Employee of the Month – May 2018

Congratulations Janet B.

Janet has been with SSM Health at Home for over 28 years and has held various positions within the company. In her current role as Outreach Manager Janet meets with referral sources, community leaders, patients and family members to provide education on SSM Health at Home’s services. Janet also represents SSM Health at Home in community groups, provides student education, trains new hires, volunteers to help out MOW routes and has been our United Way key leader for several years. Janet brings a professional, calm and positive attitude to work every day. She is an asset to our company serving as a resource for our staff, as well as to the community as seen in numerous letters of praise and recognition received from people outside of our organization. She is very dependable, self-motivated and her customer service skills and follow through are top notch! Janet is a passionate ambassador of our services and a wonderful role model for staff members. Please join us in congratulating Janet on this recognition!

What do you enjoy most about working at SSM Health at Home?

In my tenure at Visiting Nurse Service/Home Health United/SSM Health at Home, I have been offered wonderful opportunities from field work as a medical social worker, management of the Social Workers and Spiritual Counselors, program development as well as outreach and business development. I truly believe the primary reason for enjoying my work is because I strongly believe in the vision and mission of the company by helping people stay in their homes with needed support. Another very important part of my satisfaction is due to the people I work with! I enjoy meeting and building relationships with our referral sources.

What does Employee of the Month mean to you?

I am honored to be presented Employee of the Month! It’s humbling to know that others recognize and appreciate your hard work and dedication to the company!

 When you’re not at SSM Health at Home, what do you enjoy doing?

My family and friends mean the world to me so spending time with them is my highest priority. My husband and I have been married almost 32 years; I have a daughter who is 23 and a big lab puppy! We all enjoy time together! I enjoy the outdoors, bonfires, Harley road trips and suspenseful shows and movies.

 


Past Winners

April 2018 – Christina W.

March 2018 – Jim T.

January 2018 – Linda W.

December 2017- Renee K.

November 2017 – Layna H.

September 2017 – Sue W.

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.

Employee of the Month – April 2018

 Congratulations Christina W.

Christina has been with SSM Health at Home for a little of a year as an HME Specialist-Retail. She started in our Sauk store and now works in our Baraboo location.  Christina is a positive, hardworking part of the team.  She is a team player ensuring our patients and referral source needs are met.  Christina is always doing something extra to help her team out in any way she can.  Flexible and supportive of change, Christina is not afraid to complete difficult tasks or learn new ones.  Christina treats everyone fairly and always has a smile on her face.  Please join us in congratulating Christina on this recognition!

What do you enjoy most about working at SSM Health at Home?

The absolute best part of this job is getting to work with such awesome people.  I have had the privilege of working at all but one of the medical equipment stores.  Every branch has made me feel welcome.  It was super easy to fall into their routine and it was like I had known them all for years.

What does Employee of the Month mean to you?

Employee of the month is a privilege to even be considered for.  To know that I was chosen means that I have a positive impact on those around me and that makes me so happy!

 When you’re not at SSM Health at Home, what do you enjoy doing?

When I am not working I spend my time with my family.  My mom, son, fiancé and I all live together so I have all of my favorite people in one place, which is fantastic.  We never turn down the opportunity for a new adventure.  We like to spend time at the zoo, play games and even exercise together.


Past Winners

March 2018 – Jim T.

January 2018 – Linda W.

December 2017- Renee K.

November 2017 – Layna H.

September 2017 – Sue W.

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.

Don’t Let Sleep Apnea Keep You Awake at Night

Catching some Zzz’s. Getting your beauty sleep. Hitting the hay. Whatever you call it; sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But while you may think you are “out like a light” you may not be getting the quality of sleep you need. A common sleep disorder could be causing you more than just sleepy days; it could be seriously impacting your health.

Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which breathing stops or gets very shallow while sleeping and can be very serious. According to the American Sleep Apnea Associated it is estimated that 22 million American adults have sleep apnea. However, around 80% of people with the disorder are undiagnosed.

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. For people with obstructive sleep apnea not enough air is able to flow into the lungs through the mouth during sleep because the airway collapses. When this happens, the amount of oxygen in a person’s blood may drop. Normal breaths then start again with a loud snort or choking sound.

For those suffering from sleep apnea, sleep is not restful because sufferers move out of deep sleep and into light sleep many times during the night, resulting in poor sleep quality. And as everyone knows, when sleep is upset throughout the night, you can be very sleepy during the day.

People with sleep apnea often have loud snoring. However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Most people don’t know they are having problems breathing while they are sleeping. Often, a spouse or bed partner may notice the signs of sleep apnea first.

Signs of Sleep Apnea

  • Loud snoring
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Waking up at night short of breath
  • Breathing stops for short periods a night – this is usually observed by someone else
  • Dry mouth or sore throat in the morning
  • Chest pain upon waking
  • Morning headaches
  • Mood instability
  • Insomnia
  • Hypertension

 

According to the National Institutes of Health, sleep disorders are associated with a growing number of medical problems including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and cancer. In addition to putting you at risk for certain diseases, excessive daytime sleepiness can increase your odds of injury in work-related or automobile accidents.

