Recognizing #HomeCareHeroes on Home Care Aide Recognition Day

The Alliance and our EnoughPayToStay partners celebrate some of the best front-line workers in the home care industry.

More than 60,000 home care aides are employed across the Commonwealth to meet the needs of vulnerable older adults during the Coronavirus pandemic. Yesterday, we were proud to recognize some of these front-line heroes on Home Care Aide Recognition Day. These workers are helping people stay out of hospitals and nursing homes during the pandemic.

These critical caregivers not only care for their clients, but also help the rest of the healthcare industry during the pandemic by helping people stay out of hospitals and nursing homes. Most of these nominees have never missed a shift and many picked-up extra shifts when their colleagues were sick or caring for their own loved ones.

The Home Care Aide Recognition Day is a joint effort through the Enough Pay to Stay Coalition, which is comprised of the Home Care Aide Council, The Home Care Alliance, and Mass Home Care. Please join us in recognizing the contributions of these essential front-line workers.

Congratulations to India Bulgar and Courtney Wilder of Southcoast VNA.

Congratulations to Ramona Jones Weeks & Tiara Sicard of Always Here Home Care.

Congratulations to Dicia Gonzalez and Catherine Haynes of Alternative Home Health Care, LLC.

Congratulations to Zoraida Velazquez and Angelica Figueroa of Apex Homecare.

Congratulations to Michael Walzone, Natisha Burton, Titi Mitchell, and Lurine Handley of Bayada Home Health Care.

Congratulations to Brenda Evans and Janyce Edwards of VNA of Cape Cod.

Congratulations to Sarka Bobb, Amanda Jannsen, Susan Miller and Teresa O’Brien of Care Central VNA & Hospice.

Congratulations to Isabel Vasquez and Maria Lopez of Comfort Home Care.

Congratulations to Alexis Deschenes and Kristen Soares of Community Nurse Home Care.

Congratulations to Jeanne Da Silva and Lynn Clarkin of Community VNA.

Congratulations to Kyle Oldham and Joanna Reid-Ellington of Connected Home Care.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Boateng, Sylvanne Vertisca, Teddy Kirabo, and Annah Kangethe of Deaconess Abundant Life.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Opiro of Elara Caring.

Congratulations to Adjoa Asafu-Adjaye and Randy Kolodziej of Elderwood Home Care!

Congratulations to Lidiya Nazarenko and Irina Tsybulskaya of Family Care Extended!

Congratulations to Marriannys Zabala, Janepher Laurent, and Madeline Cardenales of Home Health Foundation.

Congratulations to Sandra Brown and Marie Alexe Jean of HouseWorks.

Congratulations to Deborah Hague and Colleen Bellew of Mainstay.

Congratulations to Dora Williams and Jennifer Lau of Partners Healthcare at Home.

Congratulations to Edna Ofori-Mitchel and Nontuthuzelo Pepi Masilela of Traditions Home Health Services.

Congratulations to Francisca Depina and Maritza Del Rosario of Upham’s Corner Health Center.

Congratulations to Jennifer O Djan and Theresa Alejandro of Visiting Angels of Chelsea.

Congratulations to Audrey Kaddu and Marthe Komenzimana of Visiting Angels of Chelmsford.

Congratulations to Stella Spencer and Sallay Mboyawa of Visiting Angels of Newton/Canton.

Congratulations to Alex Casimir and Marion Kettell of VNA Care.

Home Care Agency Advantage Video Series: Agency Services & Benefits

The Alliance is proud to announce its Agency Advantage Video Series. In each video, families, clients, & caregivers describe how agencies provide superior service where it’s most wanted: In the home. This first video describes agency services & benefits.

Why work with a home care agency rather than hire a nurse or aide directly? Agencies provide significant benefits and fewer risks over competitors in the areas that matter the most to those receiving care.

The Alliance’s Agency Advantage Video Series offers a more complete answer from people with first-hand experience. In each video, families, clients, caregivers, and agency managers describe how home care agencies provide superior service where clients want it the most: In their own homes.

Agency Services & Benefits

Home care agencies provide the expertise, flexibility, and security families want. Why hire a single aide when you could hire a whole home care team for your loved ones?

We need your help to spread the word about The Agency Advantage. Please use the buttons above to share this video on social media. To learn more about the entire series and how to easily include these videos on your website, visit the Agency Advantage Distribution page.

