Skip to cookie consent Skip to main content

Uncovering Strength: Linda's Home Care Transformation

6 minute read
John Cioppa with his arm around his wife, Linda.

After a serious fall in her kitchen left her in intense pain and unable to stand or move, Linda Cioppa wasted no time in contacting her primary care provider, Jacquelyn Moss, MD, for guidance.

Given Linda's history of complex medical care, including breast cancer and a prior cornea transplant, Linda is not one to hesitate to seek medical support. Several days later, when a hematoma developed at the site of her fall, Linda and her husband, John, went to the Emergency Department (ED) at Massachusetts General Hospital. During her examination for the injury, Linda mentioned to the ED care team that she had also been experiencing "auras" and seeing pink and purple colors for many years, which she attributed to her past eye surgeries.

“I had been trying for many years to get an answer to explain why I experience auras,” she says. “The doctors did tests but couldn’t figure out what was going on. The ED experience was very stressful, and finally I decided I wanted to go home, and they referred me for care at home.”

One thing that I feel coming out of this experience is an extraordinary amount of courage and independence.

Linda Cioppa
Home Care Patient

Linda’s Home Care journey, a life-changing discovery

When Linda’s doctor suggested Home Care, she initially felt hesitant. “My first thought was that anything they were going to do in Home Care, I could probably do myself without help,” she says. “But my husband begged me – ‘Please let them come to see what they can do to help you get stronger.’ So, I said, ‘All right.’”

Linda and John's strong belief in the medical system and their trust in the doctors they've known over the years, especially within Mass General Brigham, played a significant role in her decision. Despite her reservations, Linda committed to the process.

Linda’s first Home Care visit was with Jessica O’Gorman, PT, to evaluate her overall condition and come up with a personalized care plan. While assessing Linda’s home environment, Jessica made a crucial discovery: one of Linda’s prescribed medications was likely causing the “auras” and other vision symptoms, separate from her legal blindness.

“Jessica called an ED physician to check on the medication that had been prescribed, and discovered that it can throw off your balance, and cause the pink and purple auras I was having,” says Linda. “We couldn’t believe it – after years of having these symptoms! What a sweet person she is. She even called back later that day to make sure I was doing okay.”

Embracing support and discovering new strength

After Jessica, Linda's next Home Care visitor was Ryan Diloreti, PT, who focused on strengthening her body and core to reduce the risk of future falls. Following her sessions with Ryan, Linda reports that she's nearly stopped relying on her cane for walking and feels stronger than ever.

“I can’t believe the core strength and stability that I have now. I had been falling a lot, and he helped me learn new things about stability and how to stay balanced,” she says. “I have never worked with a provider who was so giving of himself.”

During Ryan's sessions with Linda, she discovered that she could do exercises she had never thought possible before.

“I had previously thought that anything they were going to teach me in Home Care, I could just do myself on my own. I’m so glad that I gave into it,” she says. “That initial fall was a sign from God telling me I needed help.”

Katie Torpey, MS, OTR/L, an occupational therapist, also visited the Cioppa’s home in Winthrop, MA. Linda jokes that keeping your husband well-fed is the key to a long and happy marriage. While recovering from her fall, she was frustrated that she was sidelined from cooking.

John marvels at Katie's impact, sharing that with just one visit, she made Linda's life significantly easier and got her back to cooking their favorite foods—a feat he considers nothing short of a miracle. John specifically mentions how Katie taught Linda to perform tasks safely, considering her legal blindness. “I have never met such a wonderful team,” he says.

A long-lasting impact

The teamwork that the Home Care clinicians delivered together was really the big takeaway for both Linda and John. John says, “What a crew. These three really went above and beyond the call of duty. Not only are they professional, but their demeaner, especially with my wife (he says with a wink), convincing her to do the therapy, I have never seen anything like that in my life.”

Reflecting on her experience, Linda adds, “One thing that I feel coming out of this experience is an extraordinary amount of courage and independence. When I approach things now, I think to myself ‘I can do this. I can figure out a way to do this.’”