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A Publication of WTVP

November is National Home Care and Hospice Month. I’ll admit, it’s hard to get excited about yet another monthly designation on a seemingly endless calendar of memorialized dates. But care provided in the home has a very important history here.

You see, our founding Sisters, more than 130 years ago, literally began caring for people in the Peoria area in their homes. Initially, upon their arrival here in 1877, no facility was available to them. Records indicate that some pioneer Sisters rode donated bicycles to the homes of those for whom they cared; others walked where they were needed. In any case, OSF’s services, long before hospital facilities were acquired, began as care provided in the home.

Today, home care services have expanded significantly offsite from the campuses of our impressive medical centers. Home care services are provided for patients of all ages with all levels of health conditions and needs. From infant respiratory therapy to adult rehabilitation to intravenous feeding or medication applications to hospice services, home care is the fastest growing need in healthcare in the U.S. today. Census data confirms the increase in the senior citizen population alone will stress the most prepared healthcare providers in terms of their capacity to care for this large group. Add to that the need for free, ever-diminishing critical care hospital beds for more complicated illnesses, and one can easily see why home care services will be in high demand for years to come.

So each November, we celebrate this national attention to medical services provided in the home. We celebrate those who have been called to provide this important residential care—staff, volunteers and clergy, who often assist families dealing with the loss of a loved one or help them prepare for that inevitability. We also celebrate our patients—the reason we were called to healthcare— and rededicate ourselves to providing the compassionate, competent care each person deserves. We renew our commitment to serve where we are called.

The next time you pass through the city and notice a towering crane operating within an expansive construction site, chances are good it is helping to frame a facility to house improved, state-of-the-art healthcare to serve a growing and prospering community. It’s a beautiful sight—knowing that the community is investing in more modern medical facilities for its population base. But realize something else—that outside of those traditional, hallowed walls of medicine, thousands of persons in need of medical care are receiving that care from certified, highly-trained experts in the comfort of their own homes or in supervised care institutions. It’s a round-the-clock mission of caring which is often unnoticed, but vitally important—and growing.

This month, we celebrate that special care in the home. Tomorrow and beyond, we honor its impact on all who have experienced its touch. Types of home care services include: