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Published on January 24, 2014

Home But Not Alone

January 24, 2014

Senior Lady in Wheelchair Holding HandsEveryone wants to live independently as along as possible. KishHealth System’s Home Care is making that happen.

It’s been more than a year since the DeKalb County Health Department reached out to KishHealth System. The health department needed help with home care services as a result of the changing healthcare environment. After evaluating the fit with the health system’s existing services, it looked like a win-win for both, and on January 1, 2013, KishHealth System Home Care was created.

“Patients and their families have been very grateful that the service continued without having to make other arrangements,” says Pam Duffy, RN, vice president and chief nursing officer for KishHealth System and president of KishHealth System Home Care. “We’re very fortunate to keep the service local and care for the communities we serve.”

The health system had already been working with the DeKalb County Health Department, making for a nearly seamless transition to home care. That experience, coupled with access to more resources, enriches the level of service available and offers the opportunity to add new services as the program progresses.

A Team Approach to Home Care

Home Care services help people continue to enjoy independent living at home, assisting them with normal activities and partnering with them in their plans of care. Services are managed by a registered nurse working with a team of registered nurses, home health aides, therapists, and medical social workers dedicated to delivering extraordinary care in each patient’s familiar and comfortable residential environment.

“Our patients might be recuperating from a surgical procedure or aren’t able to be mobile, but don’t necessarily need nursing home or long-term care,” Duffy says. “They might have debilitating wounds, need infusions, or be in the process of transitioning from a post-rehab facility. It runs the gamut from pediatric to elderly patients. Our goal is for them to be comfortable in their own homes, so, hopefully, they’ll heal faster by not being in a foreign environment.”

For patients without relatives close by, the service can assure far-away family members that their loved one is being cared for.

“Family members need to be kept informed about the home care plan so they can support it,” Duffy says. “I think it’s comforting for the family to know details about the plan and the people who are interacting with their loved one.”

Referrals come from families, physicians, even the patients themselves, with the majority coming from the hospital. Home care is especially important in the sometimes risky process of surgery patients transitioning from round-the-clock care at the hospital to home.

Enhancing Continuity of Care

“We are the eyes and ears of the physicians,” says Kathy Carlson, RN, director, KishHealth System Home Care. “We see what other healthcare providers may not because we’re in the home. Home care is one on one, so patients in their own environments are ready to engage in education and are more receptive to disease management. We assist those recovering from surgery or dealing with chronic disease. Home Care staff can provide all of the same types of care in the home that are done in the hospital except, of course, for diagnostics. We work with referral sources, patients, and families to find the most appropriate level of care, whether that be in the home, nursing facility, or the hospital.”

You may be surprised to learn about the vast number of services available through Home Care. The approach is designed to address the physical and emotional needs of the patient, and involves caregivers, loved ones, community resources, and the medical team.

“People often don’t know about home care until they have a need,” Carlson says. “When you think of it, it’s almost like coming full circle. It’s like going back to a simpler time when care was delivered at home, which is one of the safest places to receive healthcare.”

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