Ashley Simms, LPN, is the assistant manager of sales operations for Interim HealthCare of Oklahoma City.

by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

Now, more than ever, people need quality care at home from providers who can make sense of a daily changing healthcare environment.
For more than 50 years, people have turned to Interim HealthCare for that quality, compassionate care.
Ashley Simms, LPN, has been with Interim for two of those years, serving now as the assistant manager of sales operations.
“We realize for seniors and those with serious underlying health conditions home is the best place for them to be during this time,” Simms said.
While state and local governments mandate people stay at home to flatten the curve on Covid-19, care is needed more than ever inside the home.
“I think at this time it’s so critical … because legislatively there’s a lot of focus on hospitals which is important but these patients are going to come home and somebody has to take care of them,” Simms said. “There are so many factors that go into Covid that many people don’t consider such as fear and mental health.”
Interim HealthCare offers a full suite of services including: home healthcare, hospice care, personal care and support, veteran and spouse care, palliative care, behavioral health as well as neonatal and pediatric home care.
Interim offers services in Canadian, Cleveland, Grady, Kingfisher, Lincoln, Logan, McClain, Oklahoma, Payne and Pottawatomie counties.
The care extends beyond medical.
“Our social workers work diligently to help assist patients in obtaining necessary and basic items such as food and shelter which helps to drive down fear for our patients, especially in a time of crisis like this,” Simms said.
For several years, healthcare delivery has been trending more and more to a home setting to help curb rising medical costs. That means patients are coming home quicker and sicker than they ever have before.
And the hospital penalties for patients who readmit for the same diagnosis within 30 days can be substantial.
That’s why hospitals and other facilities rely on providers like Interim to stand in the gap and make sure patients safely recover at home.
With Covid-19 forcing more and more Oklahomans to stay at home, monitoring these high risk patients and intervening before they become sick has taken on an even greater importance.
Simms said Interim has long provided telehealth options for patients for daily monitoring of things like blood pressure, oxygen saturation and weight.
“A lot of times that provides calm to those patients because they are able to see somebody,” Simms explained. “It helps us keep an eye on our patients. Due to the restrictions that have been loosened for healthcare in general right now if the patient has a smartphone we’re able to FaceTime with them.”
Being unable to get out to doctor appointments can cause a sense of panic. Simms understands that.
“We’re also trying to drive down the fear with our patients because we’re trained and we know how this process works,” Simms said. “We’re not scared and know how to take care of you. There’s a lot of fear circling. We have to be the forefront of education.”
Being able to talk to patients in their own home at their own pace is an invaluable piece of the puzzle. Simms said Interim providers are able to have those conversations that rely on facts not the latest headlines.
“I believe we do an excellent job during this scary time,” Simms said. “At the top, it’s important we support our nurses. I think being the calm in the storm is what we do best. Before Covid, we took high-risk patients.”
“Because that’s already our platform, Covid was just a step up for us. We’re able to educate why (a patient) might be at more risk. We’re able to take that time, take those precautions and provide that education.”
Interim is locally owned and part of a national network of more than 300 offices.
Employing more than 75,000 healthcare workers, Interim provides care to more than 50,000 patients each day.
Simms explained Interim revolves around key concepts including: preparation and training, monitoring and reporting, alternative methods of care, high standards of safety and an emergency preparedness plan.
And in these trying times, Simms said Interim has made it a greater focus to love on its frontline staff.
From lunches and breakfasts to special personal protective equipment including floor mats and car seat covers, Interim is protecting those who protect us all.
“At Interim we believe we are all in this together and I think being the calm in the storm is what we do best.”