Circle of Life Home Care

HealthStar Home Health helps the populations we serve by identifying and focusing on prevalent health conditions such as high rates of heart disease or diabetes in specific communities. Responding to requests from people in diverse communities, HealthStar develops culturally-relevant services while identifying barriers to care, and then launches culture-specific care and prevention programs. Today, our programs offer services that address the unique needs of populations such as African Immigrant, African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, and other communities. This month we caught up with Holly Eide, Circle of Life Home Care’s Area Manager to learn more about this particular initiative and the Native Americans they serve.

Circle of Life Home Care is a home health care initiative offering personal health care services in the ten-county area of northwestern New Mexico, and the newly opened office in Casa Grande, Arizona. Following in the footsteps of the First Nations Home Health initiative which serves the Native populations in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro and greater Minnesota area, in 2009 HealthStar Home Health opened a second office committed to providing culturally sensitive care to the Navajo tribal members both on and off the Reservations.

col_342x342Circle of Life Home Care offers services which are specifically designed to enhance the health and well-being of Native American individuals. The New Mexico office is a short distance from the Navajo nation, which has about 330,000 members. This is the second largest tribal population nationwide, the largest being the Cherokee tribe. All the employees in our New Mexico office are Navajo-speaking and are members of the tribe themselves.

Since treating through our First Nations and Circle of Life Home Care initiatives, we have discovered common health issues amongst the Native American population. We see a higher population of Type 2 diabetes, which cause disabilities or a need for transfusions for some. Most individuals we care for in our Circle of Life Home Care initiative are elderly (age 65+) and many still live in a Hogan which have no flooring, no running water and are heated by a wood stove. A Hogan is a traditional Navajo hut made out of wood particles or clay. Others may live on the Reservation, or in a trailer home, while others live in neighborhoods near the Reservation.

When invited into the home of a patient to provide care, HealthStar Home Health and our professionals understand the need to be respectful of their wishes and environment. Our team of professionals works with the patient to provide the non-medical care they need. Our personal caregivers can offer reminders for medication, grooming, bathing, housekeeping and laundry services, and accompany to appointments. The client coordinators work with the caregivers through supervision, training and follow up with the clients to ensure the proper services are being provided. If there is a need for skilled therapies, such as physical therapy or occupational therapy, we work with other professionals to refer those services. Some clients may wish to use traditional medicines or request to work with a medicine man vs modern medicine and in those cases, HealthStar still respects their wishes.

At the Casa Grande, Arizona location, (which celebrated their 1-year anniversary in October 2018!), the clientele is different than in New Mexico. Although Arizona is a part of the Circle of Life Home Care initiative, the tribes have their own hospital and doctors, and HealthStar does not service the members on the Reservation. Instead, our Arizona location sees many clients who are aged 55+ disabled, ‘snowbirds’, and other local clients. There are 7 tribes in the AZ area, but they are more self-sufficient and prefer to care for their tribal members within the tribes. The Casa Grande area is approximately ½ Spanish speaking and we are able to cater to those individuals through team members who can communicate with them.

Here at HealthStar, our Native American-specific programs (First Nations and Circle of Life) offers equitable access to health care in order to reduce health disparities in diverse communities. Our cultural competence program, the 24ECC, internalized the values of those we serve:

We enjoy learning about traditions and being involved with the community by attending local holiday parties and visiting the local chapter houses. We partner with the chapter houses, or community centers, to support the seniors by offering memory screenings and other important events.

HealthStar Home Health understands how overwhelming and challenging it can be to care for a loved one at home and offers a variety of home healthcare services to help support your loved one to live a more independent and fulfilling life at home. To learn more about the various skilled nursing and therapies, and mental health services available, as well as the cultural initiatives we offer, visit our website.

Choosing home healthcare services shouldn’t involve settling for care that doesn’t reflect the needs of the individual. With HealthStar Home Health you will always be in control of your care (or that of your loved one), and allow you to receive the services you need in conjunction with the attentiveness to cultural background that defines superior home health care. Call us today at 651-633-7300 for more information or to schedule a no-charge consultation.

HHH - Holly Eide

Holly Eide, Area Manager, Arizona + New Mexico. Holly has been with HealthStar Home Health for over eight years, the last 5+ years running the Circle of Life Home Care program. Holly has been involved with many initiatives over the years, including the Alzheimer’s Whisperer program and educating on the importance of memory screenings.

