Change is not always easy, and often it's unavoidable. And some of the best change is the hardest change.
On September 16, many of us at HealthKeeperz began the process of change together as we started converting to a new electronic medical record system (commonly known as EMR). Jokingly, I recently said to our president, Tim Brooks, that I have never had more prayer requests in a day and week in all my five years at HealthKeeperz!
But it's actually true. And since then, the requests have continued, and I think that I have found a common thread either expressed or communicated in body language. It has to do with coping with the frustrations with learning a new system, working out of two systems in the interim, and encountering the expected and often unexpected mishaps. I've summed up the common prayer request this way: ”Lord, if I become frustrated, help me not to say anything or act in some way hurtful to others, regretful to myself, and dishonoring to you."
First, I must say that I am so excited to have coworkers who think this way and are humble enough to ask God to help them with their human weaknesses. I know from my own personal experience that the temptation has been present to say or do what I ought not. Praise God for His help!
Second, I am grateful that at HealthKeeperz, there is an undercurrent that is moving us along that flows out our mission statement, “Caring for all people for the glory of God.” That undercurrent is our culture of encouragement, the Barnabas Culture. Simply stated, it's a way of life in the workplace, where being caring, selfless, and humble, as well as encouraging people lifts us all and helps each of us flourish.
I couldn't help but think of a few Proverbs from the Bible that will help us not only glorify God but will also help us support one another in the coming weeks and months as we seek to excel in the EMR transition phase. Listen to three of them and notice how powerful a kind word of encouragement is.
Proverbs 16:24 (ESV)
24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
Proverbs 15:4 (ESV)
4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
Proverbs 12:25 (ESV)
25 Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down,
but a good word makes him glad.
Don't you love the pure beauty of God's wisdom in His word? A gracious, gentle, good word is so accessible to us. We need only speak it and watch it heal and rejuvenate a weary soul, bear life giving fruit, or dispel anxiety from a heavy heart. I think this is how we will make it, and not only during this transition, but every day. With so many negative or discouraging words out there, what do you say we commit ourselves to gracious, gentle, and good words for the glory of God and the good our neighbor!
Yours in Christ,
Chaplain James Chavis
Pros and Cons: Alternatives to Nursing Home Placement
Assisted living facilities and retirement homes provide a source of care, joy, and community for many older folks. But for some, they’re just not the right setting, feeling “too clinical” or “cold.” This article is dedicated to those who might feel the latter emotions. We’re going to take a look at several viable alternatives to nursing home placement, focusing specifically on the pros and cons of each.
Moving in With Family
When it becomes too much to care for oneself, many people turn to their children or other able-bodied relatives to help out. Provided that everyone in the family gets along, this can be a wonderful option. After all, who wouldn’t want to spend their retirement days surrounded by grandchildren? This option is also highly cost-effective. There’s no need to pay for a room, and in many cases for medical care, so long as the type of help you need is minor enough that family members can cover it.
Doesn’t seem to have any drawbacks, right? Well … not quite. There are a few important things to keep in mind before making the decision to move in with your children and/or other relatives. First, is the care you require going to be too much for unpaid, non-medical professionals to handle? Many grown-up kids love the idea of taking care of their parents, but soon realize that it’s more than they can handle on top of their own busy lives. It’s smart to have a concrete idea of what exactly care will look like before going into this situation; that will help prevent anyone from biting off more than they can chew. Many people opt to move in with family members and hire a home health care aide to assist with certain duties and ensure a proper standard of care.
Due to the hefty expenses associated with retirement and daily medical care, more and more seniors are choosing to form intentional communities or “communes” where they can live together and pool resources. It’s not only a barrel of fun, but also much more affordable than going at it alone. Some groups choose to hire a single live-in nurse or team of home health professionals, splitting the cost between everyone at the commune. Additionally, the benefits of being around other people all day are huge for both mental and physical health. Studies show that socialization is linked to the prolonged retention of one’s mental and physical faculties, as well as lower rates of depression.
The big “if” with regard to intentional communities is the people. Make sure that you and your loved one make a careful, well-informed decision together about who you will be living with. Can everyone agree on daily chores? Expenses? Medical care? Try and assemble a team of like-minded friends who want the same things out of retirement.
