The Bayada Home Health Care office in Frisco looks like a typical office - there are desks, computers, printers, copy machines. One room, however, is a little different. Instead of a workstation, it holds a bed, complete with pillows, comforter and a stuffed animal. There's a nightstand with a lamp, a box of tissues and glasses, and a closet in the far corner.
This isn't a room for employees looking for a nap after lunch, it's a training center. Bayada, a national organization, is bringing home health care services to Summit and Eagle counties. Its Frisco office, opened in January, plans to offer nursing care and assisted care services to people within the mountain community.
"We want to try to help everybody in our little mountain area here," said Diane Ream, Bayada office director.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, Bayada originated in 1976 and has since grown to include more than 250 offices in 25 states.
Bayada provides nurses (both RNs and LPNs) and nurse's aids to visit a client's home to offer care to adults.
"Maybe they have mobility issues, or they have memory care issues, or they're very elderly and just need a little bit of help, we do all that," Ream said.
Much of the care given by the nurse's aids is for "activities of daily living," such as bathing, dressing and meal preparation. They can also assist in transportation, bringing clients to and from appointments, both medical or errand-related, such as to a hairdresser.
Skilled level of care is available from the nurses, who might be called to sit up overnight with an elderly relative, perform procedures such as an IV infusion or simply provide end-of-life care.
"All of our services happen in the client's home, wherever their home might be," Ream said. "Even if they're here vacationing and are in a condo, or in a hotel, and they need us, we can go there."
While the focus of Bayada's Frisco office is primarily Summit and Eagle county residents, people on vacation can also benefit from home service care, Ream said. It could be anything from lending transportation for a wheelchair-bound relative to assisting with care of broken bones or illness in general.
Bayada did its research before coming to the mountains, performing a gap analysis to determine an ideal location as well as studying year-round population demographics to determine need. The need was found, Ream said.
"There is no other private-duty home care up here and there are no nursing homes or assisted living facilities," she explained. "So what do you do when you've moved up here to the beautiful mountains and you find yourself convalescing, or getting a little up there in years, and maybe you or a loved one needs some help? What do you do? We didn't want anybody to have to move all the way back to Denver. ... We wanted it to be something that people could have up here and since there was none, that's what we're here for, to provide that need."
While the Frisco office is meant to serve both Summit and Eagle counties, other clients within the mountains may also be able to receive service. It all depends on the location of Bayada's nurses, which may range from Breckenridge all the way to Steamboat. Already, Ream said, two clients have called from Kremmling and have been able to be served by a nearby Bayada nurse.
"If we have staff that can get there, we'll go there," she said.
More nurses mean reaching more clients, so the office is always looking for more. Ream hopes to gather up to at least 30 nurses and around 100 nurse aids to affiliate with the Frisco office. Many nurses who work in home health care also hold down jobs at hospitals and clinics, Ream explained, and split their time between the two.
"One good thing about home care, and this is what attracts a lot of providers to it, is rather than have a whole unit full of people that you have to care for, you get to care for only one patient," Ream said.
Because Bayada is "private duty" and often privately paid-for, clients are able to express their needs in very specific terms. This not only includes which duties are performed on which exact schedules, but can translate to preferences such as gender requests, a liking for certain types of pets and willingness to chat with a lonely client.
"We match our client level with our skill level and for personality too," Ream said.
Ream also mentioned that, when working out of Bayada's Greenwood Village office in Denver, she often receives calls from clients complimenting the nurses they spend so much time with. The individual attention is a "luxury" that home service nurses can afford, she said.
In addition to the personal connection, Ream said that simply the fact of being in their home, rather than a hospital or strange facility, puts clients at ease. It means they are often with family, away from other sick patients and able to sleep in if they feel like it, or choose a wider range of food for meals. Mark Baiada, the company's founder, often pushes the proponents of home care for better healing and lower levels of stress among patients.
"At home, you get what you want, appropriate to your health care needs," she said.
While the Bayada Frisco office does not accept Medicare or Medicaid, it does accept private-pay, long-term care insurance and most private insurances. Ream said that Bayada aims at reasonable prices that aren't overly expensive.
"We just want to provide home care at a reasonable cost," she said. "We don't want to make it too expensive."
For those who may not be sure what type of help they need, the office will send out a clinical manager, who is also a registered nurse, to assess the situation and determine exactly what type of service will best fulfill the client's needs. The office welcomes phone calls at (970) 668-6200 and walk-ins looking for more information. The Frisco office is located at 965 N. Ten Mile Dr., Unit A-7. Information can also be found on the organization's website at www.bayada.com.