Working at Homeland

Q: How do I apply for a job?

A: Homeland Center has a longstanding reputation as a "best place" to work. We are proud of the many families who have had multiple generations employed here and the many employees from the neighborhood. Our vision is to attract and retain employees that have a desire to excel in their chosen fields, and to develop, empower and nurture employees to excel at Homeland and in their private lives.

Homeland Center offers an attractive benefit program, including health insurance, retirement and opportunities to advance. It is a drug-free workplace and all applicants must pass appropriate background checks and physical exams before being employed.

Click Here for the Employment Application

Interested persons can also pick one up at the receptionist desks at either the entrance on 6th Street or Muench Street. All information in the application must be completed before being submitted along with payment for the background check.
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Prior to Moving to Homeland

Q. Mom and Dad are struggling more with day to day activities, and I'm trying to anticipate their changing needs. What is the difference between a nursing home and a personal care home?

A: Nursing homes are licensed medical facilities that are inspected and licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. They must meet both state and federal regulations. There is third party reimbursement (Medicare and Medicaid) for those who qualify based on income. Nursing homes usually offer skilled nursing care for patients who require medical, nursing or rehabilitative services but not the level of care or treatment available in a hospital. Nursing homes also offer long term care support for individuals needing a higher level of support with health or personal needs and activities of daily living.

Personal care homes are residential facilities that offer personal care services, assistance and supervision to four or more persons. They are inspected and licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. Sometimes they are advertised as "assisted living residences," "retirement homes" or "boarding homes." A personal care home must have a license in order to operate in Pennsylvania. There are state licensing regulations that apply to personal care homes. These regulations are aimed at protecting the health, safety and well-being of the residents. There are no federal regulations for personal care homes. There is no third party reimbursement for personal care homes, but many personal care homes accept residents of low income who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Personal care homes/facilities offer a range of support services to help residents accomplish routine tasks they would normally do for themselves if they could, often referred to as activities of daily living (ADLs). The support typically includes help with eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, personal hygiene, light housework and medication management.

Q: How do I apply for admission to Homeland Center for me or someone else?

A: The Applicant Profile is available through our website. Click Here

You also can call 717-221-7901 for Personal Care or 717-221-7918 for Skilled Care to request an information package. It contains a description of our services, prices and includes the Applicant Profile. The same application is used for Personal Care and Skilled Nursing and it should be completely filled out.
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Q: Can I take a tour?

A: Yes, tours are available by appointment. Please contact Debbie Haas at 717-221-7918 to schedule a tour of the Skilled Care or Dementia unit; call Ginger Sergott at 717-221-7901 to arrange for a tour of the Personal Care unit.

Q: What types of payment do you accept?

A: For residents in Personal Care, Homeland Center accepts private pay and long term care insurance (when applicable). The daily fee reflects the charge for the Personal Care suite and the day-to-day costs of providing quality service and care.

For residents in Skilled Care and our Dementia Unit, Homeland Center accepts private pay and the following other forms of payment when they apply/have been approved: long term care insurance, Medicare, medical assistance, private insurance and benevolent care under certain circumstances.

Q: How long after I submit the application until I know if there is space available?

A: On the Applicant Profile, you'll be asked to indicate what timeframe you have in mind for moving to Homeland Center. That information, along with an understanding of the circumstances, will allow the admissions team to work with you to get the answer within the window of time you need.
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Q: Does Homeland Center require a power of attorney and a living will for admission?

A: No; however, we encourage all residents to have a durable medical and financial power of attorney and a living will. It is important to have someone appointed to make medical and financial decisions should you become unable to do so.
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Q: What do your rooms look like?

A: Schematics of a variety of room layouts are available on the Personal Care and Skilled Nursing Care pages of this website.

Living at Homeland

Our goal is to provide you with the answers regarding your loved one's new life at Homeland Center. Some questions reflect the emotional turmoil common to the adjustment phase; others address more practical matters like laundry and special diets. Our hope is that we can offer some comfort and practical advice to you through what often feels like an emotional roller coaster.

Q: Is parking available for residents? Where can I park when I come to visit?

A: Parking is available for residents who choose to bring a car with them; friends and visitors can find parking in a number of different areas on and around the campus of Homeland Center. For detailed information, click here to look at the map and instructions.

