As we all know, there are three L’s in real estate, Location, Location, Location. In healthcare, there are the 3 P’s. Plan, Plan, Plan.  A person needs to realize that even when he/she is in great health he/she should have a backup plan just in case something goes wrong. As a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Regional Manager of Towne Nursing Home Care, I see this too often. There is no plan or idea.  The “just in case” scenario often turns into a disaster. The best game plan in cases like this is to have a great network as well as many resources available in the healthcare field.

I received a referral from a social worker regarding a patient who was going to be discharged in two weeks from a nursing home and needed extensive assistance in her home. As always, I went to introduce myself to the person and family. The person, however, was all alone. No family. No friends. Just an 83-year-old woman who heeded a lot of help and was nervous about the transition back into her own home. After developing an in-depth plan of care, she began to feel more at ease and agreed to continue with the home care services. Upon discharge, all of her necessary equipment; i.e. walker, wheelchair, and hospital bed, was ordered and scheduled to be delivered to her home. In addition,  we arranged for transportation via ambulance so that the patient could arrive back home safely. Since my new client didn’t have any family, we had one of our agency staff go to the client and receive the medical equipment  and supplies. Additionally, basic necessities such as fresh food was purchased, and medication needed upon discharge was picked up from the pharmacy. Planning was effective in this case. We were able to take what could have been a lonely and challenging discharge and turned it into a comfortable and warm home coming. Our agency nurse visited our new client the following morning, performed a comprehensive assessment, and collaborated with the home physical therapist and home health aide to assure maximum care. Now,a member of the Towne Nursing staff makes regular visits to assure that all goals on the plan of care were implemented.

Planning ahead is the best approach when it comes to Home Health Care. It helps reduce the stress of sudden illnesses and equips clients properly for the future. I encourage you to speak to an elder law attorney prior to crisis. Elder law specialists work closely with care managers, social workers, certified home health agencies, assisted living, sub-acute facilities, medical equipment, and other vital resources to devise a safe plan in case of an emergency.

Eric Stobezki, Towne Nursing Home

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