HealthKeeperz is thrilled to announce that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded four stars to the company’s home health care services this year.
The four-star designation from CMS signifies excellence across eight categories:
“It’s all in our mission statement – caring for all people for the glory of God – and how we live out that mission,” said Sharpe. “If we align ourselves within that vision, everything else we do falls in line.”
Sharpe emphasized HealthKeeperz’ holistic approach to running a home health agency, which means caring not only for patients, but also for staff. She said the organization is first and foremost dedicated to treating all people well and achieving good outcomes in every encounter – with patients and with caregivers.
“Every single member of our team helped bring us to this point,” said Sharpe. “In particular, I want to recognize Amanda Sampson, home health director for the Laurinburg agency; Kim Oxendine, home health director for the Fayetteville agency; and Karen Booth, performance improvement director.”
Sharpe reiterated the importance of not only having a powerful mission statement, but also living up to it every single day. Our team’s commitment to this ideal is evident in the kindness and dedication with which service providers care for patients. It means going the extra mile to make our patients happy – striking up a thoughtful conversation or offering a hand to hold during an uncomfortable procedure. HealthKeeperz professional staff embody the Barnabas culture in many ways, little and big.
“With each home visit, we’re seeking positive results,” said Sharpe. “Positive results for the patient and for the provider.”
Receiving four stars places HealthKeeperz among the best home health care agencies in the nation. HealthKeeperz performed strongly across a broad range of criteria, indicating positive results in each area that we see patients for. This includes everything from skilled nursing to physical therapy to occupational therapy.
“We couldn’t have gotten here without a daily commitment to each other and to the Barnabas culture at HealthKeeperz,” said President Tim Brooks. “We operate more like a family than a typical top-down organization. When our nurses, therapists, and caregivers feel respected, they do their best work, and we will never stop placing the highest value on our staff and patients.”
If you’re interested in learning more about our CMS four star-rated services, please contact the HealthKeeperz team at 800-309-3784 to begin the conversation.
The beginning of a new year is a time for reflection, renewal, and resolutions. It’s a time when many of us stop to take a look at our lives and our habits, asking ourselves, how can I live a happier life? Often, the answer lies in taking better care of ourselves – our bodies and our minds.
This is particularly true for those who work as caregivers, a career in which it’s all too easy to neglect your own self-care, as well as those for whom they provide care. Here are a few fun and easy ideas that can help you live a happier and healthier life, at any age, in 2019. They are versatile enough to try with friends, family members, and neighbors. If you’re a caregiver, they can be easily incorporated into the day-to-day care of your clients – or into your own personal life, if you benefit from home health and/or companion care.
Discover a new hobby. Research shows that continuously introducing the brain to new things keeps it young, sharp, and healthy. Picking up a new hobby is one way to give your brain a workout. The best hobby is one that challenges you while still feeling fun and enjoyable. Many people find solace in activities that require careful attention and mindfulness, such as knitting, weaving, or painting.
These hobbies allow you to zone out from the stress of everyday life and escape completely into what you’re doing. Other people prefer the rush of endorphins that comes with more active hobbies, like walking. Physically active hobbies have the advantage of benefiting your mind and body health, but don’t think you have to limit yourself if you are not highly mobile: There are plenty of stationary hobbies that still challenge your brain and allow you to reap the health benefits.
Join a social group. Chances are, your town or city offers a variety of social groups that you are not yet taking advantage of. Even small towns have clubs and groups for activities like walking, reading books, and playing cards. Isolating yourself socially is the quickest way to feel unhappy; humans crave frequent and engaging social interaction. Luckily, there’s an easy fix to this problem:
Do a Google search or check your local paper for social clubs that meet near you. Meeting new people and developing close relationships is a one-way ticket to a happier and more exciting life. Research shows that it’s great for mental health and may even keep you active by providing fun opportunities for outings and physical activities. If this sounds like a good idea but you don’t know which kind of club to start with, visit your local senior center or YMCA. These environments provide a great starting point for social groups. Maybe you’ll find your people shooting hoops, walking a few laps around the track, or just sitting and chatting.
