Peace of mind: Home Companion Solutions provides safety with loving touch
by James Coburn, Staff Writer
Home Companion Solutions treats it’s clients like family. It is a private duty care company for senior adults, said Ashley Smith, office manager and co-owner. Home Companion Solutions is a branch of Integrity Senior Care which offers hospice, palliative care and home health.
Integrity Senior Care has been in business since 2009 with Home Companion Services joining about a year ago, Smith said.
“We do companionship for those who are home-bound,” Smith said. “And we provide companionships, socialization. We have meal preparation; we take care of their plants, their animals, office appointments, beauty shops and things like that.”
She said the companions have great worth ethics and are good team players. They communicate well and are very nurturing, she said. All of the clients are ambulatory for the non-medical company.
“Some of them are in a wheelchair so they can transfer themselves. Most of them have walkers,” she said “We are there basically to provide comfort and safety measures.”
Home Companion Solutions looks for things in the home to provide optimum security, including fire hazards and fall risks. Some of the clients live with dementia so the caregivers make sure the clients will not wander away from the safety of their homes.
Clients are kept safe during severe weather alerts. The company has contracts with nursing homes to shield loved ones in a safe place.
“We make sure that they are safe, make sure the doors are locked and there are fire alarms, smoke alarms. We remove rugs and any type of fall hazards,” she said.
Smith said she enjoys the appreciation that the company receives from family members. The clients, themselves, are not the decision makers, she said. Rather the family is very communicative, even when living far away.
“They always keep in touch with us,” Smith said. “We keep them abreast of their loved ones. Peace of mind is what they’re wanting to know their loved ones are being taken care of. That is what we look for from them so that their support is there.
“We don’t really look for much from our clients themselves because some of them are not even aware of the present state they may be in.”
Some of the clients may not be open to even having a caregiver, Smith said. But the companion caregivers are trained to understand the concept of care so that they are not overwhelmed. There are boundaries established, Smith said. There is an orientation for the companions to understand the process of aging along with the expectations and the realization of dementia. She said the companions will be there to lovingly take care of what the client with dementia can no longer provide for themselves.
Each of the companions is certified through the Department of Health Nurse Registry application. They must be a certified nurse aide or a home health companion, Smith said.
“If they are not certified, they have experience, and we send them to get certification.”
Home Companion Solutions also collaborates with separate hospice programs. Companions will be there when other professional services come to the home such as home health, Smith said.
“That’s really good. It enhances the whole realm of care because the caregivers can learn, too, from the other people, the other professionals that are coming in,”
Smith’s life is enriched knowing that she communicates effectively with the caregivers and family members. So as a team, Home Companion Solutions will know whenever a different course of action is necessary to take. They want to ensure that the caregiver is the right match for the client due to personality types.
“So we will have in-services where our aides or homemakers would come together and discuss the client without calling a name for HIPAA policy,” she said.
A supervisor will visit the home at times to speak to the client without the caregiver being present. Companions are people who don’t come to work for a pay check. This is their calling, Smith said.
“They are very compassionate. They are nurturing,” she said. “They treat that client like a family member.”
Sometimes the companion gives up Christmas and other holidays to spend with their client in need. Often the client many not have family who can be present at the time, she said. If a companion is with a client all year and wants Christmas day off, the client would have no one to consider as family present.
“So when we’re interviewing them that’s one of the first things we look for,” she said. “We are family here.”
The company accepts long-term care insurance, private pay and veterans’ assistance.