I was 2 years old and my sister was 9 months old when my mother, Leah Welch, also known as Jane Robb, was paralyzed from the neck down by polio in 1949. In the beginning she was in an iron lung and unable to breathe on her own, a vision that is still with me today. After several years of rehab, it was her stubborn determination to breathe on her own, hold her head up without assistance and feed herself that enabled her to go home and raise my sister and me. She was not going to live in an institution even though the doctors gave her 2-3 years to live. It was through that same stubborn determination that my mom lived until the age of 76, when she died at home in 2000. She was my role model and the reason why I believe everyone needs to choose where and how to live their lives.
In the 1950’s finding good help who would stay was difficult and often it was left up to me to be my mother’s PCA while I was in grade school. As a result of Leah and others lobbying for better care, MN approved funding for the PCA Program in 1986. That was when my mom asked me to start A+ Home Care. We both knew I would have good insight into how a PCA is needed for people with a disability and what a valuable asset a PCA is to the family. As a result, A+ Home Care opened its doors June 5, 1988.
My initial focus was that A+ be a “home service” model, not a “medical” model and I wanted to educate others on the difference. This program was based on the premise that clients direct their PCA on the cares they received. I believe a person with a disability living at home is not a “patient” deferring to medical providers direction and decisions, but a “client” directing their own care and deciding when and how they want assistance. My other focus was that our Advisory Board Members be people with a disability or have experience within the community. That is still true today and I am grateful to the wonderful people who give of their time to serve as our Board of Directors.
As the “baby boomers” are aging, the need for services is growing and today it is an accepted practice to keep mom and dad home. I believe we all need to educate our legislators on the importance of PCAs and what this program means to people with disabilities, senior citizens or people recovering from an illness or injury so that funding continues. It costs less than institutional care while providing the opportunity for people with disabilities to use their abilities to live active and productive lives and give back to their communities.
Our clients expect the best and it is my commitment to provide reliable, compassionate, quality personal hands-on service to assist individuals live at home. How we strive to exceed our clients expectations is by having dedicated, efficient and caring office staff, as well as professional and understanding RN’s/QP’s that write accurate care plans, and by appreciating our employees for the service they provide our clients.
I am very proud of our staff and their dedication to make sure we are available when you need us, of being able to staff clients easily and quickly and of providing efficient and quality service. A+ has and will continue to keep you up to date on any legislative changes that directly affect you. I thank you for giving us this opportunity to serve you.