Employee of the Month – September 2017

Congratulations Sue W.

Sue has been a part of the team for 12 years!  In her role as HCU Supervisor, Sue goes the extra mile to facilitate communication and works hard to create efficient processes between departments. Employees appreciate working with her because of her enthusiasm and positive attitude.  Sue is seen as a valuable resource to many because of her determination, knowledge, and willingness to go the extra mile when assisting others. Please join us in congratulating Sue on this recognition!

What do you enjoy most about working at Home Health United?
What HHU stands for – Keeping people independent and in their homes as long as possible.  My department staff, they are awesome individuals that each bring their own unique qualifications and personalities to the billing department. Lastly, teaching and coaching not only my department staff but all staff. Giving people the tools to be successful while all achieving a common goal.

What does Employee of the Month mean to you?
My immediate action was WHAT?  Read again, WHAT?  Shocked and Overwhelmed. I am so thankful for the great group of individuals that I work with daily including the support I get from Julie Sparks.

When you’re not at Home Health United, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy gardening, canning, cooking, yard work, crafting, and antiques. If we have the time will like to go to antique shops that we have never been to.

Past Winners

August 2017 – Nancy J.R.

July 2017 – Sean M.

June 2017 – Mike G.

May 2017 – Laura A.

April 2017 – Paulie S.

March 2017 – Cyndy T.

January 2017 – Julie W.

December 2016 – Kay F.

November 2016 – Jean B.

October 2016 – Jody S.

September 2016 – Alecia C.

August 2016 – Krista B.

July 2016 – Ben C.

June 2016 – Joy N.

May 2016 – Sally Z.

April 2016 – Ray F.

Taking Steps to Stay Safe in a Winter Wonderland

For all the beauty that a Wisconsin winter can bring, the snow, ice and sometimes sub-zero temperatures can also cause an increase in unsafe situations for elderly or disabled individuals who are already struggling with safety.

Slick sidewalks and snow-covered walkways can be challenging to maneuver for everyone. But winter in Wisconsin can be especially unfriendly to seniors, especially those with difficulty getting around.

Whether taking a walk around the block or simply walking from the car into a store, using a  device such as a cane or a walker can sometimes provide just the support needed to increase getting around safely.

To increase your safety level, make sure that if you are using a walker or cane that it is the right size for you. An improperly sized device can put too much strain on the back and cause pain or discomfort. Also, consider purchasing accessories for your devices such as walker baskets which allow you to keep your hands free, or grips for the tips of canes to make them more effective in slippery situations.

Not sure what type of equipment you need? Stop by an SSM Health at Home Medical Equipment Store and knowledgeable staff members can assist you with mobility product selection and sizing. They can also direct you to different types of accessories to help increase your safety.

In addition to staying safe outdoors, it is important to think about indoor safety during the winter too. Colder temperatures outside can lower temperatures inside.

According to the National Institute of Health, elderly individuals are especially vulnerable to hyperthermia since their bodies are less able to withstand cold for long periods of time. Even a small drop in temperature can lead to hypothermia in seniors, as their bodies tend to generate less heat than younger people. And the addition of certain types of medications may also reduce temperature responses.

If you or a loved one are concerned about safety, falls, are experiencing issues getting around or have questions about home medical equipment or home health care in general, we can help. SSM Health at Home offers informational visits to anyone with questions regarding our services. To schedule an informational visit, call 800-924-2273 or contact us online.

Do you have concerns about your loved ones health care needs?

While you were home for the holidays did you notice a loved one was having some difficulty? While everyone slows down a little bit with age, there are things to look out for that can indicate there is something more than just simply getting older going on.

Perhaps they have fallen, or they aren’t as steady on their feet as they once were. They may have lost or gained weight. Maybe they are a little more forgetful than they used to be. They could be having a hard time navigating everyday tasks that used to be easy. They might not be managing a medical condition or their medications as effectively as they once did.

