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A true love story, continued with help

How Knute Nelson Home Care is helping to keep them together

Personalized one-to-one health care offered in your home with services tailored to each situation. That is what Knute Nelson Home Care is all about.

Knute Nelson has been serving individuals in their homes with home care services since 2006. Services span 28 counties in the region of West Central Minnesota. Caring for individuals in their home has a dramatic impact on one’s ability to recover more quickly. From simple to complex care, highly trained staff help enrich the lives of patients every day.

Don and Gladys Anderson are together again at their home by the lake thanks to support provided by Knute Nelson Home Care. Photo by Stacy Johnson, community liaison Knute Nelson Home Care

Don and Gladys Anderson are together again at their home by the lake thanks to support provided by Knute Nelson Home Care. Photo by Stacy Johnson, community liaison Knute Nelson Home Care

The following is a story of two patients, Ron Brown and Don and Gladys Anderson, and how Knute Nelson Home Care helped them stay living safely in their home.

Ron Brown

Ron Brown had a physically demanding career that required him to haul block for many years, ultimately leading to a spinal cord surgery in 1980. Ron’s surgery was intended to decrease the amount of back pain he endured on a daily basis, but it was not a permanent solution.

Ron’s back required an additional back surgery on Sept. 19, 2014, in Fargo, N.D. When he went in for surgery, Ron intended on returning home immediately with help from his sister and daughter to care for him.

“After surgery, I realized that my family may have the best intentions, but they just don’t have the medical experience I require, and I wasn’t ready to go home alone,” said Ron. “That’s when I requested a referral from my doctor to go home with a home health agency, and they recommended Knute Nelson Home Care. I met with a nurse from Knute that day.”

Ron was discharged from the hospital on Sept. 24 with services through Knute Nelson Home Care’s Elbow Lake office.

The Knute Nelson Home Care office in Elbow Lake cared for Ron with a combination of home health services, skilled nursing, physical therapy, and occupational therapy services to get him back on his feet. Ron recalled his memories of the home care experience like it was yesterday. “They had me doing things that seemed like average tasks, and I didn’t even realize they were testing me,” he said.

Occupational therapist Laura Notch recalled Ron’s experience, “Occupational therapy focused a lot on getting him back to his daily activities. It started with basic dressing, showering, bed mobility following back precautions, and progressed to kitchen activities and getting in and out of the car for return to driving.”

Ron expected an unpleasant and painful recovery process but was pleasantly surprised with what followed.

“They were so pleasant to deal with and were just as excited as I was when I’d reach a new goal,” Ron said. “There’s no physical way I could’ve done it without them.”

Ron expected to be receiving home care services a month beyond when he was discharged from Knute Nelson Home Care in October 2014.

“I couldn’t believe that it only took a month for me to get back to my independence. I almost didn’t believe I was ready but they were confident that I was,” he said. “They were right.”

In January 2015, Ron was able to leave for an extended vacation to Arizona with his sister and said he couldn’t be happier with where he is today in his recovery and enjoying life’s daily adventures.

Don & Gladys Anderson

Don served in the Korean war. Only about half of the men he went to war with returned home with him. Don was fortunate enough to be one of the survivors.

“You had to survive. I was waiting for you!” said wife, Gladys.

Fast forward to 2014. Gladys was suffering from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and needed some assistance. Don recognized he needed to increase his strength so that he could help take care of Gladys. Don worked with a social worker through the county, and they were referred to Knute Nelson Home Care.

“I never asked for help, but my kids don’t think I was strong enough to take care of Gladys,” he said. “Knute Nelson Home Care came into our home to provide services, and they have been wonderful ever since.”

Don and Gladys received homemaking services, physical therapy and nursing services.

“Our nurse, Amanda Wensmann, RN, has been wonderful. She is more than a nurse. She is our friend,” said Don.

Amanda was instrumental at getting Gladys the medical attention that she needed from Dr. Larry Leadbetter who, according to Don and Gladys, took the time to listen to their needs and spent the time getting the tests ordered that were needed.

“He cared about us,” he said.

“I love working in home care because it’s about staying in your own home as long as possible,” said Amanda. “It’s personal. You get a chance to know your clients, and you want to help them to do what they want. It’s truly one-on-one nursing. I enjoy my role providing guidance, instruction and education. I feel that I am another team member in their health care who watches over them.”

And most important to Don and Gladys is that they got to spend more time together and at a location they are the most comfortable, their home on Third Crow Wing Lake.

“Knute Nelson Home Care has made it possible for us to be home together, where we are happy,” said Don. “We have been on this property for 50 years. We are meant to be together no matter what. We want to thank Knute Nelson Home Care for helping us stay at home.”

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