By Chandra Wilson
Dedicated Visiting Nurse Service of New York workers brave the blizzard, cold and ice to bring aid to their home- bound patients.
Whether traveling by mass transit, car, on foot or bicycle, theses brave soldiers plow through all types of adverse weather conditions to reach homebound patients who depend on them for everyday health care.
Everlin Gomez, a VNSNY public health nurse in Washington Heights, found herself walking to a patient visit after her taxi skidded down the street during the recent blizzard. All in a day’s work for Ms. Gomez who delivered medication to a patient when the storm kept the local pharmacy from being able to make deliveries. Gomez walked to the pharmacy, picked up the medication and took care of the co-pay, then walked back and conducted her home health visit.
Suhas Kotian, a physical therapist left home before 6:00 AM to ensure that he would be able to get to his patients in the Bronx. “The closest I was able to get my car to anyone’s home was two or three blocks away, so I did a lot of walking, but it was worth it to see the look on my patients’ faces when I walked through the door. Many of my patients on Thursday and Friday were recovering from hip or knee surgery. Muscles can become extra stiff in the cold weather and I try to push my patients a little farther daily—seeing them every day is important for their recovery. Despite the snow, there were lots of smiles when range of motion was better at the end of each session.”
Vinny Brigande, from Staten Island says, ‘There’s no such thing as working from home in the business we’re in,” As a public health nurse, he spends much of his day providing wound care to diabetic patients. “We really do a lot of things in order to give our patients the security to know that they’re cared for no matter what the environment is doing. Stepping up during these circumstances allows us to really make a difference—we become the people we were meant to be.”
“VNSNY has always been at the forefront of community care,” said Susan Northover, RN, MHA, senior vice president of Patient Care Services of VNSNY. “As the largest not-for-profit home and community-based health care organization in the country, VNSNY clinicians are known for rising to the occasion when disaster calls—from Super Storm Sandy to 9/11. Our dedicated staff take pride in making sure that the frail, elderly, homebound and chronically ill New Yorkers get the care they need when nature disrupts our city.