People on the Move – Glade Valley pushes for senior health care awareness

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Originally published July 21, 2007
By Erin Henk
News-Post Staff

A Walkersville nursing and rehabilitation center wants to help connect seniors with affordable health care services.
The Glade Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is working with Honor the Promise, a grassroots campaign started last year by senior care provider association Atlantic LifeSpan. Atlantic LifeSpan represents more than 300 senior care provider organizations in Maryland and Washington.

Honor the Promise focuses on four primary areas, said campaign president Isabella Firth.

The campaign seeks to raise awareness about cuts to funding for senior care facilities. It also seeks to bolster the senior care workforce, eliminate delays in the approval process for Medicaid and reduce unnecessary administrative burdens on senior care providers.

Since starting the campaign, LifeSpan has held meetings at about 70 locations throughout the state. Glade Valley plans to hold the first meeting in Frederick County, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 22, Firth said.

Those who attend the meeting can sign pledge cards and educate themselves about senior care issues.

The issue affects everyone, Firth said. However, most people don’t know much about it until they have an elderly loved one who needs care.

“Often, those kinds of things fall in your lap,” she said.

Carole Grissom, administrator for Glade Valley, agreed. People may not know what medical assistance is available, how to get it and what to do when it expires.

Also, the process to get medical assistance can be difficult and lengthy — people need to prove they have no assets and are sick, Firth said.

Glade Valley has been working on these issues for some time, Grissom said.

Scholarships for geriatric nursing assistant training have helped strengthen Glade Valley’s staff. A partnership with Frederick Community College and the Votech Center has helped recruit more people into the geriatric health care field. Glade Valley also partners with the University of Maryland to allow nursing students to get hands-on experience at its facility.

Firth said it is important to get more people into the field because many doctors are not studying how best to take care of the elderly.

“It doesn’t make sense when people are living so much longer,” she said.

Through Honor the Promise, LifeSpan and its affiliates hope to attract attention from legislators, Firth said. Advocates of the campaign can sign a pledge showing their support. So far, LifeSpan has 750 pledges, she said.

“We’re hoping that if we’re showing numbers, our state legislators (will) pay attention,” she said.

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