VNA-TIP cares for seniors in-home

VNA-TIP cares for seniors in-home

By Misty Fritz
Whether it’s after a surgery, injury or illness, or just the ailments that often go hand-in-hand with aging, seniors who need some help getting back on their feet can get such assistance in the comfort of their own homes.

VNA-TIP HealthCare in Carlinville has a full staff of medical professionals  — skilled nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, medical social workers, and home health aides — who can visit patients in their homes and help them recover. Services include skilled nursing observation and assessment, wound care, education, IV services, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, self-care training and more.

“Some people have the idea that they can only get home care after they have been hospitalized, and that’s not true,” said Connie LeVora, marketing coordinator for VNA-TIP’s Carlinville office. “We get referrals out of hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, physician’s offices, and so on.”

“Our services must be ordered by a physician, because they are paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurances,” said LeVora, noting the company also provides private duty care, though those are not covered by insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. “Patients can have nursing or therapy, and they can have a home health aide while those services are in the home, but once those services are out, they cannot have a home health aide” other than through private duty.

Asked why the company offers home health care, LeVora said, “It used to be that hospitals had long lengths of stay, so Medicare, back in the late 1970s or early 1980s, decided to add home care to their services because they could get people out of the hospital sooner. That decreased Medicare costs, because it was cheaper to have people seen in their homes than it was for them to stay in the hospital for an extended length of time. Then private insurances and Medicaid started following suit after that. Our ultimate goal is to provide services in the home that will help patients get to their maximum rehab potential and be able to return them to the community and keep them in the community and keep them out of the hospitals and nursing homes.”

VNA-TIP also offers a hospice program, which is for terminally ill patients who are no longer seeking curative treatment. “Some people think that, once you choose hospice, you don’t get any medication or we take all your medication away. That’s not true,” said LeVora, who noted the hospice team consists of physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and more. The hospice program also provides bereavement services for the family for 13 months after the loss of a loved one.

According to LeVora, the local home care program began at Carlinville Area Hospital in 1983, and the hospice program was added in 1987. VNA-TIP purchased both departments from the hospital in 2005. The Carlinville office serves the area within a 30-45 mile radius of Carlinville, but there are about 25 branches throughout central and southern Illinois and into Missouri.

“What’s really important is for people to search out what programs and services are available in their community so they can make a wise, educated decision before they actually are in a crisis and need the services,” said LeVora. “You’d be surprised, even though we’ve been here since 1983, how many people drive by our sign every day but still don’t know these services are available in their community.”

For more information about VNA-TIP, call the central office at 800-642-6099, visit vnatip.com, or call the local office at 217-854-3349 for home care or 217-854-2047 for hospice.