Celebrating Our Home Health Heroes
November is National Home Care month. Throughout the month, Hale Makua Health Services recognizes the skilled nurses, therapists, social workers, and aides of Home Health as some of our everyday heroes for making a significant difference in the lives of the patients and families they serve. Our Home Health program has provided personalized care to individuals, from infancy to elders, who are home-bound and in need of skilled help with medical conditions in the comfort and privacy of their homes on Maui since 1969. Home Health has done 5,241 home visits from January 1 to September 30, 2015.
Home health care has quickly gained popularity throughout the nation and here on Maui, and continues to be on the rise because it gives patients, especially our kupuna, and their families peace of mind, added comfort, safety, independence, and time with loved ones. Hale Makua’s Home Health program offers an array of services in skilled nursing care and skilled therapy. Care management is focused on the unique needs and goals of each patient. In addition to health care, education is provided to improve and maintain the individual’s health, which allows the individual to stay at home for a longer period of time.
The dedication of each of our Home Health employees is demonstrated time and again in knowing that each patient is a valuable asset to our community. Many times our caregivers go above and beyond their normal duties to make sure their patients have necessary care and equipment even after Home Health care services end. One such example comes from Jennifer Buck, Speech Language Pathologist with ten years of experience.
Jennifer had a patient with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease) who would greatly benefit from specialized equipment to assist with speech. Jennifer collaborated with the ALS Association, Golden West Chapter in California to secure an Augmentative Communication System, which is a sort of computer that functions as your voice.
In this process, Jennifer worked with a new revolutionary speech synthesis software developer to create a voice for the Augmentative device to sound just like the patients. A series of words and sounds spoken by the patient was recorded and sent to the software developer who then created a computer generated voice that has all the similarities as the patients’ true voice. The voice recordings were done prior to the patient losing their voice control.
Additionally, Jennifer completed phone conference trainings with both manufacturers to ensure proper use of the equipment because she had never used the voice synthesis software and the specific Augmentative Communication System. Not only was the patient thrilled to have high tech equipment to communicate with family and medical providers, but both companies were excited to hear that their equipment was being utilized in Hawaii as well. The best part, the equipment was donated at no cost to the patient.
Jennifer is just one of the many Home Health caregivers improving the lives of our community members through compassionate care in the home. More than that, she and other caregivers become like family to those they care for. Mahalo nui loa to all of our Home Health caregivers for your commitment of caring and improving lives.