Providing a high level of care for our residents starts with our caregivers. Fortunately, working alongside our team of caregivers are an incredible team of skilled nurses, physical therapists, clinicians and hospice teams. This month we’re excited to share more about these important relationships and how we work together to provide the best for our residents.
Enliven Home Health is a full-service home health and skilled nursing organization in Central Ohio. Our Family Home has been working with Enliven for more than three years to provide services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, skilled nursing services and social work support. They are one of many partners that we enjoy working with.
We sat down with Ashley Stewart to discuss her experience working in senior care and working with Our Family Home.
What is a typical day?
At Enliven, we see people in a lot of different settings so my days are never the same. Sometimes our team is visiting people in their homes and working closely with their families. We’re also in a lot of assisted living and memory care units and work closely with local hospice groups. This means our memory care clients are often in different stages of the disease. Some are still very independent while others are further along or in hospice.
What has it been like working with Our Family Home?
There’s a close-knit senior care network in Columbus, including Our Family Home. We continue to be impressed with the unique way Our Family Home runs their homes. The ratio of two caregivers to five residents helps limit the need for traditional home health services and increases the personalized care that they can offer.
How are they unique?
The care is personal. In some centers, all dementia residents are in the same unit. It’s much harder to keep the residents calm and work with them one-on-one or in small groups because you have individuals at such different stages of the disease.
With the team at Our Family Home, we’re able to work directly with Melissa Shannonhouse on finding appropriate activities to engage residents where they are or to help caregivers bond with residents when they move in. The team does a great job placing residents is the home where they can flourish.
I also find that living in a small home versus a large facility makes a difference for seniors with memory disease. Large centers can feel open and sometimes scary. In my experience, I’ve also found that it’s a lot easier to address behavioral or cognitive changes when you have a consistent team working with residents in a smaller setting. Someone is always a room away.
How do you help your clients find the right care?
If we’re recommending a change in care, particularly from a home setting to assisted living, our biggest priority is making it a smooth transition. We go into their homes and assess them there, where they’re most comfortable. Then we work closely with the family to guide them to a facility that will meet their criteria. We don’t have an agenda. We just want to be a resource to each family and help them understand what types of facilities are out there and what might benefit their loved one most.
What is your advice to families?
Many times, people don’t know what their family member needs until it’s too late. We often hear, “I should have found a place months ago.” The disease has progressed leaving them feeling ill-prepared and pressured to find a facility quickly.
Under these circumstances, we see well-intentioned family members who select the first facility that looks nice to them, but not the facility where mom or dad will do the best. I see this with families who tour Our Family Home. It’s a ranch house in an established neighborhood, not a fancy, sparkly new building. They don’t think their loved one will like it, without realizing it’s exactly what they need. They need the individual attention and care.
Finally, what do you enjoy most about your work?
Seeing my clients smile. When they have a smile on their face, it puts a smile on my face. I also really enjoy seeing people successful in their new environment or back in their home environment. My goal is for my clients to be at their max potential regardless of what level that means. I want to help them where they are and then make sure that any transitions they may experience are fluid and in their best interest.