PMC Home Health Care Department Receives Zero Deficiency Rating from State Health

PMC Registered Nurse, Mickey Aguilera of Home Health Care Dept

PMC Registered Nurse, Mickey Aguilera of Home Health Care Dept

For most of us, it’s a situation of having to go to the hospital, not wanting to.  The sooner your hospital visit is over and you’re back at home, the better you’ll feel and often times, recuperate more quickly.  The Home Health Agency at Prowers Medical Center is dedicated to making sure you receive the treatment you require for either short or long term care once your hospital visit is over.

According to the survey from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, the level of care PMC home-health patients receive, is top-notch.  RN Mickey Aguilera recently informed the hospital board her department received a deficiency-free assessment following an evaluation conducted by the state every three years.  “This is the first time we’ve received this rating in several years, but we’ve gotten good reports on our administration and paperwork at other times,” she explained, reviewing her 13 years with the hospital.  Categories for the review include two main areas:  patient’s rights, policies and procedures, quality assurance, personnel file, importation of assessments, and timely filing of reports.  Two surveyors from the state recently accompanied the care givers on their rounds to five patients for an assessment covering such areas as: nursing and therapy, occupational, speech and physical therapy and interviewed the patients on how they viewed their treatment.  Aguilera said they asked the patients if they had a choice on the day they were seen or how did you decide on this agency for treatment.  “Right now, the state is very concerned about patient’s rights for their medical treatment,” she explained.

It’s a seven day a week, 24 hours a day schedule per the patient’s needs, said Aguilera.  She has three full time nurses who make their rounds, as well as herself.  “I’ve already seen four patients today and I’ll write up summaries on their treatment which their doctors can review.”  Sometimes the treatment is as simple as setting up medications for a patient, but even that comes with consideration.  “There may be a time when one of us won’t be available, so we need to check everyone’s schedule if we’re away and set up the medications for two weeks.  Then we make sure the patient or a spouse is aware of what we’ve done.”  She said there’s a lot of paperwork involved and that is also reviewed by the state.  “We synchronize our visits, chart the progress of our patients, call doctors if there’s something we detect about their health, coordinate doctor appointments, and order their medical supplies and refills and check to see if their medications can be mixed without harmful side effects.”

Aguilera said it’s also important to develop the right personality mix between nurse and patient, especially for a long-term care commitment.  “We do have revolving schedules, but with about 55 to 60 patients, we get to know everyone else.  We also work with the patient’s families or spouse who can act as a caregiver as well, but that’s their option,” she said.  Aguilera said she does expect a greater demand on home health services as the national population continues to age.  “We’re seeing some patients in their 60s, but it’s not uncommon to have them younger, even some in their 40s right now.”  As the only Spanish speaking nurse in the department, she’s on call to help with translations.  “We do have translators who can assist us at times when our schedules get crowded,” she said.

Aguilera explained home health care is less expensive than a stay in the hospital, with some long term and short term treatments covered either by Medicaid or Medicare as the situation warrants.  The referrals for treatment come from a patient’s physician who will make an evaluation of their needs when they leave Prowers Medical Center.

By Russ Baldwin

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