Richard Hornick, Monterey, CA

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Richard Hornick’s Story – VNA Home Health

VNA is one of our area’s oldest and continuously operating home health agencies dating back to 1951. Our history is as rich and wonderful as the stories and experiences of our patients, both past and present. One such story belongs to our patient Richard Hornick as he describes the importance of accessing health care when needed.

Richard received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Marquette University, a master’s degree in psychology and doctorate in experimental psychology, both from Purdue University.  Before retiring in 1989, Richard had a very successful career as human factors specialist, certified professional ergonomist and licensed psychologist, as well as being a forensic consultant in product liability, personal injury, and vehicular accident cases, and as a graduate-level professor of human performance and industrial psychology. Richard’s work in human factors and ergonomics with the Apollo space program was instrumental to the success and safety of the lunar landing space program.

His first brush with hospice care came when his mother required the services, which he and his brother set up and the family agreed was the best solution to her advanced illness in Milwaukee.

In 1985, just a few years before his aerospace retirement, Richard met the love of his life, Mona. They were married for 30 years and made their home in Dana Point, California. Richard and Mona loved the sea and spending time on their boat.

In 2014, things began to really hit home when Richard himself was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which required chemotherapy. Then in 2016, his wife, Mona by chance hit her head and through an MRI revealed she had three brain tumors and pancreatic cancer. After nine grueling months of treatment, the couple decided to have hospice services at home. Subsequently after Mona’s passing, Richard moved to the Monterey Peninsula in 2017 where he could be closer to his sons and their family (he has four sons and four grandchildren).

Richard Hornick has personally experienced the life-affirming significance and mission of VNA Home Health services.

Richard’s VNA Home Health services began after his move to the Monterey Peninsula in August 2017. He has been in remission for last two years but after moving to Monterey, he began experiencing skin allergies and sores that would not heal.

Richard needed to reduce the suffering from fatigue and scratching, so his primary care physician, Dr. Michelle Horne, part of his “perfect team of physicians,” that includes oncologist Dr. Thomas Bradley and dermatologist Dr. Howard Oriba, ordered VNA Home Health care.  The VNA team quickly sprang into action, making visits to his home at Merrill Gardens.

The VNA team, RN Admission Nurse Amber, RN Case Manager Robin, and Occupational Therapist Diana, made visits over the course of five weeks for wound care, strengthening, and care and recovery from bone deterioration. Richard’s daily use of the over the door exercise equipment installed by his therapist, has made a big difference in strength and flexibility of his shoulder.

“I found their care to be throughout and not rushed,” he says. “At each visit they were very attentive to my needs. An example was Diana my Occupational Therapist. She helped me work with adapting to limited mobility and my current living situation. The strength and flexibility in my shoulder is debilitating, and we worked on exercises that can be done day to day. Diana’s willingness and ability were greatly appreciated.” (while displaying the custom sketched drawings for his exercise checklist).

Richard is determined in his medical care wishes but also likes to keep his health private.  VNA allowed him the ability to have a confidence to share medical concerns.  Richard used to say, “the wheels are getting wobbly,” and later, “the wheels are falling off,” but VNA nurses have help trained him to control his current issues and allow him to maintain his quality of life.

This attention from VNA has made a great difference in Richard’s quality of life and he now enjoys independent living at Merrill Gardens.