CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — This year, SpiriTrust Lutheran Home Care & Hospice is celebrating 40 years of providing health care and related services in the comfort of people’s homes.
The agency started in 1978, when Pennsylvania mandated that state health nurses could no longer do community home nursing visits. SpiriTrust Lutheran (then known as Lutheran Social Services or LSS) already had a homemaker program in Franklin County and began providing home health care in the community.
Since then the agency has grown from fewer than 10 employees to more 400, and from serving one county to serving 18 counties in Pennsylvania (from south-central through northeast Pennsylvania) as well as Washington, Carroll and Frederick counties in Maryland, according to a news release.
In 1978 the agency started by providing home nursing services. Over the years the agency has added physical, occupational and speech therapies and social work services to its home health program; and has added other programs such as hospice, palliative care, home health telemonitoring and non-medical home care. The addition of these programs has enabled the agency to provide continuity of care for clients and smoothly transition them within the agency as their healthcare needs change.
Kathy Johnson, a registered nurse and director of performance and quality improvement, has been with the agency since the beginning.
“Home health care has become much more skilled than it was when we started,” Johnson said in the release. “Many of the more technical procedures that we can do in the home today required a hospital stay 40 years ago.”
One example, hyperalimentation, or IV feeding, had to be done in the hospital, in intensive care in 1978. “Now we have clients who, with our help and teaching, are independent with it in the comfort of their own homes,” Johnson said.
Nina Delgrande, executive director, credits the agency’s employees for putting clients first, saying.
“I am extremely appreciative of the dedicated staff who give 100 percent each day to ensure our clients are provided with quality care and have all of their needs met in the comfort of their own homes,” she said.