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No Slowing Down for 84-Year-Old with VNA Care’s Nurses in his Corner 

Richard “Dick” Vaughan has relied on VNA Care during some “very tough stretches” over the past three years. When the pandemic hit Massachusetts, he didn’t hesitate to welcome VNA Care’s clinicians into his home.

“I’m a prime candidate for COVID-19. I’m going to be 85 in 20 some odd days. I have emphysema, asthma all my life, and umpteen doctors taking care of me. They (VNA Care’s clinicians) can come here any time they want, any day they want. They wear their masks and put on their gloves. …They are the safest people,” said Dick. “They could save your life. One of them did save my life.”

The nurse who quite possibly saved his life was Heather Robinson, LPN. She was part of the home health care team caring for Dick after surgery earlier this year. During what they both expected to be a routine visit in February, Heather made the necessary decision to send Dick to the emergency room. He had a fever and his knee was swollen and bright red, indicators of a very serious condition.

Dick underwent surgery again. Following his hospital stay and some time at a skilled nursing facility, he was able to return home with the support of VNA Care just as the pandemic was shutting down much of the state.

One of VNA Care’s specialized programs is wound care, which employs a team of certified wound, ostomy and continence nurse specialists (CWOCN) who care for patients and serve as resources for other clinicians. Post-surgery, Keri Charpentier, RN, and Carrie Bergman, RN, CWOCN, are focused on getting Dick’s wound to fully heal while he remains in the safety and comfort of his home.

Dick said, “When they’re coming, I get excited because it’s going to be a fun visit. Yes, they are going to check my vital signs. Yes, they are going to check my lungs and listen to my heart. Yes, they’re going to do everything they have to do and then change the bandage. But they also bring with them a little something more than that. They bring with them caring and attention. It’s just a great, great feeling. I can’t say enough good about (the nurses), every single one of them. They are all excellent, excellent people.”

Dick has remained active throughout his health challenges. After a 66-year career in radio as an on-air personality, station manager, and owner, he now serves as general manager of TVCharlton, host of the cable station’s Conversations with Dick Vaughan, and member of the Charlton Board of Assessors.

He remembered one of his doctors advising him to “just keep going as far as you can, as long as you can. That’s better than any pill I could give you.”

With the home health care team from VNA Care in his corner, he has no plans to slow down.

Dick said, “To me, it’s the greatest organization I’ve ever dealt with in my life. Plain and simple.”

This article first appeared in the Fall 2020 edition of Caring Matters. Pictured: Dick Vaughan wants to change the credentials of Keri Charpentier, RN, to ORN for “Outstanding Registered Nurse.”

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