Gary Cooke
Special to The Union

Back to: Local News
March 19, 2013
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Get nursing, therapy at home

It took two surgeries and five days in the hospital to fix Andy Cassano’s leg after it was broken in a nasty bike accident in December.

Cassano, 63, is a longtime Grass Valley resident and CEO of Nevada City Engineering Inc. He said he received “very excellent and detailed care” at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. When he was sent home, he was facing pain, crutches, a walker and the need for ongoing physical therapy. Cassano discovered these services were available through Sierra Nevada Home Care.

Although family members and friends had used home care, Cassano experienced for himself the value of the skilled nursing and therapy offered by Sierra Nevada Home Care, a service of SNMH.

“Home care was invaluable to my wife and me,” he said. “The great home care nurses came by often to make sure that my pain was assessed and managed, check my vital signs, check my wounds, and generally answer any questions we had. My mobility and home exercise program was taken care of by physical therapists as well.”

Helping people heal at home is exactly why the home care agency exists, and Director Sandy Beck, RN, believes this kind of care will be playing a larger role in the future, as the nation grapples with the increasing costs of health care.

“We’re in a growth spurt right now,” she said.

On an average day home care staff members have 110 clients admitted in the program, and make between 13,000 and 14,000 visits per year.

Her agency covers all of western Nevada County and parts of Yuba and Sierra counties. Although some private nursing organizations do have clients in the area, Sierra Nevada Home Care is the only service located in western Nevada County, she said. It was started in 1986 and is licensed as a certified home health agency by the state and federal governments, and is accredited by the The Joint Commission, a national organization.

It provides registered nursing, IV therapy, wound and ostomy care, maternal child care, home health aide services, physical, occupational and speech therapy, medical social services and pain management. The agency also runs the Lifeline emergency response program, subscribed to by 535 people.

“We come in to the home, make a professional assessment of needs, then look at how we can help people manage their disease process,” Beck explained. For example, home nurses teach spouses, other caregivers and even patients how to manage their own IV therapy.

Cassano said the Sierra Nevada Home Care staff was helpful to his early recovery.

“Without them, I would have had more uncertainty about my own care coming home,” Cassano noted. “Not having to leave home (for therapy and other services) was huge for me because I was very shaky and uncertain at first on my crutches and walker.”

Between 80 and 85 percent of their patients are covered by Medicare, but they also handle Medi-Cal and most insurance coverage, along with private pay clients, Beck said.

Although they cover a wide range of needs, most of their patients are dealing with heart and pulmonary issues, diabetes, wound care, orthopedic care and neurological challenges, she noted.

Sierra Nevada Home Care services require a physician’s order. For information, call 530-274-6350 or visit http://snmh.org.

All physicians providing care for patients at SNMH are members of the medical staff and are independent practitioners, not employees of the hospital.


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The Union Updated Mar 19, 2013 09:16AM Published Mar 19, 2013 11:38AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.