The administrators of Health Force at their Hamilton Office. From left, Mark Rosenblum, vice president, Mindy Rosenblum, president, Teri Millerick, director of sales and client relations, Alice Boucher, director of nursing, and Joanne Discala, medical coordinator. Staff photo by Chris Sturgis.

By Chris Sturgis

Mindy Rosenblum used her head to create Health Force.

Twelve years ago, it just made sense. Mindy had a background in marketing, and the demand for health care was growing by leaps and bounds along with the elderly population. Her husband, Mark, had a background in finance and retail.

Once in the business, it became a matter of heart. The Rosenblums found a well-run agency could dramatically improve the quality of life for its clients, who range in age from 60 to 100 and live in Mercer County. A qualified, dedicated aide can provide just enough care, with a registered nurse to oversee the clients’ medical needs, to keep elderly people from having to live in a nursing home.

Prompt care for issues, such as pressure sores, can prevent hospitalizations in a patient who must stay in bed or use a wheelchair, she said.

“With our help, the elderly can stay in their homes safely. We’re trying to make a difference out there,” she said. What started out as a business, became a calling.

Rosenblum is very proud of the quality of care her employees provide, drawing a rating of “Full Accreditation with Distinction” from the New Jersey Commission on Accreditation for Home Care in New Providence in December. The letter from the agency reads, “This agency shows a high level of accountability in all areas. They are totally compliant with all the standards and it is evident that there is a very firm commitment to quality patient care. Both the management and staff must be commended for their high level of organization, and attention to detail as evidenced in every aspect of this survey.”

Rosenblum said Health Force achieved this favorable rating by closely monitoring its aides and following up on problems identified by them. Rosenblum said the best aides are motivated by genuine concern for their clients, not monetary compensation.

Health Force must be accredited because it accepts Medicaid patients. Aides are also bonded and insured, Rosenblum said.

Aides work in conjunction with registered nurses who manage the clients’ medical cases and make referrals for other services, including hot-meal deliveries or adult day programs.

Aides must take a training course and be certified by the state. Rosenblum said they also step in as a caring family member would, spotting and correcting health and safety problems, including broken carbon monoxide detectors, mouse infestation, and lack of heat. Aides are trained to report abuse and neglect of the elderly.

Rosenblum said one aide arrived to find the temperature in her client’s home at 40 degrees, which could be fatal to an elderly person. The aide determined the heating oil had run out, ordered an emergency delivery, and stayed with the client until the heat reached 60 degrees.

Rosenblum said doing the right thing for vulnerable people is more important than payment. The client’s family lived out of state and could not have helped in time.

Rosenblum said it’s important for consumers to understand the difference between home health aides and companions, who are generally less expensive to hire. The state allows companions to take clients shopping for food and to cook the food for them.

The state does not allow companions to perform services that involve touching the client, such as dressing, bathing or transferring people with mobility problems into and out of bed.

As Baby Boomers struggle to care for their own children and their elderly parents, there is a need for information about how to find high quality care, so Health Force sends Teri Millerick, director of sales and client relations, to speak to church groups and civic organizations about finding quality care for elderly relatives.

The Health Force is located at 396 White Horse Ave., Hamilton. For more information, call (609) 581-8750. Health Force has no Web site, but information about home health aides is available at cahcnj.org and state.nj.us/lps/ca/hhh/hhaneed.htm.