Dunmorean of the Month: Sarah Naro

naroBy Steve Svetovich

When Dunmore’s Sarah Naro received her bachelor of science degree in nursing from Marywood University four years ago, she did not envision herself working during a world pandemic, but here she is.

Sarah, 30, takes her role as a home health registered nurse very seriously. She was more than prepared when the Covid-19 Virus hit the Northeast PA region.

A home health nurse for Comprehensive Home Health Services, Dupont, Sarah sees patients in the comforts of their home all day during her travels. Most of her patients are in Lackawanna County, but she also sees patients in Luzerne, Monroe, Wayne and Wyoming Counties.

Daughter of Lisa and Paul Rome, she is married to Jeff Naro, a 2006 Dunmore High School graduate. The couple has two boys and one girl, Mason, 7, Giovanni, 4, and Calli, 5. Mason and Calli are students at the Dunmore Elementary School. 

Her husband is the son of Sal and Theresa Naro, Dunmore. 

Sarah said she had a strong feeling since January that Covid-19 was coming to this country and she was preparing for it.

“I was tracking it quite a bit before it came to the United States,” she said. “I was tracking China and knew about it. I already had masks ready. I was not at all surprised when it came here, but I was still nervous.

“I worked in an operating room before, so wearing a mask was not new to me. I knew what precautions I needed to take when seeing patients in their homes. I have my masks and gloves and sanitizer. I wash my hands constantly. But I have to trust that my patients are taking the same necessary precautions that I am. I need to question and educate them.

“Obviously, I don’t want to pick up the virus. I don’t want to bring it home to my husband and kids. And I want to educate my patients and their family members so they don’t pick it up.” 

Sarah said initially, with Covid-19 in full force, she thought her patient load would be slowing down. And that was the case, but soon it picked up. 

“I thought it would be slow, and then I saw it happen when a few patients refused visits. They were afraid of the virus. But after they saw we were educating them and we were wearing masks and gloves they became more comfortable with the visits. We reassure them. We protect ourselves and our patients.”

Sarah takes every patient’s temperature prior to each visit and takes vital signs, including blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen level. She works closely with home health occupational, physical and speech therapists, certified nurse aides and administrative staff. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, before each visit she asks patients and family members if they have been in contact with anyone diagnosed with Covid-19 or if they or any members of the household have Covid-19 symptoms, including high temperature, cough, loss of taste and smell, weakness, fatigue and muscle aches. She asks if the patient or any member of the household has been out of the state or country. 

“I was initially worried about how our patients and family members would handle us coming in to see them because we see multiple patients in different homes. But they see us protecting ourselves and thus protecting them.”

Sarah said her husband is also taking all necessary precautions as an employee of Valley Distribution Company, Pittston, where he is involved in distribution of various supplies, including medical supplies. 

“I am worried that once people think they are comfortable, they can slack off. I have three kids who are home. And I think it is good they are home with all this going on. But I do not want to bring this virus home. That is always on the top of my mind.”

Sarah was raised in Hawley and graduated from Wallenpaupack High School in 2008. She moved to Dunmore in 2010 and has resided in Bucktown for the past decade. She attended Luzerne County Community College before transferring to Marywood where she received her nursing degree in 2016. 

Sarah started her nursing career in the Geisinger Wyoming Valley Hospital, working in the operating room for two years. She has been a home health nurse the past two years at Comprehensive Home Health Care, Dupont, owned and operated by Janet and Tony Trombetta. 

“I am really finding out quickly that nursing is what I was supposed to do in life,” the Dunmore nurse said. “I was a bit shell shocked when I started in clinical nursing, but I got used to it. Some days were very challenging, but I knew I could do it. It provided very good experience. And many days are challenging now with Covid-19 upon us.”

Sarah is in her nursing role on the front line as an essential worker everyday, mask, gloves, nursing bag, sanitizer, gown if necessary and a scrub cap for her long, flowing hair. She takes all the necessary precautions and that is one less worry for her patients. 

A salute to Sarah Naro, B.S.N., and all the essential workers on the front line.

Dunmore Couple Shares COVID-19 Recovery Story

NOTE: The Dunmorean invited Dunmorean Dawn McGurl to write an account of her experience, along with her husband, Brian, with the COVID-19 virus, which they were exposed to in early March in New York City.. The couple has made a full recovery.

COVID-19 Recovery - McGurls 1

Brian and Dawn McGurl are shown in a photo taken the night they were exposed to the COVID-19 in New York City.

By Dawn McGurl

The “luck of the Irish” was not with us in early March when my husband Brian McGurl and I traveled to NYC to attend the opening performance at Radio City Music Hall of the 25th Anniversary Tour of Riverdance. The show was spectacular, but the souvenir we brought back was not what we expected. Approximately five days later we both developed initial symptoms of COVID-19 and subsequently we both tested positive for the coronavirus.

We can trace where the exposure happened to an event we attended after the performance where the majority of those attending eventually became ill and tested positive for the virus.

While we were away, we realized we were in the epicenter of this virus that was about to explode in our country. 

When we returned home, we immediately self-quarantined, because although we were healthy and, to our knowledge, had not been in direct contact with anyone with the disease, we had been to an area that appeared to be an upcoming hot spot. We canceled our family “Parade Day” party and hunkered down. 

My husband Brian and I began to show signs of the virus about a week after exposure. The onset was rather mild for both of us. Actually we thought we were just being paranoid. 

My symptoms were worse than Brian’s were. He had a low fever for a couple days and felt like he had a cold – runny nose, slight cough, sore throat. Initially I developed a severe headache with fever, severe chills, body aches as well as a dry cough. 

