Randall Donner
Randall Donner, Communications Senior Professional

Best Possible Health

Best Possible Health

Helping people have the best possible health is a priority at Mosaic. Through the work of staff and Mosaic at Home contractors, amazing success stories abound.

It’s often the small things that make a big difference.

That was the case for Melissa Barnard after doctors placed her on hospice care following a hospitalization.

Their diagnosis: failure to thrive.

Melissa requires full care and has multiple, ongoing health concerns. Staff at Mosaic in Pontiac (Illinois) know to watch for any small signs that something is amiss. Maybe something that usually makes her laugh does not. Or her appetite may not be as strong as it should be.

It was pneumonia that landed Melissa in the hospital. She’d also had hospitalizations for gastrointestinal bleeding and dehydration. Every time, Mosaic staff went to the hospital regularly to check on her and to feed her, knowing she doesn’t always respond well to strangers.

When she was placed on hospice, staff redoubled their efforts, trying different things to get her to eat and drink. They were persistent. Staff changed her meal schedule so she wasn’t distracted by others in the home. They used music to help her remain calm. If one person couldn’t get her to eat or drink, another would try.

Slowly, Melissa gained weight. Each pound was a celebration. She became healthy enough to be taken off hospice care.

“They just show genius care for all of the individuals that live in the home,” said Marilyn Straka-Holl, direct support supervisor. “They want to give them the best life possible. Keeping Melissa healthy is part of that.”

Blaise Lindemoen’s health challenge was losing weight, not gaining it.

Through choices he was making about foods and helpings, Blaise had gained more than 40 pounds over about two years.

“He got into some poor eating habits because he could choose what he wanted,” said his mother, Sheila. “Even though the staff tried to do things like getting snack-sized bags of chips, he would have six bags!” (Staff denying him food would be a restriction of his rights.)

The 30-year-old began having health issues like swollen ankles and leg problems. The biggest consequence for him, however, was not being able to participate in the horse riding program he loved, his favorite activity. The added weight put him over the limit for the horses.

Blaise moved into a host home with a provider who had been a Mosaic staff member. Her continued encouragement to make better food choices and get exercise helped him lose the 40 pounds over a year’s time.

“I love the fact that he looks so much better,” Sheila said. “I was really concerned about his swollen legs and ankles. The most exciting thing is that he gets to ride horses again. It is wonderful!”

For Crystal Brannan, dropping weight and medications helped her get healthier. Not only did she lose more than 65 pounds in 18 months, but she was also able to reduce the number of medications she takes from 13 to five.

“She’s just a different girl now, both in looks and in actions,” said Patti Stevens, Crystal’s host home provider at Mosaic in Western Iowa.

Because of her lifestyle changes, a whole new world of activities has opened up for Crystal. She now spends time outside and has even learned how to fish.

“I can walk; I can ride a bike up the hill now,” Crystal said. “I don’t snore anymore!”

Being her best self has also included learning to change some behaviors. Crystal will admit she can have a short fuse, getting upset when things don’t go her way. Even something as simple as a store being out of an item she wanted could cause a “blow up,” Patti said.

But now?

“I have to walk away,” Crystal said. “I talk to her when I’m upset.”

Each person Mosaic supports faces different health challenges. But Mosaic’s goal is always the same: help them discover a life of possibilities through the best possible health. The outcomes can change lives.

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