by Eileen Phillips, RN, Attention Plus Care GIVING CARE

Most seniors I meet say they prefer to age in place and live at home for as long as they can. Who wouldn’t want that, right? But living out your life safely at home may require a bit of help and experience. Home healthcare is particularly suited here; clients can manage their care with medical professionals to help make safer and more informed decisions.

Nursing supervisors specializing in home healthcare partner with individuals and family members to ensure that safety and quality care are achieved in the home as a primary goal. “When families need care for an aging loved one, regardless of the level of care, the discussions usually involve getting individuals from here to there and everywhere in between safely. A nursing supervisor can review your medications and care management, fall risks and other factors impacting a client’s ability to safely do their daily activities,” said Marjorie Gentilella, a Honolulu home healthcare nurse.

“Families want to know their loved one is being cared for in their home with safety as a top priority, and that providers have a solid track record in mitigating safety risks and hazards,” added Marjorie.

An overarching goal in providing home healthcare is to help individuals regain or maintain independence, and be as self-sufficient as possible, and to slow the advance of health-related problems so individuals may continue to live at home safely.

The Joint Commission, the standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare, is considered the gold standard in accomplishing and evidencing these ideals. A home healthcare agency that is Joint Commission accredited uses National Patient Safety Goals set by the commission as a higher standard for safety and client care.

As with major hospitals in Hawai‘i, Joint Commission-accredited home healthcare agencies must establish and meet National Patient Safety Goals on an annual basis. To verify that these safety goals are established and met, trained medical professionals conduct on-site surveys of the agency on safety, including how well staff:

  • Provides a safe environment for your loved one
  • Educates you about the risks and options for your diagnosis and treatment
  • Protects your rights as a patient, including your privacy rights
  • Evaluates your condition, before, during and after diagnosis and treatment
  • Protects you against infections and ways to control infection
  • Plans for emergency situations

Individuals and families are almost always overwhelmed with the task of searching for and choosing a home healthcare agency for a loved one. But knowing an agency is Joint Commission accredited and committed to safety and quality can make the task easier. An agency held to National Patient Safety Goals is required to evidence, and continuously improve upon safety and quality care for all clients. And this means better care outcomes for our beloved kupuna.

Accredited by The Joint Commission

1580 Makaloa St., Ste. 1060, Honolulu HI 96814
808-739-2811  |

by Attention Plus Care — a program to provide resources for seniors and their families, instructed by a registered nurse, who covers a different aging process each month. For class information on Parkinson’s disease and upcoming topics, call 808-440-9356.