The Times West Virginian

November 24, 2013

Expanded Fazio’s Elder Care is meeting needs

By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian

MONONGAH — Fazio’s Elder Care, which recently expanded, focuses on high acuity of care and treating residents like family.

Administrator and owner Cora Fazio, who is a licensed practical nurse, established Fazio’s Elder Care 13 years ago. She was a home health nurse and always had the dream of operating her own residential personal-care home or assisted-living home. She saw a big need for these services and started by opening a three-bed legally unlicensed facility with the state.

Fazio’s Elder Care, located at the end of Stoney Lonesome Road in Monongah, has grown over the years and is now a legally licensed facility regulated by the state of West Virginia. This personal-care home is inspected annually and — like a nursing home or hospital — is open for anyone to see, said Robin Straight, master-level social worker and community liaison.

This regulation provides a lot more quality control, she said.

“We can provide our families with the assurance that it’s not just somebody making a buck,” Straight said. “You do it because you care about people.”

Following a recent expansion, the facility now has a total of 16 beds, including both private and semi-private rooms, she said.

Near the main facility, a separate new building was constructed to accommodate four more patients, with two private rooms and one semi-private room. This addition, named Helena’s House after Cora’s granddaughter, just opened in October.

Fazio’s Elder Care saw the need for more space for patients and wanted to continue growing the business. The new building was partially built as a duplex last year, and then this year the inside was finished in about 90 days, Straight said.

When a person is no longer able to take care of a family member at home but doesn’t want to see him or her in a nursing facility, Fazio’s Elder Care serves as the step in between those two options, she said. Some residents have moved to Fazio’s Elder Care from a nursing facility or hospital after they have been in rehab, and their situation has stabilized.

In society, families provide the bulk of care for their elderly loved ones, but that option doesn’t always fit the circumstances. In some cases, the husband or wife has been the caregiver for their spouse, but then their own health starts failing. The adult children may be left making those decisions, Straight said.

“It’s not always in (the family’s) best interest to take them home,” she said. “The adult child is working, and for one person to be able to give up their job to become that 24-7 caregiver is not always practical, and that’s where personal care is very much a need.”

Fazio’s Elder Care helps families come to terms with their decision, which is not an easy decision to make and can create many emotional challenges. Sometimes families decide that they have the resources to keep their loved ones at home longer and that they don’t need to move them to an assisted-living facility yet.

“You have to be at peace with your decision,” Straight said.

She encouraged adult children to find out about their parents’ power of attorney, banking situation and wishes before a crisis happens.

Fazio’s Elder Care offers an environment that is therapeutic, nurturing, comfortable and feels like home, Straight said.

Cora’s son, C.J. Fazio, is also on staff as as registered nurse, and 12 other persons, including some certified nursing assistants, are involved in direct patient care there. Everyone is trained in first aid and CPR, and they can interchange between the two buildings.

“We’re able to meet the needs of the patients clear to the end of life,” Straight said. “When you’re talking about a facility such as this, coordination of care is so important because you’re looking at folks with chronic health problems, long-term diseases. With having two nurses on staff (who are) hands-on with the patients as well as the other residential care providers, the coordination of care is very high-level.”

If families are considering an assisted-living home, she advised them to visit at unannounced times and examine the reputation of the facility in terms of being able to meet medical-care needs and provide services across the life span. Families should look at the building and the environment, and see if the residents are up for the day and the staff members are interacting with them.

Straight said Fazio’s Elder Care is in constant communication with attending physicians, and works closely with Hospice. The facility is able to provide home health services and bring in physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy services.

Fazio’s Elder Care accompanies patients to their doctor’s appointments and arranges transportation.

“We have family members that live out of state, live out of town, and they didn’t want to relocate their mother or father at this stage in their life and take them away from their support system, their medical care, their churches, their friends,” she said. “They don’t want to uproot them or move them. They’re very comfortable; they trust us.”

Residents watch television in the living room and spend time in the dining room, and they have their own private areas when family visits. Plus, Straight plans a variety of activities and outings to meet the social needs of residents and to help encourage and stimulate them.

Activities include music, crafts, cooking, worship services, resident birthday parties and more. A Christmas open house will take place in December. Residents also enjoy going to church and out to dinner with their families.

“It’s all about (their) self-worth, and it’s all about keeping them vital and keeping them interested in life,” she said.

Fazio’s Elder Care currently has bed availability. If people are interested in discussing the possibility of a family member coming to the facility, they can contact Straight at 304-534-3139. She can meet with them to provide details and discuss the individual’s care needs and interests.

Straight said Fazio’s Elder Care is very competitive price-wise. The facility also works with families on a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs program called Aid and Attendance, which can provide benefits to eligible veterans and their spouses to help offset the cost of their stay.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.