Arizona’s only continuing care at home (CCAH) program, Sun Health at Home, puts a health and wellness watchdog firmly in the corner of its member’s lives, providing a higher level of care coordination and best practices to keep older adults independent.
The goal? Helping those who prefer to remain in their own home to be able to successfully age in place.
CCAH’s are growing more common in other parts of the country, but Sun Health at Home is still the only one of its kind in the Southwest. It can quite literally be a lifesaver.
It didn’t seem like a big deal at first. Geri was getting up in the middle of the night twice, instead of once… maybe it was just her “new normal.” But then it escalated into… well… let’s just say an inconvenient situation.
“It’s incontinence,” she thought, dismissing the symptoms.
It wasn’t, though. One thing led to another, and since her 87-year old body handled things a bit differently than it used to, the ignored urinary tract infection quickly raged out of control.
It had been a hot summer, with the thermostat turned up to keep air conditioning costs reasonable for her home in Sun City Grand, and she hadn’t been hydrating nearly enough. Geri’s habit of drinking a pot of coffee every morning wasn’t helping, either, compounding her dehydration. The heat and lack of water triggered a UTI, which unrecognized and unmanaged, quickly led to other problems.
“As our bodies age, we don’t have the same resilience we used to have,” says Linda Esparza, BSN,RN, a wellness coordinator for Arizona’s only continuing care at home (CCAH) program, Sun Health at Home. “Bad habits we got away with in the past aren’t tolerated the same way.”
Even a simple infection can become a life-threatening problem. Perhaps we don’t notice the symptom or we aren’t paying attention to our bodies, and something otherwise preventable escalates… eventually landing us in the hospital.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Coordinated care and a health watchdog can make all the difference
Geri had noticed a bit of mental confusion and exhaustion, but it was the fall-related emergency room visit that brought the infection to light.
If she belonged to a continuing care at home program, its ongoing wellness checks and consistent outreach from the plan’s wellness coordinator might have uncovered the issue long before Geri ended up in the emergency room.
“When you have a care advocate on your side asking the right questions and checking in on a regular basis, health issues are caught much earlier than you might on your own,” adds Esparza. “CCAH programs have a preventative, proactive approach that’s completely focused on helping members remain independent.”
“We encourage members to share things they sometimes don’t realize are worth sharing, to head off problems before they become bigger. We know the right questions to ask and have a deep enough familiarity with our members to recognize meaningful changes they might miss.”
If Geri didn’t mention her recent changes in bathroom habits, then her fall would trigger a call to her Sun Health at Home wellness coordinator, who would remain at her side during the ER visit, then coordinate home care services, food and medication once she was home.
Having someone to constantly watch out for your health, coordinate care and advocate on your behalf can make an incredible difference ─ especially when it’s a credentialed professional registered nurse familiar with your normal health and behavior. And one who understands the complex health system in Arizona, including Medicare and long-term care benefits.
CCAH programs are redefining community wellness one patient at a time by offering a level of personalized care that isn’t available through normal health insurance providers. To learn more, visit http://sunhealthathome.sunhealthseniorliving.org/ or attend a no-obligation discovery seminar near you.
Sun Health at Home is the first CCaH program in the southwestern United States, and the only one available in Arizona.
(Originally published Feb. 14, 2018; last updated Jan. 11, 2019.)