A lively 75-year-old, Donna Baden was troubled by the repeating swelling and stiffness in her right knee; it was beginning to hinder her active lifestyle—and maybe even threaten her independence. After a lifetime of self-reliance and single motherhood, Donna was used to being the caregiver of others, not the one who needed help. In fact, after retiring from her career at an engineering firm ten years ago, she decided to work at her local senior center, assisting elderly people with difficult transitions in their lives.
Finally, during a long-anticipated vacation in England—where the winding cobblestoned streets took a toll on Donna’s knee—she knew it was time to confront her need for knee replacement surgery. Wisely, in anticipation of that procedure, Donna followed the advice she gave to other seniors: figure out a plan for your recovery.
Of utmost importance to Donna was finding a healthcare provider who had the expertise to teach her how to take care of herself at home, alone, and also to get her started on the path to rehabilitation. Partners HealthCare at Home was the perfect solution.
Donna’s strategy and solution worked. After her surgery, the Partners HealthCare at Home physical therapist who visited Donna regularly made a huge difference in her successful recuperation. In the comfort and convenience of Donna’s home, they worked together on exercises to increase the mobility and strength in her knee, along with daily living skills like safely taking a shower and relearning how to climb steep steps with confidence. Routine phone calls between Donna and her therapist, Kate, made her feel even more secure; indeed, Donna had Kate’s cell number in case she ever had any questions about her exercises in between scheduled home visits.
“Kate always arrived exactly when she said she would,” explains Donna gratefully, “and her check-in calls made me feel there was someone watching out for me. It was a great comfort to work with someone so reliable and trustworthy. I never felt alone.”
Being there for our patients is what Partners HealthCare at Home does every day. Under the care of Partners HealthCare at Home, Donna’s recovery was so successful that she occasionally attempted new physical activities ahead of schedule, like turning her car around her driveway. When Kate noticed that the car was facing a different direction, she wagged her finger playfully and seriously at Donna—reminding her that they should practice new skills together to make sure her knee is protected through difficult maneuvers. “Donna has a very healthy independent streak,” Kate said laughing.
Soon enough, Donna was back on the road, driving herself to Spaulding’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Center in Malden, where she has continued her effective one-on-one physical therapy. “I have been moving and grooving ever since last May,” Donna says, doing a little dance. “I couldn’t have done any of this without Partners HealthCare at Home.”