After Gail Harmon had hip surgery last year, she was supposed to start physical and occupational therapy at a local rehabilitation facility immediately. But it was a challenge. First, she had health insurance issues. When that was resolved, she encountered more red tape. “By the time they did the referral at my doctor’s office, and it went to whatever healthcare facility where they then had to get it approved, it took a while,” says Gail.
In the meantime, her doctor advised her to get physical and occupational therapy through the Visiting Nurse Association’s (VNA) Home Health Services, who he knew would respond quickly. He wrote her a referral and Gail contacted the organization immediately, a decision that makes her very happy. “With the VNA, it was just fast, you know, and the people are so nice. I’m so glad my doctor told me about it,” she says.
VNA Home Health Services takes a holistic approach to patient care, which is why every patient care team includes a nurse to initially check a patient’s vitals, regardless of the reason for the patient’s referral, whether it’s for wound care, chronic disease management or post-surgical therapy care, as it was in Gail’s case, or for one of the many other kinds of home health care services that the VNA provides.
Gail’s home health team consisted of two APRNs, an occupational therapist and a physical therapist. The first nurse went to Gail’s house on a Saturday, which was followed by another nurse a few days later, on Tuesday. “They took my blood pressure and things like that and asked me questions about my medication…I’m 69 and I was happy to say I’m hardly on any medication at all,” she says.
Once the nurses had established that Gail’s vitals were stable, the occupational therapist and physical therapist started visiting her. “They showed me different exercises that I could do on my own, like in the in bed and sitting up and standing,” recounts Gail. “They were all just very nice and I was just so impressed.”
The occupational therapist, Amanda Forget, OTR/L, CLT, says she appreciates the accolades, adding humbly that she was just doing her job. “Our VNA occupational therapy team strives to provide support from environmental home modifications, activities of daily living and functional mobility retraining, personalized home exercise programs to promote endurance and strength, along with recommending community resources to improve the patient’s ability to navigate their current health condition(s) and develop strategies on preventative measures to allow autonomy in their healthcare experience and decrease risk of health deterioration,” says Amanda. “Ultimately, VNA occupational therapists strive to ensure the patient and their family experience support and direction in their health journey to ensure they have a bright and fulfilling future at home and in the community.”
By the time Gail was approved for a long-term outpatient physical rehabilitation facility, she was already on the mend, thanks to her VNA team. “I got a good start with the VNA,” she says with a smile.