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Former Visiting Nurse Experiences What it's Like to be a Home Health Care Patient

Linda Haddad was taken completely by surprise when she had a heart attack three years ago. The longtime volunteer and former visiting nurse for VNA Care knew just what to do when it was time to transition from hospital to home.

"I asked for an order for VNA Care to come in because I needed a lot of care and a lot of monitoring," said Linda. "I had physical therapy, nursing, and other services, and it was wonderful. Who knew I was going to have open heart surgery, and I'd have VNA Care again."

Linda first experienced the value of home health care as a nursing student over 50 years ago. She spent one of her clinical rotations with a visiting nurse caring for people in their own homes.

"That was always on my mind, even as I went through different types of nursing," she shared.

After getting her nursing license, she worked as a visiting nurse in the Boston and Worcester areas.

"If we had an order that was to do a dressing, that wasn't the only thing we needed to look at. We had to go into the social situation, the family context, and diet. We taught the total package to patients and family members because all of those contributed to the health of the patient. That's what I liked," said Linda.

Taking a holistic view of each individual patient and providing the education, care, and support to help them reach their health care goals is a trademark of VNA Care's home health care clinicians. Linda got to see the other side of this, especially when she returned home after open heart surgery.

"I was in tough shape physically and emotionally. It was vital for my physical health that I had some mental support through the health professionals who came into the house," said Linda.

In addition to offering emotional support, the team taught Linda and her family about her condition and the steps needed to aid her in regaining her strength and reaching her optimal health. Linda and her family always had someone to call if they had questions or concerns. 

Linda said, "It was a tough road. VNA Care made a difference in my recovery. There's no doubt about it." Having been both a visiting nurse and a home health care patient, she often finds herself encouraging friends facing an illness or injury to contact VNA Care. Linda said, "I think it's the best thing you can do for your health."

As a volunteer with VNA Care for nearly 20 years, Linda makes a difference in the health of the community as a member of the board of directors and Worcester Area Community Cabinet, which raises awareness of and charitable support for home health and hospice care.

Linda said, "I've been involved with VNA Care practically my entire life. This is the organization that I love." 

Pictured: Barbara Devecis, physical therapist, (left) was part of VNA Care's home health care team who cared for Linda Haddad, longtime VNA Care volunteer (right).

Linda and her husband, Abe, received the 2019 Heart of Gold Award for Community Involvement from the American Heart Association of Massachusetts. Watch the awards video.

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