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Bethlen Communities Home Health and Hospice moves to West Church Street

| Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 9:06 p.m.
Cami DiBattista | For the Ligonier Echo
Registered nurse Kathy Walters, physical therapy assistant Kylie Manning and home health patient care corridinator Carolyn Uschock share office duties in the building located on West Church Street that is now home to Bethlen Home Health and Hospice.
Cami DiBattista
Bethlen Home Health and Hospice administrator Marta Baumann and project coordinator and educator Daryll Lee Wells attend the recent open house of the organization's new West Church Street facility.

The Home Health and Hospice center of Bethlen Retirement Communities recently relocated to 210 W. Church St., Ligonier. An open house was held to introduce the agency's new location to the public.

“We are excited to be located in town and extremely grateful to the residents of Ligonier Valley for their continued support,” said Marta Baumann, administrator of the facility.

Around 50 people — mostly faculty from local assisted-living facilities — attended the event to learn more about the services offered by Bethlen Communities, including skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, IV therapy, wound care, social service and certified home health aides.

“We continue to educate families, physicians and facilities on the services we provide to enable our patients to stay in their homes if that is their choice,” Baumann said.

A 20-percent increase in home health care and 400-percent in hospice needs, along with a strong therapy record, contributed to the agency's need for the more space. Additional personnel — a social worker, a chaplain, an aide and two nurses — were hired to work in the new, larger facility.

“We have a great group of people who are really dedicated,” Baumann said.

Partnered with Network Lifeline, the agency now provides a fall monitor or an automated medicine dispenser for 30 days at no charge if the patient requires the service.

They recently become a provider for the Advance Illness Program offered through Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. The program is for patients who may be approaching the last year of life but do not yet need hospice services.

“We can assist with symptom issues, such as pain or nausea,” said Baumann. “We can also help the patient with accessing community resources.”

Companion Care is another service offered by the office. The service provides private duty home health aides or homemakers.

“We have a lot to offer long term,” said Carolyn Uschock, home health patient care coordinator. “We're an asset to the community and surrounding counties.”

Volunteer coordinator Sonia Palmer stressed the agency's need to increase their volunteer base.

“We're always looking for volunteers for a number of different areas such as hospice, clerical or companionship.”

Those interested in volunteering should call 724-238-2613 for more information.

Ligonier resident and retired pharmacist Teresa Kelly is one local woman who already volunteers her time to the Home Health and Hospice facility. Kelly said she is sure that one day she or a loved one will need these services and she wants to devote her time and energy to helping now.

“Instead of paying back, I'm giving forward,” said Kelly.

Cami DiBattista is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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