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Jolie Taylor, registered nurse; Mary French-Peterson, manager; and Carol Sumaray, team assistant make Providence Home Health Services a winning experience for homebound patients.

Seaside Providence Hospital’s Home Health program offers short-term medical care services and resources.

The program provides education in disease management and resources so patients can take care of their own health, said Mary French-Peterson, manager for the program. “We help them become independent in their environment.”

Staff include an occupational therapist, speech therapist, wound care specialist and certified nurses. “We work with five social workers at Seaside Providence Hospital,” French-Peterson said. “Our clients are from all walks of life.”

French-Peterson has worked in outpatient rehabilitative services for 16 years. These days she oversees the office in Gearhart.

“We have nine nurses working in the field and at any given time, 100 patients,” French-Peterson said. “We serve all of Clatsop County and into Wheeler in Tillamook County.”

Eligibility for home health services is through doctor referral. The first step is often a homebound designation. But being homebound these days doesn’t mean what it used to.

That’s where technology can come in.

“Providence is the most wired health care company,” French-Peterson said. “We have top of the line technology which makes it possible for patients to manage their own care through their laptops and iPhones.”

The help is professional and medical, including skilled care from registered nurses. “We can offer information regarding advance directives and physician orders for life-sustaining treatment,” she said. “The goal is to help people remain in their home safely.”

The interdisciplinary team provides assistance and information about medical alerts and mobile medical alerts and medications management; transportation to doctor’s visits; senior peer outreach; senior peer mentoring. The program offers safety assessments to minimize the risk of falls, as “every patient is at the risk of falling,” she said.

Services do not include housekeeping or laundry.

“Most of the patients are independent people,” French-Peterson said. “We help them determine their goals for their health care.” This is accomplished by a process she called “motivational interviewing,” taking the time to develop a relationship of trust with patients. Goals are ones the patient wants to work on, not goals set by the physician or the visiting nurse.

Home Health’s office is maintained by French-Peterson and a small staff of team assistant Carol Sumaray, speech language pathologist Julie Wisecup and charge nurse Jolie Taylor, R.N.

“We’re here to alleviate suffering, both physical and emotional,” French-Peterson said. “We help people learn to control their symptoms at home and create their own symptom management plan.”

Chronic illness is eligible for palliative care, she added.

Providence Home Health is located at 3605 N. Highway 101 in Gearhart. Contact Mary French-Peterson at Mary.french-peterson@providence.org or call 503-717-7772.

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