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Physical Therapist Turns to VNA Care Colleagues When Husband Needs Rehab, Nursing After Knee Replacements 

Deborah Tanner, PT, has helped many people recover from knee replacement surgery during her nearly two decades at VNA Care. But she knew she needed support for own husband’s two knee replacements.

“When it’s a family member, any of your clinical knowledge gets put on the back burner because there is an emotional aspect to it,” said Deborah.

Intimately knowing the strength of VNA Care’s rehab teams, Deborah and her husband, Wayne Tanner, were confident that the agency’s specialty joint replacement program was just what they needed to get Wayne back on his feet.

Photo of Deborah and Wayne Tanner“Right from the word go, while Wayne was still in the hospital, I had support from VNA Care,” said Deborah.

The team ensured Wayne had a smooth transition home and began visiting the very next day. Deborah shared that the weekend team of Elizabeth Zerio, RN, and Julia Manczurowsky, PT, were “instrumental in teaching him about his medications, what to expect from the early days of recovery, and reassuring him that VNA Care would be there to support us.”

In the coming weeks, Wayne and Deborah relied on Heather Bliss, LPN, and Laurine Hanlon, RN, to navigate swelling and pain, and additional care and support from Ursula Sutton, RN, and David McIntire, PT.

Wayne said, “Everyone who came out was very thorough and understanding. Everyone was paying attention to what I was saying and gave me good advice along the way.”

Much of Wayne’s time was spent with Kelley O’Connell, PT. His two knee replacement surgeries were scheduled six weeks apart, so, while recovering from the first, he was also preparing for the second operation.

Kelley and Wayne worked on a series of structured exercises, and Kelley provided clear-cut goals for what they would be aiming for on her next visit. Wayne was committed to doing whatever it took to regain as much of his range of motion as possible, so he and Deborah could once again enjoy hiking, cycling, and snowshoeing together.

Wayne was concerned that the surgeries would make it difficult for him to get up the stairs to his home office and bedroom.

“I really didn’t want to be limited,” he said. “(Kelley) gave me very specific exercises and monitored my progress to make sure that the right knee was strong enough and I felt comfortable and confident getting around before I had the second operation.”

Whenever he had a setback, Kelley was there to assure him that it was all normal and that he’d get to where he wanted to be. His commitment to physical therapy and the team’s advice and support paid off. He described his progress as “really, really tremendous.”

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