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CardioVascular Home Care receives ADVISORMED’S 2011 “GREAT TEXAS HOME HEALTH CARE” award

June 30, 2011

CardioVascular Home Care has achieved AdvisorMed’s 2011 Great Texas Home Health Care Award by demonstrating results that consistently exceed patients’ expectations.

CardioVascular Home Care ranks within the top tier of all the home healthcare agencies in Texas.  To calculate this award, AdvisorMed uses a variety of national standardized data including information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) along with consumer reviews.

“In achieving this award, CardioVascular Home Care has demonstrated its commitment to the highest level of care for its patients that goes beyond the typical requirements for most Home Health Care Agencies,” says James Taylor, CEO of AdvisorMed, “I want to congratulate CVHC for successfully achieving these results.”

AdvisorMed is a free, online report card/healthcare guide featuring home health care agencies, nursing homes, and hospitals. The organization’s goal is to help consumers with their healthcare choices.

“ AdvisorMed’s Award further demonstrates our significant investment in quality care, expert staff and innovative programs. This recognition from AdvisorMed helps recognize our commitment to excellence, says Bridgette Campbell, CEO.  “Achieving the ‘Great Texas Home Health Care Award’ also assures our patients and families that CVHC  is  maintaining excellence and is working to continually improve the care we provide.”

Founded in 1994, CardioVascular Home Care is an RN-owned and managed home healthcare company providing a high level of technology-supported, consistent, quality nursing and ancillary services to patients with chronic heart and lung disease in the Greater Fort Worth metropolitan area.

CVHC is the parent company for Orthopedic Home Care, a home rehabilitation service for orthopedic patients to begin the smooth, successful recovery from joint replacement surgery at home.

Safe Choices and Healthcare Concierge are two senior advocacy/geriatric care management programs developed to provide worried families and concerned physicians with an evaluation of the changing needs of seniors who begin to have problems with daily life. Staff members evaluate, recommend and provide important home care services to aging patients in order to help them maintain an independent life as long as possible.

CVHC is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and affiliated with the National Association of Home Care, Home Health Nurses Association, Heart Failure Society of America and the Texas Association of Home Care.

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The Polka King of the Nation

April 7, 2011

Two things in the long, happy life of August Stanislawski still make his face light up and broaden his gentle smile into a great, big grin. One is his wife—he beams from ear to ear when she walks into the room with a kind of happy devotion reserved for the incurably romantic. The second is his music—he plays the accordion and concertina with a kind of gusto and joy reserved for the young; or, at least, young-at-heart.

At 73, “Stan,” as he is known to his friends and to his fans across the United States, is troubled by heart problems, but manages to enjoy the quality of his life. He and Marion, his bride for 39 years, have raised 10 children and traveled to more than 43 states, Canada and Mexico, leading a merry band of polka-playing musicians.

“Music has always been in my life,” Stan says, describing his childhood on a dairy farm in tiny Rosholt, Wisconsin. “My father played the violin, concertina and drums.” He doesn’t concentrate on the hard times, and the twice-daily milking chores. “My four brothers and four sisters and I had to do the milking,” he says, “Every day, by hand, at 5:00 am and 5:00 pm.” He was the oldest of nine children, and as the oldest son, was deferred from military service.

“My grandparents came to America in 1854, and I was born in the house they built on the farm,” Stan recalls. “My parents ran the dairy business, and later, changed to a potato crop.” The Stanislawkis came originally from Poland, and you can hear a Wisconsin accent today as Stan speaks. “I tell a lot of Polish jokes,” he says with a chuckle. Marion’s family hails from Czechoslovakia. “We are a big hit in the Texas towns with Polish and Czech heritage,” he says, naming West, New Braunfels, Fredericksburg, Kovalski, Ennis.

He learned to play the concertina at home, but when Stan was in the fourth grade, he was taught by a nun with a famous musician in her family. “I began taking lessons from Sister Mary De Sales,” Stan says, “who was Liberace’s aunt.” He remembers admiring Sister De Sales’s talent. “She played all kinds of instruments including electric guitar, violin and accordion,” he says. “She taught music in a lot of small towns in the Midwest, and gave me lessons on Saturdays.”