Home Health Care
For many Americans suffering from a condition that requires frequent medical attention, “home health care” are the three magic words. They mean the comfort, security, and convenience of your own home; they mean less disruption to your day-to-day life; they mean no more days spent driving to and from doctor’s appointments. Home health care provides immense relief from the stress associated with medical care.
There aren’t any real cons to home health care. With advances in medical technology, it’s now possible to receive the same quality of care at home as you would receive in a facility without paying a fortune. One important thing to note is that having everything you need at home can sometimes lead to social isolation, especially in seniors. If you do go the home health care route, make sure that your loved one is still getting plenty of social enrichment. While HealthKeeperz’ medical professionals are extremely warm and friendly, they can’t meet all your needs for fun and socialization. So, make sure to visit with friends and family and get outside when you can, to get up and get going.
Interested in receiving home health care services for yourself or a loved one? Please contact HealthKeeperz at 800-309-3784 to begin a conversation.
We’re thrilled to announce that the readers of Robeson Living magazine have voted HealthKeeperz number one in home health and medical supplies! This achievement represents a group effort, with our home health care professionals and dedicated office staff working in tandem to make HealthKeeperz the absolute best it can be.
Robeson Living is a quarterly lifestyle magazine that can be found in homes, professional offices, free stands, and NC welcome centers across the county. It surveys the best food, drinks, and services in Robeson County. The only magazine of its kind in Robeson, Robeson Living has a strong readership among locals.
“This means a lot coming from our local community, from the very people we serve,” says Tim Brooks, President of HealthKeeperz. “Robeson County is a special place, and we are humbled to serve its residents each and every day. But to get voted number one in what we do – that’s extra humbling.”
HealthKeeperz provides holistic, community-based home health care services, including skilled nursing, physical therapy, speech therapy, in-home aide care, and cardiac/heart care. Our mission, “Caring for all people for the glory of God,” combines top-notch medical care with warm, compassionate service. In addition, HealthKeeperz’ home medical equipment division offers everything you need to maintain independence and dignity at home. We deliver it all, from incontinence supplies to nutritional supplies to CPAP and BiPAP.
HealthKeeperz, which has been in business for more than 50 years, is firmly rooted in Robeson County and surrounding communities. Ever since Howard Brooks first established the precursor to HealthKeeperz, Pembroke Drug Center, in the 1960s, we have had a larger commitment to serving the community. We believe that rural North Carolinians, whether they be in Lumberton, Robeson, or Bladen County and beyond, deserve the best medical care available.
“I want to thank everyone who voted for HealthKeeperz and ask for your continued support as we continue to grow and expand,” Brooks says. “I also want to thank the hardworking professionals who made this possible. They truly embody our vision of caring for all for the glory of God … Our professionals are out there working for something much bigger than themselves.”
Thank you, Robeson Living readers, for this honor! We’ll continue to serve you with the utmost care and compassion, and hope that our efforts impress enough to clinch that win next year. In the meantime, need to get in touch with HealthKeeperz? Please contact us at 800-309-3784 to begin a conversation.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
The scripture above teaches us to honor our bodies as God’s creation. It’s important to nourish ourselves with foods that uplift us in health and in spirit; you only get one body, after all. But eating healthy can be expensive. Let’s look at a few ways to nourish your mind, body, and soul without going over budget.
Fresh, organic fruits and vegetables are great, but it’s just not practical for many families to buy them every week. Luckily, you can get many of the same health benefits in the frozen food aisle. Frozen fruits and veggies are frozen soon after being picked, when they’re at peak ripeness. That means they retain high amounts of vitamins and nutrients even if they spend weeks in your freezer. In addition to the health benefits, frozen produce is also easier to prepare. Frozen fruits and vegetables come pre-washed and chopped, so it’s as easy as chucking them into the skillet, oven, or blender. Frozen fruits like mangoes and blueberries can be eaten right out of the bag for an on-the-go snack or satisfying dessert.
