In-home Care For The Elderly
DIANA BUENO CABALLERO
Registered nurse and president of Kupuna Care Hawaii
Where did you receive your schooling and training?
I graduated from high school at Sacred Hearts Academy then went to Hawaii Pacific University, where I received my Bachelor of Science in nursing.
How long have you been a registered nurse?
I have been a registered nurse for about four years, but am a third-generation elder care service provider.
What interested you in working in home medical care?
I grew up in a care home environment. My grandmother operated a licensed care home in the mid-‘ 70s in Moanalua Valley. My mom then took over in the mid- ’90s after her college graduation. My mom went from providing elderly care services in her home to providing care in the client’s own home.
I learned everything I know about elder care hands-on from both my grandmother and mother. I was 10 years old when I would help set the dinner table for residents. I would spend time with them, watch TV with them, joke around with them and, as I got older, learned to appreciate their unique personalities. What was most endearing was listening to them talk about memories of their childhood. It was really a humbling experience. They are so amazing. They are the primary reason I decided to become a registered nurse.
What services does Kupuna Care provide?
We provide companionship, homemaking and personal care assistance. The duties are delegated to our caregivers, who either are nurse aides or certified nurse aides. Currently, we are nonmedically based. However, this year, we plan to begin providing services that will include RN duties, and we plan to expand our services to the Neighbor Islands. We also assist with Medicaid and long-term care insurance claims. Since QUEST Expanded Access Program took effect Jan. 1, we have been in the process of being credentialed to participate with medical health insurance providers including Ohana Health Plan, United Health Care, HMSA, Kaiser and Aloha Care. For families and loved ones, who are considering Kapuna Care may also need to check if the elderly requiring care are eligible for PACE (info on the same can be found here). PACE opens up a whole host of health care options, while ensuring individuals get the services so required while continuing to live in their own homes or community.
Kupuna Care provides “holistic care.” Can you describe what that involves?
Holistic care focuses on healing the body as a whole ― body, mind and spirit. Kupuna Care integrates and manages aspects that make up a healthy body.
For Kupuna Care Hawaii, it’s about the caregiver and client getting to know each other, building a relationship and the caregiver being someone who the client can count on, so that the client can find encouragement and motivation to want to get better and stay well.
What parts of the island do you service?
We service the entire island of Oahu. Our clients mainly come from Kapolei through Hawaii Kai. However, we have clients in Kailua, Kaneohe, Waialua and Kahuku.
How many caregivers does Kupuna Care have on staff?
We have about 75 caregivers.
What days and times do you provide healthcare services to kupuna?
We provide services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Normally, we serve clients for a minimum of three hours. However, we do offer a one-hour bathing service, too, which helps with rehab clients just being discharged from the hospital.
We offer live-in service, and we also are able to have caregivers at the client’s home awake 24 hours to supervise them. We have a team of caregivers to work with each client, so that the client knows each caregiver well and is familiar and comfortable with them.
Can you talk about some of your volunteer work?
We have coordinated food drives on behalf of Hawaii Foodbank. I recently began a training process with Alzheimer’s Association to become a support group facilitator for family caregivers dealing with loved ones who have Alzheimer’s.
My staff and I are available to speak at senior clubs, health fairs, expos and health care offices about various topics that affect seniors and ways to help.
Anything else you’d like to mention?
We take into consideration how each family is affected with elder-care issues, and how everyone deals differently with the many problems that come with elder care. It is unfortunate that, by the time we are called for service, it is usually after something already has happened.
Most times, it is because mom or dad has had a fall and they need service to start immediately.
Most families are unprepared and don’t have a clue where or how to get help. During meetings with families, we do our best to simply listen so that they may release their worry, stress and frustration. We become their sounding board. I learned from my mother and grandmother that building an open and trusting relationship with families and friends of our clients is also a very important part of our service.