Stan was young when he first hit the road as a musician, and he says he most enjoyed playing in small towns. “We loved playing in Las Vegas and New York and Los Angeles,” he says, “but the audiences in the small towns are so enthusiastic. They are up on their feet and dancing right away. That’s very encouraging for a musician.” He entered musical competitions along the way, and one contest—in Amarillo—garnered him the title of “Polka King of the Nation.” Stan says he will never forget that day—for two reasons. “It was wonderful to win and to beat out performers in rock and roll, country music, everything. That title is very special to me.” He also remembers that he won the title during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October, 1962. “I was supposed to perform, but the concert had to be cancelled,” he says.

Stan and Marion met when she attended one of his shows in Dallas. “She was 18 and I was 36,” he says with a grin. “We got along great and were married after four days.” Marion joined the show. “She was great with the audiences and has a lot of comedic talent,” he says. “We were like Sonny and Cher—I was the straight man.”  Marion laughs, “He’s normally up shaking his tail feather,” she says of Stan’s love for the stage, performance and his cherished music.

“What I liked to do that wasn’t being done very much was to take a popular song—the most popular songs of the day—and rearrange them to a polka beat,” he says. He explains that polka has a one-two beat, “oom-pah,” where, by contrast, a waltz has a one-two-three beat. “Everyone can dance to a polka beat,” Stan says. “We always motivated our audiences to dance. Dancing and laughing, which go hand-in-hand.”

August Stanislawski is the father of 10 children. “My first wife, Connie Mager, and I had six kids. She was, and is, a wonderful mother.” He calls them out by name. “Catherine, August, Jr., Carlotta, Charlene, Sylvester and Raymond.” Marion gave him four more children: Brenda Lee, Martha Ann, Michelle and Mary Agnes. Stan is proud of each one, and the Stanislawkis enjoy a big, blended family. “We have 60 grandchildren as well,” he says proudly.

As much as he enjoys the audience members in small towns, he admits it was a thrill to meet some celebrities during his tours. “I met Liberace, of course,” he says, “and the governors of Wisconsin and Texas.” He points proudly to a letter of commendation from Dolph Briscoe, Jr. “I met one Miss Wisconsin,” he says, with a wink toward his wife, “and a lot of mayors, plus one senator.”

Stan takes out the accordion and plays for his small audience in the living room, including his nurse, Susan Hand, RN, from CardioVascular Home Care. He doesn’t seem to think about it, touching the instrument’s keyboard instantly, and pumping the bellows as he plays. “Purple,” he says, noting the purple silk fabric peeking out from between the bellows pleats. “Purple is Marion’s favorite color.” Once again, the broad smile returns to his face.

Along the way, Stan also acquired the title, “Aristocrat of the Accordion.” When you see him play, you’ll understand. He is devoted to music, his family, his heritage. He stops playing for a minute to ask, “Do you want to know the secret to a happy marriage?” Everyone nods. “The secret is never say I, me, or mine. Always say we, us, and ours.” He leans his chin against the accordion again, with a twinkle in his eye. Happy, lively music fills the room again—just as it seems to fill August Stanislawski’s heart.

One son’s story

March 2, 2011

“There was never any question that I would take care of my parents when they needed me. . .”

After my father died, my mother did pretty well on her own until she reached 85. That’s when she couldn’t drive any more, and her hearing was failing and I began to notice that she was having problems with her short-term memory.

At first, it was easy enough to visit every other week, buy groceries, pick up her prescriptions, take care of minor fix-ups around her house. I began to wonder if she were eating right and she definitely had trouble remembering to take her blood pressure medicine.

My mom started complaining of little aches and pains—her feet hurt, her “tummy” was upset, she was having trouble working the microwave. I have to say that’s when I began to wonder if she would be able to stay in her home—although she refused to discuss any other living arrangement.

