Health Dept. fills care void

As North Central Home Care prepares to close its doors after 45 years of caring for individuals in Fort Dodge and the surrounding area, the Webster County Health Department is working to make sure the organization’s clients will still receive the in-home care they need.

“One message we want to get out to everyone is if you were served by North Central Home Care to call us; we want to be able to do an assessment to see if you can be provided with services,” said Kari Prescott, executive director of the Webster County Health Department. “North Central cannot release the information of their clients to us, so we need those people to call us. We are doing everything we can within our department to make sure those individuals are not dropped from services.”

Prescott said the Health Department will expand to include case management and assume homemaker services similar to those provided by North Central Home Care.

To help accommodate more services, the Health Department has hired five aides to provide care and homemaker services previously provided by North Central, such as assistance with bathing, housekeeping and grocery shopping.

The Health Department now assists with services such as providing vaccinations, nursing care, dietary services, WIC and child health services, and will be adding a bilingual case worker.

“We will do health maintenance services,” said Prescott. “Another service we can provide is a health check for those who live here but their family is out of town or out of state. If they haven’t been able to reach them, they can call us and we can go to their home to check up on them.”

Prescott said the addition of home care aides will provide the Health Department with more resources.

“With our home care aides now under one roof we have more access points with our staff,” she said.

Home health care aides will work with clients on direct care such as bathing, foot checks and personal hygiene, while homemaker services will include assistance with cleaning, vacuuming and grocery shopping.

The Health Department always has staff on call to provide services around the clock when necessary.

“We are 24/7,” said Prescott. “As a larger agency, there are many services we can provide.”

One service provided by North Central Home Care that Webster County will not be able to immediately provide is the continuation of the Meals on Wheels program, which provides home delivery of a daily lunch seven days a week to those who request it. The program has served approximately 60 meals daily.

“There is presently no opportunity for funding,” Prescott said. “If we took on Meals on Wheels it would put us in the red anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000 and we just can’t do that at this time.”

Prescott said the Health Department can send a home care aide to the homes of those presently receiving Meals on Wheels to make sure they have an adequate meal or food in their homes.

“We will be doing in-home assessments for meals, but until we have an opportunity for funding it’s something we can’t take on yet,” she said, referring to Meals on Wheels.

“It would be great if someone can step up and get Meals on Wheels,” said Brenda Snook, director of North Central Home Care.

Snook said staff at North Central Home Care have been working on getting information of available services to clients.

“We have been making some referrals,” said Snook. “But, basically, we have been working on getting information to our clients to try and let them know what is available for them.”