This year SpiriTrust Lutheran Home Care & Hospice celebrates forty years of providing health care and related services in the comfort of home. The agency started in 1978 when the state of 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 rose to the challenge of filling the gap by providing home health care in the community.
In forty years the agency has grown from fewer than 10 employees to over 400; serving one county in PA to now serving 18 counties in Pennsylvania (from south central through north east PA) and 3 counties in Maryland (Washington, Carroll and Frederick Counties). 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.
Home health has seen a lot of change over the last 40 years. Kathy Johnson, RN, Director of Performance & Quality Improvement, has been with the agency since the beginning. Having started with the agency as a home health nurse, she has seen how far technology of home health has come. “Home health care has become much more skilled than it was when we started,” remembers Kathy. “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,” says Kathy.
The agency has earned and has always maintained an excellent reputation for quality of care and compassion throughout the communities it serves. Nina Delgrande, Executive Director, credits the agency’s employees for this by always putting clients first, saying, “I am extremely appreciative of the dedicated staff who give 100% 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.”