Health Plus: Amputee benefits from home health care - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Amputee benefits from home health care

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Getting patients comfortably back in their homes is priority for hospital staff, and thanks to home health care programs, it's happening.

Here's Health Plus with one eastern Iowa man's story:

Ken Earnest had no idea the minor fall he had on-the-job two summers ago would be so life-changing.

But it was enough for the now 68-year-old to need a knee replacement.

"I would wake up at like 5 o'clock in the morning. Ken wake up, you gotta do antibiotics and at 9 o'clock at night do another set and all day long I was sick, really sick," Ken said.

Unfortunately, his knee did not heal properly and that led to eleven more failed knee replacements and a constant struggle to fight off infection.

"There were some points I was so low and so sick one night in particular, I woke up and I hurt so badly," Ken said. 

The Waterloo man's ultimate decision to have his leg amputated likely saved his life.

"Because the infection primarily stayed in the knee. It was spreading into my kidneys," Ken said.

Now Ken is recovering at home with the help of Covenant Medical Center's Home Health.

"I think the healing process is faster at home because they're more comfortable. They're in their own setting," Becky Shirk said.    

Skilled nurses like Becky help patients like Ken with everything from wound care to antibiotics.

"You can give your own antibiotics or a loved one. A caregiver that can assist you with that. You're still a part of your family. You don't miss out on those things," Becky said.

As for Ken, he's going back for a knee replacement on his other leg next week.

In next week's Health Plus, how Ken used a blog on the internet to cope with the life-changing decision to amputate his leg.

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