Summer at CareForce

CareForce Office: What’s New

By Cynthia Escalante

Summer home care is upon us at CareForce, and despite the damp grounds here at the Lynnwood Office, our staff is full of sunshine!

Kelly, our Office Administrator, Caregiver Applicant Reviewer, and Perfect Every-Time Coffee Brewer, has furnished our building with flowers to welcome the warmer days ahead.

Lara, our Director of Operations and Finance, can hardly wait for the season to pass, because as Summer wanes she will be welcoming her very first grandson!

CareForce’s most recent addition, Geoff, Director of Health Systems Strategy, brings a new wave of energy to the team.  Initiating Culture Club, a collaborative outreach program to revamp the substance that defines CareForce.

We are excited to dive into our local communities by hosting Old Movie Showings in Lynnwood, guiding walks around Greenlake in North Seattle, and partnering with local businesses to provide Free Haircuts for Seniors in Bothell.

Get ready Puget Sound, CareForce Summer 2017 is going to be one to remember!

CareForce CEO Awarded University of Washington School of Nursing Honor

Sam Miller wins University of Washington School of Nursing Recognition

Written by Cynthia Escalante 

Excellence in home care has always been the tag-line for CareForce, a home care and home health company operated out of Lynnwood, a North Seattle suburb.   This spring, CareForce was able to add to its trophy case, furthering the extensive proof that the local, family run business does indeed set the bar in caregiving.

This was largely in thanks to Barbara Cochrane, who is a Professor at the University of Washington, where she acquired her MN in Physiological Nursing and PhD in Nursing Science– she also holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Oregon and a BSN from the University of Alaska, Anchorage

Dr. Cochrane works closely with Sam Miller, CareForce’s CEO, as they both serve on the board of the de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging, where they promote lifelong learning and healthy aging. 

When the 2017 UW Nursing Recognition Banquet rolled around, Dr. Cochrane felt compelled to nominate Sam for the UW Distinguished Alumni Award, and she was gracious enough to answer a few questions about why…

Q: Can you tell me about your experience meeting Sam? What was your first impression?

A: I think I first met Sam at a Gerontological Professionals Network meeting in 2005, when I first became the Director of the de Tornyay Center.  My first impression was that Sam was the consummate professional – very bright, hard-working, keenly interested in quality health care and best nursing practices, and having both the energy and enthusiasm to accomplish very important work for older individuals.  

Q: What moved you to nominate Sam for the UW Distinguished Alumni Award?

A: Over the years, I have realized that my initial impressions were on-target and – in addition – that Sam has tremendous breadth of knowledge (and a great sense of humor); and she is incredibly generous with her time in supporting nursing and home care professional activities, her staff at CareForce, and excellence in health care. In addition, she has been a great support to the UW School of Nursing, the school’s de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging, and our students.  She truly represents the best and the brightest of our School of Nursing alumni.  I thought it was important that she be recognized for all that she has accomplished.

Q: How would you say Sam’s previous work as a Nurse has enabled her to build CareForce into a premier care provider within the greater Seattle area?

A: Sam’s nursing background has prepared her to focus on excellence and consider creative ways to provide quality home care, as well as ensure that the care provided through CareForce and its organizational systems are based on solid research evidence and best practices.  

Q: What are your thoughts on the role of private duty home care within the greater continuum of care?

A: Home care is a critical component of the continuum of care, and we have seen a system-wide recognition of that importance over the last decade or so in terms of health care policies that focus on care transitions. Sam knew, very early in this process of recognition, how important home care is for ensuring safe and effective care transitions, and she has formed key partnerships to support the full continuum of care.

Q: When it comes to quality of care outcomes, what would you say the effect of hospital readmission rates, stabilization of condition, etc. have on the ability to provide care in the home?

A: I think many facilities, organizations, and agencies are now aware of how important care in the home is to reducing hospital readmission rates and stabilization of conditions. Insurance reimbursement rates perhaps prompted that realization, but safe and high-quality home care – with strong community partnerships and good communication across health care settings – have reinforced its value.

