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We Make Home Care Happen

 Cooperative Home Care February 04, 2014
By Sara Browning

Ranked by Home Care Elite in 2009 and 2011 as a national top 25 percent home health company based on quality, improvement, and financial performance, Cooperative Home Care surpasses expectations in home health care services.
Dedicated to the success of its clients and employees, Cooperative Home Care is committed to the delivery of quality health care services for older adults and people of all ages with disabilities. The company provides services in Southern Illinois and Eastern Missouri.

“Our Mission Statement is more than just writing on a wall,” says Jim Guller, President and Owner of Cooperative Home Care and All-Staff Nursing, the health care staffing division of Cooperative Home Care. “It’s our basis for making decisions.”

Established in 1986 and celebrating its 28th anniversary, Cooperative Home Care is a Medicare-licensed home nursing agency providing skilled nursing, therapies, social work, and caregiver services. In its early years, Fran Sontag, the founder of Cooperative Home Care, provided care for seven young adults with special needs. Cooperative Home Care has since grown to accommodate 475 employees, serving approximately 650 clients.

Jim Guller joined the business as President and Owner in 1998. He currently runs Cooperative with his business partner, Mitch Waks, CEO and Owner of Cooperative Home Care, and one of the business’ founding family members.

Jim says, “Our purpose is to help people live independently and rehabilitate in their own homes. It’s why we do what we do.”

Making the Decision for Home Care
The need to make a decision about home care can come without any advance warning. Some people who contact Cooperative Home Care are the adult children of aging parents, who are trying to balance their parent’s needs with their young family’s needs. Their need for home care can come suddenly and urgently after an aging parent’s illness or unplanned hospitalization. Other people who contact Cooperative Home Care have loved ones who are starting to show warning signs of needing help at home. They want to understand their options, to know the cost of home care and to be prepared if home care is needed in the future.

“Whether you are caught off guard by your need for home care, or you are trying to plan ahead, people are often overwhelmed by all of the different options and costs,” says Jim. “At we have created an easy-to-follow overview of the various types of home care we offer and what each option costs. Our How to Pay for Home Care Guide is another essential resource for potential clients as they research their options. These are some of the ways we make home care understandable and affordable.”

First Steps to Home Care
Family members seeking home care for a loved one should begin by calling 1-618-HOMECARE (in IL) and speaking with Jessica Donaldson, Intake Nurse, to set up a day and time for a free assessment. A Referral Specialist from Cooperative walks the client and family through an evaluation of their needs, and explains Cooperative Home Care’s nursing and caregiving services. Cooperative’s Referral Specialist also identifies every possible source to pay for home care, whether clients have government sources, such as Medicare, or private sources, such as long-term care insurance and grant programs. Every option is exhausted, before a client pays out-of-pocket.

Our free assessment is performed in the client’s home or in their hospital room at a time that is convenient for them,” explains Jim. “Following the assessment, the client receives an individualized care plan, customized just for them, to meet their home care needs.”

“We capture all of the detailed information up front, and document it in our Communication Book that we leave in the client’s home. With us, you won’t have to constantly repeat what you want from your home care company” says Jim.

Meeting Each Client’s Specific Needs
Cooperative Home Care offers the flexibility and breadth of services that allow clients to choose their amount of care, as well as the skill level of care they receive. “Our client’s can receive care anywhere from one hour per week to 24 hours a day,” explains Jim. “We can be at your home seven days per week or just a few times each month.”

Cooperative’s care is customized to meet each client’s needs, offering various skill levels to match each client’s care requirements. Skill levels include nursing care (RNs and LPNs); physical, occupational and speech therapies; social work; and caregiver services. The wide range of caregiver services includes personal care (bathing, grooming, dressing, eating, mobility, and toileting) and homemaker services (meal preparation, laundry, light cleaning, and other household chores); plus services such as companionship, errands, appointments, and respite for a primary caregiver are offered.

Additionally, care ranges from short visits of one or two hours, to hourly care, to 12- and 24-hour care. Within this range, care may include therapy visits for clients recovering from illnesses, medication reminders, and various treatments. It also includes hourly care as needed with household chores, personal grooming, appointments, or errands; and round-the-clock care for clients, including 12- and 24-hour shifts. Cooperative Home Care guarantees that a Cooperative caregiver will never leave a 24-hour live-in client during a scheduled shift, except at the client’s request.

Cooperative Home Care offers Value Packages that combine the most commonly requested schedules with additional discounts from hourly rates. The packages include an Introduction to Home Care (7 mini-visits); Peace of Mind (30 hours of care); While You Work (50 hours of care); Sunrise, Sunset (seven 12-hour shifts); and Care Around the Clock (seven 24-hour shifts). For a detailed explanation of each package, visit and click on “Services.” Mobile device users can simply go to on their phone or tablet, and click on “Value Packages.”

