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Texas Health Dallas Home Health Service Takes Care to Dallas Doorsteps
07/01/2009

DALLAS — A month removed from bilateral spinal fusion, Dallas resident Brenda Arrington isn’t quite back to her old self. The incision from surgery still needs to be dressed. Medications need to be monitored. Physical therapy is a must to ensure she gets back on her feet.

Cheryle Sol checks Brenda Arrington's blood pressure during a visit to the Dallas woman's home.

Cheryle Sol, R.N., checks Brenda Arrington's blood pressure during a visit to the Dallas woman's home.

Click image to download hi-res file.

They’re services found in most major hospitals, but thanks to home health nurses and therapists at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, Arrington gets all these medical needs met in the comfort of her own home.

“They’re angels,” Arrington says from her Lake Highlands kitchen as Texas Health Dallas Home Health nurse Cheryle Sol checks her blood pressure. “That’s all I can say.”

Sol visits Arrington twice a week to check vitals, monitor overall health and ensure she’s taking the right medications at the right time.

Sol is one of 44 nurses and dozens of other health care providers from Texas Health Dallas who fan out into the community every day to take health care to the doorsteps of people who are well enough to be out of the hospital but aren’t ready to be completely independent.

“Brenda thanks me every time I come by to see her, but I’m the one who should be thanking her,” said Sol, who has been a nurse for 30 years. “It’s rewarding to care for people and see them get better in their own environment. I love seeing them interact with family and see the smiles that come across their faces because they’re home.”

The home environment also tells Sol and other home health professionals a lot about a patient and their recovery. They learn about patients’ diets, daily routines, family support and numerous other factors that can influence how quickly a patient recovers and affect their long-term health.

“You’d be surprised at how much we can learn about someone from seeing them in their own environment,” Sol said. “That tells us where we need to educate and the things that they need to work on to get better. And the education part is big, because we want them to develop the tools to be self sufficient.”

In all, Texas Health Dallas has more than 100 home health professionals, including nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and social workers. They care for residents with various conditions, from congestive heart failure to diabetes to arthritis to cancer.

Patients include people who have been discharged from the hospital after total joint replacement surgeries, heart procedures and breast-cancer surgeries. The program also includes palliative care services and care for patients who haven’t been in the hospital but whose declining health warrants the watchful, trained eyes of a home health professional.

The home health service includes educating patients about proper diet and exercise, medication dosing, and other health issues facing them during recovery and beyond.

“The goal is not just to care for these patients but to educate them so that one day they don’t need us anymore,” said Patti Mize, director of Texas Health Dallas’ program. “We want to educate them and their families so that they don’t need us anymore and can take care of themselves. That’s an important step in the healing process.”

The Texas Health Dallas home health team serves people in both Dallas and Collin counties. In 2007, the staff of Texas Health Dallas’ home health drove more than 500,000 miles to reach their patients.

“Every one of our team members is dedicated to their patients,” Mize said. “Nothing keeps these caregivers from reaching their patients, treating them as if they were their own family. They work long hours and travel through all weather conditions to get to their patients.”

Home health care is an important solution for providing long-term care to the growing elderly population, Mize added. The work of the caregivers allows people to age in the comfort of their own homes and to maintain their independence.

“I don’t look at this like work,” Sol said as she left Brenda’s house after a recent visit. “It’s a passion of mine to care for people, and doing it in their homes just makes it that much more rewarding.”

For additional information about Texas Health Home Health, call 214-345-HOME (4663).

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is an 866-bed acute care hospital and recognized clinical program leader, having provided compassionate care to the residents of Dallas and surrounding communities since 1966. US News and World Report has ranked Texas Health Dallas among the nation’s best hospitals in digestive disorders, orthopedics, and neurology and neurosurgery. An affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, Texas Health Dallas has approximately 4,000 employees and an active medical staff of more than 1,000 physicians. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit www.TexasHealth.org.

 

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