Rediscover cooking. It’s easy to fall into a routine in the kitchen, cooking the same few dishes over and over. After all, if you find something you like, why not hold onto it? While it’s okay to have your favorite recipes, don’t let them limit you from trying something new. Mixing things up in the kitchen will help you fall in love with food and cooking all over again.
Start by finding out what foods are in season, either by consulting the internet or visiting your local farmers market. Seasonal produce is always the most flavorful and delicious, and since it’s the freshest, it’s also richest in nutrients. From there, challenge yourself to prepare ingredients in a way you never have before. Many places have at least one or two international stores, where you can buy new spices and herbs that you may have never tried before.
If you want to make it even more fun, invite friends or family to help. Interactive dinner parties are way more engaging! You may not love every new dish you prepare, but trying new things is good for brain health, and if you incorporate seasonal fruit and veggies, your body will thank you, too.
Pick a room/area in your home to redecorate. Our environment affects our happiness way more than most people think or notice. If your bedroom is cluttered, your mind will feel cluttered; if your bedroom is tidy and styled just to your tastes, you’ll wake up feeling ready to tackle the day. Picking an area in your home to redecorate is a fun and rewarding project that leaves you with a tangible sense of accomplishment at the end.
It doesn’t have to be expensive, either: Cleaning is always free once you have the supplies to do it, and thrift stores are a wonderful place to find unique household decorations. Spend a day browsing the thrift shops in your area, and you’re bound to find at least a few one-of-a-kind gems that fit your liking. Even small touches – like replacing ancient curtains with new ones that you love or buying a few candles to adorn your dresser – can completely change the feel of a space. You deserve to have somewhere that feels like your own private haven, and creating it yourself is oh-so-fun. Plus, it satisfies the craving for change and renewal that many people feel at the beginning of a new year.
These healthy living ideas illustrate that you don’t have to spend an hour at the gym every day to live healthfully; simply incorporating more movement into your life and trying new things goes a long way in making you live a longer, fuller life. If you feel so inspired, these can be adopted as new year’s resolutions – ones that you’ll actually look forward to keeping. Happy 2019!
Discussions of health care too often focus on the scientific or big-picture things while neglecting the human impact. But it’s the human things that you notice and feel everyday: The exhaustion of hospital visits, the frustration of having to drive long distances to see the right doctor, the guilt over relying on friends and family for transportation. These human factors may not always come up in conversations with medical staff, but they affect you every single day. It’s often these factors that drive people to seek home health care.
Factor 1: Finding a clinical facility that can care for you
Rural populations are severely underserved by clinical facilities in this state. Facilities tend to cluster around major population areas, leaving rural folks with few or no options. The closest doctor that can fulfill your needs may be hours away. If you require highly specialized treatment, finding a doctor is made all the more difficult. For most people living in rural areas, it’s just not practical to travel so far for routine care. After all, who has time to spend an entire day just going to the doctor and back for a checkup? Unfortunately, this means that many people in rural areas end up putting off health care visits and experiencing health problems as a result.
Factor 2: Lack of transportation options
If you don’t own your own car or can’t drive, you’re often out-of-luck when it comes to receiving clinical treatment. Living in a rural area, it’s nearly impossible to find a bus line that can take you to the medical facility you need. Many people thus turn to friends, family, or neighbors for transportation, which is a solution for some, but difficult for others. It means you’re entirely reliant on others for a ride – leaving you helpless if they are all unable to take you when you need to go. That’s not to mention the feelings of guilt and longing for independence that are often associated with relying on others for transportation.
Factor 3: Logistical difficulties of visiting a doctor
Doctor’s visits are not just about the time you spend face-to-face meeting with your doctor: They also involve a long trip there, a long time spent in the waiting room, and a long trip back. Before you know it, a routine doctor’s visit can eat up your whole day. Everybody, and older individuals in particular, experiences stress and fatigue as a result of this lengthy and disruptive process. It is extremely frustrating to spend several hours on a clinical visit in which your time with the doctor may only be 20 minutes. It is also stressful and draining to uproot your day-to-day life and routines – especially when you must do so over and over to treat an ongoing health problem.