For GPS purposes only, use the following address: 1924 N. 6th Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102.

Q: What transportation services are available for residents?

A: Homeland Center has several vans and a small shuttle bus used to transport residents. For activities sponsored by Homeland Center, the transportation is provided at no charge. Homeland does offer transportation services for residents to off campus medical appointments for an additional fee.

Q: Will Dad have access to money if he needs it?

A: Yes; see the administrative assistant in the CEO's office about setting up a resident account that your father can access to cover personal expenses.
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Emotional Moments

Major life changes are tough on everyone, but preparation and support can ease the transition. Social workers and psychiatrists are available to counsel individual residents and families during the transition. The hospice team of social workers, chaplains and bereavement counselors are available for support for end-of-life issues.

Q: My dad and I chose Homeland Center because we both thought it was the best thing to do. But suddenly I'm being treated as though I have abandoned him to pursue my own selfish pleasures. How can I make it clear that I only have his best interests at heart?

A: The decision to admit a family member to a residential home setting is never an easy one. But whenever you begin to doubt the decision, remember the advantages Homeland Center offers your family member:

  • 24-hour care, with medical assistance always available.
  • A sense of community and activity, which can encourage residents to get up, dress and get out enjoying a community meal in the dining room or an organized activity in the recreation room.
  • Staff members who become attached to the people in their care and work to make their lives as comfortable and interesting as possible.
  • Trained nurses who teach skills and promote self-care.
  • Medical staff that tracks the individual progress (as well as the medical needs) of each resident, on a regular basis.
  • Tasty and nutritious meals on a regular schedule, with help for those who need it, and special attention for those whose diets need to be monitored.
  • Finally, more satisfying relationships with family members who, with the stress of routine daily care transferred to our staff, now have sufficient energy and time to devote to the emotional needs of their family member.


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Q: How can I help my parent settle into their new residence more easily?

A: You can help your loved one settle into life in Homeland Center best by remembering that they are not just moving, but moving into their new home, which may not be what they envisioned would happen as they aged. Although it's important that any decorative item not interfere with the caregiving mission or safety policies of Homeland, thoughtful decorating can help the care team meet its goals of caring not just for the body, but for the mind and spirit of residents as well.

Consider the following:

  • You can help restore some sense of home environment by decorating rooms with things brought from their previous home.
  • Bring things your Mom or Dad made or collected. Bring items that have always been important to them, like a chair or picture.
  • Provide photos of yourself or your family. Provide pictures of their favorite subjects, or of religious or other familiar scenes.
  • If your parent is able to enjoy them, supply magazines, books and newspapers; if not, bring tape-recorded books or music.
  • Attend activities with your family member to encourage social involvement.


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Q: My mother is still angry and keeps saying she wants to go home. Will she ever adjust to the move?

A: Suffice it to say that the first 30 to 45 days may be uncomfortable for both of you. Don't be surprised if during the early days of your Mom's residency at Homeland Center, the whole family experiences some degree of guilt, tension, fear or fatigue.

Your mother may do or say things that will upset you. She may express, either verbally or non-verbally, her dissatisfaction with the new arrangements and her desire to go home. She may act mad or hurt, berate or ignore you. Remember that these behaviors, and your reactions to them, are perfectly normal under the circumstances. Adjusting to new living arrangements is a process that all residents go through in their own way, and at their own speed. The adjustment won't be accomplished overnight, but as the days turn into weeks, you'll find her talking less about her old home and more about her new. In the meantime, the staff is always there to help see you through the peaks and valleys of this very emotional experience. Don't be afraid to ask for a little moral support.

Coping With Guilt and Resentment

Learn ways to express that you only have your loved one's best interests at heart.

Q: I feel so relieved, and so guilty for feeling that way. Are my feelings normal?

A: Guilt. Resentment. Confusion. Relief. All of these and more are common and understandable reactions to a family member moving into a long-term care home such as Homeland Center. Whether the move was long overdue, the result of a sudden illness or a drastic change in circumstance, such a major change in the life of a loved one resonates throughout a family.

Q: I know my relative should be here, but I made a promise years ago that we'd never resort to a long-term care home. I feel as though I have gone back on my word.

