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Gunnison Valley Hospital Home Care offers in-the-home home health and hospice services.

Home is not only the place where people prefer to be, but medical studies show that health improves much more rapidly in a home environment.

“Home is the perfect place to recover from illness or surgery,” states Angie Merchant, director of Gunnison Valley Hospital Home Care. “The goal of home health and hospice is to allow patients to enjoy the comfort of their own homes with all their loved ones, while still receiving excellent care. We strive to provide exceptional professional care in the most affordable way possible.”

Gunnison Valley Hospital Home Care’s team includes physicians, nurses, physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, certified nursing assistants and volunteers. “These professionals can come into the home and help with rehabilitation from surgery, illness, and injuries. We also have programs available to help with the day-to-day personal care and homemaking duties.”

One of the more common home health services involves physical therapy after surgery, such as hip, shoulder or knee replacement. This therapy covers everything from pain control, exercise programs, strengthening, range of motion, gait training, stretching and how to use specialized equipment. “Our center works with exceptional therapists who really care about their patients,” Merchant adds. Personal care services include bathing, oral hygiene, skin care, assistance in dressing, light laundry, essential errands and meal preparation. “These services are especially helpful to families because it allows them to focus on being a family member rather than the caregiver,” she explains. “It is a lot easier if there are people out there to give professional support.” Home health also includes hospice care, which focuses solely on helping to improve the quality of life for an individual. Merchant urges families to discuss hospice care before it reaches the critical stage.

“Too often,” she warns, “people will not call until the individual is very sick. We’ve found that once we get involved, the patient’s quality of life improves and generally they show improvement. It’s better to decide on hospice care well before it gets to the critical stages.” Those in the later stages of life often require special medical, spiritual and emotional care, services often best given by someone trained in hospice care. “There are times when the family is unsure of what to do in cases of physical or emotional pain,” Merchant says. “They need direction. Hospice nurses are often able to do things the family may feel uncomfortable doing or simply do not know how to do. Sometimes families and caregivers just need to know that they are doing the right things.”

After the passing of an individual, Gunnison’s staff also offers bereavement services to the family. Along with providing literature to help cope with the death of a loved one, the center also holds a bereavement support group session once a month. Dr. Adam Jensen is Gunnison Valley Hospital’s certified hospice physician and provides continued training for hospice nurses, who also undergo special training on hospice care and typically have many years of experience in care-giving.

Home health also holds support group sessions for patients of diabetes and chronic pain. Specifically, the diabetes self-management program helps train and teach individuals with diabetes on subjects related to the disease. Classes are held monthly in Gunnison and Monroe. Additionally, a six-week training class is held for chronic disease management. Participants learn how to handle and manage chronic diseases, such as cardiac failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, arthritis, depression, as well as any other chronic conditions. Expers cover areas such as diet, exercise, medication management, dealing with emotions, making decisions, pain and fatigue management.

Many of the center’s services are covered under Medicare, Medicaid, most private insurance plans, HMOs, and managed care organizations. Private-pay services are also available.

“It’s important to know that you have a choice in the home care services you need,” Merchant says. “Gunnison Valley Hospital Home Care covers all of Sanpete, Sevier, and Wayne counties and has nurses that live in each of these areas. If you have questions about whether you or a loved one could qualify for home care, please give us a call. We will listen to your situation, call your insurance company, and work to fin a program that is right for you.”

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