You are never too old to learn something new

Caring for communities

Jane is a self-described hard-worker, who has always been independently caring for herself and others alike, according to Kim, a social worker for Enhabit Home Health & Hospice.

When Jane’s health status declined, making it harder to take care of everyday tasks like cooking and cleaning, it worried her since she was used to doing things on her own.

“Ms. Jane could no longer do the hobbies she loved, such as working in her yard and wood carving,” Kim said. “She had been living alone for 18 years after losing the love of her life, Junis, and even though they had built their life together, she had no children and her siblings lived hours away.”

She was reluctant to begin home health care, as she worried nothing would help her after being in the hospital and enduring so much pain.

“I would describe Ms. Jane that first day as defeated,” Kim said. “She stated she wasn’t sure how home health could help.”

However, she soon found friendship and solace from the Enhabit team.

A new approach to her care

It was connection at first sight when Jane and Kim met. While Jane couldn’t explain why Kim made her feel so comfortable, she just knows she did. After building rapport, Jane disclosed something that not even her siblings knew about her.

“Ms. Jane opened up to me one day, telling me a secret she had never told anyone other than a few family members,” Kim said. “She told me that she had never learned how to read. We cried together that day as she described her shame and embarrassment.”

Kim immediately knew that this secret impacted Jane’s life in a huge way. Although Jane was grateful for Enhabit’s help, she didn’t see any hope in her recovery since she was unable to read forms or understand educational booklets given to her to help her manage her own care and treatment.

The Enhabit team quickly took a new approach to Jane’s treatment, providing her with a sense of support she never had before. They taught her about the benefits she could receive for being the spouse of a veteran and they were able to set up weekly teaching sessions with an Enhabit speech language pathologist to help her learn how to read.

Amanda, the speech language pathologist who was part of Jane’s care team, said helping Jane learn to read was one of the best experiences she’s ever had in her career.

“I have had the privilege to work with kids and adults throughout my career,” she said. “In the past, I have been able to help a lot of kids with their reading skills, but never an adult. I wasn’t sure how much we would be able to progress, but Ms. Jane was so dedicated to getting better. Much of her progress had to do with her motivation and dedication.”

I can read!

Her motivation was persistent, as it was Jane’s lifelong dream to be able to read. Years ago, at a neighborhood yard sale, she bought a first-grade level book with the hopes that she could one day understand the words instead of just skimming the pictures.

Jane holds up the 'Something Different' book that she purchased at a yard sale with the hope of one day learning how to read it.

Now that she can read greeting cards, mail, medical forms and the “Something Different” book, anytime Jane gets the chance, she exclaims “I can read!”

A woman who had once lost hope of ever learning to read, now at 77 years old, had a sense of pride she had never known and the confidence to tackle life as a new adventure. She moved to a local assisted living community, where she is forming new relationships and making a lasting impact on others.

“I will never forget Ms. Jane and her story,” Amanda said. “She taught me that you are never too old to learn something new. You are never too behind on any skill. There is always hope.”

With a team full of speech language pathologists, physical therapists, social workers and a host of various programs, home health care can help you improve many different aspects of your wellbeing.

“While managing Ms. Jane’s care, I learned that clinicians have to slow down in order to understand the needs of our patients because otherwise all the work is futile,” Kim said. “Because I took this time with Ms. Jane and made her feel comfortable, she was successful in learning to read and our services benefitted her.”

A larger impact in home health

Home health clinicians have a unique opportunity to meet patients where they are and provide care that helps them achieve their specific goals, including scenarios like Jane’s.

“What Ms. Jane doesn’t realize is that her journey and success has impacted her Enhabit team,” Kim said. “She encouraged me and helped me grow as a social worker and patient advocate.”

Amanda, Jane and Kim pose together with the 'Something Different' book that Jane hoped to be able to read someday.
Amanda, Jane and Kim pose together with the “Something Different” book that Jane hoped to learn how to read someday.

Enhabit’s philosophy of providing A Better Way to Care® is shown through stories like Jane’s. Members of the team worked together to go above and beyond to improve a patient’s life. Making personal connections is at the root of providing patient-centered care, and is what enabled Jane to feel comfortable enough to share a vulnerable moment like this with her Enhabit care team.

“I feel tremendously blessed to work with our team and to know the positive impact they made on Ms. Jane,” Jennifer, a branch director at Enhabit, said. “They truly go above and beyond to make a positive difference in our patients’ lives. I am so proud of Amanda and Kim and I feel honored and blessed to work alongside them each day.”

Social Share