A: One of the most difficult situations a person can face in life is moving an elderly family member into a long-term care home, even with the quality that Homeland Center offers, after having promised, often years before, never to do so. If you've had to break such a promise it's important to take some time to separate what you feel about your decision from what you know. For example, even though you might feel as though keeping that kind of a promise is important, you might know that it was no longer safe for your mother or father to live alone.

Remember:

  • As circumstances change in your life, so, too, do your options. The "best" solution to a problem ten years ago might not be the best solution today.
  • All you can give is your best. If you've considered all the options and made the best decision you can, you have nothing to feel guilty about.
  • Doing the impossible to keep your family member at home is precisely that - impossible. Few people can provide the 24-hour care Homeland Center can provide.
  • Try to listen to your head. Being relieved of the daily physical and emotional stress of a practically impossible home care situation can enable you to enjoy your relationship again.
  • You're not alone. At the heart of almost all guilt suffered from placing a family member in a long-term care home is the unspoken concern that a promise has been broken. Talk to others who have made a similar decision and share your conflicting emotions.


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Q: Even though I was killing myself trying to take care of both my Dad and family, since he has moved to Homeland Center I've felt even worse. Instead of appreciating all that the staff does for him, I resent them for caring for him better than I could, and guilty for being so childish. What is wrong with me?

A: Nothing is wrong with you. Soon you'll get to know the staff, and realize that they're not taking your relative away from you. Moreover, you'll discover that what you can offer him, no one else can provide. In the meantime, share your feelings either with someone on the staff, or someone who has been in a similar position. Don't worry about sounding irrational. Your reaction is much more common than you think.
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Q: As the only relative in town, I feel I have too much responsibility for my parent, while my siblings out of town feel guilt for not helping more. How can we share the load more equitably?

A:Your parent is only the first of many family members that will find this life change stressful. Admitting a close relative to a long-term care home brings to the surface all kinds of life issues that we often keep on the back burner.

Often, those caregivers who assumed the major responsibility for the decision have become the primary caregiver by default, as the only relatives in proximity. By the time the decision is actually made, they may feel exhausted and depressed, as well as resentful of all the responsibilities. On the other hand, out-of-town relatives who only see their family member rested and dressed for 'company', may argue for care options that they would realize were unrealistic if they were the primary caregiver for just a day. All family members need to make a concerted effort to empathize with others points of view and the needs and conflicts they face.

When it comes down to the nitty gritty of decision-making, strive for consensus, but don't force it. Try to get only those commitments from family members that can be given, honestly and realistically. If that leads to nothing decisive or realistic, try to agree on a temporary or trial measure, recognizing that some family members do not favor the option, but that, as yet, no other solution has presented itself.
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Making Your Time and Visits Count

Discover how to make the most of your visits with your loved ones and how to communicate by mail and through other methods of interaction. Join them in a group activity at Homeland Center. Schedule a one to one activity with the staff. Use Skype.

Q: Dad and I never did talk much, and now conversation is even harder. What can I talk about that won't make us both uncomfortable?

A: Often relatives and friends find it painfully difficult to visit a family member during the early days of his residency. They may feel it their duty to keep the conversation light and to avoid any topics that might make everyone uncomfortable.

Talking about the 'uncomfortable' things can be therapeutic for residents and for their family members. If he can't talk frankly with you, his family member, with whom will he be able to talk it out?

Remember, encouraging discussion of difficult topics is one thing. Forcing a discussion is another. Some individuals may simply prefer not to talk. Perhaps they'll be ready to talk at another time when it suits them better, or perhaps they will decline to talk at all. Our job is to listen for the signals, reopen the invitation from time to time in case feelings and needs have changed, and always respect the other person's right to privacy.

Talk about good memories. Bring a picture or food that will trigger memories of a good time. Talk about grand and great-grandchildren, bringing them to visit when possible.
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Q: How can visits seem like they used to be at her home?

A:Successful visiting is like any other social skill - it can be improved upon with a little bit of work and some practice. Consider these tips for better visiting:

  • Plan ahead. You can help avoid the "duty" visit by remembering why you used to visit your relative before she became a resident. If you shared a passion for jigsaw puzzles, bring one along and help her get it started. If you're both big readers, read aloud a chapter from a book each time you visit.
  • Write letters for her, take her out to lunch and to the mall, or to get her hair done, meet her new friends, or brag about the kids with report cards, photographs, school projects, and even videotapes to back you up!
  • Ask your family member for a tour of Homeland Center. Don't feel pressured to entertain; instead, if shes able, let her be hostess to you.
  • Don't fear reminiscing. Gerontologists are showing that such 'life review' is an important adjustment mechanism that helps elderly people put their situation into perspective and deal with lingering conflicts.
  • Volunteer to help in Homeland Center's group activities to get better acquainted.


