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Ep. 107 - LiveWell Talk On...Adult Day Health Centers (Joni Thompson and Amber Franzen)

episode 107

Ep. 107 - LiveWell Talk On...Adult Day Health Centers

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Host: Dr. Dustin Arnold, chief medical officer, UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Hospital

Guest: Joni Thompson and Amber Franzen, UnityPoint Health AbbeHealth Aging Services

***This podcast was recorded prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Adult Day Health Centers are currently operating with COVID-19 precautions in place. Some services mentioned in this podcast may be altered or not currently offered at this time.***

Dr. Arnold:
This is LiveWell Talk on adult day health centers. I'm Dr. Dustin Arnold, chief medical officer at UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Hospital. If you are a caregiver for a loved one with a disability, impairment, or condition that impacts their independence, it may be time to consider an adult day health center. These centers provide opportunities and assistance to challenged adults, as well as a peace of mind for their caregivers. Here to tell us more about adult day health centers are Joni Thompson and Amber Franzen, with UnityPoint Health, AbbeHealth - Aging Services. Both Joni and Amber serve as directors at Abbe's adult day health centers. Welcome.

Joni Thompson:
Thank you, it's good to be here.

Dr. Arnold:
Tell us more about what is an adult day health center? I mean even in the opening there, I almost said daycare. You know, like it's a nursery or something like that. So tell us about that. What is it?

Amber Franzen:
Adult day health centers are a place for adults to come for the day to be busy and get interaction for socialization opportunities, but also to get the quality care that they might need during the day. Perhaps they're not able to be by themselves at home and their loved one has errands to run, or a job perhaps. And so the adult day health centers provide that safe, secure environment for people to attend.

Dr. Arnold:
So it necessarily isn't where you have to be there every day, all day. There could be, you could go there for a couple hours while your spouse ran errands, or your caregiver. Correct?

Joni Thompson:
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. We have several clients that come every day of the week, some clients that come one or two days of the week, and then we also have an option for participants to come as needed. So if they would just want to come once a month or when the caregiver has a doctor's appointment, that's perfectly okay.

Dr. Arnold:
My first response here is that this is keeping people in their home with their loved ones, rather than going to an extended care facility. I mean, am I reading this right?

Amber Franzen:
Absolutely. Yes. And that's our goal. To keep people in the community in their homes, living as long as possible. Because that's where people want to be.

Dr. Arnold:
Do you see this service line increasing? I mean, before we started the podcast, you said you'd been there 17 years. Has this been something that's gaining momentum?

Amber Franzen:
Absolutely. We used to only have the one center in the Cedar Rapids area, and now we have three centers within two counties. We have Milestones in Cedar Rapids, Milestones in Marion, and Pathways in Iowa City. And we now serve anywhere from 55 to 60 people a day at both the Cedar Rapids and Milestone Centers, and just a little lower than that at the Pathways in Iowa City. So it's absolutely growing. The need is great out there.

Dr. Arnold:
Is there an option for, to be evaluated for like medical conditions? Are there nurses present, or?

Joni Thompson:
Yes, we do have nurses on staff at all of the facilities, that are able to kind of look at whatever medical and conditions somebody has to pass medications, do G-tube feedings, and assist with other nursing services that are provided there.

Dr. Arnold:
And perhaps flu shots if needed. I mean, is that something we can arrange?

Amber Franzen:
They have done a flu shot clinics before as well, at all the centers. Yes.

Dr. Arnold:
What's the longest that you've had someone coming to this.

Joni Thompson:
Oh goodness. I think I've had clients that have been enrolled for about 10 years into the center.

Dr. Arnold:
That's awesome.

Joni Thompson:
So yeah, we've had some clients that started coming just because they were lonely and needed some socialization. Didn't really have transportation or the cognitive ability to use transportation from the city, so they started coming and have just been attending through the years. And as their health has declined, we've been able to continue to provide services to them.

Dr. Arnold:
That is fantastic. What would I expect if, because I think my wife would really like to drop me off sometimes and not have to supervise me. What would I expect after she dropped me off? Take me through a day at the center.

Amber Franzen:
Typically people arrive anywhere from eight o'clock through 10 o'clock in the morning. And they have breakfast with us. We make our breakfast there at the center, so they have nice quality meals. After breakfast we typically do some exercises, group exercises. Some sharing activities, so they still know what's going on in the news and the world. And then we do some fun activities to try and keep their minds and their bodies very active. Because as we all know, if we don't utilize those things, we tend to lose those capabilities. We provide lots of different programs throughout the day, such as music therapy, pet therapy. We of course play bingo and other fun games too, that they just really enjoy. But we have crafts and other fun activities as well.

Dr. Arnold:
Is there an opportunity for a young person that's maybe interested in geriatrics to volunteer?

Joni Thompson:
Oh, absolutely. We always take into consideration volunteers, and we utilize them in a lot of different areas. Whether it's helping us in the dining room, helping out with landscaping, doing manicures on the clients, arts and crafts, different things. So yeah, we have a lot of volunteers. We are very excited when we get volunteers in the center. And the clients really enjoy having the new faces around.

