Northwoods Lodge starts Safe At Home clinic for elderly

Deciding if an elderly parent or family member is safe at home is a hard decision to make.

That’s why the staff of the Safe At Home assessment clinic at Northwoods Lodge is available to help you make an educated and informed decision regarding the safety of your elderly loved one. The staff includes a physical therapist, occupational therapist, social worker, administrative assistant, pharmacist and dietician.

“There is a wide variety of expertise here,” said Debbie Griffin, director of rehabilitation. “When people leave they feel like they are leaving with something,” she said.

When family members or grown children of elderly parents call the clinic the administrative assistant first discusses areas of concern. The family is mailed a seven page questionnaire so areas of need can be pre-identified. The assessment questionnaire concentrates on balance/fall risk/walking, safety in the kitchen, bathing, dressing and grooming, memory, judgment and decision making, medication management and nutritional intake. After the questionnaire is reviewed, the patient comes in for a complete evaluation where a physical therapist, occupational therapist and social worker will assess the patient’s ability to safely live at home. The pharmacist also will review the patient’s medication. A copy of the evaluation, which is covered by Medicare, will be sent to the patient’s primary doctor.

“(This program) is very needed as the population ages and is going to be very valuable,” said Barbara Pearson, administrator of assisted living.

Information on various community resources and assisted living facilities is available to help family members with their decision. Northwoods Lodge opened in 1994 and is a health care and rehabilitation center and offers both inpatient and outpatient care. Northwoods Lodge is just one of five facilities in the Encore Communities group. Alpine Way, Claremont East and Clearbrook Inn are three assisted living centers in Encore Communities and Country Meadows is Encore’s retirement center. For more information on the Safe At Home clinic call (360) 337-7422.

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