I noticed that she’d often be wearing the same blouse when I’d visit. I opened the clothes dryer one day, and there was a stack of mail and a couple of books inside. “Mom,” I asked with some degree of alarm. “Have you been able to wash and dry your clothes?” Oh, yes, she tried to assure me. I confronted her about the papers in the dryer and she told me she was washing clothes by hand in the sink. She seemed to have trouble using the washer and dryer.

Many alarm bells were going off for me after that. Nobody tells you what to expect when your mom starts to have trouble with even the simplest, most basic parts of life. And nobody tells you how frustrated and helpless you will feel when trying to confront your parent—who still holds on to the original parent-child relationship. She would get upset and say, “Your father never told me what to do.” It was really tough for a couple of months.

She was so isolated by her hearing loss, and I wondered if she was experiencing depression and loneliness, which probably go hand-in-hand. I lived more than an hour’s drive away, and it was so difficult to communicate on the phone even though I checked in every day.

I asked some friends about their parents and looked on the Internet for solutions. I didn’t really want my mom to live with me, and she wouldn’t hear of it, anyway. “I want to live in my own house until I die,” she would say—often and forcefully. That’s when I began to see the possibilities of home healthcare and talked to the folks at CVHC. . .”

EVERY ADULT CHILD WILL FACE SOME OF THESE ISSUES. . .and every situation will be different, but so much will be the same.

HOME HEALTH CARE from CVHC provides solutions in a wide range and variety, in order to meet the specific needs of each patient and his or her family.

WE OFFER SKILLED CARE AND SERVICES, with specialty areas in cardiac/vascular/pulmonary care, and a dedicated program of geriatric care and services. WE CAN HELP.

HEALTHCARE CONCIERGE offers solutions for you in assisting and caring for your aging parent or loved one. Some of our services will be covered by Medicare and supplemental insurance, but the time period for home health coverage and/or the number of visits may be limited. We offer a menu of PRIVATE PAY services to help you continue important home-based services so that your parent can enjoy the best quality of life and remain independent (with assistance) at home for as long as possible.

CALL US for more information at 817-847-8888 or visit http://www.cardiachomecare.com

Lois Card’s story: “I am the luckiest person alive. . .”

August 3, 2010

Lois Card

Before the “Women’s Movement,” before “feminism,” even before World War II, Lois Card was an independent, self-reliant woman with an adventurous spirit. She never took “No,” for an answer after she grew up, and she remembers most of her life history as if it were yesterday.

“I guess I made my own opportunities, but I feel like I am the luckiest person alive,” Card says from her Fort Worth home. Family, friends and neighbors have heard these stories, as have the professional staff members of CardioVascular Home Care, who make regular home nursing and geriatric care visit to Card, whose next “big” birthday will have three digits.

“As far back as I can remember, my mother kept trying to tell me girls didn’t do this, or didn’t do that,” she laughs, recalling a fishing trip her father and her brother were planning. “I got ready to go because I wanted to,” she says, but her mother insisted she stay at home.

At the heart of many of her life stories, and life decisions, is the idea that women should be able to do whatever they want. Card was a private pilot in the 1930s and a ground school flight instructor in the 1940s for men who would test their wings in World War II. She worked for American Airlines when the aviation giant was training Army Air Corps pilots. She served in General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters after the war, letting her spirit of adventure take her across the Pacific to experience Asian culture first-hand. She graduated from college later in life, and eventually took a motor home to Portland, Oregon, where her love of flying was transferred to creating, making and flying kites. She become a nationally recognized advocate and expert for kite-flying, and today, her closets are filled with unique and original kites.

“It is something like flying a plane,” she says of kite-flying. “I organized a kite-flying group called ‘Jewels of the Sky.’ Now, JOTS has more than 250 members all around the country.” Card became something of a local expert and even a celebrity among kite-flyers, and was asked to organize kite festivals in Oregon and around Texas. “I promoted it everywhere I could—Galveston, Waco, Austin,” she says.