“We make home care affordable,” says Jim. “We offer a 9 percent discount on 12-hour shifts and a 35 percent discount on 24-hour shifts, compared to hourly rates. In addition, unlike many companies, we have no minimum hours requirement. So our Introduction to Home Care (7 mini-visits) clients experience a 43 percent savings compared to companies with a four hour minimum.”

Doing What You Want to Do
Seniors in need of assistance are sometimes resistant to receiving help from caregivers in their home, for fear of losing their independence. According to Jim: “I believe that accepting the appropriate help can actually increase a senior’s independence. They receive the help for personal care or household chores that they need, while conserving their energy, so that they can be as independent and as safe as possible. That’s what helps them continue to do the things they want to do.”

Cooperative Home Care proudly maintains its heritage of helping clients to do as much as possible for themselves. From its origin of teaching young adults with disabilities the skills needed to stay independent, Cooperative continues to help clients to do more for themselves. Today, Cooperative proudly serves older adults and people of all ages with disabilities, assisting them to live independently in their homes and communities, rather than in a nursing home.

“We really focus on how we can help our clients do more for themselves and help them learn the skills to stay independent, without robbing them of their dignity and respect,” says Jim. “We let them do as much as they can for themselves. We ask them: ‘How can I help you do this yourself?’”

Making Health Care Affordable
Cooperative Home Care accepts government funding, including Medicare and VA, as well as private funding, including insurances (health, long-term care, and workers’ compensation), and self-pay.

“We make home care happen. We look for other funding sources for home care before relying on individuals to self-pay,” explains Jim. “If our clients have long-term care insurance, we help them work with their long-term care insurance company, to ensure they access their maximum benefit and that there are no surprises. If our clients have government funding, we guide them through the funding maze and get them set up with Medicare by speaking directly with their doctor. If our clients are going to self-pay, they are assured we have exhausted every other funding option.”

Why Choose Cooperative?
When people choose Cooperative Home Care they have peace of mind that Cooperative can meet their changing needs. A client who is paying privately for a caregiver, can also receive skilled nursing and therapy services through one home care company.

Accepting any type of home care funding is just one reason people choose Cooperative Home Care versus other home care providers. In Illinois, private home care companies must be licensed. “We are on a very short list of licensed home care providers in Illinois,” says Jim, “and we are also licensed by Medicare.”

Cooperative Home Care also offers a telemonitoring unit for clients with serious illnesses, such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, or pulmonary disease. This home health telemonitoring system collects health status information daily to improve outcomes, provide preemptive care and reinforce compliance. Through its use, Cooperative reduces ER admissions and hospitalizations, and increases medication compliance. Home health telemonitoring is included during a Medicare-funded episode for those who qualify; it is also available for peace of mind to self-pay clients for $10 per day.

“We take the approach as a generalist to make home care happen. Many home care companies are specialists in only one area, but at Cooperative we are able to serve just about every person who contacts us. We accept any funding, offer any amount of care and offer any level of service, to help every client access the specialized home care they need. You can also visit our ‘Testimonials’ page at, under ‘About Us’ to read what our clients and their families share about our services.”

For more information on Cooperative Home Care, visit or call 1-618-HOMECARE (in IL) and speak with our Intake Nurse, Jessica Donaldson, to schedule your free in-home or in-hospital assessment at your convenience. Cooperative has five local offices, including our Illinois location at 107 Lanaghan Drive, Fairview Heights, Illinois, 62208.

Christine Tyre, Metro East Illinois Sales Executive, Cooperative Home Care, resides in Troy, Illinois. She has an extensive background in the health care industry. After graduating from Bradley University with a Special Education degree, the majority of her career has been in professional health care sales. She worked in the pharmaceutical industry marketing to physicians, pharmacies, and hospitals for almost 20 years. Most recently, Christine owned a health care publication, Healthy Cells, in the Metro East that supported a wide variety of health care businesses and nonprofits with educational articles and information. Christine is married with two children, and has a passion for health and fitness.

Jean O’Mara, RN, Cooperative Home Health Care Nurse, resides in Caseyville, Illinois. She has 30 plus years of nursing experience including in home health care, medical/surgical, pediatrics, and infusion; as well as in the United States Air Force as a Senior Flight Nurse and Clinical Coordinator.

Ron Finnan, RN, Director of Private Services, Cooperative Home Care, resides in Collinsville, Illinois. He has 30 plus years of experience in health care management. Most recently, Ron was the Director of Operations for the physician’s organization at St. Anthony’s Medical Center, and at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville, Illinois, covering primary care, occupational medicine, sports medicine, community health and wellness, audiology practices and the urgent care centers. He has a Bachelor of Science in Health Science Education from Western Illinois University, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from St. Louis University and master’s in Business Administration from Fontbonne University. Ron enjoys all types of sports and outdoor activities. He currently serves on the Board of Managers for the South County YMCA and is actively involved in the Greater St. Louis Medical Group Management Association.
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 Cooperative Home Care| February 04, 2014
Categories:  Feature
Keywords:  Feature Story

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