FOSTORIA - After knee surgery earlier this year, Janice Bombest went through rehabilitation to get back on her feet. Although she was anxious to return to her home in Fostoria's Good Shepherd Villas, she knew she would need assistance. Her solution was to become the first client in Good Shepherd's new community home services program, which includes non-medical services.
"The program for me was perfect, because I already had a rapport with the people at Good Shepherd, not only because I live here in the condo, but because I did my rehab over at the center," she said.
Chris Widman, director at Good Shepherd Home, is excited about the program. He and the board of trustees adopted the initiative to meet the needs of seniors, not just on the campus but also in the surrounding community.
PHOTO BY MARYANN KROMER
Janice Bombest (left) reviews some paperwork with Marcy Bishop, coordinator and caregiver for Good Shepherd’s non-medical community home services program.
Over the years, the number of short-term stays for nursing care or rehabilitation has risen. Widman said the goal of these clients is to return home.
"We've discovered that a lot of people need some assistance when they get home, if they're going to stay independent. One of the goals of our program is to help people be independent," Widman said. "Our board has taken a broader look at our mission and said we need to be addressing the needs of the people."
Widman has hired Marcy Bishop to coordinate and administer the program. Besides Bombest, Bishop has one other client so far, but six more are considering the services.
Good Shepherd to add Lifeline
Good Shepherd Home has added a Lifeline emergency response system in which the client wears a transmitter with a button to push for help. Marcy Bishop said the system has been set up and units are available for installation. The cost is $35 per month.
When the client pushes the button, a communicator responds immediately and talks to the client to determine the urgency of the call. The caller may just need help getting up after a fall, or the person may need a rescue squad. Either way, help is summoned.
"It's comforting just to know that a person's going to be there in a few minutes and you're not going to be lying on the floor for a day or two," Bishop said. "I have six years of experience with Lifeline, so I'm very comfortable with putting them in and explaining them to the patients."
Units connect to the home phone line and allow a resident to stay in contact while working in the yard or anywhere indoors. The service is to be available in Seneca, Sandusky, Hancock, Wood, Crawford and Wyandot counties. Lifeline also will contact a designated family member in an emergency.
"It provides a lot of peace of mind for the family, knowing that Mom or Dad has this, if something would happen," Good Shepherd Home Director Chris Widman added.
Also, five caretakers are available to work flexible hours. The new employees include STNAs and one EMT. Widman said they received many applications from qualified people. The home conducts background checks and drug testing and checks licensing, insurance and other factors, just as they would for any new hire.
"One of the things that we wanted to provide for people is a level of comfort, knowing they could trust who is coming in to take care of them," Widman said. "If you call us up, you're calling the Good Shepherd Home, and we've created a reputation of trust and integrity. We're going to stand behind what happens."
The services can include hands-on personal care, such as assistance with hygiene, rising and retiring. Caregivers also can provide transportation, run errands, do laundry, prepare meals and other household tasks. Sometimes clients need a person to do correspondence, play cards, read to them or talk.
"I actually meet with them first to go over what their needs are and give them some thought as to what they might need, which they may or may not have thought of ... to see what their comfort level is," Bishop said.
Once the service has begun, Bishop stops at the client's home when the caretaker is there - or not there - to see how everything is going. Bishop said she tries to match clients with caregivers who share the same interests and have compatible personalities.
"I try to keep the same person or the same two people with one person so they don't have that constant switching of people and explaining themselves and how they want things done," she said.
Bombest's home care is completed, but she it was helpful to have Bishop transport her to physical therapy, escort her through the grocery store and carry everything into the house. In addition, Bombest did not have to impose on her out-of-town children for help.
"And we enjoyed our time together," Bishop said. "I like getting to know them and hearing about their families."
Home health clients can receive a minimum of two hours of service per day, and they can keep the service as long as they need it.
"As the need grows, we'll continue to hire more people," Widman said. "We're so excited to have Marcy on board with us. She has overseen the program from the foundation up, and she's available to assist seniors and their families."