Factor 4: The comfort and ease of home health
The aforementioned factors often make home health the preferred option for ongoing care, as doctors and patients discuss the best ways to manage a surgical recovery or an ongoing condition. For one thing, it is easier for rural folks to access, with providers serving small-town areas all over the state. That means fewer two-hour drives just to check-in about your arthritis. Home health care also removes the transportation barrier that so many people face – no car, no problem. With home health, the care you need is delivered right to your door, and you never have to worry about finding a ride. Finally, home health provides relief from the strenuous process of going to and from the doctor as often. No longer do you have to disrupt your everyday life on a regular basis to receive health care. Instead of spending hours in a waiting room, you can remain in the comfort of your own home. Many people can’t believe how stress-free health care seems after switching to in-home care.
If you are struggling to cope with the human factors of health care, HealthKeeperz, working with your doctor, can make your life easier. If we do a good job as your home health provider, you’ll inevitably need to visit your physician less and enjoy a better recovery or quality of life from your home. Please contact us at 800-309-3784 to start the conversation.
Some of my fondest childhood memories of Christmas are of those times when my mom or dad or aunt or uncle would take me, my brother, and our cousins to see the Christmas lights.
In rural North Carolina, we don't refer to groups of houses along rural roads as “neighborhoods.” However, it was to one such rural cluster of houses that we would drive to every Thanksgiving weekend to see the lights. Cars would line up for quite a distance, and we would drive by, ever so slowly, amazed at how these homeowners had taken the time to trace various objects in their yard with Christmas lights.
There was one question that never failed to surface. It was, “I wonder how much their light bill is?” Now, mind you, this was long before highly efficient and energy-saving LED Christmas lights became so prevalent. Back in my childhood days, they used the “big bulbs.” Thus, I came to appreciate these homeowners even more when I realized that their electric bill, come December and January, would be substantially higher than other months—all because they delighted in bringing joy to their neighbors near and far.
So, since my childhood, the Christmas lights have been my favorite Christmas decorations.
Now that I'm older and have been a disciple of Jesus for more than 20 years, I realize that light has tremendous significance in the truth surrounding the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. The birth of Jesus is described by the Old Testament prophet Isaiah as a great light dawning from the darkness that dispels all gloom and fear. Listen to Isaiah:
Isaiah 9:1–2 (NLT) 1 Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory. 2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
What good news! The time of darkness and despair will not go on forever, because light has dawned. Later on in that passage, Isaiah also tells us that this good news is directly related to the birth of a child, a child who would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Remarkable! That there would be a child who could usher in a reign of peace throughout the world could only be accomplished by God, and God did it and is doing it.
But do you know what is equally remarkable? That God would place this same light in us, His people. Now, because the Light Bearer, Jesus Christ, has come and reigns in our hearts, we are made to be “the light of the world.” We, like little Christmas lights in a strand, have been woven together and placed by a Grand Light Designer in such a way that we might illuminate the objects around us reveal his handy work. When passersby see us, who have been ever so carefully placed, bring light into a dark world, they pause for a moment and give smiles of praise and gasps of adoration. For that moment, ordinary lights, in ordinary places, stir up extraordinary worship.
My friends, my prayer for us at Christmas time is that we may we see how extraordinary one ordinary child was. And how this ordinary child made us extraordinary people who now have light in us that dispels the gloom of yesterday and brings bright hope for tomorrow.
Merry Christmas and may God bless us one and all.
Chaplain James Chavis
Home health isn’t just about providing the services of registered nurses, occupational therapists, and physical therapists. One of our most impactful offerings is the broad array of home medical equipment we provide to assist our patients in recovery and achieving better quality of life.
Our existing patients can attest to the fact that having the right medical equipment is life-changing. Not only can it help you maintain independence and dignity, but the right medical equipment can also make it possible to live an active lifestyle once again. In fact, with the right home medical equipment, chronic health concerns that kept you from living your best life before can be managed, improved, and sometimes, nearly forgotten.
