Colin O'Donnell: It’s Rewarding to Help People Recover the Way They Want – at Home

November is National Home Care Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the dedicated, nurses, therapists and social workers who provide skilled, compassionate care to patients in their homes.

At South Shore Health, our VNA team works collaboratively to care for patients with chronic illnesses, following surgery, or recovering from acute illness or injury.

From wound care and medication management, to physical and occupational therapy, Home Care workers are committed to providing patients personalized comprehensive care in the comfort of home.

Occupational Therapist Colin O'Donnell stands beside a tree outside South Shore VNA offices

Home is where the healing is and where Colin O’Donnell, an occupational therapist (OT) and clinical manager at South Shore VNA, said he sees better results for patients.

“It’s more rewarding and easier to help people recover the way they want – at home.” 

As an OT, O’Donnell said the focus is on improving patients’ function so they can carry out activities of daily living – such as getting showered and dressed and taking their medications each day, and performing instrumental activities – including cooking, cleaning, and paying bills.

“It’s super rewarding being able to help people work to recover, improve and get back to what they want or need to do,” he said.

While therapy is very patient-specific and based on each individual’s situation, O’Donnell said the goal is to make patients safer and more independent.

In his role as clinical manager, O’Donnell said he strives to break down barriers, enable good communication, develop new workflows and offer support for the staff.  

“To work in home care, you need to be a strong, independent and confident clinician because you’re on your own caring for patients,” he said. “You can’t just tap someone on the shoulder and ask for help.”

Nearing his sixth year with South Shore Health, O’Donnell said being part of a large health system that includes South Shore Hospital, South Shore Medical Center, Health Express, and the VNA “drives him to stay here.”

“You feel integrated and like you’re part of something bigger that has a purpose and serves the community well,” he said. “Patients have all these resources through one health system and the continuity of care flows.”


Learn more about Home Care services provided by the South Shore Visiting Nurse Association.