Many of us have grown accustomed to eating the same fruits and vegetables year-round because of the widespread availability of imported and greenhouse-grown produce. Not only is this an unnatural way of eating, but it’s also an expensive one: Food producers spend a whole lot to grow these crops and export them to faraway grocery stores, and that cost gets passed down to the consumer. Instead, opt to eat with the seasons, which means selecting different fruits and vegetables throughout the year. Seasonal crops are cheaper and often go on special at the grocery store. In North Carolina, for example, strawberries are pretty much on sale all summer long. Here’s a brief produce guide for every season:
Planting a vegetable, fruit, or herb garden takes some time and effort, but it will save you big in the long run. Seeds are extremely cheap and can produce plants that sustain for years and years. North Carolina’s warm, subtropical climate makes it easy for fruit and vegetable plants to thrive. Why not take advantage of it by planting your own? It’ll save you lots of money and trips to the grocery store. Plus, gardening helps keep you active and offers a peaceful, much-needed return to God’s green earth.
HealthKeeperz is dedicated to helping our clients live their best lives through holistic medical care and emotional support. “Caring for all people for the glory of God” is our mission, and we are honored to serve each and every one of our patients. Please contact HealthKeeperz at 800-309-3784 to start the conversation.
As I write this devotion, my family and I are hunkering down in our home, awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Dorian. Most of our offices are closed today to allow our HealthKeeperz families who will be impacted by the storm to finish up preparations.
Like many others, I have been watching or listening to the weather forecasts for the last five to seven days, hoping and praying that this moment would not come. And yet, it has arrived.
Dorian will mark three hurricanes within three years for us here in southeastern North Carolina. For many who have suffered past loss, the thought of another hurricane moving through our region brings no small amount of anxiety.
It is these folks, my own neighbors, I found myself thinking about as of late. As a follower of Christ and a minister of his Good News, my sincere heart's desire is that we all, but especially those who have suffered past loss, are able to find peace of mind and restfulness of heart in God our Father while we endure another storm. There is nothing inside of us that can bring peace and rest amid a hurricane. That is partly because the very nature of such a storm is to create unrest and destruction. It is a sheer force of nature that says there will be no peace, and neither will there be rest.
So, it is at this moment when we are confronted with the reality of another storm that we need the truth of God's word to penetrate our hearts and minds and wash the anxiety, fear, and doubt out into the sea of God’s grace and mercy. So for the rest of this devotion, I will administer the medicine for the soul that I have applied to myself and my family, God’s Word.
Psalms 46 reminds us that “God is our refuge and strength, a very help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear. . .” even when the hurricanes come. Wow! The Psalmist says that the place to run to for protection and shelter in times of trouble is to God, and in this running to God, we will not only be protected, but will ‘in Him’ find the strength that’s needed to weather the storm. This is why the Psalmist can so confidently say, “. . . we will not fear,” even if we are tossed about by forces that are, at least humanly speaking, unrelenting and unstoppable.
Ahh, but winds are not invincible. They must yield to the master from whose nostrils they have been blown. And the gospel of Matthew 8:26 reminds of this: Jesus says. . . “why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” And then the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
What kind of man is He? He is the God-man, and He can calm any storm, whether it be on the Sea of Galilee or in our soul!
I will close with the apostle Paul’s thoughts from Philippians 4:6-7. “. . . do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
My friend, if you are like me, this is not merely good medicine for the hours of riding out hurricanes, but is the needed daily nutrition for hearts that can become anxious and fearful so quickly. May we rest in our, Savior who promises to “bless us and keep us.”
Yours in Christ,
Chaplain James Chavis
On September 16, the dawn of a new era for home health technology debuts at HealthKeeperz, as the company modernizes and upgrades its electronic medical records (EMR) system.
The new EMR, Home Care Home Base, has more sophisticated capabilities that will enable HealthKeeperz to stay compliant in the ever-changing regulatory environment of home health and hospice. “We are dedicated to the highest levels of compliance at HealthKeeperz, and Home Care Home Base will streamline efforts through multiple efficiency features such as provider alerts and more robust reporting capabilities,” said Natalie Sharpe, Vice President of Quality and Compliance at the company.