The home medical equipment and supplies offered by HealthKeeperz includes:
The impact that this equipment has on our patients’ lives is hard to overstate – not to mention the impact on our patients’ families, who are positively affected in multiple ways. For one thing, it can mean family members have more freedom and less anxiety about the patient’s day-to-day life. In addition, family members are overjoyed when a loved one is able to gain back a measure of autonomy and an active lifestyle. That means he or she can participate in more family fun!
What really sets our home medical equipment services a cut above the rest is that we deliver them straight to your door. That means no hospital visits, no waiting around, and no hassle. Making things easy and stress-free for you is our priority.
If you’d like to order home medical equipment or supplies and see for yourself what a difference they can make in your quality of life, please contact us at 800-309-3784 to start the conversation.
One of our major service areas at HealthKeeperz is the delivery of home-based hospice care. Many folks don’t know what hospice care is, unless they’ve been part of a family that received these services.
A Different Framework of Care
Hospice care marks a transition from traditional medical care. With medical care, the goal is to make the patient “better,” whether it’s curing an illness, bringing a disease into remission, or giving anti-biotics to fight a bacterial infection. Hospice comes into the situation when a patient has a terminal illness and decides, usually with family and their doctor, that treatments for slowing or curing the disease aren’t working.
In other words, hospice focuses on quality of life rather than quantity.
A Team Approach
Hospice situations call for a professional team of skilled nurses and other professionals who provide a high level of care. At HealthKeeperz, we think we deliver an extra level of care by allowing patients to make end-of-life decisions and receive care from the comfort and dignity of their homes. With hospice care, we can give our patients relief from pain, breathing difficulties, and other quality of life challenges as they spend precious time with family and friends. And that’s just it—instead of finding a cure or disease management, we’re focusing on quality of life for however long the Lord grants it.
While the team may be led by a home health nurse and nursing aide, don’t think we’re limited to just meeting your health needs during this critical time. In fact, we bring in, as the family desires, trained hospice volunteers who are there for making you comfortable, offering respite to family, and just taking care of all the things not directly related to your health. Like our skilled employees, our hospice volunteers are your friends and neighbors, stepping up to ensure that you and your family have a gentle, comfortable hand during what can be a stressful time.
Caring for Spiritual and Emotional Needs, Too
Just as important as the home health hospice nurses and hospice volunteers, our chaplains play a special role in the lives of our hospice patients and their families. Central to our mission of giving care to all for the glory of God, our chaplains are trained to be sensitive to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of our patients, their families, and their friends. Hospice chaplains are a special breed at HealthKeeperz, and they have the ability to enter virtually any situation and provide the care for which they are trained, based on the unique needs of each patient and family.
Transitioning to end-of-life care can bring about deep spiritual questions, along with the other hard questions about care and personal affairs.
While there are many great hospice care facilities across North Carolina, we are here for those who wish to receive hospice care services in their homes. We believe that these services should be available and delivered with the same level of quality as the best facilities in the state. If your family is in need of these services, we would be honored to care for you. Please contact us at 800-309-3784 to start a conversation.
North Carolinians who need home health care use a variety of means to pay for it, whether it’s out of pocket through savings, or through various forms of insurance like private health plans, Medicaid, or Medicare. Today, let’s talk about how people qualify for home health coverage under Medicare.
What Is Medicare?
Established in 1965 as part of amendments to the Social Security Act, Medicare is the federal government program that provides health care coverage (health insurance) if you are 65 or older, under 65 and receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for a certain amount of time, or under 65 and with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Known by its “parts,” Medicare provides for inpatient and hospital coverage through Part A, while Part B pays for outpatient and medical coverage. Part D is the more recently enacted prescription drug benefit program.
Many people confuse Medicare and Medicaid. The easiest way to remember the difference is by knowing who benefits from each program. Medicare is basically engineered to provide health care coverage for older Americans, while Medicaid targets its help to lower-income and poor Americans.
Medicare Coverage of Home Health Services
At HealthKeeperz, we offer a wide range of health services delivered in your home. Services covered by Medicare include intermittent skilled nursing care, therapy, and care provided by a home health aide. Depending on the circumstances, home health care may be covered by Part A or Part B.
