It happens all the time. You or your loved one was hospitalized and it’s now time to return home, but with assistance. Suddenly diapers, bed protectors, urinals become part of your shopping list. (And by the way, you can buy one disposable male urinal for anywhere from $6 to $8 OR you can order a case of 48 for $36.37 on Amazon. That breaks down to 76 cents per urinal.)
But it’s those durable medical supplies, some covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or your insurance, that can be overwhelming without “a guy” (or gal) who is knowledgeable about medical equipment, and has your best interest at heart. Items like wheelchairs, stair lifts, or ceiling lifts that raise people out of bed and onto their wheelchairs come with hefty price tags. They fall under the heading of “durable medical equipment (DME),” and are used continuously, unlike disposable urinals or bed protectors.
Mission Health and Home is a company that specializes in providing what people need to live independently and safely at home. Mission Health and Home recently merged two health care entities. The Mission’s home side of the company deals with mobility equipment such as stair lifts and overhead ceiling lifts in the home. The health side partners with hospitals, nursing homes, and rehab centers. They provide clinical education for staff who use their products to treat or prevent wounds, such bed sores (decubiti) and other challenging conditions. They also work with community health nurses who care for patients in the home, using the technical equipment their company provides.
How Mission Health and Home Helps Individuals
Matt Hardwick is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) with Mission Health and Home. He focuses on clients’ needs in their homes to determine how their homes can be reconfigured, if need be, to make it accessible for varying levels of mobility.
“My goal,” Hardwick explained, “is to first hear the story of the person I’m talking to…See what different pain points (barriers to independence and mobility) they have in their household. Sometimes they call us with a specific need…I would help confirm that’s the thing that would make the most sense for them based on circumstances. If I can find a solution that gives them the same or more amount of mobility that is less of an invasion of their space or finances, I’m going to help them find that solution.”
He gave an example. “If somebody comes to us and has Alzheimer’s and says ‘My bedroom and full bathroom are upstairs. I need a stair lift to get me up there,’ we’re going to be really hesitant to put in a stair lift for someone who may not remember what to do once they get up to the second floor. At that point, we coordinate with the caregiver, family members or friends to help make the decision… (It may be) not to buy anything from us. Just move your bedroom downstairs and make the investment on the ground floor where you don’t have the danger of falling down the stairs.”
Early Planning is Key to a Successful Discharge to Home
This planning does not happen instantaneously. Discharge planning should take into consideration any barriers, such as steps, as well as equipment that may be needed in the home. Some people need transfer benches to get in and out of the tub. Some need bed side rails, or walkers.
Hardwick was emphatic. “We believe that planning for discharge should be an active part of a person’s care plan from the time they enter a facility. With weeks, and sometimes months, to prepare, we can always make sure people are able to safely transition home.”
He said, “I may connect with the social workers or discharge planners to make sure they’re educated on best referral sources, whether that’s our company or another. I make sure they’re thinking about their discharge plan before their (the patient’s) insurance runs out. We get so many calls from people saying ‘my insurance is up in 2 days. I need a 30-foot ramp to get into my house. Can you help?’…We’ve been able to accommodate some crazy requests.”
Hardwick said his company’s principle is “individualized care for everybody that will change the current health model.” He referenced five values the company holds:
- Others first
- Best self
- Extra mile
- Choose joy (in the challenge of serving)
- Keep learning
“We really try and make what we do very personal…We feel the way we approach an interaction with a client…we end up feeling like we’re almost an extended family in the process. We want to be ‘that guy you know,’” (that “go-to” person whom you can always trust.)
“Our goal is to help people adapt to their changing circumstances and find new ways of independence in spite of their circumstances…They can still experience that freedom they want. They just have to take a step to help themselves a little by reaching out for help to someone.”
Hardwick spoke of his commitment to seeing clients as human beings, deserving of dignity and freedom, even to point of referring a client elsewhere.
“If someone has a specific chair that needs service, we may not be the best experts. We could come and try, but would rather refer you to an expert. We send people all over the place. Some of our competitors’ websites are helpful for me to see what they have to offer. I’d rather put them in better hands than putz around and mishandle the situation.”
As a caregiver, who has her share of durable medical equipment (DME) in her home, I can tell you companies like Mission Health and Home become as much a trusted member of your health team as your physician.
It’s best to choose wisely, Grasshopper.
For more information about Mission Health and Home, go to https://missionhealthandhome.com/#
(Photos courtesy of Mission Health and Home)