The Human Touch Matters

By Corrine Suzuka, RN, BSN, MA
Wednesday - July 25, 2007
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Homecare staff (from left): Cheryl Shon, Cara Koyanagi, Lani Negrillo-Lopez, Kim Sato, Augie Ronduen, Corinne Suzuka, Linda Fukuhara, John Keene and Jerome Vasconcellos
Homecare staff (from left): Cheryl Shon, Cara Koyanagi, Lani Negrillo-Lopez, Kim Sato, Augie Ronduen, Corinne Suzuka, Linda Fukuhara, John Keene and Jerome Vasconcellos

Being diagnosed with a serious illness can suddenly throw our lives out of kilter. Fortunately, technological advances to treat illnesses are constantly being developed, but even though these treatments may be effective, they can sometimes diminish our dignity as human beings.

The human touch can never be replaced. St. Francis Home Care Services is committed to upholding the dignity of all those who need care. The personalized touch provided by home care helps to counter that hopeless feeling of being tied to various medical devices, alienated from friends and family while in a hospital.

House calls are definitely back again, not only from the town doctor, but from highly skilled health care professionals who also understand the various needs of patients and the value of people receiving care in their own homes.

Home care was founded on the premise that people recover faster in the comfortable environment of their own home surrounded by loved ones. Services may be beneficial when an individual is recovering from surgery or a hospital stay or has been recently diagnosed with a medical condition. Care is customized to each individual’s needs.

At. St. Francis, we’re committed to touching lives and creating healthy, healing communities, and home care is more relevant today than ever. We recently moved into larger offices in the Joseph Paiko Building and St. Francis/Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Medical Pavilion in Liliha in anticipation of our program’s expansion.

Technological advancements in medicine and specialized treatments that once required patients to be admitted into a hospital can now be done safely and efficiently right in a person’s home. Therefore, for many patients, home care offers a cost-effective alternative to hospitalization.

I became a home care nurse by accident. I had recently moved back to Hawaii after living on the Mainland, my mother had just passed away, and I was looking for some normalcy. My initial quest was to get a job at one of the hospitals. Then a friend asked if I would consider home care nursing and although I didn’t know a lot about the field, I said sure.

My first patient was on vacation, visiting her son and new bride when she was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with an inoperable cancer. I visited her in the hospital to meet her and collect information about her care. She was discharged with various tubes connected to her; she was weak and needed a lot of medical attention at home. Since her son was leaving for military training on the Mainland, her new daughter-in-law would become her sole caregiver. My duties included assessing the patient, talking to the physician about her progress, and teaching the daughter-in-law how to assist in her mother-in-law’s personal care, how to change tubes, empty bags, change bandages, and give intravenous (IV) therapy.

During all the time I visited, I never heard the daughter-in-law or patient complain. Through instruction, the daughter-in-law became quite adept at all her tasks, and I could see the care she provided was done with love and respect for her mother-in-law. I could also see the gratitude in the patient’s eyes for her daughter-in-law. Meeting these two wonderful women was the most rewarding experience and was the best introduction to home care.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of St. Francis Home Care Services, and our program on Kauai is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Our goal is to help patients recover fully and return to their everyday activities as soon as possible.

A doctor’s referral is needed for home care services, so be sure to ask your doctor about these services. St. Francis Home Care Services is open to patients from all hospitals and health care institutions. Most home care costs are covered in full or in part by Medicaid, Medicare, and most private insurance programs.

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