Guidance for Home Health and Hospice Agencies on Admissions from Hospitals Related to COVID-19

The Alliance has unveiled detailed guidance for agencies regarding admissions from, and discharges to, hospitals related to COVID-19.

Today, the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts unveiled detailed guidance for home health agencies regarding admissions from hospitals related to COVID-19. The guide is available as a Word document and providers are encouraged to create policies and procedures that reflect their own agencies’ operations, capabilities, and community/patient needs.

The guide was co-authored with Kimberly Skehan of Simione Healthcare Consultants. Because of the nature of the crisis, we are making this available to all agencies, regardless of current membership status.

Specific Topics Covered

  1. Screening and acceptance of home health or hospice patients who have been diagnosed with COVID19 from a hospital
  2. Denial of admission for a home health or hospice patient with known or suspected COVID-19
  3. Pre-visit COVID 19 Screening/Assessment
  4. In Home Visit Considerations for Known or Suspected COVID-19 Patients
  5. Personal protective equipment during home healthcare visits to patients and households with no signs and symptoms of COVID-19, or with a negative test
  6. PPE for a patient with signs and symptoms of COVID- 19, or with a positive COVID-19 test, or with pending test results:
  7. COVID-19: When to Discontinue Transmission-based Isolation Precautions
  8. Patient Education and Reassurance
  9. Hospice Inpatient Unit Considerations
  10. References (CDC guidelines)

For more on the novel Coronavirus, visit the Alliance’s COVID-19 Resource page. To learn more about how the Alliance serves its members and the home care industry, visit www.thinkhomecare.org/join.

Star Awards Shine Spotlight on Home Care’s Best

Last month, the Alliance recognized six outstanding individuals as our 2019 Home Care Stars. These are their stories.

Last month, the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts gathered the industry at Granite Links in Quincy to honor six amazing individuals who represent the best of home care.

(L-R: Nicole Geddes, Me McBride, Vinette Tyme, Gerry Sanderson, Robin Pelletier, Sandy Hurley)

Since 1989, this fantastic event has celebrated the hard work of individuals and organizations who exemplify home care’s best values. More importantly, awardees are nominated by their colleagues and supervisors; winners are then selected by the Alliance’s Membership Committee.

Here’s a look at this year’s awardees, with excerpts from their nominations:

Me McBride, South Shore VNA, Aide of the Year

Imagine being the family member of a once-strong, determined man whose mind has been crippled by Alzheimer’s. You pray for help, and your prayers are answered in the form of an “earthly angel” named Me McBride.

She enters your home and takes charge with compassion and experience but — most of all — with respect for your loved one. For Me, the patient always comes first.

Vinette Tyme, HouseWorks, Aide of the Year

Vinette is a passionate home health aide, often described by colleagues and clients alike as “a dream” to work with, due to her dedication and exceptional skillset. She has an innate ability to anticipate clients’ needs and form personalized and effective strategies that work for them.

No task is too big or too small for her.

Gerry Sanderson, RN CDP, NVNA and Hospice, Clinician of the Year
Gerry Sanderson, RN CDP

Gerry has cared for hundreds of patients and families in the South Shore and her devotion to her patients is second to none.

Her approachable and positive demeanor is reflected in the way her patients interact with her, creating a safe and nurturing environment for all involved.

Nicole Geddes, LPN, Aberdeen Home Care, Clinician of the Year

Nicole delivers care, no matter what. If there is a need, she is there. She’s a roll-up-your-sleeves nurse, willing to jump-in and help an aide when needed or to manage a crisis in the middle of the night, on a weekend, or on Christmas Day.

She knows what to do and does it with tremendous skill.

Robin Pelletier, RN BSN, Southcoast VNA, Manager of the Year

Robin has successfully led Southcoast VNA’s Supportive Care Center since October 2016, where she guides an interdisciplinary team of 75 people. Her greatest accomplishment has been the extraordinary growth and quality of hospice services, doubling Southcoast’s average daily census and average length of stay.

Sandy Hurley, Commonwealth Clinical Services, Home Care Champion

Sandy embodies everything we value about nursing in the community. She is best known for “doing what needs to be done” from home visits, to setting up clinics, to teaching high school students about healthcare, to playing the piano at just about any function.

This year, Sandy extended her professional talents and skills to the mountains of the Dominican Republic, helping provide over 100 patients a day with health assessments, medications, and critical supplies.