If things you saw during your holiday visit have you concerned it is important to evaluate the situation and look into services and resources that can help. Taking care of potential medical and support needs before they become major problems can help to ensure your loved one can continue to live safely and independently at home.

It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to the needs of aging loved ones. A good place to start is to focus on some key areas.

Medical Indicators

  • An acute, chronic or terminal health condition
  • Frequent hospitalizations, ER or Urgent Care visits
  • Home safety concerns, falls, or fear of falling
  • Incontinence concerns
  • Changes in mobility, weakness, or endurance

Social Indicators

  • Isolation
  • No longer participates in previously enjoyed activities

Psychosocial Indicators

  • Depression or anxiety
  • Lack of family support 

Physical & Mental Activity Indicators

  • Change in range of motion
  • Cognitive changes

Nutritional Indicators

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss or gain

Activities of Daily Living Indicators

  • Need for medication assistance
  • Personal emergency response needs
  • Need of assistance with chores, bathing, shopping, or meal preparation

 

Download a full checklist of care and support need indicators.

So what do you do if you have identified a need? The type of care you choose depends on the level of care needed.

Custodial care (non-skilled) services can help with activities of daily living like meal preparation, household chores, bathing, grooming and dressing. It can also provide medication assistance, transportation, and other health services coordination.

Skilled care services such as home health services, palliative care and hospice are available to those who need more specialized care. Home health services are available to help patients recover from illness or injury. Palliative care can be provided alongside curative treatments to help people facing chronic or quality of life-limiting illnesses. Hospice services are available to help those with a limited life expectancy who are no longer seeking curative treatment achieve the best quality of life possible.

Other resources such as personal emergency response systems, Meals On Wheels or senior transportation services may be available in your community to assist your loved ones as well.

Hopefully, your family is healthy, happy and doing well. But if you think your aging loved ones could benefit from a little bit of assistance, act now before a small problem develops into a big one. Getting assistance in the home whether skilled or non-skilled care can drastically reduce the risk of a more serious illness or medical condition later on, helping to ensure mom and dad are home for the holidays this year and in years to come.

Not sure where to start? SSM Health at Home offers informational visits to go over care needs and eligibility for services and resources that can keep you or your loved one as safe and independent as possible at home. Call 1-800-924-2273 or click here to request an Informational Visit today.

February 2018

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Home Health United is now SSM Health at Home

Our new name and look were unveiled September 18, 2017, at a ceremony attended by company leaders and members of the community at our West Madison location.

Learn more about our rebrand and what it means for our patients and their families.


High-quality hospice care impacts patients’ quality of life

Hospice is about choice. The choice to receive the kind of care you want where you are. The choice to spend your time surrounded by the people you love in the place you want to be. The choice to live your best quality of life.

Choosing SSM Health at Home for hospice care can help make that happen. How?

We listen to our patients and their families, asking about treatment preferences and tailoring their plan of care to their needs. Every person, every journey is unique, and so is the care we provide.

We know patients and families need more than physical care. They need emotional and spiritual support. We want every patient to know their beliefs and values are as important to us as they are to them.

Most people want to stay at home. We help to make that happen by supporting patients and their caregivers throughout the process.

At admission, staff makes a thorough assessment and continues to monitor the patient, managing symptoms, pain and stress so the patient remains comfortable. Caregivers know their loved one is comfortable, and most importantly our care helps allow the patient to stay at home.

We know that thinking about hospice can be overwhelming, but the sooner a patient is admitted, the sooner our team of experts can begin providing support. We are here to help, listening to your concerns and working with you to find the care you or your loved one need. At SSM Health at Home, our goal is to help our hospice patients achieve the best quality of life possible.

Contact us to find out more about how we can be there for you. Call 877-356-4514 or contact us online.


Korean War Veteran honored by SSM Health at Home

On December 27, 2017, SSM Health at Home honored hospice patient Donald Bobb for his service to our nation. Family including his wife Barbara, his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren gathered at All Saints Assisted Living in Madison to watch as SSM Health at Home Spiritual Counselor Sister Georgeann Roudebush led a Veteran Pinning Ceremony.

