Ron Williams, 73, is a proud veteran who has learned to conquer his circumstances.
He served in both the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, and he was wounded in Vietnam. When he returned to his Detroit hometown, he found the city in an uproar with the 1967 riots, a confusion of bloodshed and violence.
A disabled veteran, he is a determined warrior who has learned to overcome many challenges, including trouble with his heart and challenges with mobility.
If you want to watch his eyes light up, just ask him about his daughter, Renee Williams.
Renee, his only child, is a banking executive who does all she can to help her father retain his independence.
Because she has a demanding job, Renee depends on Carol Health, an on-call service whose registered nurses tend to her father’s health care needs almost every weekday.
Renee learned about Carol Health from the Spectrum Health Wound, Ostomy and Continence Clinic.
“If they had not told me about Carol Health, his life would be more challenging,” Renee said. “That’s how important that referral was.”
Carol Health’s registered nurses provide services that include medication checks, vital sign monitoring, wound dressing changes, injections and review of hospital instructions. They also provide personal care for elderly patients, ensuring their safety.
Each morning, whether she’s in town or traveling for work, Renee uses the Carol Health app on her phone or computer to request a visit for her father.
Within an hour there’s a Carol Health nurse at Ron’s door.
“At first when they came, I was a little skeptical,” Ron said. “But as I got to know them, I look forward to seeing them come knocking at the door. They answer my questions and take time to listen.”
Ron uses a walker for support. He has decorated his condominium with a large collection of scale-model cars and trains. Military pillows, insignia baseball caps and other paraphernalia are treasured reminders of his military service.
“He’s a really sweet man and it’s been great to get to know him both medically and personally,” said Julie Hawkins, RN, BSN. “I know he appreciates the care that we give. It’s a service that they weren’t able to find anywhere else.”
Hawkins is one of several on-call Carol Health nurses who provide one-on-one patient care.
Every Carol Health nurse who has visited Ron has enjoyed a visit to his “man cave,” a small den where the walls reveal a little more about his life.
There’s a photo of him as a dashing young soldier in uniform. A framed newspaper clipping from the time he was wounded. A Time Life photo of Ron sitting in a battlefield, writing a letter home.
On his side table, there’s a special plaque featuring a photo of a memorial in Triangle, Virginia, dedicated to the memory of Capt. J.W. Ripley. A close-up photo reveals the names each of the marines known as Ripley’s Raiders, including Ron.
The photos were taken by Mike Czechowskyj, the registered nurse who initiated Carol Health and manages it today.
Czechowskyj attended a conference in the Triangle area and took pictures of the memorial after hearing about it from Ron.
“I was so honored,” Ron said. “It did my old heart good.”
Peace of mind
Carol Health’s smart phone app makes it easy for Renee to interact with the service and check up on her dad. She can request a visit, see if a nurse is on the way and review post-visit notes—conveniently written in lay terms, not medical jargon.
“It helps me to see what’s going on and it helps me to have peace of mind,” Renee said.
Renee and Ron both said Carol Health has improved their lives and given them peace of mind.
When Ron bumped his head recently, the Carol Health nurses stayed in touch with Renee, even as they handled the issue.
“We’re talking about quality of care and keeping independence for seniors,” Renee said. “This is a great opportunity for people.”