Q&A with Teresa Duvall, CEO, Jewish Family Home Care
Jewish Family Home Care (JFHC) has risen to the challenge of caring for its 600-plus elderly home health clients during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Many of the Broward County based not-for-profit agency’s clients suffer from chronic diseases or are recovering from surgery or strokes. They receive care from JFHC’s home health aides.
What were the challenges for your agency early on in the pandemic?
A: PPE was priority. Thankfully, we began preparing early. Later on, as the supply chain dwindled, it was a little harder to come by but <we> always made it a priority. Then, as the supply pipeline improved, we started looking for a centralized location to distribute PPE to our caregivers. That is when we received a donation of a centrally-located storefront, which is now used exclusively for PPE distribution.
What are some of the challenges you find when an individual is confined to their home?
A: I would say that dealing with social isolation was the most difficult issue for them. Loneliness and lack of interaction with families and friends can cause depression in people who may be very active. But when their social interaction and mobility is restricted, it is not uncommon for physical health issues to occur.
How did you help them and continue to do so today?
A: We continue to conduct wellness calls to see how they are doing. Our aides have become armchair multimedia specialists, helping their clients overcome these communications and socialization obstacles. We try to make sure they have access to a computer or tablet and an internet connection. Our aides encourage and assist them to speak with family and friends. For those that we believe are suffering with depression, we refer them to the appropriate specialist(s) that can assist.
What are some of the health and physical issues the elderly experience?
A: With Covid-19 limiting the amount of activity and interaction everyone is experiencing, we are finding that our elderly clients are becoming weaker from not getting out and being able to use their muscles. Some of our clients are currently receiving physical therapy from our subsidiary agency, Nursing Plus of Broward. Others are being encouraged and assisted by their caregiver to move about as much as possible. In addition, our caregivers are instructed to report any changes in their client’s condition.
What are the priorities for your team going forward?
A: In this challenging time, the wellness & safety of our clients and team is our top priority. Good communication with our clients and their families and healthcare providers continue to be a high priority. We believe we will get through this; the last five months have shown that. We will move forward by assuring you peace of mind by providing compassionate, reliable, and trusting care for your loved one.
For more information, visit Jewish Family Home Care at https://www.jfcares.org/or call 833-JFCARES.