CAREERS IN NURSING
QUALITY AND TRUST – HOME CARE ASSISTANCE PLANS OPEN HOUSE
by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer
A big community celebration is in store for Home Care Assistance, a company based in Edmond, said Greg Bridges, RN, owner of Home Care Assistance with Melissa Hill. The company began two years ago and will be celebrating on September 15.
“We’re celebrating essentially our clients,” Bridges said. “We’ve had such a variety of clients. You bond with families and you bond with the clients. And we celebrate our caregivers as well.”
This open house celebration is set for 2-7 p.m. September 15 at 323 S. Blackwelder in Edmond.
He said the journey of Home Care Assistance has been a unique exposure to the community. When the company opened, Bridges thought it would primarily provide home care assistance to clients in their homes. But he found many of them live in assisted living facilities, so the company has become heavily involved in that arena of care as well.
“Some of the ways I think we are unique is the owners are right here,” Bridges said. “The buck stops here. You have a lot of situations where the owners actually do the assessments.”
Home Care Assistance provides non medical care. Bridges is a registered nurse and writes a care plan based on an assessment he makes for individuals. The care plan allows caregivers to report unusual health problems that might pop up or have otherwise been overlooked. A home health care company might also be involved. The caregivers do not diagnose but simply assess and report back to Bridges.
“We are the other side of that. We take care of A through Z. You’re looking at bathing, grooming, sometimes feeding, dressing, safety, transfers, medication reminders and housekeeping,” he said.
The caregivers are certified nurse aides who are also home health aides. Usually there is an aspect of hands-on care that calls for assistance by a CNA. The state requires a CNA and not a home heath aide to handle a situation when somebody falls. Pathways are cleared for safe mobility.
Home Care Assistance caregivers also provide social interaction which is a much needed resource to keep individuals from being isolated in their own communities.
“We know that most seniors don’t want to go into a nursing home. They don’t want to leave their homes and want to stay,” Bridges said. “One of the things we offer is one-on-one, so the safety factor is way high. That is one of the reasons we are in so many separate facilities.”
It’s approach is to provide ways for the elderly to be connected with the world by getting them out and about in a way that reflects the senior’s personal best.
“We try to engage them in a number of ways. So it’s a lot of reminiscing, socialization; we try to get them out as they can tolerate or as they want,” he said. “We try to also be like a family member would be. Sometimes it involves games or something they have done in the past.”
People living with dementia tend to focus on memories from the past. They feel they are functioning better when they recall moments in life.
If the client has been an artist then Home Care Assistance encourages such activities. Clients may take trips to a senior center as well.
Home Care Assistance employs about 30 caregivers and is on-call 24/7. There is a lot of in-house training to maximize their potential to serve their clients’ needs.
The balanced care approach provides emotional, physical and spiritual support.
Many of the caregivers engage clients in the kitchen to help them prepare meals. The more a client can do independently produces a cumulative impact on their lives. They begin feeling a deeper sense of purpose, Bridges said.
It is a business of humanity that employs many skills. Hill came from a marketing background within the heath care industry. They once worked together at OFMQ, so she was very involved with the quality measures that Home Care Assistance now provides in best practices.
Bridges has also learned in life that it essential to be a good caregiver to oneself. He likes to travel. His family owns a beach house in Maine, so he likes going there and also visiting family in Florida and New York.
“I am physically pretty active I like lifting weights and riding bikes. I used to competitively cycle and have a sports background. My youngest daughter is 11 and I love spending time with her,” he said.
All this focus on the richness of life infuses his energy to move forward and operate a successful company. It is a delicate balance that enriches his life. And Home Care Assistance helps to maintain a clean, safe and healthy environment for its clients.