After the fall – The road to recovery

Marlys Hossele (Center) with Care Transitions’ nurses Marianne Del Debbio (L) and Shirley Burnette (R).

One minute, Marlys Hossele was walking through her home, the next she had fallen over a chair and was sprawled on the floor, racked with pain.

Fortunately, her husband Tony was present. He feared his wife might have broken some bones, so he immediately called the front desk at The Colonnade, the Sun Health community the Hosseles call home.

Resident Services director Nancy Wilson, an RN, and Adam Dekaria, lead EMT, rushed to the Hossele home and tended to Marlys. They determined she should go to the emergency room (ER) at nearby Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center, and they called an ambulance. In the ER, doctors discovered that Marlys had fractured a vertebra in her back.

She spent that night in the hospital as a precaution and was discharged the next day. She came home feeling tired and gripped by pain.

What came next was a pleasant surprise. Marianne Del Debbio, R.N., a Sun Health nurse manager called to ask if Marlys would like to take part in Sun Heath’s Care Transitions program, an evidence-based initiative aimed at helping patients recover more smoothly at home following hospitalization. The program is provided at no cost to patients thanks to the generosity of Sun Health Foundation donors.

The Hosseles accepted the offer and Marianne scheduled a time to call on them in their home. Once there, Marianne sat down with the couple and explained the purpose of the Care Transitions program. She made sure they understood Marlys’ care plan, her medications and warning signs to look for. She also shared information about resources, such as a medical equipment loan closet where they could obtain a walker if Marlys wanted one. Marianne also made sure that follow-up appointments with physicians had been scheduled.

Marianne’s initial visit was followed with weekly calls from Care Transitions’ coordinator Shirley Burnette, LPN, to check on Marlys’ progress and address any concerns.

“The concern they showed and the hope and reassurance they gave me was very helpful,” Marlys said. “I am so grateful.”

Tony was thankful too. He remembers seeing his wife’s uncertainty wash away during the home visit with Marianne.

“Before that visit, we weren’t sure what the next step was going to be or how to manage the range of medications she (Marlys) was on. Marianne’s visit provided us with a lot of advice and reassurance, “ Tony said.

Phone conversations with Shirley over the next three weeks were equally comforting and supportive.

“Both nurses did an outstanding job,” Marlys said.

Every day, the Sun Health Care Transitions program serves West Valley residents like Marlys as they transition from hospital to home. Care Transition programs, like Sun Health’s, also have been proven to reduce the need for hospital readmissions.

The Hosseles met on a blind date and recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. During their working lives, Marlys taught elementary school and Tony worked as a project engineer for a chemical company. In retirement, they’ve traveled all over the U.S. and abroad. Nowadays, they take part in many activities at The Colonnade.

Programs like Care Transitions are among the reasons the Hosseles enjoy life at The Colonnade.

It’s a “worthwhile, quality program,” Marlys said. “I can’t tell you what it did for me emotionally and physically, as a result of what they taught me,” Marlys said.

That’s high praise coming from a veteran teacher.

Sun Health Care Transitions is uniquely focused on providing patients and family caregivers with the skills, confidence, and tools they need to assert a more active role in their health care.