“Creating Good Days, Together™” is a novel model of providing compassionate care and support to individuals who can benefit from assistance with care and care navigation to live their lives fully and independently. The principles of this model are grounded in years of research about the processes that have shown to improve health, function, and independence among older adults. Good programs, however, are only as good as the people who run them. Dr. Arlene Houldin is absolutely “the” right person to conceive, launch, and run an initiative to improve care experiences of older adults and their loved ones. Beyond her superb credentials as an astute clinician, educator and researcher at leading nursing and healthcare institutes in the country, Dr. Houldin is known in the professional circles for her genuine and miraculous persona; she has a gift for deeply caring about people, making them feel good and valued, enabling them to realize their goals. As someone who has personally benefitted from the unconditional caring of Dr. Houldin, I cannot think of a better, more genuine and more responsible person to lead and give vision to this important program to improve lives of older individuals. Just from knowing Dr. Houldin, I recommend this program to anyone.”
University of Pennsylvania
“My grandfather’s situation was very frustrating: He is partially immobilized because of a stroke, he can’t hear very well and had a hard time knowing and communicating what his needs were. Having multiple doctors and many medications to take, and not knowing who to trust anymore, he spent most of the time in his bedroom because that’s the only place he felt safe.
I heard of Heal through a friend and I decided to give Dr. Houldin a call. She was very professional, caring, and easy to talk to. She understood how complicated these situations can get and spoke from her years of experience working with an older population.
Dr. Houldin got in touch with my grandmother the next day and was promptly out at my grandparent’s house for a consultation. Dr. Houldin helped my family understand what my grandfather’s needs were as an elder veteran. Amazingly, she was able to get him an appointment with a specialist the next week (while the normal waiting period was 1-2 months) and was able to coordinate his doctor’s appointments. In addition, my grandfather was set up with a reliable older male caregiver who visits on a weekly basis. They get along wonderfully, share similar interests and spend hours in conversation. Thanks to Heal, my grandfather enjoys a renewed quality of life and my family has clarity and peace of mind knowing that his life has been enriched.”
“We didn’t know where to turn to get help for my husband. My husband’s hearing was getting worse. It was so bad that he was getting more and more withdrawn and depressed. My husband finally had an appointment at the hospital to get his hearing aides checked. When he unexpectedly had to be admitted to the hospital, his appointment was canceled. After my husband was discharged, we were told he had to wait for 5 months to get another appointment to check his hearing ! I called HEAL. Dr. Houldin immediately reached out to her contacts within the hospital, explained the great need, and my husband had his appointment moved up to the following week. We finally felt like someone in the system heard us and really cared about us. We are so grateful for the HEAL services.”
“I have been receiving companion care services from HEAL for several months now. Each time I have enjoyed the services of HEAL, I have a difficult time in finding the right words to express my appreciation at the caliber and quality of services I received. When it is time for the companions to leave my home, it almost feels as if a guest is leaving. The service more and more becomes a visit with dear friends. I have discovered that I really miss the companions between home visits.”
“I am so appreciative of the guidance and care my elderly widowed sister received after we consulted Dr. Arlene Houldin, Executive Director of H.E.A.L. My sister Mary is in the early stages of dementia and received a diagnosis of Non-hodgkins lymphoma . She lives alone. She was not taking her medications and she also was unable to go alone to her doctors’ appointments. She has a hematology-oncologist, a nephrologist, a neurologist and an internal medicine physician. She was overwhelmed. Add to all of this, I live in the Midwest and I am her only sibling. She has no children also. I didn’t know where to turn.”
Dr. Houldin visited my sister and assessed her home situation, helped her with filling of her pill boxes and her staff who she sent in to help my sister were all of the best character. Most amazingly, she was able to attend important physician appointments and help my sister understand. All of this was communicated compassionately to her. My sister is now in remission but still needs oversight so our relationship with HEAL continues.”