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Q: My kids can sometimes be a handful. Should I bring them on visits or will they just wear Dad out?

A: Bring them. It's easy to underestimate the importance of a connection between children and elder family members, but studies show that the relationship between grandparent and grandchild is second only to that of parent and child.
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Q: Homeland Center is two towns over and I can't always visit. Should I send mail?

A: Few things can brighten a resident's day more than receiving mail. Whether you use it to stay in touch with your family member between visits or to maintain touch if you can't visit as often as you'd like, don't ignore the therapeutic benefits of regular letters and notes to your family member. Include pictures or news articles about topics of interest to them.

Phone calls are great ways to just remind your loved one you are thinking of them. Consider using Skype or other methods to interact.
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Finding Help for You

Learn how to take care of yourself during this stressful time.

Q: Dad seems to be getting all the support he needs, but what about me? Where can I go for some encouragement and feedback?

A:To the person responsible for caring for a family member, it may sometimes seem that there is no lack of support for the elderly, but very little support for the caregiver. Check out some of these resources for caregiver support:

Outside Homeland Center:

  • Look for local offices on aging, plus local programs sponsored by long-term care homes, hospitals or civic organizations.
  • Watch the health section of your local newspaper and the community calendar. Visit the local library and talk to the librarian about resources available through the library.

Inside Homeland Center:

  • Talk with Homeland Center's social workers and staff. They can often help you sort out and identify the conflicting emotions you may be experiencing, as well as provide some practical solutions for some of the more mundane problems you are facing.


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Q: I want to do more than simply visit my husband in his new home. Does Homeland Center ever need volunteers?

A: Yes, Homeland Center staff is delighted at the prospect of a new volunteer, especially one whose family member is a resident. You can learn more about some of the volunteer opportunities and complete the Volunteer Application by clicking on this link.
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Issues Unique to Residents with Cognitive Impairment

Many people who live in Homeland Center suffer from injuries or diseases that damage the brain. The damage might be temporary, or permanent. Either way, it usually means that the person's ability to think and act is changed. In medical terms, this condition is referred to as dementia or cognitive impairment; the resident is referred to as being 'cognitively impaired'.

Sometimes people mistakenly refer to all forms of cognitive impairment as Alzheimer's disease. However, the fact is that many illnesses and factors cause cognitive impairment in people. Alzheimer's disease is only one of them. It's important for all members of residents health care team, including families and friends, to understand that different people with different factors causing different types of cognitive impairment might need to be treated and helped in different ways.

Q: Every time I visit my mother-in-law, I seem to only confuse her further. What am I doing wrong and how can I avoid upsetting her by my visits?

A:Visiting friends and loved ones who are cognitively impaired can be difficult for both emotional and practical reasons. Not only is it difficult to admit that your mother-in-law of 25 years doesn't recognize you, but it's quite a challenge to carry on a conversation with someone with poor, short-term memory. As your mother-in-law's condition progresses, she will recognize fewer and fewer names and faces. Homeland Center will make every effort to keep you informed of her needs, progress and condition through plan-of-care conferences, family informational meetings, and individual contacts, so you will not be caught unaware by deterioration in her behavior.

In order to make your visits more pleasant for all involved, speak to staff about when might be the best time to plan your visit. If too much is going on e.g. meals, special programs, therapies, etc., it could disrupt your mother-in-law's ability to enjoy your visit.
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Q: I know interaction is supposed to be good for people with cognitive impairment, but I can't hold my mother's attention long enough to carry on a conversation. How can I get her to focus on me?

A:First, find a quiet, non-distracting setting in which you can face your mother and she can observe your body language, facial expressions and mouth movements. Once you're sure you have her attention, speak to your mother in a slow, calm manner, enunciating your words carefully. If she has difficulty understanding some particular phrase or word, rephrase it rather than keep repeating the original words over and over.

