Most people can attest that life is full of curve balls. An unexpected accident or illness can sideline a human body relatively easily for any length of time. And while family members who can step in at these times surround many of us, circumstances often dictate the need for assistance, whether temporary or permanent. It is this need that Gerri Vickers, a licensed nurse practitioner for 30 years, seeks to fill with her team at Independent Life Home Care.
Vickers initially got into home health care as a part time job while waiting to take her board exams after grad school. She started out as a nurse case manager and says she fell in love with it; developing a passion for keeping people in their homes and with their families during these health “curveballs”. She has now been doing in home health care for twenty-two years.
“When I first started home care I didn’t even know what it was,” said Vickers. “I found I was able to help people with resources in the community and find creative ways to keep them safe in their homes. “
Independent Life offers a variety of personal care services that range from temporary, once a week check-in to permanent, 24/7 care for dementia patients. The team of nurses can also assist with daily activities such as bathing and dressing, and provide meals and home maintenance as well. Some provide assistance by running errands or provide transportation to doctor or procedure appointments. These services can be especially useful for folks whose families either are working full time or do not live in the area. The agency utilizes a software platform that allows family members to monitor who the caregiver is, when they visit their loved one and the kind of care they are providing. Vickers says that there is always a nurse on staff to answer an after hours call in case something unexpected occurs.
“Sometimes families live away and they can’t just come in to take care of things, so we don’t want them to worry.” said Vickers. “We don’t every want anybody to feel they don’t have someone to call.”
When situations like this arise and a family needs assistance, Vickers stresses that it is important to go through a reputable agency whose employees are bonded, licensed and insured to avoid any problems or complications. She says that Independent Life provides background checks, training and support to their employees and places a heavy emphasis on “good matches” between client and caregiver so the experience is a good one for everybody. Some matches are specific to the client’s condition, such as having a nurse assigned to them who specializes in diabetes or dementia related complications, or end of life transitions.
“All of our employees get one on one training with us and we make sure they know how to provide care and understand the clients needs. Every client has an individualized care plan. I am very proud of that, not every agency does that,” explains Vickers.
It is well known to those who have ever sought this type of assistance for himself or herself or a family member, that services like Independent Life are rarely cost effective. Vickers says that her team works with everyone to find every available avenue to make the service affordable, whether through Medicaid, workers compensation, veteran’s benefits or Bureau of the Aged.
“Independent Life is accessible to all income levels. My job is to help people figure out what they need to help people stay independent in their homes,” she relates. “It’s such a great joy to me when I can help someone figure out that puzzle to make it work for them, whether it be choosing medical equipment or setting up a care plan. Everyone is different and
INDEPENDENT LIFE HOME CARE AND CONCIERGE SERVICES, located in Mountian Top, offers a wide variety of in-home and personal care services. Shown are staff members Maryanne Madl, Diane Morreale and Gerri Vickers.
everyone has different needs.”
Independent Life currently has three full time office workers and 15 health care employees and are looking for more as the agency grows. Their Service area focused on Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties and the surrounding areas. They offer a free health and home assessment to every client.
“This is the greatest job ever,”
remarks Vickers. “I get to earn a living by giving back to the community. I can’t imagine me doing anything else.”
For more information on
Independent Life Home Care, you can visit their website at http://www.independentlifenepa.com