A Helping Hand in Elder Care

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*Anthony Coruzzi — Three Brothers*
For Anthony (Tony) Coruzzi and his family, nothing is more important than the strong bond they share. And on this particular day, they are happily gathered at the family-owned restaurant, Pizza John’s, where they are celebrating not only their love for Tony but their gratitude that he still is enjoying the family business and a part of the three brothers, thanks to Ivory House.

It was in 1967 that Tony Coruzzi joined his brothers Pete and John in America to assist with Pizza John’s, located in Essex. John came to America from Italy in 1950 and founded the Italian restaurant in 1966, becoming a well-respected figure in the community. Three months later, Pete followed their brother’s footsteps, and was eventually joined by Tony. As a trio, they continued to build the success of the restaurant.

Nowadays, Tony still visits Pizza John’s for his favorite meal of ravioli with his Ivory House Aide, Kim Gresham. What makes moments like these so remarkable is that Tony has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). For the past three years, Ivory House Health Services, consisting of a team of nurses, Geriatric Care Managers and Certified Nursing Assistants, has provided him with total chronic care management in addition to nursing home care. Helping families make their loved ones’ wishes a reality is a specialty of the organization, and Tony is certainly very well loved by his brothers and his lady friend, Pat.

As evident in the case of Tony and his loved ones, Ivory House staff regards the focus on wellness and on the support of family relationships as pivotal. Ivory House’s Model of Care Management has evolved from years of applied specialized nursing and hands-on service to the geriatric population. It is holistic and centers on total involvement in the needs of a client and his/her loved ones. The care model consists of an initial in-depth assessment of all aspects of life, including medical records and treatment history, physical abilities, cognitive status, environmental conditions, social needs, relevant legal documents, and is followed by discussions with the family. Ivory House serves as the intermediary/advocate for Tony and other clients with physicians and key parties.

From the beginning, Ivory House engaged Tony as an active participant in his care management. Nurses came aboard during a health crisis and the first goal was to stabilize the disease medically. Early on, their success was attributable to the very slow pace at which progressions were undertaken — six months to help Tony move from the hospital to sub-acute rehabilitation to home. With the exception of two occurrences, Tony has been able to remain in the comforts of his home.

In addition to the physical changes that have complicated Tony’s daily life, he also has to deal with memory challenges. Yet, he delightedly receives friends and family, and, of course, all the caregivers and nurses that provide him with 24/7 nursing home care in all of its dimensions. One of these individuals is Ivory House Medical Director Dr. Thomas Lansdale, a respected internal medicine physician and educator who makes home visits to Tony as needed.

*Sandy Cooney — A Dutiful Daughter in Spite of it All*
Another situation that exemplifies Ivory House’s care model through wholly evaluating the needs of the involved loved ones and providing instruction is that of Sandy Cooney* and her family. Sandy’s parents, Sue and Bill, were married for 53 years, but were not especially close with their son and daughter. When a gas leak threatened the couple’s lives, however, it was time for their children to take charge with the help of Protective Services.

With one spouse having cardiac issues and dementia and the other diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the couple was forced to separate due to house relocation from assisted living to hospice. In the midst of all the turmoil, Sandy’s brother was killed tragically in an automobile accident, leaving her to intervene and provide care despite the difficult relationships with both parents.

Even with the support of her loving husband, Sandy felt very alone and overwhelmed. Fortunately, she soon had the guidance of Ivory House nurses, who at every step provided her with options, understanding, teaching and resiliency. Eventually Bill moved in with Sandy and her husband and although the challenging times continued with feisty bouts, the stresses of role reversal and loss of control, Sandy found she was at peace when he passed. With the support and encouragement of Ivory House, she was comforted knowing she had done her best.

It is with the guidance, assessment, expertise and overall family-oriented practices of Ivory House that the clients in these stories have found the individualized help they needed. Whether it is Tony’s enjoying ravioli surrounded by his brothers and friends, or Sandy’s finding peace after troubling times, these individuals and their loved ones are all thankful to the team that has played a large role in their lives.

_*Indicates name has been changed._

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