Stories of Care

Stories from Northern Light Home Health Services Clients

“I can’t say enough about the Northern Light team.  They have been like family to us.  Paul has had excellent care from them.  They have been just a phone call away anytime we needed advice or companionship.”
~Wife of a Northern Light home health client

Lucy knows that consistency is key in receiving a quality home health service – for the care recipient and her family. When her mother needed shower assistance twice a week after a stay in the hospital, the first service provider they used was disappointing. Then Lucy called NLHCH, whose number was on a list provided by her mother’s doctor. Now the same nurse has cared for her mother for two years.

“The consistency is important to us,” Lucy explained. “My mother is in and out of the hospital; she’s 89. To have a constantly changing set of circumstances makes things more confusing for her. We know we can call the nurse anytime. She can even give us a reality check if we’re not sure whether to call the doctor about something.”

The nurse who visits her mother “is just great to work with,” Lucy noted.

“She has a sensitivity and an understanding of the whole person approach and realizes there is a quality of life issue here,” Lucy said. “She also sees how we care for my mother, and can tell us if we could do something to help her.”

While her mother lives with Lucy and her husband, they work full-time, and their home is located out of town. It is important to them that the home health service is reliable.

“The first service provider just wouldn’t show up sometimes,” Lucy said. “And you can’t always find the resources that you need – we live out in the country. But with NLHCH, services are becoming more available; it’s different from 10 years ago.”

Lucy also finds Northern Light’s staff to be observant. She feels at ease knowing that staff who visit regularly become familiar with her mother and notice changes in her behavior.

“During one visit, they said, ‘Your mom seems really tired and dizzy today.’ We had been with her earlier, but had not noticed her feeling that way,” Lucy said. “That resulted in a hospital episode because she was approaching dangerous signs. It is a great benefit that they are trained beyond their specific task.”

Since her mother cannot be left alone for long periods of time, Lucy noted that Northern Light’s home health service is what keeps her living at home, instead of having to move to a retirement community.

“They provide the personal care that she now needs, which I am not able to provide,” Lucy said.

As Lucy’s mother may require another level of care soon, they plan to visit with a social worker, who can assess her situation.

“Northern Light Home Care & Hospice provides quality care. They are professional and good people to deal with,” Lucy added. “We can count on them, and have never felt uncomfortable with any of the staff coming in and doing things. We’ve been very appreciative of what they’ve done for us.”

~ Client of Northern Light Home Health Services

A retired nurse, Eleanor had heard excellent reviews of Northern Light’s service even before she required home health care herself.

One of her knees had been replaced, as well as each of her hips, so Eleanor needed a physical therapist and a nurse to visit her at home twice a week.

“Dee-Dee is a good nurse, and Bill is a great physical therapist,” she noted. “I knew they were paying attention to everything that was going on. Bill knows a lot – I know this because whatever he did always worked!”

Eleanor, who is legally blind, said her caregivers’ service was always friendly, upbeat, professional and punctual. She also felt that she received the most modern treatments, with positive results.

“I have nothing but praise for them,” she said. “I feel very safe with NLHCH, and they made me feel like a part of their team. I know that they will come as long as I need them, and they never made me feel like they were put upon.”

Reliability is another key to Northern Light’s service, according to Eleanor. Now that she has experienced their care, she knows they will call if they will be late, never leaving her to wait and wonder.

“They’ll do what they say, and they make you feel comfortable,” she explained. “They are also efficient, and open to suggestions.”

~ Client of Northern Light Home Health Services

After having experienced home health care through a private company out of state, Michael appreciates Northern Light’s care philosophy, which he said does not include strict rules or limitations on care, and does provide some leeway for care recipients. Before he moved to Maine three years ago, his daughter, a physician, did some research and suggested he use Northern Light’s service once he arrived.

Michael, who is 72 and has had multiple sclerosis for about 35 years, receives a visit from a male home health care nurse once a month. He also has a urinary tract issue which led to a permanent installation of a catheter. Once a month his nurse asks what supplies Michael needs for each issue and orders them. They are all delivered to his home by UPS.

“My regular nurse is kind and concerned; clinically he’s very good, and extremely knowledgeable,” Michael noted. “He just gets it – and has a lot of empathy. I’m a satisfied customer.”

He appreciates the vast array of services NLHCH staff are able to perform.

