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ARTICLE | HOME-BASED CARE

From Facility to Family: How One Caregiver Transformed Her Uncle’s Recovery With a Move Back Home

Key Takeaways:

  • Jessica’s decision to move her Uncle Charlie from a nursing home back home transformed his well-being, with significant improvements in his physical and mental health.

  • Jessica was able to care for her uncle at home, leading to positive outcomes including regular eating habits, weight gain, increased mobility, and more.

  • Using the ianacare solution facilitated effective communication among family members, bridging geographical gaps, enabling real-time updates on Uncle Charlie’s well-being, and coordinating care seamlessly.

An Urgent Need for Care

Jessica, married and a mother to five children, has been a caregiver to many– her in-laws, who moved in with her family for more hands-on support, and her mother, who didn’t live nearby, but who she cared for from a distance. In early 2023, a new care situation came her way.

Jessica’s Uncle Charlie was rushed to the hospital with an infection. He was in a coma for over a week and had woken up to discover his legs were no longer working. From the hospital, he entered a nursing home. A complete change overnight — all from an infection.

As he spent more and more time in the facility, Jessica’s concern about his condition grew. While there, Charlie lost almost 70 lbs as a result of not eating, became immobile, and as a result, was spending between 10-15 hours per day in bed. All in all, he was miserable. And Jessica knew her uncle well enough to know this was not the solution for him.

Evaluating the Benefits of Moving Uncle Charlie Home

So in April of 2023, Jessica decided to take on the responsibility of caring for him. Despite living 2 and a half hours away, and having a family of her own, Jessica decided to move up to her Uncle Charlie’s town and discharge him from the facility and care for him in his own home.

With Charlie’s children living far away (one on the East Coast and the other on the West Coast), Jessica was happy to step in. It took a bit of convincing for her cousins to allow her to make this selfless decision, but Jessica assured them this is what she wanted to do, and that it would be best for their father in the long-term.

Once they agreed, Jessica got them on board with ianacare, so that they could be involved in the transition and care process every step of the way, even from a distance.

Before bringing Charlie home, Jessica made some home modifications to ensure he could safely be in the house with his wheelchair.

Improved Physical & Mental Health Outcomes

It became clear in no time that Jessica’s decision was the right one. Almost immediately after moving him back home, Uncle Charlie started to eat regularly again, and put back the weight he had lost living in the facility. He was spending less and less time in his bed– with access to his garden and garage, he could get back to his hobbies, and his spirits and energy shifted immediately. As a lifelong electrician, engineer, and handyman, being able to go into his garage and back to his hands-on routine made a world of difference in his mental health.

He and Jessica spent time gardening together, and with a few modifications in the kitchen, he was also able to help with the cooking, which he also deeply enjoyed. Even his daughters, who lived hundreds of miles away, could tell the difference that being back home made in their father’s health and mood.

“It’s been a little over a month and Charlie is eating regularly, gaining weight, and getting out of bed more regularly. He went from staying in bed 15 hours a day to back to daily life activities like doing the dishes, checking the mail and gardening. His whole demeanor is different now. He got to go home.”

How ianacare Supported Jessica & Uncle Charlie's Journey

Central to Jessica’s caregiving journey, and ability to take this level of care on was the ianacare solution. Through real-time updates, photos, and calendar management, Jessica provided her family with invaluable insights into Charlie’s well-being, bridging the geographical gap and fostering a sense of connectedness. Jessica relied on the solution to communicate her uncle’s condition and to create a public schedule of his medical appointments and other important events.

The solution also gave Jessica a reliable way to continue tending to her life and responsibilities back home. She could easily source and manage coverage from nearby friends and family when making the trip home for family commitments, doctor’s appointments of her own, and more.

The solution also created a space for Charlie’s children to stay involved and feel comfortable with the move back home. They were still able to feel like they were involved, able to see and understand what was going on with his care and day-to-day via the calendar and updates.

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