Business Profile: Georgia Home Health
LaGRANGE – Local nurses are doing what they can to keep older patients healthy and out of the hospital.
Georgia Home Health – also known as Georgia HomeCare – in LaGrange boasts a five star rating from Home Health Compare’s rating system on the Medicare website, with the average home health company in the state only scoring three and a half stars.
“Our primary goal with Home Health is to keep patients healthy and safe at home, to keep them out of the hospital, to teach them how to manage their disease process in the home whether it is diabetes, (chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy), infection, or anything like that,” said Branch Manager Stella King. “What we want to be able to do is teach them how to properly take their medications and signs and symptoms to report of an exasperation, so that we can call a doctor…”
Nurses from the group help patients understand their medications and provide services like wound care, physical therapy and assistance with lab work with the goal of the patients being able to take care of themselves again in the future.
“The most rewarding part is when we leave, and they’re better, or if I see them out on the street or in Publix or in Kroger,” said King. “They come up and tell me how great the staff was, and how they love the nurses, and they are shopping on their own. You know, when you see that final result.”
Medicare and doctors have found that patients who heal at home and avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital and doctors’ offices heal faster and are generally happier.
“Home health is initially pretty much set up through Medicare, and it is to help people at home rather than them keep going back to the doctor, keep going back to the hospital,” said Patient Care Representative Dana Martin. “… They find that people heal faster at home – get better at home – then in any other environment.”
Repeated trips to the doctor can become costly for both patients and doctors, who are reimbursed by Medicare based on a number of factors including repeat visits. The group wants more than just health though, it wants relationships with its patients.
“We try to keep the same nurses, same therapists seeing the patients because they really get a connection, and it helps them to do better and communicate well,” said King. “… That is rewarding to them to see how much they helped (the patients), helped to improve them.”
Home Health started in Louisiana in 1994. The LaGrange branch of the company has been around for about ten years and was originally located on Greenville Street. It moved to Broome Street last year and continues the legacy of caring that the company’s founder started.
“Our CEO (Keith Myers) is a nurse, and his wife is a nurse, and that is how it originally got started,” said King. “(22) years ago his wife wanted to help some people in the community, and so they gradually opened one Home Health agency, and now they probably have over 350 throughout (the southeast).”
Georgia Home Health works with most of the doctors in LaGrange to coordinate care for patients who are well enough to be out of the hospital but not quite ready to do everything on their own again.
“It’s just a very cost effective way for the elderly to get help at home,” said Martin. “… We are skilled nursing, so we don’t sit around the house all day, but we can send an aide out to help them if they just got out of the hospital, and they’re weak.”
The group also helps to connect patients with other services they might need like meals on wheels and Lifeline.
Georgia Home Care of LaGrange is located at 108 Broome Street and can be contacted at 706-884-5292.