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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Mary Washington to close in-home care service; workers, clients given option of going with Comfort Keepers

Neda McGuire, owner of Comfort Keepers.

Mary Washington Healthcare will close its Private Duty Services division next month and has arranged with another local company to hire its workers and care for its clients.

Thirty-two people work within the division, providing personal care and companion services to the elderly. The service will end Dec. 4, said Eileen Dohmann, vice president for nursing.

The Private Duty workers will be given the choice of transferring to other jobs within Mary Washington or working for Comfort Keepers, an in-home care company based in Stafford County.

Private Duty’s 30 clients were notified of the closing this week, Dohmann said.  The clients will have the option of choosing other providers or transferring their care to Comfort Keepers, she said.

“We’re hoping that they will transition into our service,” said Neda McGuire, president of Comfort Keepers.

The closing does not affect two other Mary Washington divisions, Mary Washington Hospital Home Health and Mary Washington Hospice.

Valerie Hopson-Bell, founder of ElderCare Connections, a local geriatric care management company, said Mary Washington’s decision to work with Comfort Keepers was a “positive move.”

“They’re already here,” she said. “They know the community. They’re invested in the community.”

Comfort Keepers is one of about six companies in the area that help clients remain independent and in their homes. The companies provide a variety of nonmedical services, such as bathing, grooming and feeding. They also help clients with things like laundry, shopping, transportation and meal preparation.

The firms hire certified nursing assistants and other lesser-skilled workers. Clients pay $18 to $22 an hour, depending on the company and the service, McGuire said.

McGuire and her father founded Comfort Keepers in 2001. It and similar firms like Visiting Angels and Home Instead are franchisees of international companies.

 

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