Most older persons like to talk about the 'good old days', but in the case of a person with cognitive impairment, that is often all they can talk about. Allow your mother to reminisce, but encourage interaction by tying in one of the facts stored safely in her long-term memory, like her childhood on a farm, into a more current topic, like your children's field trip, for example.

Music is a great memory trigger. Find artwork by your loved ones favorite artist and bring it in to share.

Don't expect a long attention span from your mother. Break up your conversations with short periods of rest. As soon as she indicates that she's tired or distracted, bring the conversation to a close.
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Visiting Policies and Trips Out of Homeland Center

Q: Can I take Mom out occasionally?

A: Yes. Residents are encouraged to go on outings as much as possible. Day trips for your relative, especially on Sundays, holidays, family birthdays or anniversaries are generally very well received. If overnight outings are planned, check with the team at Homeland Center regarding the policy on overnight stays.
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Q: If I take Mom out, does she need to be back by a certain time?

A: Not usually. However, the nursing staff needs to know when you are leaving and the estimated time of return. Medications may be given to you for your mother.
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Personal Items, Clothing and Laundry

Q: What personal items should I pack for my wife?

A: First ask your wife what clothes and special items she wants to bring. Then ask the Admissions Coordinator or social worker for their recommended clothing list and if your wife's situation warrants additional items.
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Q: Should I send Mom's personal items and valuables with her?

A: Ask your mother if she would be upset if an item was broken or lost. If the answer is 'yes', don't send it. Leave expensive jewelry, cash, credit cards and valuable collector's items at home. If, however, certain items carry great symbolic value, such as a wedding ring, look for creative options. For example, replace the valuable wedding ring with another ring that keeps the symbolism alive but that would not cause as much distress if it were lost. Or, bring the wedding ring with you so your mother can enjoy it for the duration of your visit. Lock boxes are available at Homeland Center.
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Q: How will my wife's clothing be laundered and how often?

A: Find out the schedule for laundry on the unit where your wife is residing. Make sure she has plenty of clothes to wear while her dirty clothes are being laundered. If she is incontinent, she may need additional clothes. While laundry is done routinely, you should plan on a one to two day turnaround.
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Q: How can I help keep Mom's clothes from getting lost?

A: If possible, ensure clothing is labeled before your mother is admitted to Homeland Center. If you leave unlabeled clothing with us in a bag, make sure her name is attached to the bag. After admission, you'll need to let the staff know if additional items are brought in or removed. It won't be long before staff members recognize her clothes themselves. Don't panic if something turns up missing. First check to make sure it wasn't taken home by another family member, then report the missing item to the staff.
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Q: Can I do my husband's laundry at home?

A: Yes, but check with the team on your husband's unit. Make sure there's an adequate supply of clothes available to your husband while you're laundering his dirty clothes at home. These clothing items must still be labeled in case they are ever laundered by the Homeland Center staff.
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Food and the Dining Experience

Q: Will Dad be made to eat food he doesn't like?

A: Families are encouraged to help the staff understand strong preferences your Dad might have for foods, likes and dislikes! The staff will try to encourage your father to try different foods, and will help him season his food the way he likes it as soon as they learn his preferences. Residents may choose the food they would like to eat from the menus provided to them on a daily basis. If your father is not able to choose his own menu, you may do so by asking the dietician to make weekly menus available to you for selection.
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Q: Who will help my aunt eat?

A: Everyone who needs assistance in eating receives it. Your aunt will be encouraged to feed herself if at all possible. Special equipment may be used to help her eat independently. If she is unable to do so, however, someone will help her. Family members also are encouraged to assist in feeding their loved ones when it is safe and appropriate to do so.
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Q: Can I stay to eat supper with Dad occasionally?

A: Dining with him can add to his pleasure. There is a nominal charge for guest meals; the charges will be added to the monthly billing statement. Please provide advanced notice, whenever possible, when you would like to dine with your father.
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Q: I'd like to surprise my mother-in-law with some of her favorite foods occasionally. Is there any reason I can't bring her treats from time to time?

A: No, but discuss it with the staff first to make sure the item does not conflict with her diet. Each time you bring in an item, let the staff know. Also try to time your visits so that your mother-in-law can eat the item as part of your visit. Homeland Center has strict regulations to follow on storing and refrigerating foods to keep them as safe as possible. If you bring in something for her to keep in her room that can be stored at room temperature, please help by bringing it in an air-tight container and mark the date on it.
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