Thirty years ago, health care industry professionals took a leap of faith by opening a home health division of Lane Regional Medical Center.

With more than 30 staffers, Lane Home Health has survived an explosion of home health agencies that have sprung in the north capital region, said Summer Russum, community relations coordinator for Lane Home Health.

The home health agency has registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nurse’s assistants and therapists providing services to patients in the area, she said.

Director Lori Hopwood, a registered nurse who has worked at Lane Regional for 24 years, has spent the past 10 working at Lane Home Health.

“We are so pleased to be here today. I can’t believe it’s been 30 years, but we’re still going strong,” Hopwood said at the milestone party Oct. 9. “The home health market is very competitive. Not many can say they’ve been around for 30 years like we can.”

An anniversary party with cake and punch was attended by current and former Lane Home Health staff and Lane RMC employees.

“In a vast market of home health agencies, Lane Home Health has thrived,” said Charlie Massey, chief executive officer of Lane RMC when Lane Home Health first opened in 1984. “Home health care wasn’t very popular back then, but it met a definite need within the community. We were nervous when we first opened.”

Since Lane Home Health first began operations, about 15,000 patients have been provided with in-home care throughout East and West Baton Rouge, East and West Feliciana, Livingston, Pointe Coupee and St. Helena parishes.

Jennifer Johnson, who was at Lane RMC when the home health agency first opened, said the main goal of home health is to prevent lengthy hospital stays with in-home preventative care and specialized care that typically cannot be rendered by family members alone.

“Home health exists to keep patients out of the hospital,” said Johnson, chief nursing officer at Lane.

Brenda James, a certified nurse’s assistant, and Barbara McCurley, a licensed practical nurse, have been with LHH the longest. The two attended the anniversary party last Thursday that was held in the cafeteria at Lane RMC.

McCurley, a Mississippi native, has been with Lane RMC for 25 years, the past 19 with LHH, while James, born and raised in Zachary, has been with LHH for 23 years. McCurley says she feels home health is becoming more and more important because “patients are coming home a lot sicker, and home health prevents them from going back into the hospital.”

Julie McLin, director of marketing at Lane RMC, and Mark Anderson, Lane CFO, were also on hand to wish the home health caregivers congratulations on their milestone.

“This is community healthcare at its finest,” Anderson said. “LHH is held to the same strict standards that the hospital is, so patients know they’re getting the best health care but at home.”

Lane Home Health recently earned a deficiency-free survey from the Department of Health and Hospitals.

Russum said the deficiency-free rating came after a thorough check of the facility that’s akin to a health care audit and lasts about a week. She said the surveys are given by DHH about every three years.

“It’s very rare that a health care facility earns a deficiency-free survey,” said McLin, who believes educating patients on their right to choose their own home health provider is important.

“We’ve seen a lot of changes in the past 30 years,” Hopwood said.

“Regulations have changed, services have expanded, technology has improved, and our team has grown. Throughout it all, our one constant has been to keep the needs of our patients first and foremost.”

Lane Home Health provides care seven days a week for patients confined to the home and recovering from injury or illness.

Some of the skilled services offered include: pre- and post-operative care, diabetic management, cardiac home care, IV antibiotic therapy, pain management, wound care/wound vac, physical/speech/occupational therapy, peripheral vascular disease, hydration therapy, medical social services and intermittent personal care.

For more information, call Lane Home Health at (225) 658-4150 or visit www.lanehomehealth.com.