As 2019 comes to a close and the industry prepares for a historic year of changes, the Star Awards allows us to pause and remember the dedicated workforce that makes home care such a success.

Congratulations and thank you to the 2019 Star Award Winners.

Combating Loneliness, Making a Difference

In home care, we see how debilitating loneliness can be to patients and clients. One local organization, FriendshipWorks, is looking to light candles in the darkness of social isolation.

So much of what we are about in home care is connecting those who might otherwise go without it to the care they need. Every home care nurse, therapist, or aide has been in a home where she/he might be the only person that patient/client has seen in days. We see loneliness, and we see how debilitating it can be.

Many studies have proven what a home care nurse knows from first-hand observation: Loneliness can be bad for someone’s health. On a national level, AARP has recognized what its  medical director, Dr. Charlotte Yeh, calls the “power and presence of loneliness” in its Connect2Affect campaign.

Through some of our home care colleagues, I have recently been introduced to one local organization looking to light candles in the darkness of social isolation. For 35 years, FriendshipWorks has been training volunteers to provide companionship and emotional support to older adults across Greater Boston. They provide what more than one study has called “The Healing Power of Presence.”

Considering how the organization’s volunteers accompany their older friends to critical medical appointments, FriendshipWorks is a vital resource for many of Boston’s academic medical centers.

Matt Fishman, Vice President for Community Health at Partners HealthCare, sees the difference FriendshipWorks volunteers make. “While it may be less quantifiable than some of our other metrics impacting patient outcomes and healing, we can see the reduced anxiety associated with having someone to take you and be there with you for a medical appointment, especially when you might be receiving a difficult diagnosis or set of instructions,” Matt says. That a less-anxious patient is definitely a patient more able to engage and have a quality experience, is central to the work of Christine Dempsey in “The Antidote to Suffering.”

Experienced home care executives, Andrea Cohen, Founder and CEO of HouseWorks, and Denise McQuaide, President and COO of Benchmark Wellness Management (formerly, president of Care Group Parmenter Home Care & Hospice), are co-hosting a 35th anniversary event on Nov. 21 to support FriendshipWorks. If you would like to get on board this important cause and enjoy the great entertainer Darlene Love in an intimate setting, you can get all the info you need here.

Any ideas or experiences about the interest of loneliness and health and healing, send them along to me. Happy to continue to share.

Mobile Integrated Health and Community EMS: An Update

At the most recent HCA of MA Board of Directors meeting, Scott Cluett, Director of the DPH Office of Emergency Medical Services provided an update on the role out of Mobile Integrated Health and Community EMS in MA. Both programs were created by a 2015 act of the MA legislature, following a trend in many states to use EMS personnel to deliver care outside of the emergency transport role. Applications for MIH programs were released in December 2018, with a few coming online mid 2019. MIH programs must, in their applications: “identify and validate one or more gaps in service delivery using data and a corresponding community health needs assessment. Each application must also describe how the proposed MIH program will address identified gaps in service delivery and provide improvements in quality, access, and cost effectiveness, an increase in patient satisfaction, improvement in patients’ quality of life, and an increase in interventions that promote health equity, including cultural and linguistic competencies…”Coordination of care is explicitly required with MIH applicants either having named health care partners or a plan for primary care coordination.

Community EMS programs must be founded in partnership with a local municipality and focus on prevention if illness or injury. So far 11 cities and towns have launched programs with the most common services offered being fire burn prevention and education, home safety evaluations, sharps awareness (and at least in one community sharps disposal) and naloxone training.

The change in state law that allows EMS personnel to treat in lieu of transfer is just beginning to be understood. How it may be incorporated into home care and hospice patient care management remains to be seen. Cluett’s short presentation, along with the pertinent regulations, can be found here.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Celebrate Your Stars! Nominations are Now Open for Our Time to Shine Innovation & Star Awards!

Celebrate Home Care Month by nominating your best and brightest staff members for the Innovation and Star Awards!

Join us during Home Care Month for the Alliance’s annual celebration of innovation and excellence which will return to the Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy on November 19, 2019.

Nominate your innovative programs and star employees to be recognized during this celebration of the BEST in home care in Massachusetts!

Innovations Awards

The Innovations Awards recognize programs, products, or operational changes that enhance the quality or outcomes of patient care, improve community well-being; drive efficiency in operations within the agency or the health care system; or enhance staff productivity or satisfaction.