Here’s a quick guide for qualifying for home health care under Medicare. Patients must meet the following requirements:
At HealthKeeperz, our mission is to care for all for the glory of God. Each and every day, teammates across North Carolina fan out from county offices to call on patients they hold dearly in their hearts. In our culture, each position on the home health team is empowered to lead through humility, encouragement, selflessness, and caring for patients and each other. Two key roles on our many teams are those of the occupational therapist and physical therapist.
Many folks, when they first engage with us, may be a bit confused by the difference between these two roles. In fact, they are quite different, starting with the focus of each kind of therapist. Let’s start with a big similarity though—both types of therapists care for patients with hands-on, rehabilitative therapy to help those who are recovering from injuries or living with disabilities.
Physical therapists primarily care for those recovering with from injuries and surgeries. The main benefit of home-based PT is that patients, especially seniors, are able to continue their recovery in the comfort and dignity of their own homes, getting the same level of care that they would from hospital based PTs without the hassle of multiple hospital visits. Physical therapists work with patients to help them regain their pre-injury or pre-operative strength, through motion exercises, massage, and other techniques of the profession.
PTs also focus on injury prevention, in order to minimize future surgical interventions or long-term medications, whenever possible.
Occupational therapy, on the other hand, is applicable not only to post-operative situations and injury recovery, but also for those with developmental and cognitive disabilities. Occupational therapists, rather than starting with the body itself, focus on what patients need to do—occupations—at home and at work, as applicable. Versus a straightforward focus on health, as with physical therapy, occupational therapy focuses on quality of life through helping patients do what they want to do on a daily basis, as they struggle with conditions that can affect motor skills, emotions, or behavior.
While PTs focus on exercise, OTs focus on daily tasks.
We have found that both physical therapists and occupational therapists play gamechanging roles for our patients at HealthKeeperz, and our patients don’t miss a beat when compared to those who receive therapy at hospitals. Our PTs help patients build strength, reduce pain, and increase mobility, and many patients achieve physical fitness for their age and circumstance. Our OTs perform critical work not only for those hampered by physical limitations, but also with mental conditions like Alzheimer’s. Their work with patients suffering from memory loss, dementia, and other issues can be transformative, as they assist spouses and other caregivers through therapy techniques and adaptive devices.
Also contrary to conventional wisdom, many physical therapists and occupational therapists hold advanced degrees, ranging from master’s level to doctorates, from graduate schools of health sciences. They are able to provide such great care, and continuously improve their service, through a combination of cutting-edge education and the benefits of practicing with patients over time.
Some of our patients work with both physical therapists and occupational therapists. For example, we have some patients who have suffered injuries, both requiring surgery and leaving them with a post-operative disability. These patients often go home, where they are first treated by home health nurses, who ensure that patients are recovering according to the doctor’s pre-established standards, as well as physical therapists who work with patients to bring back strength and maximum mobility for their condition. The PT will then turn over the patient to focus on daily tasks, like dressing, showering, and even feeding themselves, while working through a disability or other impairment.
At HealthKeeperz, we are on a God-given mission to do His work in caring for the people of North Carolina. We are blessed to have the best PTs and OTs call HealthKeeperz home, as they bring the best care to the homes of those we are so honored to serve.
For more information about careers at HealthKeeperz, including openings in home-based physical therapy and occupational therapy, visit www.healthkeeperz.com/careers.
“There is nothing better for a man or woman then to eat, drink, and enjoy their work. I have seen that even this is from God's hand, because who can eat and who can enjoy life apart from Him?” “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God's glory.”
If you haven’t already, you should re-read those two sentences. It would be natural for you to think that those are my words since I am writing this devotion, but they are not. The first statement is from the Old Testament book, Ecclesiastes. This excerpt, from chapter 2 verse 24, is written by the wisest man that ever lived, King Solomon. The second is quoted from the Apostle Paul's first letter to the Corinthians in chapter 10 verse 31. Just in case you are thinking that Paul and Solomon are prescribing carefree living, allow me to explain how both are calling us to something much more fulfilling.
