Home Health Services celebrates 10 years

Director Marcy Ramsey (left), Lee Ann Knutson and Jean Calhoon lead team members who cover a 30-mile radius from Philip, offering aid in both home health and home maintenance services.

On August 16, Philip Home Health Services will have served the surrounding community for 10 years since it gained its official certification through federal Medicare.

Director Marcy Ramsey said that her staff will probably not have any large celebration, probably have a little extra chocolate and coffee on hand for anyone dropping by.

Home Health provides short-term care through a number of services in a client’s home. In situations such as after a surgery or during a major illness, the staff provides skilled nursing, physical therapy, speech therapy, and aid services such as bathing and other personal care. Such care usually falls under services paid for by Medicare or insurance.

For situations that are more on-going, there are Health Maintenance Services. The Department of Social Services or private pay covers the personal care and the house cleaning, cooking, shopping and other assistance that people periodically require while still living in their own homes.

The client census fluctuates over time. In 2003, the staff performed 999 nurse visits, 164 certified nursing aid visits, 1,390 homemaker aid visits, and 14 physical aid visits. The department and staff help with intermittent aid, not 24-hour aid. They cover a large geographical area – a 30-mile radius from Philip and there is quite a bit of driving. “The clinic medical staffs in Philip, Kadoka and Wall are very important to the goals and the services of home health,” said Ramsey.

The main staff consists of Director Ramsey – an RN, Lee Ann Knutson – an LPN home health nurse, and Jean Calhoon – a part-time RN home health nurse. Though now a long time with the home health department, they all have worked for Philip Health Services “forever,” cheerfully said all three. “We have watched the hospital go from cracks in the walls to being a really great hospital building; from the home health department being in a hall closet to actually having enough room,” said Knutson. Other staff includes Physical Therapists Elissa Grimes and Bob Fugate, Speech Therapist Kelly Baxter, CNAs Amy Kroetch and Ann Williams, and homemaker aides Rebecca Williams and Georgia Moos.

Any turnover in staff is rare. “It’s a nice job for a nurse,” said Knutson. Calhoon said, “The best part about the job is the clients.” Both agreed that they like being able to allow the clients to be in their own homes. The co-workers are great and the hours are good – usually having the weekends off. Before coming into this department, all did shift work for years.

Ramsey added, “In home health, you get to spend more one-on-one time with the clients.” For this reason, despite the tremendous amounts of required paperwork, “we knew that this was a good service from the get-go,” said Knutson.