The Coat: The Story of John
As Advanced Home Health has grown over the years, starting out as Advanced Personal Care, we have come across a lot of unique stories. Some of these stories have stuck around with us a little longer than others and John's is one of them. As we approach the holiday season we want to spotlight some of these inspirational stories and the lasting impact they have had on our team and our company.
This blog post was written by our CEO, Rich Griffin.
Years back we received a referral at the agency that I was working at for a gentleman named John. John was referred to our agency for nursing care and through this process, he became friendly with the office staff. He would frequently stop in and chat with all of us for most of the afternoon, discussing his favorite topic, which happened to be his hometown. John would tell us how his hometown has evolved over the years and all the changes he had witnessed. At the time, I was coaching youth soccer and John loved to talk about the team, how we were doing, and when we were playing next.
Over time, we started to learn John's story. He had married his lifelong sweetheart when they were young and had a son together. Early in life, she started struggling with her memory, and unfortunately, that process continued until she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. John continued to visit her for over 10 years, even after she had lost the ability to recall who he was. Out of a sense of love, loyalty, and responsibility, he continued to visit her every day until her passing just before we took him on as a patient.
Periodically, John was a patient with Advanced and continued to visit the office on a regular basis over the years. As all of us do, John’s health began to deteriorate, and he needed his son to take on more responsibility for his care. John’s son lived in another state and while he wanted his dad to be safe and happy, he didn’t necessarily have the ability to move closer, and John refused to leave the home he and his wife shared their entire life.
John’s needs grew to the point that he required someone to help him on an almost constant basis, so a caregiver was needed. At the time, our agency didn’t provide this service and his son didn’t have the ability to come in to help him find someone, so John did it on his own. He chose a young woman to be his companion, and shortly after, she became his power of attorney (P.O.A.). Over time our contact with John became less frequent and his new P.O.A. often resisted our help and questions related to what we were seeing as obvious needs for John, as well as questions related to what seemed to be a lack of care for his well-being. Time carried on until we found out that our John had been put in a home and all of his possessions were sold. We knew in our hearts that this was not John’s plan.
Shortly following this, Advanced Personal Care, the company that is now Advanced Home Health, was formed. Every day, John’s jacket hangs on John’s coat rack in the corner
of our conference room as a reminder of why we do this. The man that stood by his wife needed someone to stand by him, and at the time, we didn’t have the resources nor did we have the programs to provide John the help he needed. I think John would be proud of who we are now because I know I certainly am.
When we feel down about our day or if we need a small reminder of why we do this, John’s coat will be there, hanging. People need someone in their corner, fighting the good fight, and looking out for them. I couldn’t help John the way I would have liked to: however, I know his light shines through in everything we do. Every time I walk in the conference room to hold a meeting or talk to someone about what we do, I glance over and remember our why - our need to be better, to be bigger, and to provide services to grow and improve in order to help all of the “Johns” of the world.
I am reminded of John because his memory is one of the keystones of why I personally decided to do this and why I have a burning desire to be better and do more. We are a team united in the concept that people like John deserve to have their wishes and goals fulfilled. The respect and dignity John provided for his wife are the same we provide for all of our patients.
If you or your loved one is in need of skilled care, home health care, private care, or hospice care please give our team a call at 412-344-4100.
About Advanced Home Health
Advanced Home Health is a local, family-owned, home health and home care provider located in Western PA, servicing Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, and Washington Counties.
To learn more visit: www.advancedhomehealth.com or call 412-344-4100.