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Great-grandmother Overcomes COVID-19 with VNA Care

Mary Cameron* doesn’t remember much about the day Lindsay Cavalieri, RN, of VNA Care, insisted she go to the hospital by ambulance for a suspected case of COVID-19.

“I was exhausted. I was having trouble putting one foot in front of the other,” said Mary. She had only been at home for a few days after weeks of treatment for a heart attack at a hospital and rehabilitation facility. The last thing she wanted to do was go back to a hospital.

Afraid her patient wouldn’t survive another day, Lindsay (pictured) refused to leave her side until she agreed to get in the ambulance. “Thank God she did,” Mary recalled later.

Her condition was serious, and Mary was admitted to the COVID-19 intensive care unit. There she found herself at even greater risk due to her other health conditions. But Mary, “a very tough cookie” according to Lindsay, never gave up. The family matriarch and great-grandmother pulled through. Today, she is continuing her recovery at home thanks to Lindsay’s keen assessment and through the support of VNA Care’s home health care team.

Lindsay and her colleagues, Kristin Bujdos, DPT, Lisa Sternstrom, OTR/L, and Jennifer Robitaille, LPN, are focused on helping their patient reach her optimal health and remain in her own home for as long as possible.

They’ve helped Mary and her family obtain equipment, like a hospital bed, and suggested changes around the house that make life safer for her as she regains her strength. Her living room has been converted into a temporary bedroom until she can master the 15 steps to her second-floor bedroom, and everything she needs in the kitchen is now within easy reach.

The team is monitoring such things as Mary’s breathing and overall health. They’re teaching her new ways to approach routine tasks, like reaching for objects, to make day-to-day activities possible. Meanwhile, she’s learning how to improve her mobility and strength. Most recently, with her therapist’s encouragement, she’s mastered going up and down five stairs, just what she needs to get in and out of her house.

Lindsay has cared for many COVID-19 patients, and is still amazed by Mary’s progress over the past month. She said, “Every time I see her and she’s doing much better, it’s a great feeling.”

Mary, in turn, appreciates the care and expertise of the entire team, and especially Lindsay’s “sense of humor that never quits. She knows how to counter my most stubborn days. She is the epitome of what a nurse should be.”

Mary’s hopeful that she’s done with any new health crises and can remain at home under the care of her nurses and therapists. With the milder spring weather ahead, she’s planning to venture outside her front door for physical therapy sessions.

Mary said, “It’s good to be home, it really is.”

*Name changed at patient’s request.

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