Government Affairs Office Presents at NJ Statewide Meeting of Councils

Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, Client and Family Advocacy, NJ (GAO)

On November 18, I had the opportunity to present at the statewide meeting of the Regional Family Support Planning Councils on The State of Home Supports and Services for the Medically Fragile Population in NJ.  The members of the 10 regional councils monitor and evaluate family support programs, provide information to policymakers, and advocate to local officials and state legislators about the needs of those who support a family member with a developmental/intellectual disability at home.  As part of the day’s program, we also had the chance to meet a representative of Governor-elect Phil Murphy’s campaign who emphasized the new administration’s desire to learn more about the disability community and its needs.

 

NJ Client & Family Advocacy Manager Shares Her Own Client Experience During Recent Home Visit

Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, Client and Family Advocacy, NJ (GAO)

I had the pleasure of hosting Carol Murphy, Assembly candidate in Legislative District 7, for a home visit to meet my daughter Mary.  As a 20 year long client of Mt. Laurel Pediatrics (MLP), Mary is the epitome of what home care can help families to achieve and we wanted Ms. Murphy to experience that first-hand.  Clinical Manager Chantel Denny and Administrative Coordinator Brooke Fitzpatrick discussed some of the challenging staffing issues that occur due to low reimbursement rates and difficulty attracting qualified nurses.  Registered Nurse Stacey Sutton shared some of the varied tasks that she performs in order to keep Mary healthy and safe at home and at school.  Ms. Murphy made a commitment, if elected to work with us to make home health care nursing a more attractive career option in the state.

Photo: Tara Montague, Client Mary, Carol Murphy

NJ Home Visit Sheds Light on Need for Home Health Aides

Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, Client and Family Advocacy, NJ (GAO)

Perth Amboy (PER) Client Service Manager Julia Nelson and I had the pleasure of meeting with PER client Joseph P. and his mother Bernadette at their home in Manasquan.  We were joined by Assemblyman Edward Thomson and Director of Constituent Services Kerry Textor.  As a client in the Personal Care Assistant (PCA) Program, Joe told the Assemblyman how much he loved his home health aide Alice.  Bernadette shared that she is an 86 year old mother caring for her 57 year old son who has multiple sclerosis.  PCA services are vital to her ability to keep Joe at home as he wishes. Unfortunately, they are not always able to get someone to cover the hours authorized due to the difficulty of recruiting aides in the Monmouth County area.  The Assemblyman, who is new to the office, offered to look into what additional services or supports they may be entitled to in order for Joe to remain with his family.

Photo (left to right): Julia Nelson, Bernadette P, Tara Montague, Joseph P, Assemblyman Thomson
Photo (left to right): Julia Nelson, Bernadette P, Tara Montague, Joseph P, Assemblyman Thomson

NJ Legislator Gets Crash Course in High-Tech Equipment

Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, Client and Family Advocacy, NJ (GAO)

District 6 Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt got quite an education when she visited with 14 year old Mt. Laurel Pediatrics (MLP) client Juan M and his mother, Carmen.  The Assemblywoman stopped by the house at the same time as nurse Danielle Blackwas administering Juan’s many respiratory treatments.  MLP Clinical Manager Crystal Lee explained to Assemblywoman Lampitt the purpose behind each piece of equipment and treatment and how important the routine is to maintaining Juan’s health.  The client’s mother Carmen said she is a single-parent and without having nursing in place she would not be able to keep her son at home with her.  Carmen, Crystal, and Client Services Manager Michelle Moran took turns sharing the difficulties of staffing such a high-tech case and how low reimbursement rates negatively affect clients.  Carmen shared with the Assemblywoman that she is currently looking for a part-time position but is having difficulty due to the fact that her schedule needs to remain flexible to accommodate the nursing schedule and Juan’s various medical needs.  The visit was a great success in enlightening Assemblywoman Lampitt on the needs of some of her most vulnerable constituents.

Photo (left to right): Client Juan M, Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, MLP Clinical Manager Crystal Lee

A Successful Day for Advocacy in NJ

Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, Client and Family Advocacy, NJ (GAO)

Last Tuesday, three of our pediatric clients met with their local legislators to show them what home health care is all about.  Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, from District 25, visited the home of 20 year old client Lily K. out of our Morris Plains Pediatrics (PED) office.  Lily’s mom, Emma, and PED Director Christine Rios shared their thoughts on the necessity of home health care services with the Assemblyman, as they explained Lily’s various needs.  Lily just wanted him to play catch with her.

