Who’s Who on a Home Care Team?
Many dedicated professionals make up the various teams that provide quality care at home.
When patients and families understand these different roles, they can have better insight on the type of help that’s available.
Avera@Home consists of three overarching teams, and they include hospice and home health, both of which enlist the help of many certified medical professional. The third team includes homemakers and care assistants, as well as nurses to provide basic health maintenance to include medication management
“No matter the role, from our agency managers and medical directors to our homemakers and care assistants, Avera@Home staffers seek to live out the mission of our health ministry,” said Laura Woolverton, LCSW-PIP, an Avera@Home Agency Manager in Aberdeen. “When we enter someone’s home, we realize it is a sacred place. The help and care we can provide creates a unique chance for us to help each person achieve his or her goals. It’s truly a calling and one we enjoy.”
Within the home health component of Avera@Home, clinical coordinators and agency managers work hand-in-hand to make sure all patients are getting the services and attention they need, according to their physician’s orders.
“They work together to make sure everything is smoothly completed and that there are no omissions,” Woolverton said. “Registered nurse case managers and visit nurses work collaboratively to help patients in their homes. Many times the care team will include additional professionals, such as therapists, to help patients set goals and achieve them.”
Social workers, certified nurse aides and other home-health members never approach two patients in the exact same way; it’s always a uniquely tailored approach for the recovering surgery patient, those facing chronic illnesses or someone who is getting back to health after an accident.
“A large part of our focus is connections between our various members,” Woolverton said. “We host regular meetings where we can share information and make sure everyone on our team is aware of changes, so we can adjust the plan of care as needed.”
Hospice includes many of the same positions as home health, but also involves a number of solely hospice related professionals, such as chaplains, pharmacists and a medical director, who is a physician. Volunteers play crucial roles within hospice care, adding their compassion and time to the overall approach, thus allowing trained professionals more time to accomplish other duties.
The interdisciplinary approach of each member of this team aims to make the hospice patient – as well as his or her family – as comfortable as possible in the face of a terminal or chronic illness.
“Hospice is still new to some people, so our teams can work to educate and illustrate to families just how much this sort of comforting care can help them, as well as their loved ones,” she said. “The teamwork across many different disciplines in medicine and health care is important. We always keep the patient at the center in this effort.”
Help Around the Home
The role of homemakers, care assistants and others is also vital. These professionals might clean a home, provide aid with bathing or help with shopping or laundry. Nurses on the team might also help a patient prepare a week’s medication in their home.
“There are times when the care may be full-circle, starting with home-making services and then becoming a situation where skilled home health professionals are needed. We can recognize the adjustments needed because we’re already working with the patient at their home,” said Woolverton. “In other cases, a patient may need less clinical care, so we can refer them from home health to more basic assistance around the house. Since our teams are so closely knit, we can help patients achieve their goals and most importantly, stay at home where they are most comfortable.”