By Scott Tedrick
For over 50 years Mavis and Lowell Gustafson have called the rural Hanley Falls prairie their home. Thanks to Home Healthcare Services like those provided by the Granite Falls Hospital and Manor that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
The Gustafsons have been blessed with a level of health and vitality that has allowed the pair to farm until retirement age and to volunteer well after––giving some 20 years to the historic jewel that is the Hanley Falls Machinery Museum. Nevertheless, nobody outruns Father Time and the two were reminded of this when both were stricken with separate bouts of illness.
“We started having health issues the past year,” said Mavis. “Both of us were hospitalized but luckily through Home Healthcare services we were able to come home sooner, instead of having to go to a nursing home or something.”
“It felt good to get out of the hospital and get home,” added Lowell.
The Granite Falls Hospital offers Home Care services in the hopes of maintaining continuity of care between the hospital, nursing home, clinic, physician and/or health care setting to individuals of all ages through professional nursing services offered in-home. In the case of the Gustafsons, this involved a roughly month long period of in-home care that was gradually reduced as each individual’s health improved.
“I’d heard of Home Healthcare for years and never thought anything of it, but when you need it yourself it’s a little different,” Mavis said. “It was a big relief not only for us but for our kids. They’re all so busy so they can’t drop everything and be here, so it’s nice for the rest of the family too.”
As was the case with Lowell and Mavis, the amount of time that health care providers will typically fund a hospital stay is limited. Thereafter, a patient must return home or receive continued care through a nursing home, or some other manner. For the Gustafsons, Granite Falls Home Care proved the ideal transition.
“It’s a little scary when they say you’re going to go home,” recalled Lowell. “You’re a little weak and not sure how you’re going to handle all of this… but then they make arrangements with Home Healthcare.”
Home Healthcare services include daily living assistance with showering/ bathing, dressing, grooming, transferring/ambulation, eating and /or medication reminders. Homemaker services may include meal preparation, light housekeeping and/ or local errands.
In addition, professional assistance may include education, wound care, IV therapy, palliative care, treatment procedures, injections, lab draws, and health and medication assessments––with services lasting anywhere from a few weeks to several years, depending upon the client’s needs and pay sources.
Other Home Care services may include follow-up home visits for newborns; telecommunication services for close monitoring of oxygen level, heart rate and other metrics; as well as professional service for physical, occupational and/or speech therapies.
The needs of the Gustafsons tapped into Home Healthcare services on the minor end of things, but were nonetheless essential in terms of getting the pair’s health back up to par.
“And you just can’t help but love all those girls. They’re so caring and so nice,” said Lowell of the Home Care nurses and therapists. “That’s part of it. A lot of it. When you’re around people who are so nice that makes you feel better.”
Today, the Gustafsons no longer require Home Healthcare services and are back up and running at close to 100 percent. Soon, they are hoping to enjoy their retirement with a bit of travelling, preferably to somewhere a little warmer. According to Lowell, Nevada’s high up on the list, as the pair has a penchant for gambling.
Wherever they decide to head, they will do so knowing that they could not have made the trip without the return to health facilitated by the Granite Falls Hospital and Home Healthcare.
Said Mavis, “I’m sure there’s going to come a time when we need a nursing home or extended care or something, but when you can do it at home it’s so much nicer.”