Flying has literal and figurative meaning for Card, who credits a boyfriend with a pilot’s license with igniting a spark of wonder and excitement with the great, blue yonder, nearly eight decades ago. “He took me on a flight in a little plane to Dallas, and I had never been in a small airplane before and I loved it,” she says. That first experience sent her on a research mission—to find out where she could take flying lessons, how much they would cost, and whether women were “allowed” to train.

“The lessons cost $25 an hour and I borrowed money to take 10 hours’ worth of lessons,” she says. Near the end of her sessions, she said she noticed some “turmoil” on the airfield and saw pilots gathering and talking. “Japan had just bombed Pearl Harbor,” she said. She got her license just before Dallas and Fort Worth were swarming with young men looking for flight training with the military. Cord was hired by American Airlines as a ground school instructor for instrument flight and navigation. “We trained Navy and Army pilots, and they were here for about three months before they were multiengine and instrument rated.” She says some of her students were surprised to have a woman instructor, but “during the war, women were doing a lot of things that were out of the ordinary.”

Cord remembers this time with pride. “I loved what I was doing and I couldn’t wait to get to work,” she says. She was an accomplished pilot and flight instructor in ground school, mastering training others in the link trainer.

“I had some friends who had gone to work in Germany, and that’s what I decided I wanted to do,” Card remembers. During the post-war era, many Americans worked in Europe and Japan as peace-keepers and helped to rebuild war-torn cities. Card says she was offered a civil service position in Japan. “I think I said I didn’t want to go to Japan, but I went.” The sea voyage was brutal, as hundreds of American workers traveled in a flat-bottomed ship across the Pacific. “It was typhoon season,” she says, and the trip took 30 days. “It’s still a wonder that we made it,” she says. “It was very treacherous travel and one night, we nearly turned over.”

Card fell in love with Japan during her stint from 1946-48, and even today, says she often wishes she were back there. Her collection of Japanese porcelain and ceramics, paintings and drawings, books and even little cricket cages remind her of another great adventure. “I came home mainly because my brother was dying,” she says. She was 29 years old, and was beginning to yearn to go to college, realizing a college degree would be useful in whatever she decided to do next. She graduated from Texas Woman’s University, Denton, with a degree in occupational therapy in 1951. She practiced her newfound skill in healthcare at the Veterans Administration hospital in Waco, followed by OT services at the Dallas Independent School District.

She grew restless working in healthcare, and felt stuck until a chance meeting with an old friend changed her life again.

Card says she and her family were waiting out Fort Worth’s 1957 flood on the front porch in North Richland Hills, when she thought she recognized a man navigating a small boat down the middle of the street. “Our house was on high ground, so we were all right,” she says, “but the street was deep in water.” The man was Jack Skinner, her former colleague at American Airlines, who encouraged her to come back to the company where she’d originally found her “wings.”

She did go back, and “ran the office,” again in support/stenographer roles until she retired in 1980. “I stayed there a long time,” she says. She made good friends, including one man who had a home woodshop and taught her woodworking.  “That family adopted me, and I learned all about woodworking,” Card says. She has rehabbed an old ski boat, made furniture and then found the craft and sport of kite-making and kite-flying.

“I can do anything a man can do,” she says, with obvious pride. “I am the luckiest person alive, especially for a woman who was born at a time when women were just beginning to come into their own.”

Meet DOROTHY EMERY –– a member of our “Greatest Generation” and an American treasure with a living history. . .

August 3, 2010

Dorothy Emery

Small-town values, big-city adventures

Dorothy Emery gets to Sunday school early, in order to meet the first children who arrive for her fourth- and fifth-grade class. She’s a favorite and a fixture at Rosen Heights Baptist Church, a multicultural, multigenerational sanctuary in the historic North Side neighborhood in Fort Worth.

“I began teaching Sunday school when I was 19 years old,” Emery says in a gentle, soft-spoken way. “I turned 91 on my last birthday, so I’ve had a lot of experience with children.” Emery’s smile is as gentle as her manner. She has a warm, welcoming expression in the way of true Texas women. Her life has been difficult, but rewarding. She grew up with small-town values which served her well along the way toward big-city adventures. Throughout her life, family and friends have always held a special place in her heart.

