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Carbondale, PA
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Home Health  

Scranton Times
Connections – Marian Community Hospital

          “Patient education leading to self care and  independence is the goal of home health care”, according to Anita Marchegiani, R.N., administrative manager of Marian Home Health services, a branch of Mercy Home Health and Hospice at Marian Community Hospital, Carbondale.   “A growing number of medical patients depend on home health care to assist with a growing number of medical conditions.  Patients generally spend less time in the hospital and have more complicated care requirements when they are discharged.  Our patients include those with a variety of medical problems, patients recovering from surgery, or who have otherwise been discharged from a hospital, rehabilitation center or nursing home.”

          With an emphasis on encouraging recuperation and independence, today’s home health care means much more than regular visits from a nurse.  Home health care is discussed as part of a patient’s discharge plan after hospitalization or treatment in another facility.  Patients can choose the service they prefer from those available in their community. 

          “We strive for a smooth transition of care from the acute care setting to the patient’s home,” outlined Ms. Marchegiani.  “For patients who do not need 24-hour a day supervision, it is both more effective and less expensive. Patients who will benefit from home health care include those whose health can be improved and or maintained with specialized medical treatment in the home.”

          When home health services are approved for a patient, a registered nurse works with the patient’s doctor to develop a plan of care based on the specific health care needs.  At that time a determination is made regarding the need for medical equipment in the home.  Patients typically spend less time in the hospital today than five or ten years ago for the same condition and are often discharged using some type of highly technical equipment. 

          “Today, home health patients can receive many therapies in their own home including but not limited to chemotherapy, intravenous medications and TPN or Total Parenteral Nutrition,” outlined the administrator.  “Patients may also need assistance with catheter or ostomy care, wound dressings, pain management, medication injections and other therapies.”

          “Our medical professionals understand the various concerns of patients and their families as they are discharged from a medical facility,” said Ms. Marchegiani.  “It can be a little unnerving to arrive home with monitors and other medical equipment.  We are there to put these patients at ease.  We spend time explaining how their treatment will progress and their important role in regaining strength and freedom.  Home health care is not intended to be a permanent fixture in their lives.  We see ourselves as a means to a patient’s regaining independence with a new lease on life.”

          In addition to direct medical needs, home health care can address associated services including physical, occupational and speech therapies as well as medical social work.  In conjunction with the goal of restoring a patient’s optimum health, home health services work to restore the whole patient.  Not only are patients assisted with the medical recovery, but the physical, occupational and speech therapy specialists work with the patient and his or her caregiver to regain function to live as independently as possible.  Marian Home Health Services also provide medical social work to assist with the options after treatment and address financial concerns, coping with the stress of illness or further medical placement as necessary.

          Spirituality plays an important role for many patients and their families.  When patients request such counseling, the home health services can refer the patient and/or caregivers to programs aimed at helping people get in touch with their fears, anxieties and concerns.

          “Home health services are not an open ended program,” added Ms. Marchegiani.  “Our goal is to assist the patient in achieving an optimum quality of life.  A major emphasis for us is education for the patient and his or her caregiver.  We do not encourage the patient to become dependent on us, rather we educate them to rely on themselves.  Today, there is much emphasis on all individuals to be more aware of their health status and to be more responsible for the quality of their health.  Many people know their cholesterol levels for example, but that is not enough.  We are being encouraged to maintain low levels and make the lifestyle changes necessary to make positive changes.”

          “So it is with home health patients,” the manager concluded.  “We educate the patient and the caregiver about their specific medical condition and the positive steps they can take to regain their prior level of independence.”

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