Solomon is saying that in both rest and work we should find enjoyment, while Paul is saying that God is glorified in both. From the early pages of the Bible, a God-ordained rhythm of work and rest can be seen. The most obvious example being a pattern practiced by God in creation. For six days he labored in creativity, manufacturing, and instructing, and then on the seventh day, He rested. And in the grand story of God's redemption of people, Jesus’ fulfilling and satisfying work in His life, death, and resurrection secure an eternal rest for not only himself but also for all those who have faith in Him.
At HealthKeeperz, we speak much of glorifying God in our day to day work. But with Labor Day upon us, I thought that we should be reminded that God is also glorified in our rest. If you are like most other Americans and me, we rarely rest well at times or on the days given for rest. Now I won't try to define what it means to rest because cutting the grass on Saturday may be enjoyable and even therapeutic for me, but it may be toil for the guy who runs a landscaping company! The only point I want to stress is that we must take our rest. Some will plan a trip to the beach, enjoy the first day of hunting season, or plan the summers last barbecue. Whatever we do, it’s a great time to “rest more than we are.” And I certainly don't mean we should plan trips to the beach every weekend or barbecues every evening, but we should protect the times given in our lives for resting.
Rest is restorative. That means it brings healing. It’s a break from labor and striving, and this is partly why it’s an essential feature of the sacred rest spoken of in the Bible. Rest is peace-giving. So that means rest requires a safe place. In saying this, I don't mean we always need alone time or that rest can only happen in the seclusion from others. When God gave the commandment to have a day set apart unto Him, he gave that command to a community of people, not to an individual. So although sometimes we do need a moment for ourselves, the most fulfilling, satisfying, restorative, and peace-giving rest will come when we are resting with those dearest to us in a way that we all enjoy.
So, guard your rest, take your rest, and bring others to rest with you. Not only on holidays like Labor Day but every week. Lead those around you in God-glorifying rest.
May your rest be sweet!
Yours in Christ,
Chaplain James Chavis
In a recent article for the HealthKeeperz blog, we explained how our company is growing through its commitment to the Community Alternatives Program (CAP), an initiative of North Carolina’s Medicaid program. HealthKeeperz is steadily becoming the managing entity of choice for CAP in some of the state’s poorest, most rural counties, where it’s increasingly critical to help people navigate the options at their disposal for both obtaining care and paying for it, for themselves or their family members.
Let’s take a deeper look at North Carolina Medicaid’s innovative Community Alternatives Program. First, we need to understand that Medicaid-funded home health care includes skilled nursing and therapy services, as well as certain medical supplies and equipment (as long as your physician prescribes them as part of your care plan for a particular condition). It’s also a little-known fact that Medicaid may pay for services more traditionally perceived as personal in nature—bathing, cleaning, meal prep—if your doctor determines that you need this type of assistance in your daily living.
North Carolina has a pair of programs, often referred to as waiver programs, both administered through CAP, that aid in delivering comprehensive health and personal care services to seniors around the state. Let’s take a look at the Community Alternatives Program for Disabled Adults (CAP/DA) and Community Alternatives Program/Choice (CAP/Choice).
Here’s what the two CAP waiver programs have in common: to qualify, you must prove that you need nursing facility care, and that you are at risk of being institutionalized within 30 days of your application. You may also qualify due to blindness or disability.
Now, let’s explain the differences. With CAP/DA, you are eligible to receive a range of home health and personal care services like adult day health, personal care aides, home modification and mobility aids (such as wheelchair ramp installation), meal preparation and delivery, respite services, personal emergency response services, transition services, assistive technology, and case management. In CAP/DA, an agency like HealthKeeperz, through an assigned case manager (usually a social worker), arranges your services and oversees your plan of care for you.
With CAP/Choice, you are able to select and train your own providers in the above areas of service. CAP/Choice thus gives you more control to oversee your care. The program will also pay for people to advise you, such as a personal assistant, care advisor, or even a financial manager.
At HealthKeeperz, we will make every effort to assist you in working with the right programs to pay for your home health and personal care services. When you work within the CAP framework though NC Medicaid, we will have very clear budget parameters, combined with our knowledge of the best local care providers, to achieve your goals, giving you the dignity and better quality of life usually found from staying in your own home.