Born in Montague County, about eight miles west of Bowie, Texas, Emery attended a country school through seventh grade, and was named valedictorian for her graduating class. “My family didn’t get to come to the ceremony, because my brother had scarlet fever and was quarantined with my mother at home,” she recalls.

As her formal education in a rural school ended, Emery took it upon herself to add to her skills. “I had taken bookkeeping and business arithmetic in school, but I didn’t know how to type,” she says. “I found out that typing lessons cost money, so I rented a typewriter and learned on my own.” Emery’s mother took in laundry, worked at a cafeteria, made pies and, in general, took care of her small family. “We always had a vegetable garden, and I never realized it if we were doing without,” Emery says.

With her newfound typing proficiency, Emery got a bookkeeping job in Bowie and met a woman who worked as a legal secretary. “She encouraged me to learn shorthand, and she taught me herself after work,” she says. “I heard that the city attorney was looking for a secretary, so I applied and got the job. I got paid $4 a week.”

The Emery family, by this time, had moved into the town of Bowie. Doing well, with Dorothy and her brother, Ray, both working, they decided to make a bigger move for better opportunities—all the way to Fort Worth. America was about to get involved in World War II, and Ray Emery was drafted into the U.S. Army. “I had a job at Will Rogers Coliseum, which lasted about a year,” Dorothy says. She had a colleague who started an employment agency and who told her, “I’ll send you to the three best jobs I have.”

One of those was a clerical position at Texas & Pacific Railroad, which at the time was a going concern in Fort Worth with a huge, landmark station downtown. “I got the job, but they said it might be temporary,” Emery says. “I was hired on Friday and started work on Monday.” She worked in the T&P Store department, where train parts were stored and requisitioned for routine maintenance and repairs. “I worked in that temporary job for 36 years,” Emery laughs. Her office was on the corner of Montgomery Street and West Vickery, where an active train yard exists today. The historic T&P building is still standing downtown, and has been partially renovated and restored on Lancaster Avenue.

Besides providing a measure of financial security for Emery and her mother, Texas & Pacific Railroad would offer a window on a much bigger world. “I have always been fascinated by different places, new places,” Emery says. “Because of my job, I could get free rail passes to anywhere in Texas. My mother loved to travel, so we decided to take some long trips first.” Emery took the train to California, visiting San Francisco where her brother’s ship was docked, then to Redlands to see some distant relatives. In Los Angeles, the pair visited Knots Berry Farm—”a couple of times.” On various adventures, the Emery mother and daughter saw Colorado, New York City and Washington, D.C.

“We took the long trip to Chicago, and the railroad men told me to keep my hands in my pockets and watch out for pickpockets,” Emery says, laughing. “It was the safest big city I’d ever seen. We had a very nice time there.” She says she saw St. Louis often, since it was a hub for passenger rail travel for a long time.

Emery took care of her mother, who lived with her until her death in 1983 at the age of 81. Her mother’s sister had moved next door in Fort Worth, and Emery says she took care of her aunt also. “My aunt got sick and I was happy to help her. She was family after all,” Emery says.

Good health and long life run in the family. “I never went to the hospital until 2001,” Emery says. “I really don’t feel my age, although I feel better if someone takes my arm while I’m walking.” She watches what she eats, and enjoys exercise every day, using a “pedal-ciser” machine, which works both her arms and her legs. She helps keep up her extensive backyard flower garden, where she walks every day. “I have always loved flowers,” she says, strolling among vincas, impatiens and coleus plants. She points to a pot full of blooming geraniums, and explains that her geriatric care manager from CVHC brought it to her. Home care services and regular visits from an RN and a social worker help Emery maintain her health and quality of life. “I have true friendships with my nurse, Susan, and with Tina, my care manager,” she says.

