For people in need of health care, receiving home health services can mean the difference between living on their own and moving to a nursing home or assisted living location.
Delores Oliver, 81, a client at Good Samaritan Society – Home Care of Southeast Nebraska, can stay in her home because of the care they provide each week.
“Jodi is the greatest and Bailey is the greatest, too,” says Oliver. “Good Sam is the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Oliver began receiving services in April 2018 after the local agency in her town of Falls City, Nebraska, closed.
Three days a week, certified nursing assistant Jodi Kinchen comes to help Oliver bathe and make sure she’s set for the day. She also spends time talking with her.
“She is always concerned about my well-being and if I don’t seem like I’m feeling well, she calls Bailey to let her know so I can be checked on,” says Oliver.
Once a week, registered nurse Bailey Aufenkamp comes to fill Oliver’s medication pill planner, flush her port, check her vital signs and do blood work as well as communicate with her physicians.
Both women not only care for Oliver’s physical needs but also her emotional needs.
“They always get me in a good mood if I’m feeling down,” says Oliver. “We start giggling, which I love.”
Oliver works with a physical therapist through home health to help her get stronger and improve her gait. She also has a cleaning person and gets Meals on Wheels.
A lifetime of pressing on
Oliver was born and raised on a farm with a sister in Barada, Nebraska. She has three sons, Brad, Kirby and Jeff, and one grandson. Her husband died when her sons were young, and she raised them by herself. Oliver volunteered many hours at their school doing fundraisers and never missed any of their sporting events.
At age 48, Oliver attended Peru State College and earned a psychology and sociology degree with a business minor. She then worked for Region V Services for 21 years before retiring. She has had colon cancer once and breast cancer twice.
Because of her health concerns, Oliver is thankful for Home Care of Southeast Nebraska because they can do many of the things that used to require her going to the doctor.
“Bailey and Jodi are very positive people and care about my needs physically, emotionally and mentally,” she says.
Home health career is a calling
Jessica Gerdes and the staff at Home Care of Southeast Nebraska like the flexibility of their work and the ability to help people.
The agency has been serving the area since 1999. The group of 17 staff members provide care to about 350-400 people in a given year and like to build relationships with their clients.
“You become their family,” Gerdes says.
The team, many of whom have been there for 10-15 years, is on call 24/7 to help with new admissions, people returning home from the hospital or clients who need wound care. Routine visits take place during the week.
Some clients only need short-term care while others, like Oliver, receive care for several years.
Oliver says she wouldn’t change a thing and encourages others to check out what Home Care of Southeast Nebraska has to offer.
“If someone is contemplating getting home health services I would tell them to go get it,” Oliver says. “Do what’s best for yourself.”
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