“My 52-year old brother had a health crisis in March 2012. He lives alone in Pennsylvania, I live in Maryland, and my sister lives in New York. It was overwhelming trying to deal with the health care system, and manage the logistics of his care and personal affairs. During his stay at an assisted living facility, HEAL Executive Director, Arlene Houldin helped us understand my brother’s health challenges, coordinate his medical care (i.e., primary and specialty doctors’ visits, speech, physical, and occupational therapy), and evaluate his ability to return home. Three months later as we transitioned my brother back to his home, HEAL staff conducted a home safety assessment, assisted with medication management, coordinated medical care, and provided nurse companions who monitored my brother’s progress and provided written reports that gave us insight into his day-to-day activities and functionality. Presently, HEAL caregivers take my brother to the pharmacy, doctor, therapy, and social events. They help set up and coordinate services, such as housekeeping, and support my brother in task follow-up and completion. While my brother’s future is uncertain, there is no doubt that the HEAL staff’s skill, integrity, patience, and their commitment have enabled my brother to continue living in the home he loves, and (helped) my family to support him during this difficult time.”
“(The HEAL companion caregiver caring for my mother) Shannon is exactly the type of companion we were hoping to find for our mother, who is dealing with progressive cognitive decline. Shannon is extremely patient, seemingly unruffled by numerous repetitions of mother’s questions during the course of her shift, she calmly repeats answers (for the umpteenth time!) and provides reassurance. Shannon has taken a genuine interest in the types of activities, refreshments, and exercise that mother prefers, and she creatively varies the choices she offers mother through the day. Most importantly, Shannon has such a sweet, winning personality that mother immediately enjoyed her company, and eagerly looks forward to her arrival on Saturdays and Sundays. Shannon is a treasure and she will be a wonderful nurse!”
“Dr. Houldin worked closely with my daughter and me during my recovery from cancer surgery. Having her there to accompany me to doctor visits was invaluable. She advocated for my best interests, and I felt that I had someone in my corner. Dr. Houldin helped draw my doctors’ attention to important considerations such as allergies and sensitivities that might have otherwise been overlooked. Once I was home, HEAL companion caregivers were essential to my recovery. I was impressed by their intelligence, training and professionalism. Thank you, Arlene!”
“I have had many companions care for me from home care agencies for years now. But I have to tell you HEAL companions are the best I ever had. I am blind and I need to trust the people who come into my home. All 3 of my companions are angels! I have fallen in love with my caregivers… Each caregiver has his or her own special ways. They all really care about me. I feel like Arlene picked out the perfect companions just for me.”-Nancy W.
“Several years ago, my mother, was diagnosed with a rare, progressive neurocognitive disorder. This came as a complete shock to our family. I am a health care provider and I knew that with my brother and myself living so far from my parents (abroad and on the West coast), we would need to find additional support for my parents. While evaluating several options for in home care, I felt an immediate sense of relief after talking with Arlene about our situation, due to the depth and breadth of her professional experience and her compassion. Arlene then visited our family and discussed her philosophy and approach to advocacy and care management. She followed up by introducing us to a potential caregiver, who we all felt would be very compatible with my mother , due to her warmth, openness, and attentiveness to every detail. My mother’s companion caregiver initially visited for a few hours each week and as our family’s caregiving needs increased, we were introduced to several other companion caregivers, who have been equally wonderful in their own ways and brought many moments of happiness to my mother while helping her with her daily needs and accompanying her on trips to museums, libraries, stores, and other activities. Our HEAL caregivers have earned our complete trust and have become family members in a way. In addition, Arlene has continued to be involved and has provided invaluable oversight and suggestions on strategies for symptom management. She has also helped by suggesting medical professionals who have been able to assist with some extremely challenging issues my mother has faced. I would recommend HEAL without hesitation to anyone living with a chronic condition that requires additional expertise and care. Arlene and her staff have completely exceeded our expectations and my mother has had considerably brighter days thanks to the amazing care she is receiving.”