Star Awards

The Star Awards celebrate the exceptional accomplishments of the everyday heroes in our midst who make incredible differences in the lives of their patients/clients and their families. A STAR award brings well-deserved recognition for both the agency and the individual.

Nominations are due September 27, 2019!

Thank you for all you do to celebrate excellence at your agency!

Report on the Massachusetts Serious Illness Coalition

The MA Serious Illness Coalition pushes to bring awareness and focus on end-of-life issues.

“It is my goal that every nursing school in MA embrace that a nursing student must see a dying patient with the same fervor that they embrace that every nurse must see a baby being born.”
— Susan Lysaght Hurley, PhD, RN
Director of Research, Care Dimensions, Inc

Last week, the Massachusetts Serious Illness Coalition hosted its annual meeting welcoming more than 100 attendees to the JFK Library in Boston. The message from the Coalition’s leadership – as articulated by Blue Cross Blue Shield MA President and CEO – is that “the momentum is building.” From the Coalition’s beginnings less than five years ago, Dreyfus has focused on a long-term strategy to achieve the Coalition’s six goals. These include the ideas that everyone in Massachusetts 18 years or older has a designated health care decision-maker and that all Massachusetts clinicians have appropriate training to communicate comfortably with patients around advanced care planning and serious illness. Dreyfus has likened the work to that done in years past on smoking and on car seats, where steady force and public messaging achieved near-universal changes in public thinking.

The progress on clinician education – from a provider association perspective – is perhaps the most engaging and encouraging news. Dr Atul Gwande, as eloquent as ever, declared that the work to date has shown that: “People have priorities in life beyond just surviving, but you must ask them. Suffering happens when care doesn’t match our priorities.”

In addition to a public education campaign about engaging in advanced care planning conversations, Dr. Gwande announced that the Coalition is in talks with all four Massachusetts medical schools about a cooperative effort to require training of med students in serious illness communication as a graduation requirement.

But it was Dr, Hurley’s remarks that struck home for the home health and hospice agencies in the Coalition. In addition to the above comment, Dr. Hurley spoke of being a young nurse “totally unprepared as to how to talk to the dying.” Along with her subcommittee co-chair Anne Marie Barron of Simmons College, she is working on recommendations on core competencies for nursing education related to serious illness care. These are to be presented in the near future to the Massachusetts Association of Colleges of Nursing. What a great achievement that would be!

For those following the Coalition’s work, these may also be of interest:

  1. End Games, an Academy Award-nominated short documentary on hospice and palliative care executive produced by Shoshana Ungerleider, MD. It premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2018 and was acquired by Netflix.

2. The Coalition’s public message research and draft public facing marketing approaches.

Commendable progress!

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Celebrate Nurses Week

Next week is National Nurses week. It is a time to celebrate the dedication, caring and overall contributions of those who choose nursing as their profession.

The Home Care Alliance would like to share your nursing human interest stories next week across our various social media platforms, whether it’s a shout out to a team or a staff member.

Email Megan Fournier at mfournier@thinkhomecare.org to tell us why you love home care & hospice nurses – OR – share our post below and comment why!

Celebrate Nurses Week 2

State Palliative Care Report Published, Work Group Seeks New Members

Last year, the state of Massachusetts’ Palliative Care Work Group commissioned the JSI Research & Training Institute to conduct a statewide and regional assessment on palliative care. In addition to reviewing the quality of palliative care in various settings, the report examined both accessibility and the factors that affect it. The work group, which is housed in MA Department of Public Health’s Comprehensive Cancer and Prevention Control Network, recently published the report. It examines availability of various models of care (e.g., hospital vs community-based), and the intersection of access and reimbursement, as well as public misconceptions and the need for more education. The report looks at access to care on a regional basis and includes an interactive map of identified palliative care services.

Screenshot of the report’s interactive map.

HCA of MA has also identified distinct palliative care programs on our consumer pages. Our online directory now includes a specific category for palliative care, and lists a total of eleven agencies that responded with information about palliative care to our recent survey.

As this work progresses, the state’s Palliative Care Work Group is looking for additional members to help provide consistent messaging about palliative care across the state. The next Work Group meeting will be Thursday, October 19, 2017, 11 AM – 1 PM at the American Cancer Society in Framingham.

Please email Colleen Bayard, cbayard@thinkhomecare.org if you would like to join the work group.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.