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November is National Home Care and Hospice Month: CVN Patient Tells His Story

November 1, 2011

With National Home Care and Hospice Month in November, an estimated 33,000 providers will pause to reflect on the care provided to over 12 million people nationwide. In the last year, Concordia Visiting Nurses has provided professional home health care and private duty home care services in the homes of over 10,000 people in western Pennsylvania.

"We're proud and blessed to offer such high quality, compassionate care in the communities we serve," said Martin Trettel, CEO of Concordia Visiting Nurses. "Treating people like family goes a long way in delivering the best home care in the region, and that's what we do each day."

But it's the patients who live in the communities served who can tell the real story behind the care offered by Concordia Visiting Nurses.

Education Becomes Lifestyle for Aliquippa Resident

There aren't a whole lot of people who can say they've stared death in the face and lived to tell about it. Fifty-five year old Aliquippa resident Dan Cook did it three times in one day.

After a long history of heart problems, which have ultimately left him with an artificial aortic valve, three stents and a prosthetic leg due to bypass surgeries, Cook suffered a heart attack in December that sent him to the brink of death. Three times from his house to the hospital, he needed to be resuscitated.

Following his discharge from Heritage Valley Beaver, Cook blindly chose Concordia Visiting Nurses (CVN) for his professional home health needs. While he was unfamiliar with the organization and the concept of home health care in general, he was oriented pretty quickly.

"The first thing the CVN staff did was talk about what I should expect and what we'll be working on," he said. "After that, they made sure I knew what was going on all the time, which is really helpful and reassuring."

With its Chronic Disease Management Program for Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), CVN is doing what it can to help patients like Cook make their hearts last. Cook said his RN Vanessa Hartwell has done such a terrific job of educating him that he can now practically recite the information with her.

Along with that education, twice a week he had his blood pressure, heart beat, oxygen, glucose level and more checked by Hartwell and other CVN nurses. The rest of the time he relied on one of CVN's Telehealth Monitors.

The monitor is a device that was installed in Cook's home upon the start of CVN services. During installation, it was programmed to prompt him to regularly check certain things like weight, blood pressure, pulse and oxygenation levels using equipment attached to the monitor. There are approximately 150 health related questions that can be programmed into the monitor, along with patient education tutorials.

Readings from the monitor are transmitted to a central station where the CVN monitor nurse assesses them. A red alert accompanies an abnormal reading, which prompts the monitor nurse to call the patient and evaluate the need for intervention from the patient's doctors.

While Cook believes his monitor is a godsend, he said he actually looked forward to his visits with Hartwell.

"She's made such an impact on my life, I just feel better when I see her," he said. "My experience with Concordia has been eye opening I would tell anyone to choose them, no matter what you need."

For more information on Concordia Visiting Nurses, call the Cabot office at 1.877.352.6200, the Baden office at 1.866.869.8669 or visit online. You can also e-mail us here.

For information on caring for a loved one with a serious physical illness, visit our Serious Illness educational caregiver website. For information on caring for an aging family member, visit our Elder Pages website.

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