Danielle Hampton, Fayston, previously the director of rehab for Central Vermont Medical Center, has been a physical therapist for Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice (CVHHH) since 2007. She’s worked with everybody from injured athletes and people with joint replacements to hospice patients.
“I like the patient interaction, sharing in their successes,” she said. “We meet them where they are, whatever the disability is.” Her work includes directing patients through exercises to “get them to their best functional self and maximize independence.”
She said that in her work with hospice patients, it’s not just the patient she works with but the whole family. “It’s an all-in process, the family is part of it. We make sure (the patient) is comfortable and the family is comfortable and show them how they can manage. It’s a much more collaborative effort. They know they can call us; we’re close by. It’s allowing them the ability to manage things. We’re there to support them. On the hospice side, by far the biggest thing is creating a global support network for the family. It’s that level of emotional support.”
‘THE LITTLE THINGS’
Sometimes, she said, it’s the little things that many people take for granted that mean a lot to patients at the end of their lives. “We can get them outside for fresh air and get them strong enough to have time with their kids and grandkids.” CVHHH staff may help families with things like finding clergyman to counsel them or other resources for the patient. “It’s thinking outside the box, going with the flow.”
Hampton said one of the best things about her job is getting to meet people she otherwise might not have and being a part of their lives. “I like meeting people I may not have interacted with,” she said. “I’ve met so many people in The Valley I wouldn’t have met otherwise.”
In her physical therapy work for home care clients, she said working with people who need physical therapy comes with its rewards. She loves running into people at Sugarbush whom she’s helped regain their strength from a total joint replacement and taking a few runs with them. She joked that she could have her own ski team comprised of her former patients and emphasized the joy in seeing them “doing what they love to do.”
On working with all her patients, she said, “I think I gain more from the relationship.”