Home Health -- ‘They're Not Only Your Nurse, They're Also Your Friend'

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Loretta Bowen was the first woman roofer in Arizona, so when her health started to decline she was not happy about having people help her. But the people at the Payson Regional Medical Center Home Health Agency stuck with her.

"I had a lot of nurses in the beginning," Bowen said. "I was hard on nurses. I wasn't used to being taken care of and being sick. I didn't like it at all. It took my independence. I couldn't accept being sick. It took a couple of years. I'm stubborn."

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Over the course of the services provided by the PRMC Home Health Agency, Sherrill Magnuson, Loretta Bowen and Mary Ann Graffagnino have all become friends.

The folks at home health were stubborn too.

For the past nine years, Bowen's home health nurse has been Sherrill Magnuson, R.N. And now, Bowen has a different perspective on the service.

"I'd highly recommend it to people who need help and understanding," Bowen said. "They're not only your nurse, they're also you're friend."

Bowen, a resident of Payson for 32 years, has congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

"According to a doctor I had years ago, I shouldn't be here," she said. "But somebody up there likes me and here I am."

The biggest benefit of home health to Bowen, outside of feeling better, she said,

"I don't have to worry. If anything goes wrong, I just got to call."

The challenge is doing what's right for her health, she said.

Magnuson, a former operating room nurse, has been in Payson for 10 years. She said she stumbled onto the job.

"My husband had moved here ahead of me and I was visiting. I responded to an ad and they said they could train me and I had a job."

Coming to Payson from Orange County, Calif., Magnuson said she had never heard of home health care before.

"I'd heard of visiting nurses through the county, but not home health," she said. "I just love it. I have all these sweethearts," she said.

Magnuson has 45 years experience in nursing.

"I love the area. The people appreciate us. It's so neat. We do become friends (with our patients)," she said.

"It's very spiritual too. It's not just the care and teaching them to take care of themselves, it's the feelings that go with it," Magnuson added.

In addition to nurse services provided by Magnuson and another nurse with the agency, Bowen has had visits from Mary Ann Graffagnino, a physical therapist, for the past four weeks.

Graffagnino has only been with the home health agency for a month, coming to Payson from Maryland. She has been a physical therapist for 10 years.

Her work with the home health agency is only part of her job. She also is a physical therapist at the hospital and will be doing outpatient work as well.

"I would have never thought of going into home health," Graffagnino said. "The little I know about it was that there was a lot of paperwork.

"This is the ideal setting for it. You're not stressed by the time you get to a patient. All the people I've met have been helpful and nice. Your patients appreciate you and work with you."

Graffagnino has between 10 and 15 patients she sees through the home health agency, while Magnuson has about 30.

"It's one of the greatest jobs in nursing," Magnuson said. "And it's such a neat group to work with."

To learn more about the home health care service, call the PRMC Home Health Agency at (928) 472-5245 and speak with the director, Colleen O'Connor. She will explain how the service works.

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