“Once I was experiencing extra physical limitations. I contacted Northern Light Home Care & Hospice and they recommended and sent over a physical therapist with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. He taught me so much,” Michael explained. “He spent a lot time with me, continuing long after I thought he would stop. It was really helpful.”

Michael said he’s also been given intravenous medicine at home, a service his regular NLHCH nurse provided. When he was using the private company, he noticed there were limitations to what their staff could do. He also could not get the supplies he wanted from the private company, and was told he had to order and pay for them himself.

“NLHCH gets me whatever I ask for,” he said. “I can’t say enough about how good their service is. They are outstanding. I have an emergency number to call if I need it, and there is always someone on duty at night, which is helpful.”

Michael feels that one of the most important things about Northern Light’s service is the sincerity and concern they have for patients.

“All of their staff have a nice touch. Starting with your first impression of them from the receptionist, you know you have someone who will do their best to get you to the right person,” he explained. “They are thorough, but it’s not like they are just running a business. It’s a very kind operation.”

Having quite a bit of experience with the medical community for nearly four decades now, Michael said it is important for those interested in this kind of care to get referrals and talk with those who have used the service.

“NLHCH is compassionate, knowledgeable, and most of all, sincere. I put a lot of value in that,” he said.

~ Client of Northern Light Home Health Service

For more information call (800) 757-3326.

Stories from Northern Light Hospice Services Clients

Mary knows the value of excellent customer service when it comes to hospice care. After her mother was diagnosed with cancer, she was directed to Northern Light Home Care & Hospice by staff at Northern Light Mercy Hospital. Mary has since become a volunteer for NLHCH.

“I am one of six kids, and they didn’t care if all six of us called on the same day asking questions,” Mary said. “We didn’t know what we were supposed to be doing, but their support was unbelievable. It’s not an easy situation; they held our hands and walked us through the process.

Northern Light's nurses provided the medication Mary’s mother needed, and gave her baths. At the initial meeting, NLHCH gathered all of the pertinent information, so Mary’s family did not have tell their story over again to other staff. They also provided the family with literature that helped explain this difficult time.

“They really guided us in so many ways. The literature provided insight on what to expect; what was coming up,” Mary explained. “The unknown is what is so scary, and this really helped us understand.”

But what was most important to Mary and her family was the solid communication between them and Northern Light’s staff, most notably with Linda Hopkins. She said they could always reach someone when they needed them, giving the whole family a feeling of trust.

“It’s amazing how they worked with us, always answering our questions thoroughly,” she added. “They put us all at ease and said, ‘If there is anything you need, just call us.’ Once, three of us called the same day without knowing, asking for advice on how to deal with our father. We were comforted and never felt like were bothering anyone.”

Mary’s family also were impressed with the high level of service NLHCH provides, noting their informed, detail-oriented and thorough approach. They also valued Northern Light’s team work in the way they went above and beyond to provide the best care.

“The oncologist came to my mother’s house for a visit. What doctor makes house calls anymore?” she said. “It was just out of the realm, something that we didn’t expect. But things like that can bring peace.”

Mary said she hopes more people will use Northern Light Home Care & Hospice when they need it. She found a support group NLHCH offers especially helpful for herself after her mother passed.

“Even though it can be hard to have strangers come into your house and help, know that you will have amazing support. You just feel comfortable right away with them, and you will never be alone in this process,” she said.

~ Client of Northern Light Hospice Services

For Jeanne and her husband, Paul, who suffered from emphysema, Northern Light’s personal touch was what made their hospice care so special. Jeanne said that his nurse, Lisa, who visited once a month at first and later more often, understood Paul’s sense of humor, and they clicked.

“Lisa was a sweetheart doll,” Jeanne said. “Paul was always introverted and unsociable, but he was not nasty. I wasn’t sure he was gonna go for the hospice. But Lisa knew he was just pretending to be cranky and that he was a sweetheart, too.”

Ann, a social worker with NLHCH, visited with Jeanne and they would talk for about an hour, and Jen, a chaplain, would also visit. Although Paul was not interested in talking with the social worker or the chaplain, Jeanne said they were “so good about always offering him the chance to participate if he wanted.”

While Paul’s doctor’s office recommended NLHCH, Jeanne was immediately impressed with the organization. She appreciated the staff calling to check on convenient times for visits, and for arranging a special stay in a nursing home for Paul while Jeanne was out of town for a few days.

