Home Health Care: Here’s How it Benefited One Knute Nelson Client
May 27, 2022
By Danielle Andersen
Help With Independent Living Kept Jan Heikes in Her Home During a Difficult Recovery Period
Jan Heikes grew up on a farm in Illinois, moved to Minnesota when she was 21, and went back to school to get her RN degree when her youngest started school. She worked in a trauma ward for 26 years, but used time with horses to relax and unwind. Her passion for horses stayed with her into retirement – until her cellulitis diagnosis in early 2019.
Heikes has rheumatoid arthritis so was no stranger to pain, but shooting pain and a swollen leg one morning convinced her something was different. Within a few months, her leg had been amputated and she endured a five-week hospital stay.
At-Home Recovery: The Obvious Choice
Heikes was facing an extended recovery period and would be heavily dependent on others for care. When her time was up at the hospital, she requested at-home care, both because it would allow her to recuperate in a more familiar and comfortable setting, but by having home care specialists from Knute Nelson come to her home, it relieved a huge burden from her husband.
Within a short amount of time of arriving back home, staff from Knute Nelson had already called to ask about her needs, and soon a nurse came out to perform an evaluation and connect her to physical and occupational therapy.
“I said, ‘I have to be independent and be able to do everything for myself. Even if I have help, I have to do it for myself,’” Heikes said, explaining that Knute Nelson staff started at the beginning, teaching her how to care for herself. “They never acted as if I wasn't able to do it, which is really nice.”
Help Was There When She Needed It
Heikes’ recovery was interrupted when her second leg was amputated – a frustrating blow that required more recovery and more care at home.
“I can't imagine anybody getting through the process unless they had someone that was as knowledgeable as they were and capable of giving the help,” Heikes said of the Knute Nelson specialists who helped her.
Heikes wholeheartedly recommends at-home care from Knute Nelson.
“I'm sure that going to PT to a location is good for some, but when you actually have to learn how to be independent in your own home, care in your own home only makes sense. I was using everything that I would be using after they left,” she said. “You wouldn't necessarily know that if you were going somewhere to get your treatments. It's the best of both worlds to have them come out. I don't think I'd be doing anywhere near as well if they weren't here.”
Losing her independence was a great fear for Heikes. Regaining it meant setting specific goals – for example, being able to garden while seated – which is something that the Knute Nelson nurses helped with.
“They are really caring, very knowledgeable, and more than happy to try anything that you wanted to do,” she said. “They always asked me what my goals were and then followed through and checked it off. I would just hope that everybody that needs home care would actually be able to go to Knute Nelson and get it from them.”