Returning to independence with VNA’s Home Health Aide services
Visiting Nurse Association’s (VNA’s) Home Health Aide team helps individuals stay safe and independent at home. This is Nina’s story.
Experiencing a setback
Nina, a 74-year-old widow, was healthy and motivated to stay that way. She drove herself to appointments and errands, and she managed her own hypertension and medications independently.
While taking out the trash, Nina tripped over a wire in the alley. She tried to brace herself, extending her arms as she fell. A neighbor found her and transported her to the hospital. Emotionally shaken, she had a broken left wrist and a fractured right arm. Her limited mobility caused her to reach out to VNA for assistance.
For the first few weeks, she required medication intervention to curb the pain of the injury. Neighbors helped with meals, shopping and even cleaning her home, but she did not have family nearby to assist her with showering. She received VNA Home Health Aide services in her home to provide assistance while she recovered.
Upon admission, the VNA nurse realized Nina hadn’t bathed since she fell, and she was in the same clothes. The nurse had to cut Nina’s shirt off to get her undressed. The nurse and the aide helped her into the shower, using a shower bench that was in the home to help steady her. Nina was tearful as she gave thanks for the help. In that moment, a dignified journey toward health and independence began.
Gaining back her independence
Nina’s path to regaining her strength and becoming independent again took a few months. The VNA nurse and aide provided care twice weekly along with light homemaking tasks like washing laundry and changing bed linens — basic needs that are vital to recovering at home. Just as important as recovery was prevention of future injuries. During visits, the VNA nurse and aide assessed safety issues in relation to her limitations so Nina could remain in her home without any further falls. They gave her guidance and instruction for ongoing safe bathing as she healed and improved.
Neighbors and friends were able to help Nina in many ways, but they were not able to provide the personal care that she required for her physical health and wellbeing. Her children, who live out of state, were unable to return to Nebraska to assist with her care. However, they had peace of mind knowing that VNA cared for their mom. Her unfortunate accident prevented her from flying out for Christmas, but when she met her recovery goal, she was rewarded with a trip to see them.
Nina was so grateful for the care that she received. At the time of discharge, she was working with outpatient therapy to strengthen her upper extremities, and she could bathe on her own. After services were complete, Nina called to thank the VNA nurse and home health aide again for all that they had done for her.
“Dee was the best,” she said. “She was experienced and helpful and took such good care of me. You guys are my angels.”
Share this story: