"Home Care nurses are extremely marketable because they end up with so many different skills," said Maryann Garafalo, RN, manager. "The diversity of services a home care nurse provides allows him or her to practice just about any type of health care service."
The CHHA offers a variety of services to patients, including skilled nursing, physical therapy, respiratory therapy, social work, nutrition therapy and speech therapy.
St. Joseph's Certified Home Health Care Agency (CHHA) is seeing a record number of patients these days. From an average daily census of 125 patients in 1991 to more than 725 patients in 2016 in Onondaga and Cortland Counties. The CHHA is challenged by decreasing hospital length of stays and a shortage of nursing applicants. A challenging caseload, autonomy and one-on-one patient care make home care a desirable, interesting service area.What's more, home care has become much more complex than it used to be. Home care visits used to include simply a blood pressure check. Now, the visit requires a greater knowledge of physical assessment and medical technology, including ventilators, chest tubes, epidurals, and peripheral and central venous access devices. It might also involve bathing the patient, checking to be sure they have enough food and are taking their medications. "When we arrive at a patient's home, we need to make several observations with just one glance around the room," said Garafalo. "We need to determine whether they are able to get up and move around. Can they get to the toilet? Is their home clean? Do they have food in the refrigerator? All these things must be determined very quickly."
Most home care visits last about 40 minutes while an admission averages two hours. The staff members make about five to six visits each day. The CHHA is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays and the agency, which never closes its doors, serves not only the St. Joseph's network but the other Central New York hospitals, as well.