VA Caregiver Support
Donnetta Hobbs is the wife of a World War II Navy Veteran. She became his full-time Family Caregiver a few years ago when he had a blood clot in his leg, which caused him to be hospitalized.
Upon returning home from the hospital, he was extremely limited in his ability to walk. As her husband is a tall, strapping gentleman, Donnetta had a difficult time assisting her husband in transferring from his bed to his lift chair. One way VA Northern Indiana Health Care System (VANIHCS) was able to help Donnetta to assist her husband was by providing her with a Hoyer Lift. This piece of equipment allowed her to continue caring for her husband in their home.
"We would be lost without that lift," she said
Two and a half years ago, Mr. Hobbs was admitted into the Home Based Primary Care program for monthly blood draws. Due to his extreme difficulty with movement, it was quite difficult for Donnetta to bring him to the hospital for his required monthly blood draws. Over time, Home Based Primary Care staff were able to make durable medical equipment recommendations to further assist Donnetta and her husband, such as a hospital bed, electric scooter, an exercise peddler, etc.
A quality that often catches people's attention about Donnetta and her husband is their faith in God, and their belief He would carry their troubles to see them through. Despite assisting her husband with bathing, dressing, transferring, all while maintaining their home, Donnetta never complained. She viewed the care of her husband as a duty she was proud to accept, and if she did begin to feel stressed from her many daily activities, she turned to God.
In the beginning, Donnetta did not utilize the Homemaker and Home Health Aid or Respite Programs. She continued to care for her husband all alone, even sacrificing her health at times. As Donnetta and her husband received monthly visits from the Home Based Primary Care nurse and social worker, they would reinforce the programs available and encourage her to use them to decrease some of the work she did on a daily basis. Over time, Donnetta and her husband began to accept additional services.
Now a home health aide assists her husband with bathing, grooming, dressing, and transfers. This allows Donnetta to leave the house for grocery shopping and other errands knowing her husband is being cared for in her absence. She has begun to utilize the in-home respite program, in which she often uses her hours to go shopping or spend time with family or friends.
"I didn't realize just to get away really does help," Donnetta said.
As an example, Donnetta remembered how she was recently sick and was able to utilize the in-home respite program to give her time to recover. She was quite pleased with her home health aide because while she was resting, her home health aide cleaned her home, which is still something she never expects but truly appreciates.
Despite being a private person, Donnetta's husband agreed to participate in this story because he feels Donnetta deserves it.
As the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System team that assists Donnetta and her husband can attest, Donnetta and all Family Caregivers deserve to be recognized for the wonderful, selfless care they provide to Veterans. Every day they give their time, patience, energy, and a piece of themselves in their quest to help another human being, and they are to be honored and thanked for the wonderful, giving care they provide.