If you think you might have sleep apnea, talk with your doctor. They may order a sleep study, a test that is often done in a sleep center or sleep laboratory. The study is painless. You go to sleep as usual while staff monitors your sleep throughout the night. The results are analyzed by a sleep medicine specialist to determine if you have sleep apnea, how severe it is, and what treatment may be recommended.

Treatment is aimed at restoring regular nighttime breathing and relieving symptoms such as very loud snoring and daytime sleepiness. Treatment may also help associated medical problems, such as high blood pressure, and reduce the risk for heart attack and stroke.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP users wear a mask during sleep which blows air into the throat at a pressure level just enough to stop the airways from briefly getting too small during sleep. The increased airway pressure keeps the throat open during sleep and prevents apnea.

If you think you or a loved may be suffering from sleep apnea, don’t let sleeping dogs lie. Encourage them to seek medical attention. Not only will it improve their ability to get a restful night’s sleep, it could also improve their health and potentially protect them from future medical problems.

SSM Health at Home is a nonprofit organization providing a variety of comprehensive home care services, including: home health, hospice, medical equipment, infusion pharmacy and community health. We offer informational visits to anyone interested in learning more about how our services can help, whether their needs are today or they are planning for tomorrow. For more information or to schedule and informational visit, contact us at ssmhealthathomeWI.com or call 800-924-2273.

 

 

Employee of the Month – March 2018

Congratulations Jim T.

Jim has been with SSM Health at Home for almost 10 years and has worn multiple hats – from PT to Ergonomics Specialist and now the Ergonomics Program Coordinator. Jim has also recently been named the organization’s new Safety Officer and serves on multiple committees. Jim supports all employees through his safety and ergonomics programs. He is a resource on safety concerns and works to ensure that both our staff and patients are safe. Jim is cheerful, supportive and sets a great example for staff to follow with his “can do” attitude. Jim’s experience and expertise are invaluable to SSM Health at Home. Please join us in congratulating Jim on this recognition!

What do you enjoy most about working at SSM Health at Home?
Working for a company that does so much good. Think about how many people have benefitted from SSM Health at Home’s services and products. Consider how many people could not stay in their homes without our services. Imagine how much pain a patient would endure if they had to go to a clinic three times a week to get their wound care done. Imagine how many people could go hungry without Meals On Wheels.

I also appreciate that SSM Health at Home is committed to keeping its employees safe while performing their jobs. I spent 20 years working as a Physical Therapist in outpatient clinics. I witnessed hundreds of times the adverse effect workplace injuries can have on someone’s and their family’s lives. The pain, disfigurement and financial disruptions caused by these injuries can be extreme. These injuries can make simple tasks impossible, take the joy out of life and lead to chronic pain.

I am proud to be a part of SSM’s Health at Home’s safety efforts. We have consistently been able to keep the number of employee injuries well below industry averages. This means we likely prevent about 10-30 people from getting hurt on the job each and every year. That gets me jazzed up!!! For the injuries that do occur, SSM Health at Home works aggressively to get the injured employee the care they need to heal as quickly as possible.

What does Employee of the Month mean to you?
That my efforts are appreciated, for which I am grateful. It also makes me think about how many of my co-workers deserve this award.

When you’re not at SSM Health at Home, what do you enjoy doing?
Spending time with my wife of 25 years and our two daughters. Together we enjoy traveling, cooking/eating, going to musicals and snow/water skiing. When they need a break from me I go deer hunting, fishing or get lost in a book.

 

Past Winners

January 2018 – Linda W.

December 2017- Renee K.

November 2017 – Layna H.

September 2017 – Sue W.

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.

Employee of the Month – January 2018

Congratulations Linda W.

The Rewards and Recognition Committee is pleased to announce SSM Health at Home’s Employee of the Month award to Linda W. Linda has been with SSM Health at Home for 16 years as a Home Health Aide and is a knowledgeable asset to her team and other aides. Linda is also a member of the Honoring Veterans Committee and worked hard to assist in accomplishing the Level IV award for the company. Linda always comes to work ready to help her team and adjusts her day to accommodate both her patients’ and team’s needs.

In addition to being acknowledged by families and staff alike with notes and cards, Linda has received a total of 23 Guardian Angel pins and numerous Shining Stars so far. Linda is very kind and encouraging to her patient’s and to staff. She works hard to make the patient feel comfortable in her care and acts as an advocate when needed. Her continuous smile and awesome words of praise for staff and for patients is a great light to all. Please join us in congratulating Linda on this recognition!

What do you enjoy most about working at SSM Health at Home?
Easy – of course the flexible hours. But mostly the great group of people here at Madison East! They aren’t “just: co-workers”. They are dear friends! I have made some very deep friendships here! We are family. We have great team-work and great comradery here together!

What does Employee of the Month mean to you?
My co-workers like me! It is a great honor to me, to know my co-workers/friends here think of me like that. I am so greatly appreciated beyond words!

