Seashore Gardens Living Center, among the region's best-known and longest-established health-care organizations, is adding home care to its continuum of services.
A new unit of the Galloway Township center, Seashore Gardens Without Walls, will offer mainly elderly clients an array of services including meal preparation, medication assistance, bathing assistance, doctor visits, exercise programs, light housekeeping and companionship.
"Being in health-care services for 100 years, it made sense to diversify and to provide services to allow people to stay at home," said Janice Cambron, executive director and administrator of Seashore Gardens Living Center. "We already have the nurses, doctors and nursing aides, all well-trained and vetted. And we know the procedures and what to look for."
The center already provides assisted living, short- and long-term nursing care, dementia care, respite care and full rehabilitation services.
Cambron, of Egg Harbor Township, said the new unit was suggested by the need for patients discharged from rehab to get monitoring and other services at home rather than in a hospital setting.
Seashore Gardens Without Walls is licensed by New Jersey as a Health Care Service Firm, she said, "which enables us to provide a variety of services from professional nursing to certified home health aid to housekeeping if they need it."
She said the need for additional home care is shown in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's ranking of Atlantic County at 17th out of 21 counties in the state for overall health outcomes.
In particular, the foundation's County Health Rankings & Roadmaps site shows a higher rate of preventable hospital stays in Atlantic County (73 per 1,000 Medicare enrollees) than the state (69 per 1,000) or the nation (47 per 1,000).
Cambron said the aging of baby boomers is also increasing demand for home-care services.
"People may start out just needing housekeeping services, but as they age in place they may need somebody to come in and help with such issues as bathing or to talk about programs for the care they need, to advocate for them," she said.
Medication monitoring and ensuring the right prescriptions are taken at the right times is a big need, with the average person older than 65 taking 14 pills per day, she said.
The professionally screened caregivers of Seashore Gardens Without Walls have expertise in case management, nursing and social work. Caregivers are especially trained to encourage social connections and assist clients with interests and hobbies.
The services will be affordable, she said, and can be for a few hours or up to 24-hour assistance. The staff will be available on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Cambron said the home-care unit will have a staff of about 30 to start, and is looking for more certified nursing assistants.
Seashore Gardens Without Walls LLC is set up as a for-profit unit of the parent nonprofit Seashore Gardens Foundation.
That was in part a result of "looking at diversifying and seeing what matches our mission and our goal," Cambron said. "In some cases, it makes more sense to be a business than a nonprofit."
For example, nonprofits are always doing fundraising to offset deficits, she said, "and that won't be the case for this particular endeavor."
She said she hopes the revenue of the home-care unit is enough to cover expenses, and if it exceeds expenses, any profit would go to the parent nonprofit foundation.
"We feel this is also a way to give back to the community," she said.
Contact Kevin Post:
Seashore Gardens Without Walls LLC
Location: 22 W. Jimmie Leeds Road, Galloway Township
Owner: Seashore Gardens Foundation