Partnership Offers Home Health Service

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Payson Regional Medical Center's Home Health Services (HHS) agency has entered into a partnership with Rim Country Health and Retirement Community.

HHS will provide home health care to retirement community residents who fall in between the cracks of assisted living and subsidized housing.

"We are taking community resource that has not been fully utilized and are going to offer home health services in the apartments so that people ... who don't need to be in a nursing home can live in a supervised environment," said RCHRC Administrator Harvey Pelovsky.

"They can have their meals brought in, and the hospital can send in a nurse or caregiver to provide that person with home health aid. It keeps their quality of life up."

Rim Country Apartments are located on the west side of the RCHRC grounds. Small pets are welcome.

Housekeeping and all utilities except telephone are included in the $600 to $800 per month cost for one of the eight newly remodeled kitchenette apartments. Meals cost extra.

Anyone renting the remodeled units will be given a home health packet.

"The packet doesn't mean that we are going to automatically go in and see what they might want -- it is if they have a need," said Colleen O'Connor, director of HHS.

Perhaps the individual needs a nurse to come in once a week to give shots or help them bathe, O'Connor said. Maybe medications need to be set up. IV and chemotherapy can be given in the home.

Wound care is another common ailment that home health can ease.

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Payson Regional Medical Center's Home Health Services and Rim Country Health and Retirement Community have teamed up to provide seniors in RCHRC's remodeled apartments home health care. Rick Farnham (pictured) and Dave Bamber are carpenters with Chitwood Country Cabinets, a local business.

Pelovsky said HHS will do almost everything the nursing facility does, but they will do it in the home.

After the doctor's order for service is obtained, a registered nurse is usually sent in to determine what the individual's specific needs are.

Home health is considered intermittent short-term care.

"We initially admit and certify the patient for a 60-day period. Toward the end of that 60 days, we go in and reevaluate the patient to see if they need care for another 60 days. ... As long as we can show the insurance company (in most cases Medicare) that there is a need and that the patient is eligible," Pelovsky said.

Sometimes patients can be on home health care for years, O'Connor said. Wound care (also called bed sores) is an example of this.

"It is not because the patient lies in bed all the time, but because the skin is so transparent and thin."

HHS can provide important education concerning diet and medication interaction for newly diagnosed diabetics.

"Some people with a new diagnosis get very confused," O'Connor said.

"I've worked with the geriatric population here in Payson for 20 years.

"It is a proven fact that patients recover better, faster and more completely if they are in their own home environment. There is less stress. They are more at ease."

O'Connor said attitude is an amazing factor in the healing process, citing terminal cancer patients she has seen go into remission because of their attitude and quality of life at home.

A joint 2004 study by the National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Nursing Research agree.

In a study of elderly heart failure patients in six Philadelphia hospitals, a study found that home health versus repeated hospital admissions saved 37.6 percent, or $4,845 over a 12-month period.

RCHRC is taking applications for its eight rentals, and there is a waiting list.

Pelovsky said the good news is that managing owner Phil Eyring views the $25,000 retrofit as a good investment for the company and the community, and wants to remodel more units.

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