Independence and dignity for Garfield County citizens |

Independence and dignity for Garfield County citizens

Kay Vasilakis
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Columbine Home Health Care’s clients have less chance of being socially isolated, have improved quality of life, can remain in their homes and are consequently less of a financial burden to the already fragile health care system. That’s quite a benefit for Garfield County.

For families, taking care of people in their own homes costs less than hospitalization or institutionalization.

“Everything Columbine does takes stress off an otherwise-stressed health care system, including unnecessary trips to the doctor’s office, unnecessary hospitalization and unnecessary institutionalization,” said Columbine Home Health Director of Clinical Services Hans Lutgring.

Columbine offers private-duty skilled services, which include nursing assessment, careful evaluation and 24/7 access to an on-call nurse; regular on-site nursing supervision and contact with client’s physician; and individualized, professional care planning by a registered nurse.

More and more insurance policies don’t meet the increased needs of the public. Insurance and Medicare typically only cover home health services for an intermittent time frame, typically leaving those people who have chronic and debilitating diseases to either overtax the health system, or pay privately for home-based services to ensure some level of support and/or care at home.

Columbine has responded to the needs of those who do not qualify for insurance or Medicare-covered services, and provides private-pay services to bridge the gap between people’s needs and their insurance coverage.

The majority of private-pay services provided falls under the companion services, which is nonmedical, non-hands-on services such as light housekeeping, transportation, cooking/meal preparation, exercise programs, gardening and memory-keeping.

Patients must be homebound to receive Medicare home health care, and must be unable to leave the home without assistance of another person or a device, or their medical condition makes it inadvisable to leave the home. A physician orders home health care services and supervises the plan of care. The condition is expected to improve or decline, and it must warrant the skill level of a registered nurse or licensed therapist. Patients who are not homebound may receive out-patient therapy services in their own home.

Worker compensation, professional liability, liability, and employee health insurance may be used for Columbine’s services.

Hourly services are available on a sliding scale when funds are available. Couples may be eligible for a discount on services.

Columbine also offers wellness clinics and senior wellness clinics throughout the valley every week. Skilled professionals provide services including trimming toenails, giving foot massages,checking blood pressure and assessing circulation. Clients with circulatory or foot problems are referred to physicians for further care.

To make a wellness clinic reservation, call 945-8050. There is no charge for the clinics, but donations are gratefully accepted. Clinics are made possible by a grant from Garfield County and the Helen R. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation.

Clients thank Columbine Home Health for being there to assist with their dignity and the feeling of being secure, knowing help is close by. Without this care, they feel they would be lost and very lonely.

Genuine mutual respect within the organization is what makes the agency strong and offer quality services.

“It’s amazing what we can do in two hours, twice per month for people who would otherwise need hospitalization,” said Lutgring. “Our focus is to keep people in their homes and provide the best care, while fostering a supportive work environment for our employees to translate the best care of our team so they can take good care of our client.

“Her touch on everything makes Columbine so special,” said Lutgring about his mother, Heather Lutgring, director of nursing and the creator of Columbine Home Health.”She is amazing, and her vision for Columbine helps so many people.”

Kay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” column appears every other Wednesday in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. She is an active member of the Garfield County Human Services Commission. To contact her for a possible mention of a local nonprofit news item or special event, please e-mail or call 618-6689.

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