I had a 98 year old grandfather named Bud. His real name was William but he went by Bud. In his 98 years he had lost two wives, seen cars go from clunky to electric, witnessed the invention of the internet, and phones go from expensive communication devices to pockets computers. He was able to retire back in 1975 and live the rest of his days in the way he wanted, due to his well-deserved pension. In his later years Bud had many health problems. He had back and shoulder, COPD, would fall at home, broke his hip, and was on oxygen for a time, multiple medications, and more. Bud was a stubborn and strong old man and didn’t want to go into a nursing home because those were for “old people.” With Bud living at home alone many of the care responsibilities fell on Dan’s lap, Bud’s son.
Dan has a fulltime career as an account manager and does a lot of traveling for his job. He couldn’t always be there to help take care of him. When Dan would leave for business it took a lot of coordination with family, friends, neighbors, and the church to make sure Bud was cared for. Bud would also call during the day and need some help from Dan because his catheter was leaking, he had fallen, or his colostomy had broken open. These are things that Dan had difficulty helping Bud with and occasionally would take him to the ED to get the care Bud needed. This was a waste of time and money for both Dan and Bud. As a family we looked for other options. We identified a home health aide that would come in the morning and night to make sure Bud was ok. This ended poorly as they coordinated a home invasion and stole money and jewelry from Bud. At this point Bud still refused to go into a nursing home or even a retirement community. For the next two years there were multiple care givers, some good and some bad. Near the end of Bud’s life he was less able to move around but the caregivers weren’t trained to recognize what was going on. Bud ended up developing bed sores on his bottom and deteriorating quickly. These caregivers were very nice but they lacked the knowledge and education that a Registered Nurse has to assess for medical concerns and couldn’t identify the problems quick enough to save Bud from the pain and discomfort of the bed sores. Shortly after this last event Bud passed away.
While this was going on there were many times when Bud slipped through the cracks of the healthcare system. This story and many others that I personally witnessed as a bedside nurse lead to the creation of Carol Health. How can we provide an affordable option for patients to have access to trusted Registered Nurses to make sure things like this don’t happen in the future? One way is using technology and compassion together to provide the best care possible to as many people as possible. Now people can just call Carol, their own family nurse!