Ever since Bob had heart valve replacement surgery in 2016, his wife, Sharon, has been managing his care, staying on top of his medications, taking him to clinic appointments and, with increasing frequency, to the ER. For Sharon, 71, and Bob, 87, there was a silver lining to yet another hospitalization in October 2021: thanks to a partnership between North Memorial Health and Lifespark, the couple was introduced to Lifespark COMPLETETM, giving them access to in-home medical expertise and a Life Manager as their single point of contact.
Sharon continued to take Bob to his North Memorial primary care doctor, whom he liked and trusted, but she knew she could count on his COMPLETE team to step in when she needed extra support—quickly.
By October 2022, Bob was dealing with atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, sleep apnea, kidney disease, as well as cognitive decline. At six-foot-four, he was still an imposing man but considerably weaker and less stable on his feet, resulting in more frequent falls. According to Sharon, there were times when she had to call the paramedics or her son to lift her husband off the floor.
After one particularly worrisome fall, Sharon contacted Bob’s Life Manager who called his Nurse Practitioner, Katelin Super, NP. She arranged for an in-home X-ray which indicated an ankle fracture. “I told Sharon we wanted to send him to an Orthopedic Urgent Care Center where him could be seen by an orthopedist—with the assurance that Lifespark would provide in-home support,” Katelin said, adding that Sharon agreed to the plan.
Between physical and occupational therapy from Skilled Home Health, in-home visits from Katelin and his Life Manager, and weekly showers with the help of his Community Home Care aide, Bob recovered at home—without hospitalization or time in a rehab facility.
Expediting care through telehealth
This past February, Katelin got a call from Sharon that Bob had developed a respiratory illness and wasn’t doing well. “I wasn’t immediately available for a home visit, so I contacted our medical team to arrange a telehealth visit with Dr. Nick [Schneeman, Lifespark Chief Medical Officer] on video and the Life Manager in person to help with the assessment.”
The team determined that Bob needed to be hospitalized. “Sharon and Bob trust us to make the most appropriate recommendation based on the situation,” Katelin said. “And sometimes that might include hospitalization.”
Goals of care
After his last medical ordeal, Bob was clear about his wishes, Sharon said. “He told me no more hospitals or any other facility,” she said. “He wants to be here at home where he’s most comfortable.”
To put Bob’s wishes in writing, Katelin had him sign a POLST form (Physicians Orders for Life- Sustaining Treatment). Although not a legal document, a POLST gives individuals more control over the types of medical treatments they want if they’re seriously ill or injured.
For Sharon, having in-home care for Bob has been a lifesaver. “We were happy with the care at North Memorial, but I can’t safely move him in and out of the car anymore,” she said. “With Lifespark’s support, I feel much more confident caring for him at home.”
Sharon is realistic about Bob’s prognosis. “He’s getting more physical therapy right now, but unless he makes progress, we may be talking hospice,” she said. “Based on our experience with Lifespark these past two years, I trust that Lifespark Hospice will take good care of Bob.”
To learn how Lifespark can support you and your loved one, visit Lifespark.com at or call us directly at 952-345-0919.