Further into Paul’s care, they received visits from Pam, another nurse, who reminded the couple of an old friend they had known.

“Pam was a take-charge kind of person, and followed up on Paul’s medicines well,” Jeanne explained. “That was something he worried about, so she was really helpful.”

She also trusted Northern Light’s staff completely, and felt comfortable with all who came to their home. Jeanne and Paul agreed to have donations sent to NLHCH after he passed as a testament to their good service.

“I think a lot of them,” Jeanne said. “You can’t do this job unless you have a heart of gold. It’s the people that count.”

Now that she has experienced Northern Light’s service, Jeanne’s advice to others considering hospice is to ask all of the questions you have.

“NLHCH took all of my questions seriously, and always acted professionally and respectfully,” she noted. “They were angels, and the biggest help I could have had. They checked with Paul every time they needed to do something. You just can’t ask for nicer people.”

Jeanne also said that NLHCH did a lot to reassure her that she was doing the right thing, and caring for Paul as well as she could.

“Many of them have reaffirmed for me since Paul died that I treated him well and that I really cared about him,” Jeanne added. “To have someone say that out loud is great. They are still calling to check on how I am doing. Before Jen went on maternity leave she called to see if I wanted her to come over and talk.”

~ Client of Northern Light Hospice Services

Timing is crucial in a hospice situation, and to Brad, Northern Light’s hospice service had excellent timing in caring for his wife, Judy, as well as incredible skills in uniting his family during this time, even though some live in Colorado.

“They were just right on in their diagnosis of Judy and started visiting at the right time. They interacted with all of us and got to know me and my family,” Brad said. “My son and his family live in Colorado, and NLHCH suggested that we have a conference call with them so they could be brought into the loop. All of the nurses were there. It worked so well we started doing it on our own.”

Brad said he and his family were pleased with the care they received, and Judy liked all of the people who visited. A difficult time became a positive experience.

“The NLHCH staff were professional, thoughtful and knowledgeable about what they were doing,” he said of the team of four, including three nurses and one chaplain who visited every other week, then each week. “They all spent time with Judy to get to know her and understand what she was going through. They really wanted to know Judy, and make her feel comfortable.”

Brad had been given positive recommendations about NLHCH from others, and now he knows firsthand why they have such a solid reputation.

“A staff member came to our home and outlined everything they wanted to do, before we got started,” he noted. “They let us know what we could expect.”

He also suggests that those considering hospice care call NLHCH first, and ask any questions they may have, even concerning health insurance.

“Insurance is complicated, but NLHCH was able to tell me that this was something that would be covered under our health insurance. We weren’t sure if it would be.”

After Judy passed, a NLHCH counselor called Brad to check on him, and some of the nurses have called as well. He feels confident that if he or his family felt the need to call NLHCH to talk at any time, they would be welcome to do so.

“If I were having personal problems I could talk with them or the kids could call them,” he said. “They are so caring.”

~ Client of Northern Light Hospice Services

For more information call (800) 757-3326.

Stories from Northern Light Telehealth Service Clients

For Jean, who was forgetting to take her medicines, Northern Light's Telehealth service provides a helpful reminder to take the right pills at the right time. She remembers her mother having complications from taking the wrong amounts of pills, and wanted NLHCH to oversee her medicines so she could avoid the same issue.

“I have heart problems,” Jean explained. “The Telehealth machine gives me clear instructions on what to do so it can take my vital signs and send them into NLHCH, who sends the information to my primary doctor.”

Jean said she is able to set the machine at a time that is convenient for her, and each day at that hour it directs her to weigh herself, check her blood pressure with the provided cuff, and also reviews other signs.

“The machine asks if you slept well the night before, if you are tired, if you have fallen recently, and other questions. You just have to press a yes or no button for each question,” she said.

After she is finished, a staff member at NLHCH telephones her to review her vital signs, noting if her blood pressure is up or if they think she should make an appointment with her doctor. Depending on the severity of the situation, they may call 911.

“The machine is a good idea. I know it’s very helpful to the doctors because they have used the information,” Jean said. “It’s convenient and keeps track of things, like my blood pressure which goes up and down a lot.”

Jean also noted that she appreciates the calls from Northern Light’s staff, and thinks that they are dependable.

