When Lorraine Kaplan broke her hip this spring, there was debate about how much she could recover after leaving skilled nursing. Because Kaplan, 89, was now in memory care for dementia, her family didn’t know if she would pursue home health care to provide physical therapists to build her strength, as well as people to help with wound care or attend hospice care to do so. comfortable.
The Kaplan family used the new St. David’s Home Health programs and St. David’s Hospice & Family Care to do an evaluation of Lorraine Kaplan through the hospice program, which determined that it was not yet time for hospice care because she could still get better physically. . HealthCare at Home then began scheduling home health visits for physical therapy, nursing care and even music therapy.
“We needed someone to work with her and someone who could also communicate with the family,” said her daughter-in-law Patricia Kaplan, who is an administrative coordinator for St. David’s Home Health. “My husband and I couldn’t be there for every visit. We were really looking for someone we could count on for what they were seeing.”
The Kaplans said the hospice evaluation was good because now they know the signs to look for that will alert them when it’s time to make that transition from home health to hospice. “It’s a very emotional decision for a family,” Patricia Kaplan said.
Lorraine Kaplan has made improvements since receiving home health services, which are covered by Medicare or insurance, and learned how to safely use a walker occasionally instead of a wheelchair, improve range of motion and build its strength.
“There’s a lot of coordination that goes on at a high level,” Patricia Kaplan said. “They’re on it. My husband sleeps much better at night.”
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St. David’s Health operates eight hospitals in the Austin area and is in the process of building a behavioral health hospital in North Austin, as well as an acute care hospital in Kyle and one in Leander. The health system’s expansion into home and hospice health care began when the parent company of St. David, HCA Healthcare purchased a majority stake in Brookdale Health Care Services from Brookdale Senior Living last year. Locally, Brookdale’s home health and hospice services were renamed St. David’s Home Health and St. David’s Hospice & Family Care this June.
“For St. David’s, it’s a much closer partner for us to work with and improves our ability to move patients on the right side of care,” said David Huffstutler, president and chief executive officer of St. David’s Health.
While people at St. David’s hospitals will still be given a choice of hospice or home care providers when they’re discharged, Huffstutler said this expansion under the St. David’s brand allows for better coordination and ideally a faster transition to these levels of care, rather than waiting in hospital for step-down care to be available.
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Huffstutler said there are plans to expand these two new sectors of care for St. David’s. “We will work with Brookdale to do that by investing together, increasing staff, expanding geographic locations or making sure we can address the growing demands we have.”
The Brookdale team has been providing home health and hospice care since 2013. “We have a very regular staff,” said Robin Nunnely, hospice director for St. David’s Hospice & Family Care. This change doesn’t mean the only patients he sees will come from St. David’s Hospitals, just like when Brookdale was, it didn’t just care for people in Brookdale nursing homes.
Much of what they will do is educate families about the different levels of care and services available under each program, Nunnely said. For hospice, including social work, symptom management, music therapy, chaplain services, nursing, medications and equipment. St. David’s Hospice & Family Care also fulfills a last wish for its clients, such as: a brisket cookout, a visit with a miniature horse, a visit to an ice rink or playing the trumpet one more time with a high school band.
Nunnely also educates people that if there is improvement, they can leave hospice care and go into home health, or if they are receiving home health care, they can transition to hospice when the time is right. Like home health, hospice is also covered by Medicare insurance.
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