By Jean Clark
Healthy refreshments greeted the visitors to the newly renovated Home Health Clinic and Respite Rooms Open House on March 12. They are now located in Heritage Village at 23 Heritage Loop, apartments 1, 2 and 3 directly behind Heritage Hall in Pleasant Hill. These apartments formerly housed retirees or visitors to Uplands Village.
This was the only time that all of the nurses would be together as they began serving 12-hour shifts, one nurse on from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and another on from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. They will be off different days and this enables round-the-clock nursing coverage for the Village. The staff includes Lisa Norris, RN and manager of Home Health; Patty Davis, LPN; Sherry McCloud, LPN; Cheryl Meadows, LPN; and Holly Rollins, LPN.
The Respite Rooms are in apartments 1 and 3, with the Home Health Clinic in apartment 2, linked to both rooms, so someone could always check on respite patients. Sometimes a retiree needs to have assistance after an operation or serious illness with nursing supervision as they heal. These rooms are attractively decorated with private bathrooms, televisions and hospital beds.
Dr. May Cravath Wharton made the first medical house call in Pleasant Hill on horseback. She established the first clinic in Pilot Knob in 1922 and eventually at Ravenscroft, Mayland, Ozone and Big Lick for those who found it difficult to come to the clinics in Uplands General Hospital. Even after the hospital moved into Crossville, an out-patient clinic was held at Wharton Nursing Home in Pleasant Hill by Dr. Margaret Stewart for families in a 10-mile radius of Pleasant Hill until she retired in 1975. The Uplands Home Health Care Service began in 1981, with Karen Ewell, RN, as its only staff member.
The Home Health Clinics have moved around the Uplands community, greatly expanding their services for Village residents. Starting out in Wharton Nursing Home, the clinic moved into a small office in Fletcher House of Assisted Living when it was completed in 1984. Needing more space, it moved to an Uplands apartment adjacent to Fletcher House in 1994. Newly renovated Heritage Hall provided a spacious facility for the clinic in 1995 where it enjoyed a home until 2012, when a new marketing office for Uplands required space. Then the clinic moved back to Fletcher House.
The new digs in apartment 2 provides a reception area, office and private examining room also allowing for more residence and office space in Fletcher House. Respite Rooms had been housed in Wharton or Fletcher, but were not always available. Now, they have permanent places with access to nursing care 24-7.
Those Heritage efficiency apartments Home Health now occupies were completed in 1979 from a Farmers Home Administration grant under their Community Services Program, which also provided funds to renovate the Craft Shop, which had been given to Uplands by the Pleasant Hill Community Church, UCC and renamed Heritage Hall. In 1996, the work of the Home Health service received a resounding endorsement with a grant from the Cumberland Clinic Foundation of Crossville, which was matched by Uplands to provide an endowment for Home Health Care.
The nurses do not ride horses on their house calls today, but they do still make them when needed to members’ homes and visit Village members quarterly to assess their medical needs and update their medical records. There is a weekly clinic on Tuesday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Residents may come to this weekly clinic without appointments for blood pressure checks, blood tests, injections, flu shots, etc. or just plain advice on whether to seek further medical professional help. Those equipped with Life Line alarms will put them in touch immediately with the nurse on duty when needed. Home Health also provides regular services for Uplands Village employees.
One of the greatest benefits of the Home Health service is to enable the Uplands Village retirees to maintain independent living as long as possible.