The system will lead to more complete documentation through a more intuitive interface that tees up patient care and compliance questions for home health and hospice nurses, as well as in-home therapists. “Better inputs mean better reports, and better reports will drive quality in patient care, our number one job at HealthKeeperz,” Sharpe explained.
Most importantly, Sharpe said, Home Care Home Base will “paint a better picture of the quality of care that each patient receives at HealthKeeperz, highlighting our strengths and identifying any weaknesses that we can work quickly to rectify.
According to Karen Booth, Director of Quality and Compliance, the new EMR will allow senior management to see the impact of treatment decisions and wellness initiatives via a clearer view of patient outcomes. “We will be able to track and trend outcomes data at an unprecedented level,” she said. “We are so excited about Home Care Home Base, because our people want nothing more than to do a good job, and our patients just want to get better or spend their hospice time with a better quality of remaining life. Furthermore, once we develop our plan of care, which prescribes a certain number of visits from our nurses and therapists, we’ll have instant analysis that determines if we missed any recommended elements of care. It’s incredible for our talented people to have that kind of technology backstopping their efforts, giving us guidance in real time.”
The system will track length of stay, visits from HealthKeeperz staff, and providers will benefit from having quicker access to clinical insights with greater evidence of outcomes. “For example, when we are able to see trend data on surgical recoveries, we can predict more accurately the amount of time it takes for patients to recover,” said Sharpe. “This level of evidence will help us improve our effectiveness with Medicare and Medicaid, in particular, with regard to our budgets for services and our reimbursements.”
Booth also explained the new technology’s foreseen impact on the company’s hospice care. “EMR is Just as important for hospice, as we track and trend each patient’s health status, she explained. “The technology helps to reveal needs for a change in level of care, from visit-driven to continuous home care. Ultimately, we’ll deliver even better care from a clinical perspective, as we will detect declines in overall health sooner through the tools embedded in the system. Keeping our hospice patients more comfortable and lightening their stress often means the difference for a better end-of-life scenario surrounded by family and friends.”
Booth remarked that implementation of the new technology is the culmination of months of hard work from everyone at HealthKeeperz. “This effort will have lasted nearly four months by the time of launch, dating back to our kickoff call on May 21,” she explained. “We also just celebrated everyone’s passion and dedication in implementing an EMR system that will be a real game-changer in patient care, efficiency, and our ability to stay compliant with the demands of Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurers.”
“Our recent celebrations were designed to update our staff on their tremendous efforts with Home Care Home Base and build excitement,” said HealthKeeperz President Tim Brooks. “We have a culture at HealthKeeperz of being passionate about what we do. We think about how this new technology, which is never easy to implement at first, is going to feel for our staff and our patients. It’s difficult to do new things, but in the end, it’ll be better, because we care.”
Congratulations to the HealthKeeperz team for running the marathon together and making the launch of Home Care Home Base a success.
Hospice care has been around since the 11th century, but its modern conception didn’t take shape until 1967. It was during the interim that the concept of hospice evolved and expanded dramatically, often facing resistance and skepticism in the process.
In its early days, hospice typically referred to a place of hospitality for the ill, wounded, and dying, as well as travelers and pilgrims. Dame Cicely Saunders, below, is credited with developing the modern principles of hospice care throughout the 1950s.
Born in 1918, Saunders was a British nurse who experienced chronic health problems herself. This, combined with a special bond she developed with a dying Polish refugee, inspired her to become a hospice activist and eventually the mother of modern hospice care. The man, 40-year-old David Tasma, left her £500 in his will to follow her passion. Saunders’ philosophy was based on managing the “total pain” of the patient, meaning psychological, spiritual, and physical needs. She also introduced the idea of taking into account the needs of the patient’s family.
Saunders refined her philosophy throughout the 1950s while volunteering at a hospice facility and attending medical school. In 1967, she established St. Christopher’s Hospice in south London, the first model of modern hospice care.