Obesity

The widespread presence of obesity in the United States is increasing across all age groups. According to the Obesity Action Coalition, it is estimated that 93 million Americans are affected by obesity. It is also reported that socioeconomic status plays a significant role. Populations which are low-income and minority are more likely to be overweight and tend to experience it at a higher rate.

We at HealthStar Home Health see firsthand how obesity affects our patients and their families, especially when working with the Native American population in Minnesota, New Mexico and Arizona. According to a report by the Shakopee Mdwakanton Sioux Community, the rate of obesity in children is on the rise and coupled with diabetes will soon reach 50%. These alarming statistics and others show the epidemic will continue to grow amongst Native Americans in Minnesota. According to the Mayo Clinic, obesity typically results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, such as:

  • Genetics: A person’s genes may affect the amount of body fat stored and where it is distributed in the body. A person’s genetics will also play a role in the efficiency your body converts food into energy and the rate calories are burned during exercise.
  • Activity level: If a person is not very active, not as many calories are burned. When a person leads a sedentary lifestyle usually more calories are consumed than burned through routine daily activities and exercise. This leads to weight gain.
  • Family lifestyle: Obesity tends to run in families. If one or both parents are obese, the risk of their children being obese is higher. This is not the same as genetics, but instead due to family members having similar eating and activity habits.
  • Unhealthy diet: A diet that is high in calories, fast food and oversized portions, but lacking in fruits and vegetables will lead to weight gain.
  • Social and economic issues: Scientific research has linked social and economic factors to obesity. Avoiding this is difficult if there are not safe areas to exercise, education on healthy ways of cooking or the means to buy healthier foods.

There are many other causes and contributing factors that can lead to obesity, this is just a sampling.

The risk of developing further health complications, some of which can be serious is higher for those who are obese, including but not limited to:

Understanding the risk factors involved is important as well as working to prevent obesity with available treatment options such as medication, healthy nutrition plans and a regular exercise routine.

HealthStar Home Health’s culturally-relevant programs offer services that address the unique needs of the Native American population. First Nation’s Home Health is Minnesota’s premier provider of home health services for Native American communities in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area as well as Duluth and Bemidji. By offering home health care services on the Red Lake, White Earth, Leech Lake, Bois Fort, Fond du Lac and Mille Lacs Reservations, our HealthStar Home Health nurses see the effects of obesity each day and work to empower patients and their families to be active participants in their care.

Circle of Life Home Care is a home health care initiative offering personal health care services in the ten-county area of northwestern New Mexico and in Arizona. Through both of these programs, HealthStar Home Health is committed to providing culturally sensitive care to the Native American population both on and off the Reservations.

With services such as life and health management, mental health, home health and home help, HealthStar Home Health helps make families and communities strong by enabling individuals of all ages to live longer, more independent and fulfilling lives. Call us today at 651-633-7300 for more information or to schedule a no-charge health care consultation.

Keeping Traditions Alive and Celebrating Different Cultures Through the Holidays

The holidays are upon us and with this time of year comes opportunity to spend time with family and friends, giving to those in need, and traditions rich with fond memories and cultural celebrations.

Minnesota is home to a diverse cultural population and HealthStar Home Health is proud to serve families in many of these cultures. We often see families passing on holiday traditions to the next generation. Here are some of the cultures we work with and a little about their traditions.

The Hmong New Year is a huge celebration in the Hmong community with many family members traveling to be part of the extravagant festivities. St. Paul, Minnesota plays host to the New Year celebration which typically lasts up to 5 days and includes sports tournaments, pageants, and other contests or forms of entertainment, along with feasts of delicious traditional Hmong food. Historically, the Hmong New Year was celebrated to give thanks to ancestors and spirits as well as to welcome a new beginning. Although there are no dress code requirements, many Hmong Americans choose to wear traditional Hmong clothing during this time. The Hmong New Year celebration typically occurs late November to early December, which is the end of the rice harvesting season when all their work is done and serves as a Thanksgiving holiday for the Hmong people.

Minneapolis and St. Paul are home to thriving Latino communities. According to the Minnesota Historical Society, Catholicism plays an important role in the daily lives of Latinos and many Latino homes include an altar for prayer with statues of saints. The parish church is the center of the Latino community. Some of Latin America’s most recognized traditions are associated with this time of year. Parents use this opportunity to develop their children’s cultural identity and spend time with family by sharing these holiday traditions. One important Mexican festival is the Las Posadas, which is a nine-day event commemorating the journey of Mary and Joseph before the birth of Jesus on Christmas day. Often, there are reenactments and processions at church or in their homes to celebrate this with their family and community.

