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Seniors to benefit from innovative home care

Mikie Hayes | | August 4, 2017

Bayada Program features therapist working with elderly patient at home.
Photos by Sarah Pack
MUSC Health at Home by BAYADA physical therapist Jenny Highland, left, visits the home of her patient Rosetta Bligen and displays the proper form when doing exercises to strengthen her knee, post-surgery.

The woman sounded frazzled. “Can you tell me about MUSC’s home health options? My mother fell and broke her hip and suffered a deep cut at the same time,” she told the MUSC representative. “She’s out of the hospital now, but I think she’d really benefit from some help at her home. I know I would!”

Calls from concerned family members were far from uncommon for the information specialist on the other end of the line.

Dr. Satish Nadig holds cartoon of himself 
Jenny Highland and Rosetta Bligen take a walk around Bligen’s home as she recovers from her knee-replacement surgery. 

“I don’t know how I can possibly do all this myself,” the daughter continued. “I work full time and care for my grandchild some evenings. Mom can’t leave the house and clearly needs some ongoing physical therapy to regain her strength and mobility, and honestly, the thought of changing the bandages on her wound and figuring out her medications is a bit unnerving.

“I hear MUSC offers this type of service – is that true?”

“We sure do. Where does your mother live?” the rep asked.

“She’s in North Charleston – Berkeley County.”

“That’s perfect,” the MUSC rep assured her. “Let me tell you about MUSC Health at Home.”

That’s how calls can typically go, said Ryan Michael, director of MUSC Health at Home, and before now, MUSC had little to offer. But that changed when MUSC Health at Home by BAYADA was launched.

In June, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control granted MUSC certificates of need to provide home health services in seven new counties in addition to Charleston County, where MUSC has been offering home health services since December 2016. As of July 19, MUSC Health is now able to take its expertise beyond the walls of its hospitals and clinics and into the homes of its patients who reside in Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley counties. Over the next few months, MUSC Health at Home will expand services to five additional counties in MUSC’s secondary service market.

For homebound patients who need assistance and families juggling the daily demands of caring for someone who is sick or injured, this is especially welcome news, said Katie Deerin, affiliations coordinator for senior living and non-acute care.

MUSC Health at Home's Tiffany Creech discusses patient care with Aubrie Booth, a nurse case manager. 
After Rosetta Bligen’s home-based appointment, physical therapist Jenny Highland documents pertinent information to ensure Bligen’s medical records are up to date and complete. 

“The MUSC brand carries great respect in the community with both patients and providers,” she said. “For MUSC Health patients to be able to stay with whom they trust for their health care, to stay in the MUSC family and in their own homes, where they feel the safest – that is a huge win. We are now able to bring the quality services we’re known for right to our patients’ homes throughout the entire Tricounty.”

Millions of Americans provide care to their aging parents and sick children, and that stress can be tremendous for all involved. In many cases, what’s really needed is skilled health care provided by registered nurses and aides, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists and social workers. This type of follow-up care is often prescribed as part of the continuum of care following a hospitalization for illness or injury to help the patient transition back to independent living.

In late 2016, MUSC entered into a joint agreement with not-for-profit BAYADA Home Care, a proven expert in the home health care field, to create MUSC Health at Home by BAYADA. With 42 years of experience, it has 325 offices in 22 states and locations in Germany, India, Ireland and South Korea. BAYADA’s experience provided MUSC with the operational expertise it needed to bring its signature care to patients in the community most efficiently.

MUSC Health CEO Patrick Cawley, M.D., said this joint venture comes as part of a growing trend in which hospitals are partnering with home care agencies to deliver seamless and coordinated home-based care. This new partnership, he added, will enable MUSC providers to take MUSC Health’s longstanding delivery of high-quality health care services and extend it into its patients’ most-preferred environment – their own homes.

"'Changing What’s Possible’ includes changing what’s possible in the comfort of our patients’ homes,” he said. “Our patients are now able to receive the excellent, compassionate and reliable care that MUSC Health is known for in a manner that is not only more comfortable but more convenient for them."

He also stated that MUSC Health at Home will initially offer adult home health services and, once fully operational, services for pediatric patients will be added.

Michael has seen firsthand the positive results that come from building a partnership between two leaders in their fields.

“I’m very excited about bringing two cultures together that are very closely aligned, both of which focus on providing excellent care and espouse the patients & families first mentality. This enabled us to uniquely operationalize this endeavor and service the needs MUSC had. It also allows us to identify those patient populations that may be underserved right now and find a way to serve them in the future through MUSC Health at Home.”

MUSC Chief Affiliations and Business Transformation Officer, Mark Lyles, M.D., said MUSC couldn’t have partnered with a better entity than BAYADA.

“BAYADA is a groundbreaker in the home health field, and this partnership has positioned MUSC to be the leader in delivering the finest home health care available in the Tricounty. Health and home are two very important words to patients, and we are pleased to be able to offer these critically-needed services to them to aid in their recovery. We want to make sure our physicians know we are now a home health option in all three Charleston-area counties, and there are myriad services available for their homebound patients.”

Deerin said the response thus far has been incredible.

“Already,” Deerin said, “people are very, very excited to learn that MUSC Health at Home is able to provide these services to their patients. Everyone knows the MUSC name. The patients have a sense of confidence, and the providers are eager to be able to offer this to their patients. No one needs education on who we are – so that alone is creating a great deal of excitement.”

Matt Winer is the director of MUSC Therapeutic Services and program liaison. He said MUSC Health at Home puts the emphasis on being as efficient as possible throughout the continuum of care.

“It was critical that MUSC expand its services outside the acute-care realm, and this initial foray into the post-acute care realm is really going to be impactful for our patient population, given our talent and quality. Every effort is being made at MUSC Health to enhance the quality and access to MUSC care – even post-discharge and post-acute strategy. To offer this type of care throughout the system, and to have the ability to continue the same high-quality care in the home, is simply remarkable.”

Winer said research shows there are better health outcomes with fewer complications and readmissions when home health is provided to patients with certain conditions.

In order to qualify for home health services, patients must be homebound, Winer said. The foundation of home health services, he explained, means it requires a taxing effort for the patient to leave the home to receive care elsewhere.

“If patients are homebound, this is a wonderful service to have. Nurses and therapists go out to their home to help care for them and care is coordinated with input and oversight by providers at MUSC. Short-term rehabilitative services, skilled education post-discharge or post-acute setting, medication management and disease education are just a few of the services that are available for patients through MUSC Health at Home,” he said.

He added that to make a referral, it’s as simple as a phone call.

Deerin is out in the community spreading the word about MUSC Health at Home.

“Living in a place like Charleston – one of, if not the most attractive place for people to come and retire – this is a very needed service. The Medicare population is growing in the Tricounty area, and we are the only home health company that has the backing of an academic medical center – so the resources for this retiring age demographic population are vast. I am most excited to be able to get out in the community and make sure that all the retirees moving to the Charleston area and those who are already established here know they have this resource at their disposal.”

For information or to refer a patient, call 1-843-576-5378.


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