Working the System: In Home Nursing

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When it comes to balancing her career and family, Karolina Walkin knows how to stay organized and maintain a positive attitude. And those were the exact qualities she searched for and found in Stephanie Thomopoulos, a geriatric care manager who assisted Karolina when she was caring for her father.

For nearly five months, he was in the hospital in intensive care on a respirator. When taken off of the machine, he would suffer from a collapsed lung and a series of other complications.

Although he was later placed in a reputable acute care facility, Karolina felt it would be best to let her father live in his condominium at the Jefferson Retirement Community in Arlington, Va.

“In an acute care facility, you can have terrific people trying to be as attentive as possible, but on the weekends you have people who are just part-time,” she said, “And he was consistently at risk for viruses.”

While Karolina found some discouragement with her decision as the doctors felt he needed a great deal of care, she received recommendations on geriatric care managers who could help.

However, many of the professionals Karolina spoke with had preconceived notions about what was possible for her father.

“I was really looking for a case manager with a ‘can-do’ attitude,” Karolina said, “Stephanie was one of the few I found that came into the situation thinking ‘let’s find out what can be done and what different doctors and specialists recommend.'”

With a little research, the two found bringing Karolina’s father back home was in fact very possible. The specialists they spoke with actually recommended her father be cared for at home, as he would be more comfortable and receive more consistent and better care.

Karolina and Stephanie worked out the system together. As she traveled frequently for her career, Karolina needed someone who knew how to structure everything and could give her peace of mind.

Stephanie organized, ordered and arranged all of the medical supplies at his home. She also scheduled, tracked hours and managed the payment of his care providers.

“I was lucky to have people who were willing to come work for me fulltime taking care of my father,” said Karolina, “The three women were absolutely phenomenal in their attention and time.”

According to Karolina, as they found more people to cover the period they needed, her father and specialists noted the top-notch care he was receiving. Shortly after seeing his granddaughter celebrate her fifth birthday, he passed away having lived in his home for three years, exceeding the six months physicians had given him to live.

Karolina said she owes all of the credit to Stephanie, who helped her set up such a fantastic operation for her father.

“Because of her efficiency when keeping track of the caregivers’ hours, equipment and all around schedule, I never had a concern,” said Karolina, “Mine truly is a success story.”.

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