For 50 years, SOMC Home Care has put the patient first

The last 50 years have seen a lot of changes in the world of healthcare. The same is true for SOMC Home Health Services. Since Scioto Memorial Hospital opened the state’s first hospital-based, Medicare-certified Home Care agency in 1966 the program has been continuously improving and expanding.

The program has grown to provide care in several counties across southern Ohio and northern Kentucky, and has incorporated new technology as well. Whether it was offering point-of-care documentation by laptop computers in 1993 or adding remote patient monitoring through home telehealth services in 2009, SOMC has consistently found new ways to improve the patient experience.

Some things, however, haven’t changed much at all.

“The core is still that the patient is always priority,” Brenda Fucci said.

Fucci has been part of SOMC’s Home Care team since the mid-1980’s, save for a seven-year period when she was with hospice. She is not the only employee who to boast an impressive length of service, and the fact she and so many others have demonstrated such dedication to their patients and to each other is part of what makes Home Care so special.

“We’re like a family,” Fucci said. “Many years ago, no one ever left unless they retired or moved away.”

Audrey Evans has felt the benefits of that atmosphere first hand. Years ago, a trio of 4-H’ers in a club Evans advised lost their father to an accident. She was touched when her co-workers responded by donating money raised through the department’s “jeans fund” – where employees donate a dollar to wear jeans on Fridays – to the children.

“They pull together like that. I’ve seen it happen time and time again,” Evans said. “If a staff member is sick or needs help, everyone pulls together.”

Around the holidays, the staff also chips in to provide gift cards to patients they know are in need. It’s part of an enhanced relationship the Home Care team is able to build with their patients.

Barb Free, who has been with Home Care for 30 years, explains that the relationship is closer when the care is delivered inside the patient’s home.

“When a patient is in the hospital, they feel like they’re on ‘your turf’ and they’re uncomfortable,” Free said. “In the home, it’s different. You get to enjoy all their animals and things like that. It’s just different in their home.”

Ultimately, giving the patient that level of comfort is what Home Care is all about. The staff works hard to make sure patients receive the care they need without having to be admitted to the hospital, even going so far as to teach patients and their families how to administer IVs.

“Our goal is to help a patient stay in their home,” Fucci said. “To do that, we teach families a lot about their diagnosis, their medication and how to do IVs.”

“Patients are a lot more involved in their own care than they used to be,” Free added.

While some of the ways Home Care empowers patients and their families may be new, the reason behind it is the same as it has always been – because it’s in the best interest of the patient.

SOMC Home Health Services was the first agency in Scioto County to achieve JCAHO accreditation and has maintained this accreditation since 1989. SOMC has ranked by National Research Corporation as “elite status” six times in the last ten years. Elite status indicates that SOMC has scored in the top 25% of agencies nationwide based on publicly reported patient outcomes, patient satisfaction and financial management parameters.

SOMC Home Health Services is located at 724 Eighth Street in Portsmouth and can be reached at 740-356-5600.