Discovery Home Care has ended years of highly stressful, disruptive, regular hospital admissions for Manie Kleynhans. Now, he receives the intravenous medicine he needs, every six weeks for the foreseeable future, while he relaxes in his lounge
Manie Kleynhans worked all his life as a fitter and turner. “I did mechanical work, fixing machines and machine parts in factories and in engineering companies. My hands were integral to my work,” explains the 67-year-old. “About 20 years ago, I found myself one day standing before a salad-cream bottle production line. When I tried to grip two small bottles from the line in each hand, to review them as I had always done, I realised my right hand could only grasp one. I didn’t realise know that was the start of what would be a slow deterioration – so slow in fact, that I didn’t realise how bad I was getting over time.”
Eventually Manie’s GP sent him to a neurologist – who he now sees annually. Manie was diagnosed with Multifocal Motor Neuropathy – a rare form of degeneration of the nervous system, characterised by progressive, assymetric muscle weakness and wasting. “The underlying cause is thought to be an abnormal immune response,” says Manie. “For me, it meant that the muscles in my feet, arms and legs began to waste away and, most devastating, in my hands also. Luckily there’s been no wasting in my brain – I hope!” he jokes.
“I have had to adapt significantly”
As a result of his condition, Manie was medically boarded six years ago and has been retired for two years. “I can walk, but fall very easily. And, after a lifetime reliant on my hands in so many ways, I have had to adapt to not using shoes with shoe laces anymore and not wearing pants that need a belt and buttons done up. My hands can’t handle these tasks. I battle to brush my teeth and use both hands to do so. I also struggle to push the buttons on a key board. The minute my hands are open I can lift them but when they close around something, I can’t lift them anymore. I can eat on my own, but waste and spill a lot of food. I cannot use any tools, not even a hammer or screwdriver, anymore,” he explains. “My wife helps and we carry on as normally as possible. And, a huge part of my positive outlook is the fact that I no longer have to go to hospital for treatment – thanks to Discovery Home Care.”
From frequent hospital admissions to Home Care
Manie has for years been treated with Polygam. Administered through an intravenous drip, Polygam is used to strengthen the body's natural defence system – the immune system – and to lower the risk of infection in people who have a weakened immune system. For some 12 years, Manie was regularly admitted, overnight, to hospital to receive his Polygam drip – at first every eight weeks, for a week and, once stable, every six weeks.
“I didn’t take it going to hospital every few weeks well at all. You are not really sick and yet you’re stuck there overnight. Each time around, for two to three days before being admitted I was so moody no one could talk to me. I felt very low – and that was my life for 12 long years!” he adds. “Then, a breakthrough!”
Three years ago Manie’s doctor motivated for his patient’s access to Discovery Home Care, accessed through Manie’s Discovery Health Medical Scheme membership.
Discovery Home Care – “It’s brilliant!”
“Discovery Home Care is brilliant. I now have my Polygam infusions every six weeks, administered over two days, but in the comfort of my own home, while I sit in my recliner. It’s all set up and taken care of by a professional nurse named Lexi Johnson who has been nothing short of exceptional,” says Manie.
Alexcia (Lexi) Johnson is one of Discovery Home Care’s Western Cape based professional nurses. She explains: “I always consider each patient as I would a family member or loved one. I know how difficult it is for people who are unwell to deal with an unfriendly and unprofessional nurse. Mr Kleynhans tells me frequently that he loves the fact that I come to his house, as he can stay in bed when he is cold or tired and wait for me to arrive with all the tools I need to administer his Polygam at home, allowing him to carry on with his life while we run the medicine.”
Alexcia loves the fact that with Home Care she is able to dedicate herself fully to the care of a single patient and offer a holistic approach to their treatment, that covers all their needs. She explains, “Patients love Home Care as we treat them without distraction and in the comfort of their home, where they feel at ease. We are able to ease their anxiety in relation to their medical treatment and any symptoms they may have.”
Home Care’s ecosystem – healthcare, emotional and financial support
Manie’s treatment costs in the region of R26 000 per infusion and this is paid for in full by his Discovery Health Medical Scheme cover. The Polygam medicine is sent to Manie three days before his infusion is due to take place. “Lexi comes to my house early in the morning on the first day of our infusion and rigs up everything in the lounge. I sit in the recliner and she monitors me all day, checking all my vitals and doing her admin work in between. We let the Polygam run until around 16:00, and she returns the next morning to continue the infusion until around 15:00. Then, we’re done. I am so happy with this process. When you have been ill as long as I have, you live day to day, and every bit of help in enhancing overall quality of life, goes such a long way. I am so grateful for my medical scheme’s support and for Home Care’s innovative healthcare offering.”
DISCOVERY HEALTH MEDICAL SCHEME IS AN INDEPENDENT NON-PROFIT ENTITY GOVERNED BY THE MEDICAL SCHEMES ACT, AND REGULATED BY THE COUNCIL FOR MEDICAL SCHEMES. IT IS ADMINISTERED BY A SEPARATE COMPANY, DISCOVERY HEALTH (PTY) LTD, AN AUTHORISED FINANCIAL SERVICES PROVIDER.
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