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Meadowood’s New Home Health Program: An Interview with Shawn Thomas

Meadowood’s New Home Health Program: An Interview with Shawn Thomas

Meadowood’s New Home Health Program: An Interview with Shawn Thomas

Meadowood Home Care: Rehab Right in Your Own Home

When people hear the phrase “home health,” a variety of definitions may come to mind. Meadowood’s Vice President of Home Services, Shawn Thomas, wants to not only clarify but expand the definition of Meadowood Home Health. The program, fully covered by Medicare, is for individuals who are discharged from their doctor-ordered rehabilitative stay at Holly House — with a skilled nursing floor offering physical, occupational, and speech therapies — but still need some therapeutic care in their own home.

“Defining homebound and what qualifies for care … doesn’t necessarily mean someone who’s stuck in a chair and can’t move or is bedbound.” Homebound, he explains, just means that there is a considerably taxing effort required for someone to leave their home. It could be something as simple as requiring a walker.

He says a common misconception is that someone has to have suffered a catastrophic injury in order to qualify for home health care. “That’s really not the case,” he says, explaining that a stroke, a history of falls, or a preplanned orthopedic procedure all are qualifying conditions.

“I think a lot of people don’t understand how much home health care can help,” Thomas said. “It’s a space of healthcare that’s very misunderstood.”

While Meadowood has had its home health license for about 15 years, Thomas has been widening the scope of its program since he joined Meadowood in September. Thomas has worked in the home health care field for over a decade, and draws upon that experience in his new role.

The program was initially designed for residents only, but has started accepting non-residents who receive care in their private homes off campus. Thomas said he plans to expand the community offering, depending on staff availability.

To that end, Lorrie Jackson recently joined the program as a full-time nurse to complement the therapy services provided by Moss Rehab. Thomas said Moss Rehab provides therapy services at Holly House, so patients are already familiar with the staff, adding an automatic level of comfort and reassurance. “The benefits of using Meadowood Home Health are you’re going to see the same therapist who worked with you in rehab, in outpatient therapy. There are no surprises. We already know their whole situation.”

When Thomas says “we,” he means it. Thomas also visits patients, in addition to his duties as a vice president.

Another benefit of the program is speed. Per Medicare regulations, the startup assessment for rehabilitation should be conducted within 48 hours of when the doctor writes the script. This regulation is designed to protect the patient; if rehab is delayed, Thomas says, there’s a much greater likelihood of infection, rehospitalization, and falls. ““If a doctor writes a script today, we’re seeing the patient tomorrow.”

Thomas adds that patients also benefit from the excellent communication among the Meadowood Home Health staff. “We’re a tight team.” The fact that it’s a small team means there is exceptional collaboration among the clinicians. This is important if home health aides are needed, for instance.

Prior to joining Meadowood, Thomas worked in the senior living industry, including as a program manager at Bayada for one year, which is where he was first introduced to Meadowood. He previously worked in hospitals and outpatient facilities.

Thomas is quick to point out that Meadowood Home Care is different from Meadowood Life Plan at Home, which provides access to aging support services at home to non-residents.

“The big takeaway for us is that we just want to provide the best care,” Thomas said. “And we feel, the way that we’re positioned, we’re able to do that.”