“If they say the are going to be here, they are,” Jean added. “They are friendly and cooperative.”

~ Client of Northern Light Telehealth Services

Northern Light's Telehealth service seems “like a mini check-up” to Kenneth, who has heart problems.

The Telehealth machine in Kenneth’s home alerts him at a convenient set time each morning, which he has chosen. It instructs him to check his weight, blood pressure, pulse and other signs, and asks him questions, such as, “Are your legs swollen?” which he answers with the touch of a yes or no button. The information is sent to NLHCH, and a staff member phones him to discuss the findings.

“It’s a terrific service,” Kenneth said. “NLHCH gets the information and lets my doctor know if there is a problem. They keep after the doctors and make sure they are following protocol. ”

Kenneth finds the NLHCH staff to be friendly and excellent with follow through. He said the daily telephone calls put his mind at ease, knowing that everything is OK, and that someone is there to help if not.

“The staff really seem to know what they are doing, and if they say they are going to do something, they will,” he noted. “If something is wrong they would tell me to make an appointment with my doctor; once, they even called 911 and took me to the hospital.”

He has also utilized other services that NLHCH provides, including physical therapy, nursing and bathing assistance.

“The physical therapist was especially helpful,” he added. “You could tell she likes what she does; it just showed. She gave me encouragement and really spent time with me.”

Kenneth’s wife is also impressed with Northern Light’s staff and service. She may have hip replacement surgery in the future and told him that she’d like to utilize their services as well.

“She feels that they have given me good service,” he said.

~ Client of Northern Light Telehealth Service

Toni thinks of Northern Light’s Telehealth machine as like another person helping to care for her husband, William, who suffers from a heart condition.

“I feel very comfortable with the machine, and it’s simple to use,” she said. “If the NLHCH staff has questions they call us and ask if things are OK, such as ‘Is he breathing well?’” Then they let me know if I need to do something, like call his cardiologist.”

The Telehealth machine is connected to their telephone, and is set to give instructions on taking William’s vital signs at 9 a.m. “without fail, every morning,” Toni said. It’s important that William’s blood pressure and weight are checked daily at the same time, due to his condition. The information is sent through the machine to NLHCH staff, who then make a call to them to go over the results.

“I am so impressed with the whole thing,” Toni added. “It gives me a feeling of security; I would miss it if it were gone. It also reassures me that I am doing OK. You need to know that when you are a caregiver.”

But the system is also flexible. Toni said that on Sundays she and her husband normally attend church, so she has let NLHCH know that they may not be able to answer the phone on that day of the week.

“They know that it is a part of our regular schedule, so I don’t have to call them every time,” she explained.

Toni also appreciates the support she and William receive from Northern Light’s staff. Her daughter lives nearby, but works full-time, so Northern Light’s service means a lot to her.

“We have the same nurse most of the time, but no matter who visits, they do the best they can for you,” she added. “They are caring and professional.”

For someone considering the Telehealth service, Tony said she can’t imagine that anyone would want to refuse this sort of help.

“This is something that helps both of us, and it doesn’t intrude on our lifestyle at all,” she explained. “I think it takes special people to do this work; it doesn’t seem like an easy job. But, it just comes through that they are here to help you.”

~ Client of Northern Light Telehealth Service

Keeping her vital signs in check is important to Alice, who utilizes Northern Light’s Telehealth machine to do just that, every day.

The machine is set at the same time each morning to give Alice a wake-up call and provide instructions on checking her weight, blood pressure, and more. This critical information is sent to NLHCH staff, who then phone Alice to review it. If they are concerned for her health, the staff can suggest she make an appointment with her doctor, and they can also call for emergency assistance, depending on the situation.

“It’s a good machine to use and it works well,” Alice said. “It tells me to get on the scale, sit on a chair, put on the blood pressure cuff, and other things to check my vital signs. All I have to do is press a button.”

Alice likes using the Telehealth machine because she can rely on it to keep her vital signs in check and keep track of things on a regular basis.

“It’s a helpful service,” she noted. “If anything goes wrong NLHCH can call someone to help if I need to go to the hospital or see my doctor. They can even call an ambulance.”

She also enjoys Northern Light’s staff and the service they provide.

“The people there are friendly and really help me out a lot,” Alice added. “They are also very courteous.”

~ Client of Northern Light Telehealth Service

For more information call (800) 757-3326.