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Nurse Supports her Patients Throughout their Health Care Journey 

Sierra Fleming believes that her role as a visiting nurse is all about going the extra mile in caring for her patients and their families.

What that means changes with each and every person, but the end goal is the same — helping them heal and keeping them safe where they are happiest, in their own home. “That’s huge, and that’s what we all want,” said Sierra.

She remembered visiting one woman who was having trouble managing at home since her son passed away. He had helped with so much, and she didn’t have any other family to help her with medications, groceries, and other day-to-day needs. The woman was prepared to sell her home and move to an assisted living facility. The woman was afraid she’d no longer be able to live on her own.

Sierra shared, “Within the first 10 minutes of us having a conversation, she felt so relieved that I knew about all of these services that could help, and that within a week we had everything set up for her. She was able to stay in her own home because of the support we provide our patients.”

Looking beyond immediate medical needs is an integral part of VNA Care’s success in helping patients remain at home after they are discharged. Meals on Wheels, personal care assistants, and automated medication dispensers are just a few of the wide-ranging resources Sierra has shared with this and other patients.

There are times when Sierra sees patients who are nearing the end of life. One man with end-stage cancer was continuing to pursue curative treatment, but it was leaving him feeling even worse.

Sierra spent time with the man’s wife, answering her many questions and guiding her on options. The couple decided it was time for the comfort measures that hospice would bring, and Sierra transitioned the patient to VNA Care’s hospice program.

The wife later called Sierra to thank her for all the time she devoted to their care. “It’s things like that that remind me why I do what I do,” Sierra said.

Many of VNA Care’s patients are elderly and facing complex and often chronic health conditions. Sierra was on the road to visit one of these patients when his daughter called, concerned about her dad’s condition. Sierra quickly obtained his physician’s orders for bloodwork.

As she assessed the patient, she found that his condition was quickly deteriorating yet the patient refused to go to the hospital. Sierra could see the fear in his daughter’s eyes. She asked the patient to consider his family, and “that’s when it hit him. He went to the hospital and it saved his life.”

To Sierra, “Working in home health care has given me so much. I just want to further my nursing career, so I can give back to this job that’s given me a lot.”

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