John's story

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John's storyAurora VNA nurse partners with HomMed patient to ensure safety and independence at home

"When we enter a home, we enter a life" is Aurora VNA's tagline. Each day our nurses, aides and therapists are honored to visit patients at home to provide skilled medical care. John Knight is one of the thousands of people Aurora VNA cares for in our communities.

John has a longstanding history of independence and of living a full life. As a World War II Veteran he served as a control operator. As a husband and proud grandfather of 8 college-educated grandchildren, he is used to being organized, independent and self-sufficient.

However, throughout the past few years John's independence and health have been challenged. John developed Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), in addition to chronic pneumonia.

John says his COPD and pneumonia became too challenging to manage by himself. He experienced frequent emergency room visits and repeat hospitalizations. In fact, John says his health became so out of hand that emergency room staff started to know him on a first-name basis.

Fortunately, John's doctor referred him to Aurora VNA for skilled nursing to stabilize and monitor his respiratory issues. In conjunction with skilled nursing, John utilizes a telemonitoring device called HomMed.

When asked to describe HomMed, John states, "The machine provides the same information as a personal call or in-person visit." Every day at eleven o'clock a.m. John's machine greets him with a pleasant, "Good morning!" The device also uses voice cues to remind him to step on a scale, take his temperature, blood pressure and pulse. In three minutes or less, the machine gathers and transmits John's vitals to the VNA's telemonitoring nurses who help monitor his health. John also chooses to record his vital signs in a personalized log for his own records.

To John, HomMed and nursing care helped prevent his return to the hospital, "The machine gives me a head-start warning about any problems. Now, I can see for myself about my health, and I feel more secure being knowledgeable of my condition."

John says he feels empowered about his health. He knows his body needs some time to wake up in the morning and his oxygen levels often start out low. As a result, he likes to recheck his vital signs throughout the day.

During John's interview a VNA telemonitoring nurse called to check in on his oxygenation levels because they were low earlier in the day. John had his personal log readily available and proudly reported an increase in his oxygenation. He also crosschecked his handwritten numbers by looking at his machine.

When asked how Aurora VNA has impacts his health and added well being, John proudly stated, "I just can't praise the VNA enough." John went on to say that, "The machine [HomMed] doesn't replace the nurse. Please know that they just don't throw you out there to figure this out by yourself." He explains, "Instead, it is a part of their system of care."

When VNA nurses initially came to John's home, he felt hesitant because he did not know where to set up the machine or how to use it. His nurse, Dan Blaha, helped him create a special area to set up his device and showed him how to make a log to record his readings.

When John was asked what he would say to other people living with chronic respiratory conditions, he said, "It is easy! You would be surprised at how there is nothing to it."

Supporting John's claim, his nurse agreed and said, "HomMed and skilled nursing provided by the VNA keep people healthier and out of the hospital." Dan said the machine is extremely user friendly and is utilized by patients of all ages. He noted that many patients are in their 90s and 100s.

Dan went on to say, "Through the machine and our nursing care, we are able to catch weight gain or oxygen levels daily and communicate problems to patients and physicians. This technology and care allows us to adjust medications and update treatment plans in an accurate and efficient manner."

John said he takes pride in managing his health and feels much safer at home. He appreciates the fact that he can always call the VNA directly to reach a nurse 24-hours a day and 7-days a week. John explained, "Those nurses are right on the stick! I contact them when I have a question and they always contact me if I do not get a favorable reading." John concluded by saying, "They have never left me hanging. I would feel very stressed out if I did not have access to this care."