Some folks want to stay in their home for as long as they are physically able, and to that end, different levels of home healthcare are available.
“A lot of people are fearful, because they think we’re going to put them somewhere, but our goal is to keep them in the home for as long as we can,” Amanda Liles, the co-owner of Signature Home Health, said. “It’s just a such a relief for family members to contact us and go, ‘hey, this is happening with Mom, what do I do?’”
Over 10 year ago, the option wasn’t available for Amy Stephens, the other co-owner of Signature Home Health. Her mother needed round-the-clock care, but at-home nursing didn’t exist in Lamar County. Stephens said she took care of her mother.
“It’s the best, most wonderful service for someone who’s sick and needs an nurse checking on them,” she said.
After mother passed, Stephens teamed up with Liles, a registered nurse, to create Signature Home Health.
“We’re not corporate. Corporate has a hard time staying here,” Stephens said. “We know the people that we’re servicing.”
Liles said there isn’t much at-home nursing can’t do.
“If the patient has been in the hospital or gotten sick or a new diagnosis, a physician can order home health, and what that entails is I can send an RN to the home to evaluate the patient,” Liles said. “We can do wound care in the home, lab work, x-rays. We can do education on those diagnoses.”
She said the service also works diligently with different therapy sources for clients, and work closely with medical equipment companies to get necessary equipment for their patients’ homes. The service also has a social worker on call to help patients manage finances or find community resources to work within a small budget.
All of the nurses on staff have been with Signature Home Health for a long time, Liles said, and are very experience registered nurses and nurse assistants. What happens often, she said, is the relationship that develops between patient and nurse. Though also the owner, Liles said she still takes call and works with patients as well.
“I’ve been taking care of a patient for quite a few years now, and she’s just become family,” she said. “She’s got pictures of my kids hanging up. She would have been gone a long time ago, if we hadn’t been in the home. We can keep our patients alive a lot longer if we’re in there, because we’re in there and talking to them.”
Liles added that the impact is amazing.
“It’s amazing what we can do and what kind of impact, and not just on patients, but on what impact they have on us,” she said. “I had a patient call the other day she wasn’t feeling well at all. Afterwards, my nurse came by to tell me, you know, I think I needed that visit more than she did. She called me a little angel and patted me.”
Ann Adams, who works for Signature Home Health, said there are plenty of things people don’t consider when thinking about home healthcare.
“I used to carry dog toenail clipper in my bag, because I had people had their little pet in their bed and they’d scratch them. You don’t think that’s part of home health, but anything to keep your patients safe and in the home,” she said. “We get to know them. A lot of nurses carry dog biscuits, because the dog knows them. Some of these people we have for years, and you get to know their families and they get to know you about your family.”
And, she said, it’s a strong bond that develops over time, learning preferences and sometimes stopping to pick up groceries or even medicine for the patient if they need it.
“All the nurses do that,” Adams said. “You can’t leave them not taken care of. We really get a relationship with these people and grow to love them.”
Sometimes it’s just difficult to get to a patient, she said, especially if it’s in a rural area.
“GPS doesn’t always take you where you need to go,” she said, laughing. “We’re like mailmen, if it’s raining, snowing, sleeting, we’re out there running around.”