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Marcia Arnold, Home Health Patient

Teaming up for quality of life

“I couldn’t do half of what I do if it weren’t for home care helping me along, encouraging me, and taking care of my needs.”

Marcia’s home health story

Marcia Arnold knows what it means to be a caregiver.

She compassionately filled that role for what seems like most of her life for those she loved. First for both of her grandparents, then for her husband.

Over the years, she learned the routine to help her loved ones manage medical care for leukemia, congestive heart failure, diabetes, cancer and dementia, all while they lived in the Johnson City, Tennessee, home where Marcia grew up and where she raised her children.

By her late 50s, a series of surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments left Marcia in need of a great deal of follow-up health care and routine medical care that require skilled nursing care or oversight. She worried that it might mean repeated hospital stays or even moving to a long-term care facility.

Instead, the doctor suggested at-home care service and set up home visits from a registered nurse from Ballad Health Homecare.

“My doctors took care of everything,” she says. “They contacted the service providers and the insurance company. They set up an appointment, and someone from Ballad Health Homecare came out and did an assessment. We got started from there. And none of the services cost me anything, because my insurance pays for it all.”

This was a surprise to Marcia because she originally thought patients had to be bed-bound to qualify for home care. She was delighted to discover that she could continue to have a more normal life, staying in the home surrounded by the framed faces of those she loves and where she creates stained glass treasures and jewelry in her at-home studio.

Even better, from the first day Marcia’s home health nurse from Ballad Health Homecare appeared on her front porch with a cheery smile, the two became fast friends.

“I always love seeing Amanda come. She brings a smile, and we laugh. She’s got a heart as big as all outdoors, and she’s just a wonderful person. I think of her as another one of my kids,” Marcia says.

Amanda McDonald, B.S.N., R.N., says the feeling is mutual. “Marcia has taught me a lot of things, probably more than I could have ever taught her. She’s an amazing patient. Everyone always progresses more at home when they have the ability to stay at home and receive care,” she says. “My role here is to help keep her out of the hospital. Number one, I am an advocate for her. I’m the front line between the physician and her. If she has any kind of special needs or any requests or any concerns, I can relay that to the physician for her.”

Now, after more than five years, the two look forward to the days Amanda comes to assess Marcia’s health, teach her how to perform the variety of procedures to care for herself between weekly visits, and make sure she has equipment and supplies she needs.

Home care enables me to be able to stay home and keeps me active.

“I dabble in a little bit of everything from stained glass to jewelry-making to crochet. And my family comes in once a month for a family game day. We just make a day out of eating and playing games and acting silly and having a good time.

“Home care is a big reason that I get to still do these things.”

Amanda says it warms her heart to see her patients be able to continue to enjoy life in their own homes. “The thing I love most about home care is getting to see the patients in their own environments thrive instead of being sad or depressed about being in the hospital. They’re happy at home, and we can work together to make their lives better and achieve the goals they want.”

Amanda and Marcia both attest to the fact that receiving care at home has improved Marcia’s quality of life, despite her serious health issues. “Home care is a wonderful resource that has enriched my life very much,” says Marcia. “I couldn’t do half of what I do if it weren’t for home care helping me along, encouraging me, and taking care of my needs.”

Marcia and Amanda have both found joy in their relationship and expect many more years of working together to keep Marcia at home where she can continue to find fulfillment in her hobbies. “We’re a team,” says Amanda. “We get to do the journey to wellness together.”

Learn how home health can help you.

Read more about home health services at Ballad Health.

Or call (423) 431-6145 to connect with professional home health services and resources.