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Mira, a success story

Posted on by Tim Gothmann

A Success Story…..  by Mary B. — Ucare Care Manager

I received a phone call from an interpreter for a new client I had never met. The interpreter said this client needed help and she was in pain and asked if I could help her in any way. I made arrangements to meet with her in her home.

Mira (not her real name) is an elderly Somali woman who lives in a public housing high rise. When I entered her apartment with the interpreter, Mira was sitting alone, with her arm in a sling which was obviously hand made from some type of colorful scarf or sash. She appeared to be having difficulty breathing and seemed to be in pain. Her small apartment was sparsely furnished and extremely hot and stuffy. She had many medications bottles strewn upon a small coffee table that sat in the middle of her living room.

We conversed for a bit with general introductions and she told me that she fell by tripping over something in her apartment. She had seen a doctor after the fall because she had pain in her arm but wasn’t getting any relief from the medications prescribed. When asked about her medications and if she knew what to take and when, she said she just takes a pill if she is in pain. She wasn’t sure which pills were prescribed for what purpose. The types of medications varied from strong pain medication, to asthma medications, inhalers, vitamin supplements, etc.  She said she never married and she had no children or extended family in Minnesota to help her.

I conducted a full assessment on Mira.  The interpreter and I showed her how to adjust her air conditioner to cool the room and explained that this might help her feel more comfortable with her breathing and asthma symptoms.  We talked about follow up services that I planned to set up as soon as possible which included a home care nurse to assess her pain and set up her medications. I learned after the meeting, from the interpreter, that this client did not know how to read English or Somali, so she would not have understood the directions on her pill bottles nor would she have understood how to use her air conditioner properly.

I coordinated physical and occupational therapists to visit Mira in her home to review safety and set up grab bars and other equipment that would help her move about easily in her bedroom and bathroom. Personal care attendant hours were added so there would be someone to assist her in her daily cares and homemaking tasks.

About one month later I received a phone call from an interpreter for Mira. This was so sweet as it is unusual to get a client calling me with an interpreter. Usually I need to coordinate with the interpreter and call the client back. When I receive calls from a client, it is usually to ask for a change in services or express a concern. Mira said she was just calling to say it was nice to meet me and to say thank you for visiting her. She wanted to let me know she was feeling much better and she appreciated the help she was now getting in her home.

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