“And I love being with children, helping them learn the Bible stories and singing.” Her uncle could play the organ, she says, and she remembers him playing in their home in Bowie. “I always loved music, and I always wanted to work with children,” she says. “One of my cousins was a school teacher. She was going to help me go to college for teaching, but that didn’t work out.” Emery doesn’t seem to mind. “There are some things you can do for children that you don’t have to go to college to learn.” She smiles, and begins to tell more stories about the fourth- and fifth-graders in her Sunday school class. “I get them started on their Scripture lessons and usually we have a worksheet,” she says. “I always tell them, ‘Try on your own, but if you need help, I’ll help you.”

CVHC honored as “Elite Agency”

April 9, 2010

CardioVascular Home Care, Inc., has been named one of OCS HomeCare and DecisionHealth’s top-performing, Medicare-certified home health care agencies. The announcement puts CVHC among the top 25 percent of home healthcare providers in the United States.

Winners are ranked by an analysis of performance measures in quality outcomes, quality improvement, and financial performance.

“The HomeCare Elite has become the industry standard for identifying home health agencies that perform at the highest level,” says Amanda Twiss, president and CEO of OCS HomeCare. “We congratulate the HomeCare Elite for their continued success and commitment to both high quality and strong financial performance.”

Great Day for Ducks…

October 2, 2009

group. . .and CardioVascular Home Care staff and families, who sloshed along the Trinity Park walking course on Saturday, September 12, for the annual HEART WALK sponsored by the American Heart Association (AHA). Rain, rain and more rain saturated Fort Worth for days, and HEART WALKERS braved the weather for a fun day of fitness and fundraising for AHA’s important programs. This event is a longstanding tradition for CVHC staff members. This year, the team of 16 raised money for research and community/patient education about heart health, cardiac risk factors, and healthy ways to reduce the risk of heart disease. CVHC cares for patients with cardiac, vascular, and pulmonary problems. Many home-based services are provided by CVHC Registered Nurses (RNs), therapists for orthopedic rehab and additional support staff.

NANCY SASSO, physical therapist, raised the most money in the CVHC group. Owners/founders BRIDGETTE CAMPBELL, RN, and PAUL NICHOLS, RN, with Paul’s family, including his wife, Helen, and their children, Emily and Aaron, also completed the soggy three-mile walk through Trinity Park. The walkers passed the famous “Duck Pond,” and wished for waterproof feathers and webbed feet! JAN GOODWIN, RN, gathered the most free goodies from the many booths in the HEART WALK VILLAGES. DAWNDA SADLER, RN, with husband, Ricky, and daughter, Lexi, finished the course, along with ROSANNE COLE, RN, and AHA board member, who struggled to unravel her plastic-wrap raincoat creation. LISA MARTINEZ, RN, who found fruit smoothies for the group before the walk, was chosen “best dressed” for the event. EILEEN ATWOOD, RN, came to walk, but opted to leave her furry companion, Shasta, at home. TIM KOIRTYOHANN and DAN BRUCE, MSW, both seasoned runners, decided to run the HEART WALK route. The CVHC team reported feeling “soaked to the bone” by the end of the event, but were all smiles at being a part of such a good cause.starbucks1

Photographer Mike Malloy took photos before the walk in the W. 7th Street Montgomery Plaza Starbucks coffee store, where the CVHC team gathered for smoothies. Company t-shirts, with “Life is Good, Home Care Makes It Better” on the back, looked great until they got wet. CEO CAMPBELL noted, “No more white t-shirts” for future HEART WALKS, particularly if it rains again.

Life is Good. Homecare Makes It Better!

Life is Good. Homecare Makes It Better!

CVHC is always looking for motivated, experienced RNs with a background in critical/cardiac care, as well as physical therapists and occupational therapists for our home rehabilitation services following joint repair/replacement surgeries.

RNs who are good managers, independent and comfortable with organizing and maintaining their own schedules for patient visits are a perfect fit with CVHC’s services. Independent, self-motivated and goal-oriented therapists who enjoy a close relationship with their patients are ideal for our company’s home-based services.
Review our web site (www.cardiachomecare.com) and explore the opportunities for cardiovascular home nursing, orthopedic home nursing and geriatrics. Let us hear from you!

http://www.cardiachomecare.com