The most popular Russian holiday is their New Year celebration, which leads into the Orthodox Christmas celebration. The Russian New Year holiday is traditionally a 5-day non-working holiday from January 1 through January 5. Traditionally there is a decorated New Year tree and the Russian children believe in the mythical Grandfather Frost. Much like Santa Claus, Grandfather Frost is a beloved character who wears a long blue or red coat with a matching hat, and carries gifts in a large sack on his back. Grandfather Frost also carries a magical staff that has the power to freeze everything around him. Many attend New Year’s parties where it is customary to dress up in costume and children memorize a poem or song to recite for Grandfather Frost in exchange for a small gift. There is plenty of traditional Russian food and drink to share with family and friends.

Pow Wows are a time to put aside differences and focus on celebrating life and traditions. The Ojibwe Native Americans celebrate many different traditions, but the most well-know may be the Pow Wow celebration. This is a time when they come together to celebrate their history and religion using various art forms, such as dance, music, and art. The drum is the main focus of the Pow Wow. Made of wood and hide, approximately three feet in diameter, its circular shape represents the circle of life. The drum is a very sacred object, made only for sacred use, and before the Pow Wow drum can be pounded or used in a ceremony it must be blessed by an elder. Thru the drum, the Ojibwe are reminded of their connection to Mother Earth. Selling or trading arts, feasting on traditional foods, song, and dance are all very important aspects of a Pow Wow.

HealthStar Home Health offers culturally-relevant services that address the unique needs of our Minnesota, Arizona and New Mexico populations. We promote independence and self-sufficiency by empowering patients and their families to be active participants in the provision of care. Using culturally-sensitive approaches, HealthStar Home Health offer our clients a wide variety of services in home health care, community based care, mental health, and personal care assistance with focused sensitivity to economic factors and health beliefs. Call HealthStar Home Health today at 651-633-7300 for more information or to schedule a no-charge consultation to discuss the many services we can customize to your needs.

First Nations Home Health

HealthStar Home Health is proud to announce the launch of a new website and an initiative with First Nations Home Health – Minnesota’s premier provider of home health services for Native American communities.

First Nations Home Health emerged as a response to community need to provide culturally relevant services to underserved populations. What began in 2003 in Minneapolis as a handful of caregivers has grown to a team including nursing & therapy staff and administrative employees serving communities in Minnesota, Wisconsin and New Mexico.

Our mission is to provide unparalleled public health care services while respecting the unique needs of our culturally diverse clientele through stewardship, honor-driven values, and a genuine desire to serve. One way we fulfill our mission is to serve communities by empowering people with mobility, cognitive and sensory disabilities live more independent lives at home. We also help the Native American communities we serve by identifying and focusing on common health issues such as heart disease and diabetes.

It is extremely difficult to care for a senior loved one at home and we understand how overwhelming it can be. First Nations Home Health serves the Native American population with an approach that is culturally sensitive to the unique and ethnic needs of the communities. Our services are specifically designed to enhance the health and well-being of those living on and off the reservations supported by First Nations Home Health. Here is just a sampling of what we offer:

Home Health Care Services

  • Skilled Services
  • Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care
  • Behavioral Nursing
  • Private Duty Nursing

Mental Health Services

  • Children’s Therapeutic Services and Supports (CTSS)
  • Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (ARMHS)

Personal Care Services

  • Traditional

Home and Community Based Services

  • Homemaking
  • Respite
  • Chores
  • Companion Care

We are proud to say we hire from within the community whenever possible and complete a full background study on each in-home caregiver, as well as a face-to-face interview, reference checks and competency evaluation. Once on board, all employees are provided training and many are trained at the home health aid level. Our team of caregivers, nurses and case managers consistently provide services that allow your aging loved ones to stay at home in familiar cultural surrounding, develop good health habits and reduce hospitalizations. With skilled professionals who provide a broad range of quality programs and services, our goal is to improve the health status of Native Americans who experience an unusually high rate of preventable illnesses.

At First Nations Home Health, we seek to understand and address the key issues that affect the health of individuals and families in the Native American community, providing culturally competent health care services, and engaging in prevention and health education initiatives. We deliver care with integrity, compassion, respect, and dignity. We look forward to serving you.

