Dorothy McPherson has come nearly full circle.
The executive director of the recently opened branch of Progressive Home Health and Hospice in Newton was a nursing student in 1985, when she worked at Bethesda Home in Goessel — the Newton branch now serves Marion County residents.
The Kenya native had never seen snow before when she commuted from Hesston to work the second shift at the Goessel nursing home.
“I kept going in the ditch,” McPherson said with a smile, referring to her difficulty while driving a small car on icy roads.
A nursing student at Hesston College, McPherson went on to earn an associate degree in 1989.
On Jan. 26, McPherson and Community Relations Director Garland Shuff visited Bethesda Home. McPherson recalled her time at the local nursing home.
“Bethesda was a lovely place to work. It was a great time,” she said. “Good staff and a good experience.”
When McPherson came to the U.S. in 1984, her interest was business. She became employed as a certified nurse’s aide and found she had a connection with patients.
One lesson McPherson learned from working at Bethesda 25 years ago and other experiences in the health care field was to look beyond a patient’s immediate need.
“We not only need to look at the wound but the whole person,” she said, more of a holistic approach. “We want to take care of the patient at home and help be part of a community. We’re not just caring for the patient but for the community.”
She joined the Wichita health organization in 1995. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration in 2002 from Tabor College, Wichita.
In July, Progressive Home Health and Hospice opened an office in Newton and is providing services to residents in Marion County.
What sets the agency apart from similar service organizations is that is provides services to pregnant women, infants, adults, and elderly, McPherson said.
About the agency
Progressive Home Health and Hospice is licensed to serve Wichita and the surrounding area up to a 100-mile radius, which includes all of the county.
Services offered by the agency include skilled nursing, therapy, cardiac care, obstetrical and pediatric care, psychiatric care, home support, and hospice.
On staff are therapists, registered nurses, certified nurse’s aides, home health aides, licensed practical nurses, non-medical aides, medical doctors, dieticians, attending physicians, and pharmacists.
Staff is able to provide in-home services to mother and child instead of going to a doctor’s office or hospital, McPherson said.
“We also monitor contractions,” she said, “and assist the mother with breastfeeding.”
Progressive offers traditional home health services — physical, occupational, and speech therapy, breathing treatments, oxygen and intravenous therapies, and disease management to name a few.
Home support staff helps clients bathe, groom, and dress; providing grocery shopping, preparing food, and performing light housekeeping work.
Psychiatric rehabilitation, crisis intervention, medication administration, suicidal assessment, and hospital-to-home transition assistance is available.
By having one agency provide all of these services, there can be a smoother transition of care, McPherson said.
“Hospice sometimes has a negative connotation,” Shuff said, but it doesn’t have to.
“Sometimes when people are in hospice, they improve,” McPherson said.
There’s a smoother transition to home health from hospice since it is provided by the same agency.
“We can continue to help patients during illnesses,” McPherson said.
It also works the opposite. Sometimes patients receiving home health services need to transition to receive hospice care.
Regardless of the patient’s needs, McPherson, Shuff, and their staff are ready to serve Marion County residents.