“This ceremony is important to the whole family, especially for the grandchildren to realize what their grandfather sacrificed for them.”

Read more about Donald’s story and the specialized care SSM Health at Home offers to patients with military service.


SSM Health at Home helps keep people SAFE at Home

Check out how our program is helping seniors living in Dane County live falls free at home.

Learn more about how SAFE at Home can help you reduce your fall risk and maintain your independence.


Do you have concerns about a loved one’s health care needs?

While you were home for the holidays did you notice a loved one was having some difficulty? While everyone slows down a little bit with age, there are things to look out for that can indicate there is something more than just simply getting older going on.

If things you saw during your holiday visit have you concerned it is important to evaluate the situation and look into services and resources that can help.

Check out a handy checklist of care and support need indicators, as well as services that may be able to assist you and your loved one.

Not sure where to start? SSM Health at Home offers informational visits to go over care needs and eligibility for services and resources that can keep you or your loved one as safe and independent as possible at home. Call 1-800-924-2273 or click to request an Informational Visit today.


Camp GLOW 2018

While everyone grieves the loss of a loved one, children are unique in that they experience and show their grief in completely different ways than adults. In order to help children in the community who may be grieving, SSM Health at Home developed Camp GLOW, a grief support day camp for children ages 6-14 and the grown-ups who love them.
Camp GLOW is offered free of charge thanks to the generous support of donors to the Home Health United-Visiting Nurse Service Foundation. Lunch, drinks, and snacks throughout the day are provided.

Space is limited, and registration is required. For more information, or to register, call 877-356-4514, visit our website or email info@hhuvns.org.


Join our crew of volunteers!

Hospice volunteers are needed in both administrative and patient-interactive areas.

Meals On Wheels volunteers deliver mid-day meals, Monday through Friday in Madison, Middleton, Monona, and Sun Prairie.

SAFE at Home volunteers conduct in-home safety assessments for individuals in Dane County aged 60 or older.


Grief Support Groups

We offer grief support groups throughout our service area to anyone in the community who has experienced loss, regardless of whether your loved one was our patient or not.

Groups are offered throughout the year and across our service area. If you would like more information please contact us at 877-356-4514 or visit our website to find a group near you.

Korean War Veteran Honored by SSM Health at Home

On December 27, 2017, SSM Health at Home honored hospice patient Donald Bobb for his service to our nation. Family including his wife Barbara, his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren gathered at All Saints Assisted Living in Madison to watch as SSM Health at Home Spiritual Counselor Sister Georgeann Roudebush led a Veteran Pinning Ceremony.

Donald, who served in the army from 1952-1955, was a Corporal in the Korean War. After completing training in Seoul, Donald spent time on the front lines. When officials realized he could type, he became a radio operator, sending messages and helping to triangulate North Korean radio centers.

“This ceremony is important to the whole family, especially for the grandchildren to realize what their grandfather sacrificed for them,” stated daughters Brenda Pitterle and Bonnie Bobb. “Dad is a quiet man who never wants to be the center of attention. We are so happy for him to be front and center today.”

Sister Georgeann Roudebush led the ceremony stating “As a soldier, you wrote a ‘blank check’ payable to the United States of America for the amount up to, and including, your life. Thank you for your service. Thank you for the freedom you earned for all of us. SSM Health at Home wants you to know that you are appreciated, and we are honored to serve you for this part of your journey in life. On behalf of SSM Health at Home, please accept our thanks and gratitude. Know that your service to the nation is deeply appreciated.”

Following her words, Donald was “pinned” with an American flag lapel pin and presented with a framed certificate and his son read a poem entitled Freedom.

SSM Health at Home patients who have a history of military services are often recognized in these Pinning Ceremonies to publically acknowledge their military service and the sacrifices made by both the patient and their family. The ceremonies are part of the We Honor Veterans program, a pioneering campaign developed by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The goal of the program is to help health care providers better care for patients with military service.