Diabetes and the Native American Population

The numbers are alarming. 40% of Native Americans in Minnesota have diabetes according to Lori Watso, a former public health nurse and Shakopee tribe member as quoted in a Star Tribune article. This epidemic will continue to expand as Native Americans are nearly twice as likely as whites to become obese, more than twice as likely to have Type II diabetes and, among children, the rate of obesity and diabetes will soon reach 50% according to a report by the Shakopee Mdwakanton Sioux Community. Not limited to a few tribes living on reservations, the entire northern part of Minnesota contains four of the five least healthy counties where two-fifths of the population in Mahnomen County (least healthy) is Native American, 11.9% in Cass (#2) and 20.8% in Beltrami (#5). This according to County Health Rankings from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin). These numbers are not at all surprising to us here at Healthstar Home Health as it’s a common health issue we treat through our First Nations and Circle of Life Home Health initiatives. Karen Moses, RN Case Manager in our greater Minnesota branch location says that 90% of her clients have diabetes and 99% are Native American. By offering home health care services on the Red Lake, White Earth, Leech Lake, Bois Fort, Fond du Lac and Mille Lacs Reservations, we see firsthand the affects of diabetes and are working to empower patients and their families to be active participants in the solution.

Risk Factors

Obesity
With an abundance of fat cells in the body, insulin cannot do its job which is to take glucose (sugar) out of the bloodstream and pack it into healthy cells. Gaining as little as 10 pounds over 15 years can double your insulin resistance and increase your risk of diabetes. Obese adults are seven times more likely to develop diabetes compared to adults at a healthy weight. But, for the Native American population, what causes obesity?

Poor Nutrition
Prior to the Civil War, Type 2 diabetes was practically non-existent. Following the war, Indians were forced onto reservations and the government began providing food commodities according to Devon Abbott Mihesuah, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma who runs the American Indian Health and Diet Project at the University of Kansas.  Wild rice and grains gave way to flour, processed cheese and macaroni and low fat meats such as fish, deer and rabbit was replaced by beef and pork.

Sedentary Lifestyle
Also prior to the Civil War, Native Americans lived off the land which kept them active with fishing, harvesting, gathering and trapping. With the lack of a replacement to these activities and acquisitions of motorized vehicles, a once active community found themselves sitting often with very little exercise.

Genetics
The thrifty gene hypothesis penned by James V. Neel states that some populations have genes which enable them to efficiently maintain higher levels of healthy fat during periods of food abundance that is depleted during periods of shortage (feast and famine). While this hypothesis has often been disputed, the activity and types of foods involved with storing food for the winter do give credence to a difference in lifestyle. Genetic markers and body type also indicate a genetic predisposition to diabetes.

Alcoholism
According the Indian Health Services, the rate of alcoholism among Native Americans is six times the U.S. average. Alcohol is often high sugar and carbohydrates which quickly turns into fat. Depression is associated with alcoholism which leads to a host of other health factors.

Treatments

Medication
Pills and insulin injections are the most commonly prescribed treatments. It is still up to the patient to take the medication which can be an issue.

Nutrition Programs
Residents at the Little Earth of United Tribes are growing food common to their ancestors which they call the “decolonized diet” according to a Star Tribune article. Nutrition counseling that we offer through First Nations Home Health includes reading labels and eating all 5 food groups in moderation.

Exercise Programs
Childhood obesity is prevalent int the Native American Population. To combat this, the diabetic fitness center at the reservation on Leech Lake, MN holds fitness programs, camps and a walk-a-thon to bring awareness to the issue. Members can get a doctor’s prescription to use the center safely and employees of the tribal government are given a 30 minute break per day specifically to exercise.

Dangers if Not Treated
If diabetes is not treated or properly controlled, the body starts eating away at muscle as it tries to burn muscle for energy. Other health issues that could occur:

  • Neuropathy (numbness) in feet & toes
  • Ulcers
  • Gangrene
  • Blindess
  • Damage to eyes, kidneys and liver

Even with all of these treatments, the epidemic is getting worse. That is why the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is partnering with the University of Minnesota and two other nonprofits to launch Seeds of Native Health whose goal is to offer better access to healthy food which focusing on education and research. Here at HealthStar, our Native American-specific programs (First Nations and Circle of Life) offers equitable access to health care in order to reduce health disparities in diverse communities. Our cultural competence program, the 24ECC, internalizes the values of those we serve.