5 Simple Steps to Keep Your Home Senior Accessible

Written by CareForce Staffer, Cynthia Escalante

According to a recent study completed by the American Association of Retired Seniors (AARP) nine out of ten Senior Americans prefer to continue living in their current home for the next five to ten years with only 22% planning to make any real modifications. Preserving independence, safety and comfort are some of the key elements needed to continue living at home. Below are 5 simple ways to make that happen.

  1. Install handrails in the shower. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) says 80% of fall related injuries among seniors over the age of 65 happen in the bathroom. Having something sturdy to grasp while getting in and out of the shower or tub is an easy and affordable way to decrease a major fall risk.
  2. Keep home free of excess clutter. We have all heard the saying a tidy space makes for a tidy mind. Keeping a senior home free of clutter especially on the floor can reduce fall risk, eliminate pest problems and make it easier to direct Caregivers on where things are kept. Other than cleaning supplies and a Saturday afternoon the cost is very minimal.
  3. Remove or nail down all rugs. Although a fall risk is greatest in the bathroom, they can happen anywhere in the home. Removing all rugs or insuring they are secured in place is an easy way to lower the risk of an accidental fall.
  4. Set up a LifeLine. A Lifeline is a personal alarm system easily installed within the home to empower Seniors in case of a fall or other accident ensuring someone will be there quickly with just the press of a button. Rural Snohomish and King Counties are vast, so a senior in Snohomish or Maple Valley has a button to push that brings far away help closer, quicker. Click the link to find out how CareForce can set you up with a Phillips Lifeline today!
  5. Install adequate lighting. By the time we turn 60 we have lost one third of our eyesight. Whether you live in new housing in Redmond or the same home for 50 years in Seattle or Bellevue, having lights installed underneath dark kitchen cabinets, lamps near bed sides and auto adjusting night lights that guide the way from room to room make it easy for Seniors to navigate safely throughout the home.

Often times a home, especially a home lived in for many years, holds memories and an emotional attachment. With these simple steps, we can empower Seniors to continuing living in their homes safely and confidently.




Veronica and Jessica win “Carry Your Team Members On Your Shoulder Award”

Veronica dG., Payroll and Billing Specialist, and Jessica R., RN Care Manager were awarded the coveted “Carry Your Team Member on Your Shoulder Award” for January, 2017.  This operations team award highlights stand out performance in lifting up their team and pushing them forward in terms of service and quality.  Jessica has recently spearheaded the ability of CareForce to provide in home IV infusion services through her volunteering to make this happen.  In Seattle and Bellevue, clients have praised her can do attitude.  In addition she stepped up big time when one of her team members had a family emergency.  Veronica is a master mind at making certain that billing is accurate and that every one dots their i’s and crosses their t’s so that payroll and billing can be done on time every week.  These two really hit service and cooperation out of the park these past couple of months.  Join me in telling them congratulation.

Celebrating Essie’s Retirement after 17 years

I know she said she wasn’t actually retiring yet, Essie Jackson actually did retire from CareForce after 17 years as a caregiver.  When you consider that CareForce is now in it’s 18th year, it seems remarkable that one of the first caregivers to be hired as our agency was a fledgling startup would remain a steadfast employee through the entirety of our agency journey …. so far.  With in  a few years of discovering that she was a good fit for caregiving, Jackson returned to school to obtain her Nursing Assistant Certified credential.  Clearly she is a life long learner.  Live in was an excellent niche for Jackson.  She could arrive at a client home on Monday morning with suitcase in hand, provide personal, companion, and light housekeeping care to the client and sometimes a spouse for 3 or 4 days, then take her next few days off for herself.  This gave her opportunity to do what was a key focus of her life, visit children and grandchildren.  She would beam upon a return trip after she watched her grandkids participate in swimming. Whether the client lived in Bellevue or Seattle, she could always find her way to a client home.  Jackson will always be CareForce royalty.  Reliable, amiable, fastidious, skillful, and up for the challenge, she gave the best of herself to her clients week in and week out.  CareForce misses her already.  Thank you Essie for all your caring and loyalty.  You were there with us from the beginning.  Good luck in your next adventure.

