crocheting. “She was a pleasure and actually shared some wonderful tips with me as I was a beginner crocheter,” says Tracy fondly. “She sat with me and showed me what I was doing wrong and gave me some patterns to work on. She was wonderful and I really enjoyed visiting her.”

Barbara felt likewise. “I got into a pretty good situation because she was just starting to learn how to crochet and I was crocheting all over the place so we shared patterns and stuff like that,” says Barbara, adding that her overall experience with both Tracy and her physical therapist was positive. “They’re very nice people and they did what they’re supposed to do… the VNA, they’re really the only (home health) agency that have made any impression on me.”

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