Monday, November 23, 2015

Home Health Care

Maine Health, the parent of Maine Medical Center among other medical institutions and doctors, has a great program called Maine Health Home Health Care.  Along with its services, it keeps the patient honest in following the doctors’ directions.

I’m one of its current patients.

It’s my understanding that Home Health Care is designed to attempt to keep released hospital patients from returning to the hospital for more treatment of the original condition.  Hospitals, you know, get penalized if they release a patient too early.

I wear an ICD, an implanted combination pacemaker and defibrillator device to help my heart work.  If it starts ticking too fast, the pacemaker attempts to pace it back to normalcy.  I never know when the device is pacing.  If it doesn’t solve the problem, the defibrillator takes over and sends an electrical shock directly to the heart.  It’s like those paddles you see on medical shows on TV, except my paddles are now built in.  My device was implanted in 2009.

About a month ago, my ICD decided I needed a demonstration on how it works.  As I was getting dressed one morning, it sent a mule into my room and it kicked the devil out of me.  I was told to go immediately to the Emergency Room at the hospital if it ever went off so my wife called the super EMTs at the Scarborough Fire Department.

By the time they arrived in just a very few short minutes, I think I had totally recovered from the shock.  Sure, my chest hurt, but everything else seemed to be back to normal.  Nevertheless, I went to the hospital and was admitted.  Three days and nights of various tests and medicine tweaks confirmed my ICD had fired.

The hospital and my doctor there wanted me to have Home Health Care for a while.  A nurse first came to my home to interview me and take the preliminary vital signs, etc.  She gave me several options for help from a visiting nurse, physical therapist, home care person, dietician, etc.  She then told me about monitoring device now available.  Home Health calls that part of their services "TeleHealth."

I am now using one.  Using a tablet, but I don’t know which one as this is my first use of such a device, my weight, blood pressure, oxygen, and heart beats per minute are recorded on the tablet via blue tooth then transmitted to the Home Health office via telephone.  I think this tablet is using ATT.

The nurses in the monitoring room keep track of my ups and downs.  When they determine a problem might be developing, they call me.  For example, if my weight moves more than three pounds from the base weight established before I was discharged from the hospital.  Also my cardiologist gets a call.  My regular physician may also get one.  My doctors get a wee anxious over weight change.  Especially for big folk with heart disease.

The tablet also asks a few health questions and the answers I give could also get me a call to be sure I’m all right.

One thing, it keeps me honest.  I can’t even lie to myself without getting caught.  And so far, my weight hasn’t hit those three pounds in either direction. 

I have a nurse and a physical therapist stop by my house every week since I no longer drive and am mostly home bound.  The two professionals who visit me are just about the nicest and most professional I’ve ever worked with.  And a dietician who helped me decide on how to meet the diet restrictions my doctors placed on me was in the same category. She learned my likes and dislikes and then simply made suggestions on how I could meet the goals.  No lectures!

I’m not sure how much longer this will last, but until my Medicare allotment of time runs out, I have a whole wonderful team working to help me get to my next birthday.  I love it all.

I surely hope you never need the services of Home Health Care; but if circumstances change for you and the need arises, don’t hesitate one moment to ask for that help.  These great people simply care about you.





1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good to see you back here.