Essie Jackson and Sam Miller celebrate Jackson's retirement
Essie Jackson and Sam Miller celebrate Jackson’s retirement
Lara Davidson and Elizabeth Kongo send Essie Jackson off to her next adventure with a hug and lots of love

CareForce Hosts Chinese Nursing and Social Work Scholars

Kim NIcholas, MSW confers with Chinese Social Worker while Chinese RN's listen in.
Kim NIcholas, MSW confers with Chinese Social Worker while Chinese RN’s listen in.

IMG_2758Three colleagues from the University of Washington Schools of Nursing and Social Work have been a part of a Global Innovation Fund project, supported by the UW Provost’s Office, that aims  to support community-based care for older adults in Chongqing China. Drs. Nancy Hooyman, Basia Belza, and  Barbara Cochrane  are involved in this grant (along with Scott Heinlein, President of the Seattle-Chongqing Sister City Association) and Ms. Lillian Prueher, a PhD student in Anthropology.  Three Chinese professionals — two nurses and a social worker — who are affiliated with a very large (i.e., 3000-bed) senior care facility in Chongqing came to Seattle this past September, 2016.  As the Chongqing community does not have any organized or state sponsored home care or hospice, the UW faculty thought it might be useful for them to have a home health experience. One of our clients was gracious enough to agree to have these three Chinese health care professionals attend a CareForce home visit with one of our registered nurses during the time that one of our home health aides was caring for him.  It  proved to be highly educational and helpful and one of the highlights of their weeklong visits to agencies.  The Chinese health care providers, their interpreter (a PhD student from the School of Nursing), and Nancy Hooyman, professor from the School of Social Work stated that this was an extremely interesting and a new experience for them.  One of the Chinese guests stated that she could not envision how nursing or aide care could be delivered in a home, so the experience helped solidify the concept in her mind. The client and his wife candidly and warmly answered questions and in a moment of pure luck, the therapist from the hospice organization that he is enrolled with arrived to provide some therapy.  In addition, the Chinese Social Worker had an opportunity to explore social work practices here in the United States with our own social worker here at CareForce, something that had not occurred in their other community program visits during the week.  It was a very exciting day here at CareForce and we feel blessed to have participated in some global learning about our country’s home health care system.



Staying Sharp: Cognitive Health in Aging, You’re Invited

CareForce  is thrilled to co-sponsor a lecture event on September 21, 2016 at the Greenwood Senior Center.

3:30 pm—4:00 pm—Event registration, Please RSVP

4:00pm—4:45 pm—Staying Sharp : News from the IOM report on Cognitive Aging , Basia Belza, PhD, RN, FAAN

4:45 pm– 5:30 pm— Mild Cognitive Impairment—Therapies that Improve/Maintain Function, Fleur Godfried, MS, CCCC-SLP

5:30 pm—6:30 pm— Wine, Beer and Light Snack Reception

Basia Belza, PhD, RN, FAAN is The Aljoya Endowed Professor in Aging in the School of Nursing and an investigator with the Health Promotion Research Center at University of Washington. She is the lead of the CDC-funded Coordinating Center for the Healthy Brain Research Network. Her scholarship focuses on improving the health of older adults through dissemination initiatives with a focus on physical activity interventions. In 2015, the Institute of Medicine released their report Cognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action, Dr. Belza will discuss the implications of both the findings and recommendations in this landmark report for health care professionals and their practices.

Fleur Godfried, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech pathologist at Harborview who works in the Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Program (CORP). With 15 years of experience at HMC, Ms. Godfried specializes in evaluating and treating patients with neurological diagnoses, most commonly stroke, TBI, and SCI. In the last few years, however, the UW Memory, Brain & Wellness Clinic at Harborview has been sending referrals for therapy for those diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Ms. Godfried will discuss the referral process/criteria and what types of therapy can improve or maintain functioning for those with MCI.

All health care professionals who work with older adults will benefit from this informative event.  And it is an excellent opportunity to network with other health care professionals.