Dr. Arnold:
I mean, there's just multiple evidence in the medical literature that socialization really continues to benefit people. Even if they're not somebody that's perhaps historically social. We know that from the hospice literature that patients that can no longer eat, you still need to put them at the supper table. So they, that socialization that bonding with their family. Because if you take them out of that, it just increases the situational depression, as you can imagine. Would I to have dementia to be there? Or I just can't be left alone? Which some weekends that is what my wife would say, that I can't be left alone.

Joni Thompson:
Right, yeah. We serve anybody who is 18 years or older that has cognitive or physical disabilities. So what that includes is really a lot of people. So we have those clients that have dementia, Parkinson's disease, post-stroke. We also have clients with intellectual disabilities, brain injuries, and some with chronic mental illness as well. So if there's a need for them to come, they're more than welcome to come. And like I said, we also have some clients that just can't really access the community on their own and want to get out and socialize and they're living by themselves. So they come to the center for that socialization.

Dr. Arnold:
Yeah. That's fantastic. Is there a cost?

Joni Thompson:
Yes, there is a cost. So depending on how long the clients are there for the day, kind of determines what the rate is. So right now, it's between $45 and $65, depending on the amount of time that participant is there. So it's very reasonable when it's compared to other services that are out there.

Dr. Arnold:
I mean honestly, that's about what you'd pay for, if you hired a babysitter to come in and sit with the loved one, right? I mean really, you know, for all day that's about what you pay there. And you don't get the arts and craft and the wonderful people that you guys are.

Amber Franzen:
And the nursing services that go along with it. We can also do different therapies at the center as well. We have certified nurse’s AIDS and universal workers along with the nursing staff that can do different kinds of exercises that maybe a PT or OT or speech therapist has recommended them to do at home. So our staff goes ahead and does that with them to keep them active and working on those skills that they need to improve on.

Dr. Arnold:
Well, it sounds like it's just not a group of older people sit around watching Murder She Wrote on TBS or something like that. It's actually very engaging and active, which is outstanding. If there's one thing that you could tell me about the—I keep wanting to call it daycare, I apologize—day center, what would you want people to know about your facilities?

Amber Franzen:
We offer a lot of different opportunities. And although we are with aging services, we serve so many more, like Joni said, 18 and older. And people always wonder, how do you make that work with the many different types and ages of folks that we serve? And it just does. We kind of become a family in a sense. The older individuals will help the younger ones and vice versa. And they really get to know each other and have fun and grow and develop together.

Dr. Arnold:
That is pretty neat. Yeah. It's nice to have a good story every now and then, isn't it?

Amber Franzen:
Absolutely. In the past I had, it was a husband who cared for his wife with very progressed dementia. And after the free visit day he came in and they enrolled into the center and she came a few days a week, but he shared with me one day. He said: that first day I had such a hard time. It was just like dropping my child off at kindergarten for the first time. And as he drove up the hill from the Cedar Rapids center, he said: I almost turned around, but I didn't. I kept going. And it was a blessing for him to know that she was being cared for.

Dr. Arnold:
That is, that's a good story. I mean, this kind of an upbeat podcast. Not that the others aren't, but this really kind of makes you feel warm inside about this and that people are good people in the end of the day. I'll tell you, I'll give you some feedback. 25 years in practice, as far as those spouses, I've seen that happen so many times, where I take care of the husband, get him through his Parkinson's, passes away. Then I realize that Louise, his wife, hasn't seen a doctor in 15 years. Because she was always bringing him to the doctor, you know? And then, so here's this person that now becomes my patient that I've been seeing for 15 years, but I never stopped to say: well, who do you see? You know? So I would definitely put that as part of your regime, to get those people to see their physicians and take care of themselves.

Amber Franzen:
Absolutely. We do that through our caregiver support groups as well. We offer at all of our centers, a caregiver support group. So that way the caregivers can come in too, and get that support that they need. The staff as well gets to know them very well, offers them the support that they need, make sure that they're taking care of themselves too, encouraging them to go to those doctor appointments, get their hair done, get the groceries and things that they need while their loved one is at the adult day health center.

Dr. Arnold:
Yeah, this is really great information. I think one of the things that I've come to appreciate about the AbbeHealth, is every time we have someone come in, there's just something positive about it. It's kind of a best kept secret really, in the community. I don't think a lot of people understand the services provided by Abbe. Same with the cancer center. Every time that they come in and do a podcast with me, I'm just amazed that these services are being provided. And it makes me feel good about the team that I'm on, quite honestly. So thanks so much for taking the time to talk about this again. That was Joni Thompson and Amber Franzen, with Abbe Aging Services. For more information, visit UnityPoint.org/AbbeHealth. Thank you for listening to LiveWell Talk On. If you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to subscribe. And if you want to spread the word, please give us a five-star review and tell your family, friends, neighbors, strangers about our podcasts. We're available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Pandora, or wherever you get your podcast. Until next time, be well.