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Preserving Independence

PreservingIndependenceThe past 17 years have taken a toll on 68-year-old Robert Trapanese and his family. The now-retired printing company owner is living with congestive heart failure (CHF). He has had a heart attack and double and triple bypass surgery, and he was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.

In 2010, the Toms River man was told he might need a heart transplant. "Unfortunately, with all of Robert's underlying conditions, he was not a candidate, so we needed to find a way to manage his symptoms," says Brett Sealove, M.D., a cardiologist at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

Dr. Sealove put him on an intravenous (IV) drug therapy called milrinone therapy. "Milrinone therapy makes your heart beat stronger, which increases the amount of blood pumped from the heart," says Dr. Sealove. "This helps with controlling the symptoms of CHF."

But in order for Robert to continue treatment outside the hospital, he needed an at-home IV therapy program. Meridian At Home provided it. "The impact of this service is tremendous on a patient's life," says Dr. Sealove. "It allows patients to have independence while still receiving treatment."

Before Robert was released from Jersey Shore, he had a catheter inserted. A Meridian At Home nurse taught him how to connect his medication and the ambulatory pump.

"Our nurses teach our patients, step by step, how to give themselves treatment," says Vicky Matthews, R.N., nurse manager, Meridian At Home IV Therapy program. "They continue to monitor the patient regularly, taking their vitals and checking the line, and will even teach the patient's family how to do it as well. Meridian At Home also has dedicated pharmacists on staff who prepare the infusion medications for the program."

"Early on, after being diagnosed with CHF, I was told I had only six months to live," Robert says. "Now it's 17 years later and I'm still going strong."