CareForce Receives 2016 Best of Home Care® Employer of Choice Award

CareForce  today announced that it has received the Best of Home Care Employer of Choice Award from Home Care Pulse. The Employer of Choice Award is granted only to the top ranking home care providers, based on employee satisfaction scores gathered by Home Care Pulse. CareForce is now ranked among a select few home care providers across the country who have proven their ability to provide outstanding support to their employees.

“We want to congratulate CareForce on receiving the Best of Home Care Employer of Choice Award,” says Aaron Marcum, CEO and founder of Home Care Pulse. “Since this award is based on employee feedback, it demonstrates their dedication to providing the highest quality of care with a focus on employee satisfaction. We are pleased to recognize CareForce’s dedication to quality, professionalism and expertise in home care.”

Best of Home Care Employer of Choice award-winning providers have contracted with Home Care Pulse to gather feedback from their employees by conducting live phone interviews with their employees each month. Because Home Care Pulse is an independent third-party company, it is able to collect honest and unbiased feedback. These award-winning providers have received the highest satisfaction scores from their employees in areas such as overall job satisfaction, comfort with supervisor, and support from supervisor.

” We are proud of our track record of excellence in addition to our commitment to learning from this honest, 3rd party feedback from our caregivers,” states Sam Miller, RN, MN, BC , CEO of CareForce.  CareForce provides registered nurse and Master of Social Work support and supervision 24 hours every day to our employees. We work diligently to create a team atmosphere.  Working as a home health or home care aide can seem like a lonely job, yet our clinicians and other office personnel create a “virtual” supportive atmosphere so that they don’t feel alone.   In addition we provide them with free continuing education both on line and in person.

“Our goal at Home Care Pulse is to empower home care businesses to deliver the best home care possible,” says Aaron Marcum. “We are happy to recognize CareForce as a Best of Home Care Wmployer of Choice and to celebrate their accomplishments as a trusted home care provider.”

“Thanks, you saved my life!”

As the client paid her Phillips Lifeline bill, she wrote a short note.  “Thanks you saved my life. I had a stroke.”  Of course, CareForce didn’t save her life, but her personal alarm system from Phillips did.  I had the opportunity to call this 80 something year old woman to ask her about her experience.  And I quote, “I knew something wasn’t right, so I pressed the button.  Immediately the person on the other end of the line recognized my speech was slurred.  I had no idea.  She directed me to stay seated and that she would send emergency personnel right away.  I spent 21 days at rehab and now I am home, walking, talking and getting along.”  She advocates to all of her friends to get a Lifeline.  Recovery from many strokes is highly dependent on how quickly one is treated.

The American Stroke Association reminds us that the acronym F.A.S.T. can save you from permanent disability.  If you , or a loved one, has Facial drooping, Arm weakness, or Slurred Speech, it is Time to call 911.  And, in the meantime, it certainly would be an ounce of prevention to consider a LifeLine.  Call CareForce today for information.

Celebrating CareForce Founder in His Retirement and Birthday

On January 25, 2016, friends, colleagues and employees gathered to wish Diedrich Meinken well in his retirement and to congratulate him on his 70th birthday. In 1999 it was Diedrich who started El Presidente Diedrich and the Band Diaka CareForce as a company that would provide excellence in home care.  His vision as well as his development of service delivery systems within the organization are the foundation from which we are able to provide the wonderful care that CareForce delivers today.  As a Master of Social Work, he developed the company mission to “improve the quality of care for vulnerable people“.  With this mission in mind, CareForce has been a leader in promoting higher standards in home care as well as bringing wonderful national speakers to the Puget Sound area regarding dementia care and transitions in care (Teepa Snow and Eric Coleman).  Never afraid to speak his truth, Diedrich was instrumental in lobbying in Olympia to gain easier access for home care agencies to the data at DSHS regarding caregivers history with elder abuse, a helpful tool in the hiring process.  Diedrich isn’t going too far, he will remain as Chairman of the Board and as he is married to the new CEO (Susan “Sam” Miller, RN, MN) he will keep abreast of all things CareForce and provide valuable consultation.  Congratulations Diedrich on building a wonderful company.  Your legacy as a home care game changer is secure.