SSM Health at Home is proud to be a Level 4 Partner, the highest level of distinction in the We Honor Veterans program. As a partner organization, SSM Health at Home integrates best practices for providing quality care to veteran patients as well as educates our staff and volunteers about the unique needs of patients who have served in our nation’s military. This knowledge and sensitivity can be particularly important for those who experienced combat service or trauma, as these past experiences may resurface during a serious illness.

“Dad put his life on the line for the freedom of all Americans,” Donald’s son Bruce Bobb added, “I am very happy that dad is being honored by SSM Health at Home for his service to our country.”

Happy Home Care & Hospice Month

New Name, Same Exceptional Care

After more than 30 years of providing care as Home Health United we have changed our name to SSM Health at Home.

Our new name and look were unveiled September 18, 2017 at a ceremony attended by company leaders and members of the community at our West Madison location.

While Home Health United’s name has changed, its history of providing exceptional care to the patients and the communities it serves will not. Since 1908, when the Attic Angel Association sent the first visiting nurse into patient homes, to the emergence of the Visiting Nurse Service in Dane County in 1951, to its merger with Home Health United in 1999, patient care has been our focus. As SSM Health at Home, we will continue to provide the high quality, compassionate care patients and their families have come to expect.

“Our legacy has always been the services we provide and the way we provide them,” said Lynne Willer, SSM Health at Home Interim President/CEO and Vice President of Clinical Services. “This is an honor we will carry forward with us through our dedicated employees as we work to help keep people of all ages safe and independent in their homes.”

“This name change will help our patients, customers and partners see how SSM Health at Home services are part of their overall care plan and connect with SSM Health’s fully integrated health care delivery network in south-central Wisconsin,” said Damond Boatwright, SSM Health Regional President of Hospital Operations and SSM Health at Home board director. “Under our new name, we will carry out the important work of being truly present as we work to keep people safe and healthy at home.”

Home Health United has grown and evolved to meet the health care needs of the communities we serve. As SSM Health at Home, we will continue to be there for our patients today and tomorrow.

 

Hospice Patients Benefit from Puppy Love

If you have pets, you know how important the companionship they provide can be. But for Home Health United – Hospice patients staying at the SSM Health Hospice House, one special dog brightens days and provides a level of comfort only a furry friend can.

Meet Madeline, a fluffy golden doodle who helps comfort our patients staying at the SSM Health Hospice House in Baraboo.

Madeline’s owner and handler Susan Eldred-Kujawa sees how Madeline brings comfort, peace, and companionship to many hospice patients that come to stay at House. “One hospice patient we visited with really loved animals. The first day we went to visit her she was sleeping. The patient was quite upset that she wasn’t able to meet Madeline that day. When she woke up and realized she had missed meeting Madeline, she told the staff, ‘Wake me up next time. I want to see that dog.’ We had several nice visits with her. The last time we visited she wasn’t responsive. Madeline lay close to her bed; the woman reached out to pet her but didn’t have the strength. So, Madeline laid her head on the woman’s hand and just stayed there for the rest of the visit.”

But it’s not just the patients who benefit from Madeline’s visits; it’s the staff as well. Health care can be incredibly stressful, and providing end-of-life care brings its own challenges. For Hospice House staff, being able to take a short break and pet an incredibly fluffy dog helps them to cope.

Susan states, “Madeline is in most ways just a normal dog that is a well-loved family pet and quite spoiled by her humans. She just happens to also be a working dog, doing pet therapy. She loves playing outside and chasing her squirrel friends or fetching her ball. And of course loves people, especially kids.”

Interested in volunteering? Contact us at call 1-800-924-2273, Volunteers@hhuvns.org, or visit our website for more information.

Employee of the Month – August 2017

Nancy J. R.