Photo (left to right): Registered Nurse Sylvia, Emma, Lily, Assemblyman Carroll, and Christine Rios

 

The second visit of the day, was to the home of two clients from the Passaic County Pediatrics (PCP) office.  Dawn Moeller, mom to clients Zak and Tyler, invited Senator Gerald Cardinale into their home to share what it’s like to have not one, but two children who are medically fragile and

Photo2 (left to right): Nurse Ryan, Tyler, Senator Cardinale, Rachel, Zak, AnneMarie Desantis and Nurse Denise

require nursing care.  The Senator talked to the boys and then sat down at the kitchen table with Dawn, as well as Clinical Manager Rachel Faber and Client Service Manager AnneMarie Desantis and had an honest conversation about the needs of their family and others who are medically complex.  The Senator even asked Dawn to stay in touch with him by email so he could help.

Advocate for Home Care Like a Pro: New Platforms Available

Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, Client and Family Advocacy, NJ (GAO)

Have you seen the new advocacy website at www.heartsforhomecare.com? If not, head over now and see what the buzz is about!

We now have a Facebook page and Twitter feed dedicated just to Hearts for Home Care advocacy.  Please like the page, follow our feed, and share both of them with your co-workers, clients, family, and friends.  Feel free to like, comment, and share posts and tweets that resonate with you and your experiences. We’ll see you there!

Toms River NJ Pediatrics Ambassador Arranges Her First Home Visit

Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, Client and Family Advocacy, NJ (GAO)

As a new Hearts for Home Care Ambassador, Toms River Pediatrics (TRP) Client Services Manager Allison Nulton has been enthusiastically educating legislators on matters relating to her clients.  Earlier this summer, Allison took the initiative and invited state legislator Senator Samuel Thompson to a home visit for one of her clients.  So, on July 26, Allison, TRP Clinical Associate Suzanne McCuen, and the clients’ mom Jocelyn took turns explaining to Senator Thompson about the needs of the children and how important home health care has been in keeping the boys at home.

While Jake (right) is the only one who receives services from BAYADA his brother Ben (left) is also afflicted by the same disease.

Photo of Home Visit

 

 

NJ Client Advocates for Our Aides

Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, Client and Family Advocacy, NJ (GAO)

On May 26, as part of the Home Care Association’s Advocacy Day, our client, Victor Muniz, spoke during a press conference held by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg. Victor, who receives personal care assistance through the Jersey City (JC) office, shared the importance of home health aides in his rehabilitation and his ability to live independently. In addition, William Chambers, father to Perth Amboy (PER) client Billy Chambers, spoke about how home health aides enable him to continue to care for his son at home, but there is a strong need for increases in reimbursement rates. He stressed that aides are simply not paid enough money for what they do.

Mr. Muniz was also interviewed by a reporter from NJ Spotlight about this issue.

Successful NJ Client Visit with Assemblyman Troy Singleton

Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, Client and Family Advocacy, NJ (GAO)

On May 26, Mount Laurel Pediatrics (MLP) client Crista Jackson met Assemblyman Troy Singleton at the door and invited him in for a visit. The assemblyman, from the 7th District, came to the home of Crista’s mom, Jenn Asson, in Willingboro to hear more about her life as the mother to a child with significant medical needs. Crista, age 3, was all smiles for the assemblyman as her mother and her nurse, Denise Wills, looked on. “She’s a tough little kid,” the assemblyman told Crista’s mom.

In addition to Assemblyman Singleton, Crista also had visitors from the Burlington County Times, who was documenting the visit for an article.

Thanks to Hearts for Home Care Ambassador and MLP Social Media Associate Brooke Fitzpatrick, who helped to arrange everything with Crista’s family for the visit to take place.

Union County NJ Family Uplifted After Visit From Assemblyman Holley

Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, Client and Family Advocacy, NJ (GAO)

Through the efforts of Hearts for Homecare Ambassador and Director Miriam Mercado, State Assemblyman Jamel Holley  made a visit to the home of Tony Ufie, a client of the Union county office.  Assemblyman Holley was very moved by the client’s story and the many issues his family has been plagued with since the onset of his illness.  He was so touched, he has committed to assisting the client and his family in any way possible.  By the end of the visit, Assemblyman Holley asked Miriam to send him the details of everything that was discussed so that he can address each concern accordingly.  He also mentioned that he wanted to highlight the work that we do on his social media accounts.  Assemblyman Holley’s sincerity was palpable.  The family is very grateful and seemed hopeful that things were going to finally start looking up for them.

Photo (left to right): Asm. Jamel Holley, Mrs. Ruby (client’s mom and primary caregiver), Ponchita Dickerson (HHA), Sally Ufie (client’s wife), Marilyn Lopina, RN (CM), Miriam Mercado (Director)