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30 years of service: Agency helps clients stay home longer

Managing editor

There’s no place like home and for the past three decades, Marion County Home Care has provided services to Marion County residents so they can stay at home as they recover from surgery, an illness, or as they age.

The care has been exemplary — earning the agency top home health care provider awards for the past four years.

Leading the agency the past 17 years has been director Janet Herzet.

“Clients get well faster at home,” Herzet said.

Home services include skilled nursing, physical and occupational therapies, speech pathology, and personal care.

“We’re here for those who need in-between care,” Herzet said. “Our clients don’t need 24-hour care like a nursing home or assisted living center can provide but do need some assistance.”

Marion County Home Care, a department of St. Luke Hospital, is the only local home care services agency serving Marion County clients.

There are agencies from other counties who serve some Marion County clients but this agency is strictly here for county residents, Herzet said.

More than home health, the agency also provides a telephone emergency response system with 24-hour assistance.

“The service gives the client and his or her family piece of mind to know if something happens, the appropriate authorities will be alerted and will come and assist,” Herzet said.

The call system could also alert a neighbor if the client needs minimal assistance.

Nine employees serve clients throughout the county.

Like many health agencies, home care relies on state and federal funding.

“We’re a needed service to residents,” Herzet said, “particularly with the Baby Boomers near Medicare age and in need of health care.”

In addition to providing in-home services, the agency also provides the sale or rental of home medical equipment and mastectomy products.

How to get started

For insurance or Medicare or Medicaid to pay for all or part of the services, clients must have a need. An assessment or evaluation is conducted with the individual to determine the amount and type of care needed.

If the person meets the guidelines — including being under a physician’s care, a skilled need, and primarily homebound — insurance or other assistance may pay at least a part of the care.

People are living longer, so home health services will be needed in the future.

“Insurance may not pay for everything,” Herzet said, “but this is another option for people. It’s a good value.”

She stressed that home care services are not a replacement for long-term care or assisted living, but a way for people to stay in their homes, which is usually less expensive.

“We have enjoyed serving the people of Marion County these past 30 years and look forward to the next 30 years,” Herzet said.

More information is available by calling the agency.

There is a display about Marion County Home Care in the lobby of St. Luke Hospital in recognition of National Home Care Month and the local agency’s anniversary.

Recognized

Marion County Home Care announced Thursday that it had been named to the 2009 HomeCare Elite, a compilation of top-performing U.S. home health agencies.

Elite winners demonstrate a commitment to providing clients with the best possible care while performing at the highest level. This is the fourth year in a row that the local agency has received this prestigious award.

“Our hardworking employees and commitment to providing home care to clients in their home are essential,” Herzet said.

Last modified Nov. 4, 2009

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