Then I began to feel  better and was fever free for three days and then “it came back”! 

I redeveloped the fever and chills and lost my sense of taste and smell. We both have had some respiratory effects that have lingered for a few weeks now – tightness in the chest, fatigue and getting easily winded. The course of our virus journey lasted approximately five weeks. We are grateful that we were both able to fight this at home and consider ourselves fortunate when compared to others that have ended up in the hospital with much worse outcomes.

We are spending a good deal of our time at home praying for those who are sick and their families, praying for all the hospital workers, praying for those who are providing essential services at pharmacies, grocery stores, gas stations, banks, police, fire, public works and elsewhere. We cannot thank our personal doctors and healthcare providers enough for their care and concern throughout this event.

COVID-19 Recovery - McGurls 2

The McGurls are shown during a happy, healthy time before COVID-19 virus hit. Both have now fully recovered.

We debated making our personal information public. We did so in the hope that it would impress on our community and our friends how important it is to STAY HOME! 

We know social distancing and staying home is a financial and personal hardship. I have lost all of my upcoming Costume Design contracts and Brian has had all of his band gigs canceled. We had a death in our family during this time and were not able to have a proper, normal funeral. We miss our children and friends too! 

We have been asked for advice as to what we can tell people about the virus. The best advice I can give is prevention and preparation. This virus is incredibly contagious and spreads quickly. Anyone can get it. 

Assume anytime you leave your home and enter a public place that someone probably has it. Wear a mask! Protect yourself and your family. Wash your hands. Sanitize. Social distance and be patient. Prepare yourself and your family in the event you do contract the virus. 

Make sure to have a working thermometer, Tylenol, Gatorade or other electrolyte rich beverages, and household disinfectants to keep your home as clean as possible. Keep your lungs healthy now, exercise and eat well. 

This too shall pass and you need to be alive to enjoy the future when “happy days are here again! “

We want to thank all of our family and friends for the cards, messages, gifts, meals, prayers and love and support during this difficult time.

We have both had follow up medical tests and are fully recovered. We plan to donate our plasma, if we have antibodies, in the hope of helping others fight this virus in the future. Our prayers will continue that we will soon see healthy and happier days! #DunmoreStrong

Traditional Home Health Care Tackles COVID-19 Crisis

Traditional HealthAs the foreboding news of COVID-19 crept into our lives on the nightly news, Traditional Home Health Care wasted no time in the implementation of a disaster plan for the impending pandemic. Recognizing the need to prepare and adapt for a challenging health crisis, the administrative team knew it had to put forth measures to continue its highest standards of care in a manner that would protect both its patients and employees

Traditional Home Health Care, a locally owned agency located at 113 W Drinker St. in Dunmore, provides a broad spectrum of services to people in the community including home health and hospice care, palliative intervention, pediatric care, and non-medical services. All of these services are provided to patients and consumers in their homes. At a time when there are so many unknowns regarding the novel coronavirus, the goal to keep patients and consumers safe and contained in their homes has been of utmost importance.

Before state mandates and shelter-in-place orders had even been issued, Doreen Nixon, RN, Director of Nursing at Traditional Home Health Care, instituted a number of measures to safeguard employees and patients, and she stated, “It was imperative that Traditional implement processes swiftly in order to maintain the safety and well-being of its staff, its patients and the agency itself.”

Employee and patient screening questionnaires are being utilized prior to home visits and entry to offices to identify potential exposures. New policies and procedures have been developed in adherence with guidelines regarding COVID-19 set forth from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health. Competencies and educational refreshers have been offered to staff regarding infection control. Administrative staff has been assigned to perform daily job duties remotely while visit schedules have been restructured to allow the caregiver staff to reduce patient contact. Tireless efforts to acquire personal protective equipment for staff has been a daily challenge.

With the focus on providing seamless care to patients in an uncertain time, the agency identified a core group of caregivers that included nurses and therapists known as the COVID-19 team. These frontline health care providers are assigned to perform home visits to COVID -19 positive patients in a manner that highlights excellent skilled care, dignity, and infection prevention. This allows such patients to receive the same gamut of skilled interventions – wound care, infusion therapy, medication and chronic disease management, physical, occupational, and speech therapies, and patient education – that Traditional Home Health Care excels at.

Jamie Ruiz, RN on the COVID-19 team stated, “Of course we must be cautious. It’s just another obstacle in the healthcare field that we will adapt to and overcome. I feel it is my duty as a nurse to be available to these patients and their loved ones. I feel Traditional has provided adequate supplies and support in protecting me so that I can perform my job and help these patients.”

The landscape of healthcare is certainly changing in light of this pandemic. Telehealth has become very instrumental in allowing for a continuum of care when regular direct patient contact may not be prudent. Traditional Home Health Care has worked with IT to develop Best Practices for telehealth care allowing nurses, therapists, aides, and social workers to communicate with and visualize patients. This new means of patient communication also allows the agency to keep primary care physicians and health

care providers in the loop of patients’ health issues in a timely and consistent manner. The use of telehealth during this time of crisis may be setting the stage for a new mindset on physician-patient and caregiver-patient interactions.

Prior to March 2020, the superheroes I knew of wore armor, shields, capes and possessed powers like X-Ray vision and invisibility. The real super heroes of today are wearing rubber gloves, paper masks and face shields, sometimes homemade, and they possess true hearts of gold.

Thank you to all the staff of Traditional Home Health Care and Thank You to all Front Line First Responders!