KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
GATE OF HEAVEN COUNCIL #468
Catholic Home Care
Helping Hands Program
Catholic Home Care provides care to more than 2,900 elderly or disabled individuals in Suffolk County in the comfort of their own homes. The variety of services medical services provided include but are not limited to: wound care, palliative care, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech pathology, skilled nursing care, and pastoral care. The goal of Catholic Home Care is not to simply maintain, but dramatically improve quality of life and promote independence for those supported.
Our Home Care professionals play a critical role in the on-going care needed by many Long Islanders by serving as the “eyes on the ground” during their regular house calls. They are able to elicit valuable input from each patient about health-related matters that go beyond the specific purpose of the call. Does the patient have adequate access to healthy and nutritious meals? Is s/he chronically isolated from the outside world and at risk for mental health issues? How well is the patient able to manage his or her “ADLs” - the “activities of daily life” such as personal care, laundry, and regular changes of clothes, and dental or hearing maintenance? In many cases, our Home Care professionals are the first- or only - visitors these patients may see for long periods, and their observations can be critical in ensuring each patient has the tools and support s/he needs to sustain a high quality of life.
As an extension of the medical care services provided, Catholic Home Care’s Helping Hands program seeks to provide non-medical support services for low to moderate income patients. Support services include light housekeeping tasks – such as laundry- as well as shopping for groceries or running essential errands. The program’s coordinator does routine visits to the clients’ homes, creates a service plan for each participating patient and assigns a volunteer “homeworker” to each patient. The coordinator provides continuous follow-up, with both the homeworker and the patient, to ensure that the patients are cared for in a timely and efficient manner.
At this time, the program provides services to approximately 100 patients in Suffolk County, with plenty of potential to expand. The available operating funds for this program are currently $157,000, which includes the operating costs of the program such as the salary of the program coordinator, office supplies, stipends for mileage, cleaning supplies and even at times costs related to urgent home repair for the patients.
Philanthropic support is vital for this charitable program as the services provided are non-reimbursable by Medicare or other insurance. For 2021, the county of Suffolk has verbally committed grant support, which will offset approximately 88% of the program expenses. This leaves an estimated need/budget gap of $20,000 to be raised from community and civic organizations such as the Knights of Columbus. Please note Catholic Home Care would be able to expand the number of individuals served by the program in 2021 if provided additional funding.
Please keep in mind that the COVID-19 epidemic has isolated many of the elderly and chronically ill more than ever. The Helping Hands program is a critical way for all of us to ensure that such patients can live with dignity and respect under very challenging circumstances.
NB: Just a update on the upcoming Charity Drive. The Committee has decided to pledge our efforts to Catholic Charities of Long Island, specifically their “Helping Hands; program. This program provides home care to thousands of disabled and elderly people in Suffolk County. Catholic Charities will be very happy to accept any amount of money that we can give to the, so there are no big expectations on how much we can donate. In addition, Helping Hands is one of the Categories that Councils can get credit for on their SP7 form, which may be even more motivation for a Council to get involved. The “generic” raffle books are at the printer, and we are planning a “virtual” Journal. We are doing what we can to move forward. We are hoping that you all can get on board and help out wherever you are able.