Nancy recently celebrated 23 years with HHU. She is a Referral Liaison RN located at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Madison.  In addition to her regular duties, Nancy has assisted with hospice referrals and training of new staff.  Nancy is well known at St. Mary’s Hospital and has developed a strong positive relationship and rapport with physicians, nurses, and social workers.  They know they can always count on her for her excellent referral coordination.  She works hard at making sure that the needs of our patients are met first and foremost.

What do you enjoy most about working at Home Health United?
The flexibility, coworkers and I love being at St. Mary’s.  I am totally HHU and promote everything HHU!

What does Employee of the Month mean to you?
It is an honor to receive this.  My initial reaction was that of being shocked that I was nominated for this acknowledgment.

When you’re not at Home Health United, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy being with my family, taking walks or reading a good book.

 

Past Winners

July 2017 – Sean M.

June 2017 – Mike G.

May 2017 – Laura A.

April 2017 – Paulie S.

March 2017 – Cyndy T.

January 2017 – Julie W.

December 2016 – Kay F.

November 2016 – Jean B.

October 2016 – Jody S.

September 2016 – Alecia C.

August 2016 – Krista B.

July 2016 – Ben C.

June 2016 – Joy N.

May 2016 – Sally Z.

April 2016 – Ray F.

Immunizations Aren’t Just for Kids

Some adults assume they don’t need to worry about vaccinations because they got their shots when they were children. However, some adults were never vaccinated as children, or vaccines that are available today weren’t around when they were growing up. Even if you were fully vaccinated as a child, immunity can begin to fade over time leaving you vulnerable to infection. Depending on your job, lifestyle, travel, health condition, or age you could be at greater risk.

Getting your recommended vaccines can give you the peace of mind that you have the best possible protection available against a number of serious diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends all adults receive a yearly seasonal flu (influenza) vaccine. On average more than 200,000 people are hospitalized due to influenza and between 3,000 and 49,000 people die from flu and its complications every year. The majority of infections and deaths are among adults. In fact, over 60% of seasonal flu related hospitalizations occur in people 65 years and older.

All adults should also get the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccine if they did not receive one as an adolescent to protect against pertussis (whooping cough) and then a Td (tetanus, diphtheria) booster shot every ten years. It is also recommended that pregnant women get the Tdap vaccine with each pregnancy, preferably at 27 through 36 weeks.

Because the immune system tends to weaken over time, older adults have a higher risk of certain diseases. This is why, in addition to seasonal flu and Td or Tdap vaccines, seniors should also get pneumococcal and zoster vaccines.

Pneumococcal vaccines which protect against pneumococcal disease, including infections in the lungs and bloodstream, are recommended for all adults 65 and older as well as those younger than 65 who have certain health conditions. About 900,000 people get pneumococcal pneumonia every year leading to as many as 400,000 hospitalizations and 19,000 deaths.

Zoster vaccine, which protects against shingles, is also recommended for all adults age 60 and older. An estimated one million Americans get shingles every year, and about half are 60 years old or older. Some will have severe pain that can continue even long after their rash clears up, or they may suffer from other painful complications that could persist for years.

If you have certain health conditions you may need additional vaccines. Talk with your doctor to find out which vaccines are recommended for you based on your specific health status.

You have a busy life and too much responsibility to risk getting sick. Vaccines can help you stay healthy so you don’t miss work and you have time for family, friends, and hobbies. And when you get a vaccine you not only protect yourself, you protect everyone around you as well. Some people in your family or community may not be able to get certain vaccines due to their age or health condition so they rely on you to help prevent the spread of disease.

Make it a point to talk with your doctor to make sure that everyone in your family gets the shots they need.

In addition to your doctor’s office, vaccines may be available at pharmacies, workplaces, community health clinics, health departments, or other community locations such as schools and religious centers. To find an adult vaccine provider in your area visit HealthMap Vaccine Finder.

Home Health United is a nonprofit agency providing home health, palliative care, hospice, home medical equipment, home infusion pharmacy services, and community health services. We offer Informational Visits to anyone interested in learning more about how we can help. Request a visit online or call 1-800-924-2273.