By JENNIFER DEMPSEY

Progress Editor

A few weeks ago, I was asked if I would like to ride along with a home health nurse from Community Health Professionals. Since I am usually willing to try out new things, I agreed right away.

Community Health Professionals is a home health care business based out of Van Wert. They have office locations all over Northwest Ohio and have inpatient hospice centers in Defiance and Van Wert.

Being a local company, it’s not hard to find someone who has used their services. Their service has impacted my own family in many ways.

In 2010, CHP nurses took care of my daughter when she was an infant and was struggling medically. We looked forward to their bi-weekly visits and were so impressed with the care we received from the staff.

Because of CHP being a local company and hiring local people, we are still in contact with the main nurse who cared for my daughter. We see her in the community and the reunion is always special.

I know various people, including family members, who were touched by the caring nurses at the inpatient hospice centers who cared for their loved ones in a difficult time.

I think one big thing that sets CHP apart from other companies in their field, is that small town connection. When you have people taking care of you that shop in the same stores and attend the same churches, it really makes a difference.

I had the pleasure of riding along with Tomi Meyer last week. Tomi is a RN and has been working part-time at CHP for about 12 years.

Our first stop of the afternoon was with a patient who needed skilled home health. These patients are ones that might be home recuperating after surgery, recovering from an illness or just need a little help dealing with some medical issues.

The nurses check vitals, change dressings and provide wound care, manage medications and help with medical equipment.

Home health nursing is a job that requires a lot of knowledge, experience and excellent patient care. Home health nurses must be quick on their feet to make decisions for patient care.

Since every case is very different, they must be well-trained to address a lot of possible situations.

It is also very important that they know the patients and how to address their needs as a whole.

When we walked into the first house, we were greeted with happy hellos. The patient and spouse were excited to see Tomi and were looking forward to her visit.

The gentleman was healing from surgery and needed some help with dressing changes.

One of the first things I noticed was the rapport and trust between Tomi and the clients. That high level of trust and comfort is so valuable in this kind of relationship.

The gentleman felt comfortable talking to Tomi about any issues he was having currently and she was able to address those needs.

Our next stop was at the house of a hospice patient. In addition to inpatient hospice centers, CHP can also provide hospice care for those who wish to stay at home.

Hospice is end of life care and with CHP offering home hospice, this allows people to remain in their homes until they pass.

The patient we visited is also being cared for by his wife, who is a former CHP employee.

His wife told Tomi the massage therapist from CHP came out to visit the patient and was able to help with some tension he was having in his neck. It made a huge impact on his level of comfort.

One big thing I noticed was the personal connection between Tomi, the patients and their families.

When you are going through medically difficult times or are the main caregiver for someone who is sick, it can be very isolating. You spend a lot of time at home and do not always get a lot of interaction with the outside world.

It is so hard mentally and emotionally to keep going, but you do. The home health nurses that visit these families are more than just nurses to them. It’s a link to the outside world and it’s a connection.

They really look to them for guidance, support, encouragement and so much more. The nurses and aides truly are a bright spot in the patient’s day.

This connection is what makes Community Health Professionals a true gem in our community. These nurses understand the demographic of the patients they care for and the patients trust the nurses because they are local.