November is National Home Care and Hospice Month. Lake Regional encourages everyone to learn more about the care available to help them when they, or those they love, need support at home.
“Lake Regional provides three programs to help patients following an acute illness or hospitalization,” said Mariah Swinker, R.N., BSN, MBA-HA, LSSGB, director of Lake Regional Post-Acute Care. “We offer chronic care management, home health and hospice, so we can meet patients where they are with comprehensive care and support.”
Chronic Care Management
Lake Regional’s Chronic Care Management program connects eligible patients with a Lake Regional nurse case manager. This nurse works with the patient and the patient’s various health care providers to ensure everyone is on the same page. The nurse case manager also calls at least once a month to see how the patient is doing, and the patient can call the nurse as often as needed with questions.
“The nurse case manager also helps the patient receive palliative care, which focuses on managing symptoms,” Swinker said. “Most of our Chronic Care Management patients receive this palliative care while continuing to receive curative treatments. For example, they may have cancer and be receiving treatments to cure the cancer while also receiving palliative care to help manage the side effects of treatment.”
Lake Regional Home Health helps patients regain health following a hospitalization, illness or injury within the comfort and convenience of their home.
“Our home health team includes physicians, nurses, aides, rehab therapists, social workers and dieticians,” Swinker said. “We work with you and your family members to support you, and the plan of care is very individualized.”
All home care is intermittent care. This means that the patient, a family member or other caregiver must be able to provide necessary care during the hours that a home health staff member is not present.
Hospice isn’t a specific place; rather, it is a type of care that medical professionals deliver to patients.
“For most patients, we provide hospice in their home or the home of a loved one, but we also provide it in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and the hospital,” Swinker said.
Enrolling in hospice does not mean giving up hope or all treatment. Hopes may shift and change, and the hospice team will be there to support patients and families with these changes while managing their symptoms.
“Studies show that people in hospice care have improved quality of life because many symptoms, such as pain, are better controlled,” Swinker said. “Also, problems that might have led to an emergency room visit or hospitalization can be managed at home with support from the experienced hospice team.”