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Cedar Crest offers home health

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December 31st, 2008

Huddleston THE ERICKSON TRIBUNE One thing in life is certain: Change is the only constant, and changes in health are inevitable. Sometimes they are small and insignificant; other times they can seem overwhelming. Either way, these types of life transitions are more easily experienced when one has dedicated support from others. Cedar Crest, an Erickson community in Pompton Plains, N.J., recently became the first community in 30 years to offer a new and unique certified home health care service (CHH) to its residents if and when those changes occur. With this service, community members can regain their independence and live active, healthy lifestyles. Home health care explained The uniqueness of the home health care service is threefold. First, all services are certified and reimbursed by Medicare, so long as they are deemed "skills" by the federal agency. So what classifies as a reimbursable skill? "Anything from wound care to disease management," says Nancy Young, CHH administrator at Cedar Crest. For instance, if a resident is newly diagnosed with diabetes, CHH can offer knowledge and support, empowering that resident to learn about and manage the illness instead of having the overwhelming newness of it dictate his or her life. The service also offers post-surgical care, speech and language pathology, occupational and physical therapies, as well as social work care. All of these seemingly separate services, which are classified as short-term, intermittent, non-emergent care, comprise the whole of CHH and offer personalized support within the community. Expert, immediate care The ability to offer these services depends on the skilled staff within the department; therefore, CHH employs nurses, a dietitian, rehab professionals, an office coordinator, a clinical manager, a social worker, and the department administrator. "Medicare expects all of the resident s needs to be met within the duration of care," Young says. Another unique quality of CHH is the intimate level of care offered by the department staff. "We really get to know the residents on campus because we are all on site," Young says. There s an intimate interaction between the residents enrolled in CHH and the staff because of this proximity. Not only do the residents see staff members in the halls, but they are able to attend presentations offered by the healthy living department, and CHH works closely with other departments, such as the on-site medical center, to provide a holistic approach to each resident s care. "We can give better service to our residents when we know how and when their health changes," says Margaret Quinn, Cedar Crest resident life director. "Residents have the benefit of on-site staff who can respond quicker in an emergency," Quinn adds. Plus, having the CHH staff on site means less stress and strain on them, which increases the level of care given to community members. Cedar Crest is the first agency to offer certified home health care in the state of New Jersey in 30 years, and the process to allow this was an involved one. What it takes to acquire CHH Recently certified in July 2008, Cedar Crest began the licensure phase the first part of the process, in the fall of 2007. During that time, CHH had to maintain eight test clients whose records could be reviewed by Medicare. Once all of the policies, procedures, and human resource requirements met Medicare s regulations, the certification could be issued, Young says. CHH served 31 clients in October 2008 and expected to maintain a similar number on a monthly basis throughout the year. Life happens, and when it does there are services and support that can enable people to live life on their own terms. The successful continuous care that s offered in a retirement community such as Cedar Crest is based on the facility offering as many layers of care as possible to its residents. The certified home health care is the newest effort of Cedar Crest to maintain its residents independent way of life. There s no doubt that other facilities will be sure to follow its lead.

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