Home Care and In-Home Therapy through Veterans Memorial Hospital make a successful combination

May was “Older Americans Month.” Belva Becker of New Albin is pictured here with Amy Ghelf, Physical Therapist Assistant, at left, and Lindsey Deason, RN, Community and Home Care Nurse. Belva shares her story of how the Veterans Memorial Hospital home care and in-home therapy services saved her from having to drive a long distance for these services, allowing her to remain in her own home through it all. Submitted photo.

May was Older Americans month.  Veterans Memorial Hospital’s Community and Home Care and Rehabilitation departments work closely together helping many older Americans live life to their fullest potential.

Belva Becker of New Albin is a former patient who utilized home health services in conjunction with in-home rehabilitation twice in the past year.  She states, “Having home health care and therapy come right to my home has been very helpful for me.  I enjoyed the fact that they would come to me so I could stay home because it is hard for me to drive to Waukon.”

The purpose of home care is to keep people in their homes, near their families and in their communities for as long as possible. Home health care can provide a range of services including wound care, therapy, rehabilitative services following surgery and home infusion of drugs.

“I have utilized these services now twice,” adds Belva.  “The first time was after having back surgery a year ago.  I first went to Thornton Manor Nursing Home in Lansing for about six weeks, then I was able to come home and they came here to me.  Then this last spring when I was under the weather again, my physician in La Crosse recommended me having their services again and they helped me a lot.  I think it is a great, great service and I hope they never stop it because I want them to be there again if I ever need them.”

Home medical care is far less expensive than assisted living or long-term care and is covered by insurance. Private insurance providers, such as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and government policies like Medicare and Medicaid, cover home health care from certified agencies. Veterans Memorial Hospital Community and Home Care is the only certified agency in Allamakee County.

The Rehabilitation Therapists from Veterans Memorial Hospital will also provide “in-home” therapy to people in need of this service.  Therapy in the home is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, and other insurance such as Humana.

“People who have difficulty getting out of their homes really benefit from this service,” states Amy Robinson, Physical Therapist and Director of Rehabilitation Services at Veterans Memorial Hospital.  “We come to them and bring weights, exercise bands, or other equipment that they may need during the session.  We offer personalized, individualized care right in their homes at times that are convenient for them.”

Patients who have been in the hospital often choose to go straight home instead of to a long term care facility when they are discharged.  But sometimes they are not strong enough to get back to their prior activities and find it difficult or unsafe to get around the house, go up and down steps, and get outside to a car.  In these cases, therapy in the home is beneficial.  It gives the patient a chance to recover and get stronger and back on their feet before being expected to go out every day.

“This is such a great service to all the communities served by Veterans Memorial Hospital,” adds Robinson.  “We are the only Medicare-certified home health agency in the county, so we stay very busy. The therapists enjoy making home visits and giving care that is helping people stay active and at home.  We often hear our clients say they are not yet ready to go to a nursing home.  Veterans Memorial Hospital’s nurses, therapists, and home care aides do everything possible to keep our patients staying active and safe at home.”

“All of the girls that came to take care of me were all just wonderful - every one of them,” adds Belva.  “You couldn’t find nicer girls.  There was not a one I didn’t like and I was so glad to see them every time they came.  They were always very willing to do anything for me and were extremely helpful.  The nurse usually came to see me once a week and the therapists twice a week. They gave me different exercises to do and I still do them two to three times a day, just like they recommended.
Last year, the Rehabilitation Department’s home health care program made 1,152 physical therapy visits, 236 occupational therapy visits and 75 speech therapy visits to people’s homes.

“I am sure there are a lot like myself that could benefit from these services, who are better off staying at home and not driving, especially in the winter,” concludes Belva. “There are so many days when I didn’t feel my best and was so thankful to be able to stay home and have them come to me instead of me going out.  I just can’t say enough good things about the home care and in-home rehab services. I would recommend them to anyone.”

“We enjoy the fact our home health services help people stay in the most familiar setting available - their own homes,” states Lisa Moose, Director of Community and Home Care at Veterans Memorial Hospital.  “It is a very rewarding career, helping them preserve as much of their lives as possible while providing their necessary care right in their own home.”

Anyone who is being directed by a physician to begin home health care services has the choice as to which home care and rehabilitation service cares for them and should request that service. For more information on Veterans Memorial Hospital Community and Home Care and their partnership with Veterans Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation, call 563-568-5660.