When you’re not at SSM Health at Home, what do you enjoy doing?
Photography. I’m an amateur photographer! I carry my camera everywhere – always watching for that sunrise, sunset, or nature photo opportunity. You never know when you are driving and spot a hawk, owl or just a cool nature picture. I have gotten several of my pictures featured on Wake up Wisconsin and Channel 3! I am working on the magazine contests now. I love flower gardening in the summer which butterflies and humming birds love! I also love volunteering with the Badger Honor Flights. I get to meet the vets and their families when they come into the airports. Seeing the looks on everyone’s face when the vets return to the airport is such a high. There are very few dry eyes. The vets are very appreciative of our help but I tell them WE appreciate them because if it wasn’t for all they did for us, serving our country, we may not be here. That is a very rewarding experience!

Past Winners

December 2017- Renee K.

November 2017 – Layna H.

September 2017 – Sue W.

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.

Employee of the Month – December 2017

Congratulations Renee K.

The Rewards and Recognition Committee is pleased to announce SSM Health at Home’s Employee of the Month award to Renee K. Renee has and continues to go above and beyond in her role with SAFE at Home follow up contacts and the Informational Visit Outreach Program. She has helped to grow the programs and consistently identifies other opportunities for growth. She is passionate about her social work role, the ability to help patients that are receiving services through SSM Health at Home and/or learning more about what the company can offer the patients or future potential patients.

Renee has received written notes from previous patients/clients and also receives acknowledgment from other SSM Health at Home staff about her performance, approachability and the ability to help with patients from all of our companies! She goes above and beyond to participate in community initiatives to complement our programs such as “Only Leaves Shall Fall” and Unity Wall Fall Initiatives/Symposium. Renee willingly will step in to offer support with outreach and other marketing needs as her schedule allows. Renee is a true team player! She truly follows the mission and vision of SSM Health at Home.

What do you enjoy most about working at SSM Health at Home?
I really love the variety in doing both the Informational Visit outreach and the SAFE at Home social work. For the Info Program, I enjoy visiting people in their homes and helping them understand their options for remaining as independent as possible. It can be overwhelming when faced with a new illness or a worsening condition, and confusing to know where to start. Being able to come along side people and help them understand our many services and programs is rewarding, because it helps people make better and more informed decisions with their health.

For the SAFE at Home program, I love putting home safety recommendations into action! I enjoy helping people make lasting changes to their home environments to feel safer and to prevent falls. People often do not know how to make the changes that are needed or where to start, so helping them to overcome this is really special to me. This is one of those programs where I get to see the direct impact of how our company helps people remain safe and independent in their homes.

I would be missing something if I didn’t mention that I love my team and my colleagues! A large part of my job satisfaction is related to how supported I feel within my department. I work with some amazing people!

What does Employee of the Month mean to you?
I feel uplifted to know that the hard work that I do is recognized and valued. It means a lot to me.

When you’re not at Home Health United, what do you enjoy doing?
When I am not working, I am spending time at home with my fur babies (3 cats and a dog), my husband, and Netflix. When I am not at home binging the latest Netflix show, I am traveling! I love to travel to new and beautiful places. I have traveled to Mexico, St Lucia, Bora Bora, Italy, France, Germany, Hawaii, and Jamaica to name a few. I enjoy biking and recently started practicing yoga again. I hear there is yoga offered at the Cat Cafe in Madison, so I think I will try that soon.

Past Winners

November 2017 – Layna H.

September 2017 – Sue W.

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.

Employee of the Month – November 2017

Congratulations Layna H.

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The Rewards and Recognition Committee is pleased to announce Layna has been awarded Employee of the Month for November. Layna has worked for SSM Health at Home since 2015 as one of our Home Health Aides. Layna exemplifies what it means to provide excellent customer service. Time and time again, patients are hesitant to have a home health aide assist them. Once they agree to the assistance, they are immediately put at ease after the first visit Layna makes and the feedback is overwhelmingly positive. Layna is noted to be kind, compassionate, sweet and flexible. Her quality of work is top notch. Layna is a consummate professional and an integral part of the Dodgeville team. Please join us in congratulating Layna on this recognition!

What do you enjoy most about working at SSM Health at Home?
I love my job! What I enjoy the most about working at SSM Health at Home is being able to work one-on-one. I love being able to take time to listen to each of my patients and meet their individual needs. Often my days are challenging and very rewarding, there are still those special moments when someone says or does something and I know I have made a difference in someone’s life. It is truly satisfying to get to know people on a personal level and be able to touch their lives and for them to leave a footprint in my heart.

What does Employee of the Month mean to you?
It is an honor and I am very proud to be a part of this company.

When you’re not at SSM Health at Home, what do you enjoy doing?
When I am not at SSM Health at Home, I enjoy being outdoors. I love hunting and fishing with my husband and my two naughty dogs. I love doing craft projects when I have time. During spring and summer months, I love digging in the dirt and planting flowers and vegetables. One of my favorite things to do is to shop for antiques and drag my family along with me!

Past Winners

September 2017 – Sue W.

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.

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.