In November of 2009, Cecilia returned home from the hospital after her Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) left her extremely short of breath. Once home, she became fearful that any activity would result in another hospitalization and therefore, made the decision to significantly curtail her movement. For the next eleven months, she became so debilitated that she could not answer the door to greet guests. She left a key hooked to the side of her garage for visitors to let themselves in.
When Ellen Perz, VNA of Care New England Respiratory Therapist and Home-Based Pulmonary Rehab Coordinator arrived at her home in January of 2010, Cecilia was sitting on her couch. She was surrounded by pillows, coolers of food and water, the television remote control, and books on jewelry beading, a passion of hers that she had discontinued. She told Ellen that each morning her daughter helped her get from her bed to the couch, set up her supplies and then returned in the evening to help her to the bathroom and then back to bed. Cecilia was anxious and weak, holding on to her breathing inhaler that she used frequently, and was only able to speak two or three sentences between breaths.
Cecilia began Home-Based Pulmonary Rehab. She was unable to walk to the kitchen table six feet away from the couch, but was determined to resume her jewelry beading, learn how to breathe better, and improve her quality of life. After eight weeks, with the support of her daughter, her physician, and the Home Based Pulmonary Care Team Cecilia had resumed her jewelry beading, was dressing on her own, preparing small meals, and was able to walk.
On follow-up eight months later, she continues to do her daily home exercises, is able to move throughout her home back and forth to her jewelry making room and is even able to go out shopping and to the movies with her daughter. Cecilia said, “The VNA of Care New England’s Home Based Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program taught me about deep breathing and different breathing techniques; things that no one ever taught me or showed me in the past. The program made me stronger and now I can do the things that I love like making jewelry.”