Saunders, as well as leaders who came before and after her, faced resistance from a number of directions. Cultural taboos surrounding the open discussion of death and terminal illness were strong; fellow doctors felt uncomfortable implementing new, unfamiliar medical techniques; and many patients and their families found it hard to accept the transition from seeking cures to seeking comfort.
Nonetheless, Saunders’ approach saw great success. It was adopted in care facilities all over the world, from the U.S. to Zimbabwe to Switzerland. She paved the way for the 1982 creation of the Medicare Hospice Benefit, which was solidified in 1993 when President Bill Clinton declared hospice a guaranteed and essential component of health care.
Biblical traditions align with many of Saunders’ principles. In John’s Gospel, Jesus illustrates the connection between the spiritual and the physical. In his day, sickness was regarded as a manifestation of spiritual ailment. Jesus believed that by resolving one’s sins and leading a virtuous life, sickness could be healed. Today, with massive advancements in medicine and technology, it’s widely understood that sin doesn’t “cause” illness; but the principle of mind-body connection that Jesus spoke of has proven to be very real. That’s why at HealthKeeperz, we focus our hospice services on managing every aspect of a patient’s physical and spiritual needs.
In addition, the timeless story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) has long served as an example for Christians to follow in caring for the poor, sick, and suffering.
“Now which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” The answer came, "He who treated him with compassion."
Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same."
HealthKeeperz’ hospice care practices are rooted in both the wisdom of Cicely Saunders and the teachings of Christ. We invite you to read more about what kind of care we provide here. And if you’re currently seeking relief for a terminally ill loved one, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 800-309-3784. It’s not an easy conversation to have, but in the long run it will bring enormous comfort to you and your family.
For nearly two years now, HealthKeeperz has publicly proclaimed that we exist for God’s glory in the care of all people. In fact, It’s our mission.
We have made banners that can be seen by all at the main entrance of our offices, and we’ve redesigned our marketing brochures so that our mission is at the forefront. And most, if not all, staff meetings are intentionally shaped by our mission, vision, and values statements. As a result, I think it is safe to say that the vast majority of employees at HealthKeeperz know what we are about.
After all this time and so many conversations about our mission and how it translates to everyday life, we can easily, while enjoying the successes of caring for people, forget how these successes happen and how they are sustained. The mission of HealthKeeperz is not original to us. It’s been God’s mission all along for us, and He has made it happen for many years! It’s just that, as of 2017, we have intentionally sought to get in step with what He has been doing all along and what He plans to do in the future.
So where do we go from here? We maintain the course by abiding or continuing in God’s love. What does that mean for us?
In the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus instructs His disciples in how they are to maintain the course He has set for them and those who will become His disciples through their teaching. To illustrate this concept, Jesus uses familiar imagery, that of a farmer preparing his grapevine for fruitfulness. Allow me to summarize the instruction of our Lord.
In the same way that a farmer prunes his grapevine to encourage new growth and increased fruitfulness, so, too, does God prune or bring about changes in our lives so that we are fruitful in accordance with His plan for us. Changes that promote increase are not always pleasant but are still necessary and beneficial. For Jesus’s disciples, the Father’s pruning was crucial.
In the text, there is present another necessity. “The branches must remain connected to the vine.” The disciples are the branches, and if they are going to continue Christ’s work of transforming the world around them, then they will need to continue being nurtured by Him, since He is the vine. They will need the spiritual life-blood of Jesus flowing in them and working through them if they are to yield the desired fruit of God and yield that fruit in abundance.
Yes, the farmer doesn’t just want grapes; he wants an abundance of grapes! God not only desires good for you and me, He also wants good for everyone, and He intends to use you and me to do it. That’s amazing! Frail, fickle people like us, thanks to our Lord, have a role to play in the grandest story ever written. That should get us out of bed in the morning!
As our moment together closes, allow me to encourage you to continue in God’s love through an abiding relationship with Jesus. And as you experience the life of Christ working in you, others will experience the love of Christ through you.
Soli Deo Gloria (For the glory of God alone),
At HealthKeeperz, we employ highly skilled healthcare professionals to manage every aspect of medical care, from skilled nursing to hospice. But one aspect of care that isn’t talked about nearly as much – despite being equally important – is spiritual and emotional care. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at how HealthKeeperz benefits mind, body, and soul.
