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Continuum of Care for Seniors at Home Is a Treasured Gift

May 2, 2022, Elder Medical Care, EMC Patient Stories

Continuum of Care for Seniors at Home Is a Treasured Gift

Lucy Muffoletto
Lucy Muffoletto

Lucy Muffoletto was intensely independent her entire life. But in her late 60s, her health began to decline. She was diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and chronic heart failure.

Lucy experienced shortness of breath and trouble breathing, which in turn caused anxiety. Because getting out of the house was difficult, she put off medical care until a crisis occurred—resulting in multiple ER visits and hospitalizations. Each time, Lucy had to be intubated, an invasive and painful procedure to help with breathing. After her last hospital visit, she transferred to a nursing home for short-term rehabilitation while the pandemic was in full force. Lucy spent a miserable two weeks in quarantine before returning home. She was tired of the unending cycle.

“Lucy decided she never wanted to go back to the hospital,” said Amber Palewicz, her niece. Amber is an administrative coordinator for Gilchrist’s Elder Medical Care program, so she knew the benefits of home-based medical care and suggested it to Lucy. Her aunt agreed.

Comprehensive Care at Home

With Elder Medical Care, a nurse practitioner visits the patient at home and provides medical care, medications and any testing needed, such as X-Rays. Patients also have access to a nurse helpline 24 hours a day when concerns arise, and a social worker for emotional support.

For Lucy, this care made all the difference. Her Gilchrist nurse practitioner, Amy Wenz, helped control Lucy’s shortness of breath and anxiety, and managed her medications. Knowing Amy was only a phone call away brought Lucy comfort. Most importantly, it kept her out of the hospital and allowed her to spend more time with her precious granddaughter, Dakota, who was the “light of her life,” according to her family.

“Elder Medical Care helped her keep her independence and dignity,” explained Amber. “Being able to stay at home helped her feel in control. She wasn’t in a nursing home or hospital being told what to do—she made her own decisions.”

Seamless Transition to More Intensive Services

As Lucy’s illness progressed, she needed more intensive services. Gilchrist’s integrated continuum of care allowed her to seamlessly transition to hospice care while remaining at home. Hospice care provided an additional layer of support. Lucy and her family had access to a hospice nurse, social worker, aide, chaplain and volunteer as well as all the medical equipment she needed.

When the time came, the nurse sat down with the family and explained that Lucy had little time left. The family was able to spend precious time with Lucy, telling her how much they loved her. Because of Gilchrist and its compassionate team, the final months of Lucy’s life were full of joy and tender moments with loved ones. The family will cherish these precious memories for the rest of their lives.

Amber says her family will be forever grateful. “This is a gift that our family will never be able to repay.”

Learn more at gilchristcares.org.

2 thoughts on “Continuum of Care for Seniors at Home Is a Treasured Gift

  1. Patricia Nickerson says:

    How much does Elder Medical Care cost? Is it covered at all my Medicare or private insurance?

    1. Alexis Cameron says:

      Hi Patricia! Medicare, Medicaid and most insurers offer coverage for Elder Medical Care. Please take a look at our FAQ page to learn about more about the costs or give us a call directly.

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