Housecall brings professional care to the homebound

By Kathy Helms-Hughes
STAR STAFF
khelms@starhq.com

   It's been a long time since local residents have seen doctors and nurses making house calls. But to some extent, it still exists.
   Housecall Home Healthcare has registered nurses that will come to your door if you're homebound and bandage your wounds, administer injections, even wash your hair, according to Helen White.
   The only catch is that there must be an order issued by a doctor before the patient can be evaluated, and in the case of Medicare, the patient must be homebound.
   "A lot of times people do walk in and say, 'I want to know your company. I've got so-and-so at home that I think needs help,'" White said. "So we tell them what we do and offer, and we tell them to go to their doctor and ask them if they think they would qualify for home health and if they would give us an order to evaluate them."
   Housecall professionals do catheter maintenance, wound care, diabetic teaching, and even injections if the patient meets certain guidelines such as "you're basically blind and can't see to draw it up, or you're too shaky," like a patient with Parkinson's Disease, White said. "We offer home health aides to do bathing and personal care like wash hair, brushing teeth, giving a bath, changing clothes, changing bed sheets and things like that."
   White said most of Housecall's patients are elderly and sometimes require teaching or training, especially if they've just been diagnosed with diabetes. Those type patients are taught personal hygiene, skin care, how to draw up insulin, or the proper way to take a pill. They're also taught how to control their diabetes through diet. "Diet plays a big part. Most people just don't realize," White said.
   Housecall professionals treat wounds ranging from bad burns, to cuts, to gunshots. They are also taught how to keep a wound from getting infected as well as the signs and symptoms of infection.
   "We have a lot of blood pressure patients that have problems with hypertension. We teach them the signs and symptoms of a problem with that, and how to control it through diet and medication," White said.
   Housecall Home Healthcare began operations in 1979 as Home Health Care of Johnson County in Mountain City, later becoming Appalachian Health Care Services Inc. in 1990.
   In 1984, the company opened an office on Rogosin Drive in Elizabethton and in 1993, Appalachian Health Care merged with Housecall Home Healthcare and has since developed into a multi-state and national home health agency.
   Housecall has 54 employees who provide skilled nursing care, hospice, specialty nursing, home health aides, medical equipment, medical/clinical social services, speech, occupational, and physical therapy, infusion therapy, nutrition, and oxygen/respiratory therapy.
   The Joint Commission Accredited facility has offices located at 203 Cherokee Drive, beside Big John's Closeouts, in Elizabethton; 433 Hwy. 321 in Hampton; and 107 Church St., in Mountain City.
   Housecall's service area includes Carter, Johnson, Washington, Sullivan, Unicoi and Greene counties in Upper East Tennessee.
   This year, the company plans to continue offering a comprehensive range of high-quality service and products to meet client needs.