Our organizational mission is “caring for all for the glory of God,” and it guides all of our healthcare providers as they interact with patients. HealthKeeperz is a family business and we treat our patients like family. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a team of care providers that is so compassionate, caring, selfless, and humble.
Research shows that the effects of having this warm, friendly presence in the home are extremely beneficial. Studies have found that:
After reading these statistics, you can understand the power of the mind-body connection, and the tangible benefits of having an in-home companion. This is of particular importance with older folks. For one thing, losing friends and family is a sad but natural part of getting older – people move away, pass away, and start families of their own. Secondly, many people reflect more often on life and death at this age. Some seniors handle it beautifully, while others may experience feelings of fear, apprehension, and uncertainty. HealthKeeperz’ care providers respect the challenges unique to this stage of life and are well-equipped to provide companionship through it all.
A helping hand to reach the remote for you, a conversation about the grandkids, a hug at the end of the day. All of these actions are small yet impactful. For many of our patients, they make just as much of a difference as a physical therapy session or post-op care. They help transform the arduous process of receiving healthcare into an exercise in friendship.
Barnabas, a disciple of Jesus Christ, serves as a role model for HealthKeeperz’ style of care. In Hebrew, the meaning of the name Barnabas is “son of consolation” or “son of comfort.” That’s exactly what we strive to do – provide comfort, consolation, and companionship to our patients. We are humbled to serve each and every one of them, and we hope that you’ll consider us for care of your loved one in the future. Please contact HealthKeeperz at 800-309-3784 to start the conversation.
For many people, “home health” conjures images of a single aide helping with routine tasks like cooking, cleaning, and medications – a far cry from the holistic, fully-integrated reality of what’s on offer at HealthKeeperz.
The truth is, home healthcare today is extremely sophisticated and capable of providing much the same treatment and care as a physician’s office or assisted living facility. At HealthKeeperz, we employ a number of highly qualified, licensed healthcare professionals who work as a team and alongside your doctor to meet healthcare needs.
As you can probably surmise, HealthKeeperz’ staff does a lot more than checking vital signs and administering medications. To illustrate what a modern, integrative home health program from HealthKeeperz looks like, let’s meet a sample patient – “Brett,” a loving grandfather, 71 years of age, who recently suffered a stroke.
Home Health. The first part of Brett’s care focuses on helping him become as active and healthy as possible. With the help of an in-home occupational therapist, he re-learns old skills that the stroke affected, like brushing teeth and washing dishes. A speech therapist helps him regain and retain his language abilities, while a skilled nurse trained in post-stroke care looks after his brain health. Brett developed some muscle pain in his leg following the stroke, so a HealthKeeperz orthopedic specialist calls Brett’s regular physician to discuss treatment.
Home Medical Equipment. The second part of Brett’s healthcare program is geared toward independence and dignity. When he’s having trouble getting around, HealthKeeperz’ home medical equipment division delivers a wheelchair, and later a walker, as he regains some of his strength and balance. Brett’s primary care doctor recommends a CPAP machine to help with his sleep apnea. HealthKeeperz delivers one promptly, allowing him to get a good night’s rest and speed up his recovery. Incontinence is a frequent problem among some older folks, but Brett doesn’t have to think twice about it thanks to HealthKeeperz’ convenient delivery of incontinence supplies.
Case Management. Brett relies largely on Medicaid to pay for home healthcare, which is part of why he chose HealthKeeperz. As an authorized provider of North Carolina’s Community Alternatives Program (CAP), HealthKeeperz is a way for Brett to avoid hospitalization or placement in a nursing home. Instead, he can receive all the care he needs within the comfort of home – which means more time with the grandkids.
Every day, HealthKeeperz has the honor of caring for hundreds of patients just like Brett across rural NC. Our licensed care professionals love to see the difference they make together in a single patient’s life. While Brett’s story isn’t unique, we know that yours is – and that’s why we’ll work with your doctor to create a customized healthcare program just for you. Contact HealthKeeperz at 800-309-3784 to begin the conversation.