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Mabel Michalak, Above Home Health's first Vivia assistant, helps Jean Showalter of Shelton with some meal preparation. 

An Olympia provider of home health care for seniors has partnered with a Hawaii company on a new model providing more home-care options for seniors to help them remain independent in their daily life.

Olympia’s Above Home Health last month partnered with Vivia Cares Inc. to become Vivia’s first affiliate outside Hawaii for a home-health model that Above Home Health’s CEO said resolves a common need among clients and broadens the range of services her company can provide.

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Natalya Rubel, CEO of Above Home Health in Olympia.

“No in-home health service could meet community requests for shorter, more frequent visits,” Natalya Rubel, CEO of Above Home Health, said in a news release. “Now, with Vivia, we are excited to begin offering frequent, shorter visits by a consistent caregiver, which half of our clients have been requesting.”

Adding the Vivia service line within Above Home Health “will enable our continued growth and also allows us to begin offering a full-time, stable, and attractive job opportunity to caregivers throughout Thurston County,” she said. Introducing the Vivia model to Washington allows Above Home Health to meet the community’s needs by serving many more seniors, the release added.

In addition to the traditional home-care model where Above Home Health’s certified nursing assistants or registered nurses provide care per hour or block of hours, Vivia care team members provide task-based services charged by task, not by hour, meaning clients aren’t paying for time they don’t need. Tasks run the gamut but can include helping a senior put on compression socks each morning, applying prescription eyedrops, offering medication reminders, doing wellness checks, assisting with bathing, meals, or simple chores around the house, continence support, and more.

Before certain medical-related tasks can be done, regulations require the Vivia assistant first be delegated that task by an RN within Above Home Health, Rubel said.

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Vivia team members are, from left, Kristi Griffey, navigator; Kira Heinselman, team leader; and Mabel Michalak, assistant.

A senior is assigned a consistent Vivia assistant and Vivia team leader who serves the senior along with a group of clients who live within a close geographic area. This enables the senior to receive consistent, frequent, and shorter visits by the same Vivia assistant, with no minimum hours required to be purchased, the release said.

If more involved nursing care is needed, the Vivia team can transition to Above Home Health’s traditional caregivers through a relationship that has already been established, Rubel said in an interview. All Vivia providers are Above Home Health employees and are trained CNAs. All Above Home Health employees are CNAs or RNs. Above Home Health’s 20-person staff includes four Vivia assistants.

Rubel also sees the Vivia model as potentially attractive to hospitals to check that seniors who have been discharged are following their discharge instructions for medications and other care, thus reducing readmission rates.

“We can just help seniors age gracefully at home with just a little bit of assistance using this Vivia model, and that’s why it’s so precious,” Rubel said in the interview.

In the release, Vivia CEO Dew-Anne Langcaon said, “Vivia’s innovative model not only transforms the experience for seniors, but also transforms the job for caregivers by offering higher wages, guaranteed hours, and a company car for transportation to attract Vivia assistants, thus making services much more readily available to many seniors.”

Vivia is also backed by a proprietary software and mobile app that connects the senior's home to the agency and allows for seamless communication, coordination, and transparency for family members and accountability via GPS visit tracking, task completion, and verified activities, the release added.

“Vivia’s technology offered exactly what we needed to help scale and grow our service to clients,” Rubel said in the release. “We were looking for a very specific software system that integrated health records, scheduling, care documentation, and compliance and found it in Vivia’s innovation.”

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