Help Choose Home Podcast: Interview with Sheila McMackin

How Quality Home Care Makes a Difference in the Care of Senior Loved Ones

Home Care Marketing podcasthome care marketingThe National Association for Home Care and Hospice, Axxess, and corecubed are aligning resources to educate the public about the many benefits of the in-home care industry by launching a national digital grassroots campaign to educate consumers and professionals about the health benefits of choosing in-home care for older loved ones or family members recovering from an illness. A podcast series entitled “Help Choose Home” kicks off the effort to educate consumers and professionals — doctors, hospital discharge planners, insurance companies and others involved in healthcare decision-making.

This ongoing series is hosted by Merrily Orsini, President and CEO of corecubed, an Asheville-based home care marketing company, and can be found by clicking here or by searching “Help Choose Home” in the iTunes store. The series is also available for listening on Google, or on any device at https://player.fm/series/help-choose-home.

In the first episode of the Help Choose Home podcast, Orsini interviews Sheila McMackin, LCSW, president of Wellspring Personal Care in Chicago and founder of what is now the Home Care Association of America (HCAOA).
McMackin explains that thirty years ago, when your senior loved one needed care, there were few choices. Nursing homes or family members who pieced together a plan based on necessity were the prevailing options.

Care management and home care were in their infancy, but thanks to dedicated professionals like Ms. McMackin, the industry has exploded, offering a myriad of quality home care options for families who are looking for guidance and assistance when choosing the best care for their senior loved one.

McMackin and her partner, Dr. Steven Fox, saw a need in their Chicago-area community for professionals who could help guide families through the sometimes daunting task of how best to care for a senior loved one. Their home care business, Wellspring Personal Care, grew to meet this need, providing families with reliable in-home care for their senior loved one, and professional care managers to help navigate the system by developing a plan to ensure the best possible care.

Care managers, according to McMackin, work with families to get a sense of whether in-home care is the best option for their senior loved one. Some individuals may thrive being at home and maintaining a familiar routine. Other individuals may need the social aspects offered at a retirement or assisted living community. A care manager presents various options to the family and helps them find a solution that is best for their senior loved one.

Caregivers often develop a very close bond with the senior they are caring for, which has benefits beyond providing quality home care. If the time comes when the senior loved one is no longer benefiting from what home offers, the caregiver can help ease the transition into an assisted living community by being a familiar face in an unfamiliar environment. Likewise, should the senior ever need to be hospitalized, the caregiver can provide staff and family members with important information and help advocate for the senior loved one.

Regular interactions with the senior loved one also provide caregivers with a unique window into the health and well-being of each individual. Caregivers are often the first to notice a change in personality, bowel and eating habits, hygiene, and hydration. Knowing what is out of the ordinary for each client and alerting family members or nursing staff to a change in condition can help prevent unnecessary hospitalizations or trips to the emergency room.

At Wellspring Personal Care, McMackin and her team have developed Home Care Metrics℠, a program used by caregivers to prevent hospitalizations and re-hospitalizations. Developed using data and technology, each caregiver is trained to identify changing conditions and uses a tablet in the home of the senior loved one to record their observations. For example, the caregiver may notice behavioral changes in a client, which is often a clue of a UTI. These observations are recorded and reviewed by a nurse at Wellspring Personal Care, allowing them to immediately act on the information and make recommendations to the family.

McMackin encourages families who are considering in-home care to choose an agency that participates in the Home Care Association of America, a trade organization that represents more than 2,700 companies that are committed to providing quality home care for seniors.

The Help Choose Home podcast series provides information and resources to help those with a care need learn more about healthcare at home. This episode of the podcast and more can be found by clicking here by searching “Help Choose Home” in the iTunes store. The series is also available for listening on Google here, or on any device at https://player.fm/series/help-choose-home.

Help Choose Home is a collaborative effort by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC), Axxess, and corecubed to educate the public about the many benefits of the in-home care industry, which includes non-medical home care, private duty nursing care, medical home health, hospice, and other in-home health and wellness services.

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