Prioritizing Mental Health as a Universal Human Right
By: Neltada Charlemagne, DNP, APRN, PMHNP-BC, PHN, BHC
An Active Lifestyle
Peter Strand’s wife, Barbara, will tell you that at 79 years old, her husband is an active guy. Despite a history of heart issues, colon cancer, diabetes and gout, Barbara says with a smile in her voice, “He mows the lawn and plows the snow.” She adds, “Some medical providers might not understand, but Landmark is aware of Peter’s activity level.” So when Peter became too winded to get from his bed to the bathroom, she knew something was wrong. Landmark was there to help.
Landmark’s First Visit
When Peter and Barbara received a letter and a phone call to let them know Peter was eligible for Landmark services, they were open to learning more.
Barbara says, “Before the first Landmark home visit we weren’t sure if Landmark would work for us. But once the Landmark provider came to the house, we had a whole different opinion. The Landmark provider lived nearby. He did an excellent job of providing a physical in our home, checking Peter’s medical records, analyzing his medications and answering our questions. He made us feel very comfortable.”
Barbara adds, “And later, when we met other Landmark providers, they gave us that same great, comfortable feeling. They really care about us.”
Avoiding Hospital Visits
As Peter faced health challenges, it was difficult for Barbara to get him to the doctor’s office, emergency room or specialists. Barbara says, “We like that we don’t always have to go to the doctor’s office. With Landmark home visits, there is no waiting room and no catching a virus from the doctor’s office. It’s just easier at home.”
Barbara adds, “Peter does not like going to the hospital. He likes when Landmark comes here, to the house. To go visit the cardiologist is very scary, especially in the winter months. There was a period of about six months when Peter had mobility issues due to breathing problems. The cold winter air was hard for him and we had to cover his mouth from the cold air.”
Fortunately, Landmark has helped Peter avoid hospital visits—for example, one night when he had high blood-sugar levels. Barbara says of that incident: “Landmark was there with me 24/7. And I really mean twenty-four, seven. When Peter’s blood sugar was high, I was hesitant to call Landmark so late, but Landmark had told me I can call anytime. That night, Landmark was up with me all night until 5:30 in the morning.”
Barbara continues, “Instead of bringing Peter to the hospital, Landmark said they’d stay with me by phone as long as I was comfortable. I was confident in what they told me to do. They instructed me over the phone and called me every two hours to check on Peter. I went in and checked on him, and that’s how we got through the night. They told me to make sure his blood sugar levels didn’t go higher and what to do with the insulin. Without Landmark, I would have had to take Peter to the ER, waited for hours and been exhausted. Instead, we stayed at home and got rest between checks.”
“With Landmark, we always feel that we’re #1 in their book.”
Breathing and Mobility Issues
Six months ago, Peter began having problems with his breathing and could not walk. When he stood up, his pulse would drop. Sometimes he’d pass out. Barbara says, “Dr. Vogel, our Landmark doctor, came in, asked us some questions, looked over the paperwork and called to get the ball rolling on a lot of things. She is very thorough.”
“We started by changing medications, but that didn’t work. Dr. Vogel encouraged us to have a pacemaker placed, and she spoke to the cardiologist about it.”
Peter had a pacemaker placed in April of 2019. Barbara says, “When Peter had a pacemaker put in, we came home on Tuesday, and by Wednesday, Dr. Vogel was here to check out how things were going.”
Since Peter got his pacemaker, he has had a great improvement in mobility. The breathing problems he experienced with exertion have gone away.
Barbara says, “Dr. Vogel has talked to Peter about his goals. At first, his goal was to be able to walk between the bed and the bathroom. Then his goal was to walk further and breathe easier. Landmark was able to help him reach his goals. This week we went to the store together, and Peter walked around with me.”
Support for the Family
Barbara says, “Landmark has been helping us since the day they started to visit us. Once you have that trust with Landmark – regardless of whether we interact with a physician assistant, nurse, doctor or receptionist – Landmark is always, always there for us. Always on top of things.”
Barbara adds, “It’s very hard when you’re not in the medical field. You need to get that feeling of trust. Landmark has always given me the feeling of trust for them.”
“Our friends ask how to get Landmark services. They have considered switching health plans, just to be able to get Landmark.”
Barbara points out that the support of Landmark has been profound, not just for Peter but for her as well. She says, “Peter has gone through a lot and I went through it with him. When Landmark started coming to visit us, it was the first time I didn’t feel alone—and I believe I’m a strong woman to begin with. Whoever I spoke to at Landmark, I never felt alone. People don’t realize the difference that makes until they go through it.”
If Barbara could share a message with potential Landmark patients, she says she would tell them: “Let Landmark into your home to tell you about their medical care, and I guarantee they’ll be your friends forever. Give them a chance. With Landmark, now you’re not alone. They are the extra medical support you need to keep your loved ones at home.”
By: Neltada Charlemagne, DNP, APRN, PMHNP-BC, PHN, BHC
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