San Diego Family Circle Adult Day Health Center works to keep its service true to its ‘family’ name

Patients at San Diego Family Circle Adult Day Health Center
Patients at San Diego Family Circle Adult Day Health Center participate in exercise and cultural activities as part of their time at the facility.
(Courtesy of San Diego Family Circle Adult Day Health Center)

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“Our main focus is to keep people living an independent life for as long as possible,” according to Lisa Thai, program director for San Diego Family Circle Adult Day Health Center, which opened in March 2021. It is one of the newest adult day health care centers in San Diego County.

The Kearny Mesa facility serves people 18 and older who have a physical or mental condition requiring assistance with daily activities. Most of the clients currently are senior citizens.

San Diego Family Circle is staffed with registered and licensed vocational nurses who are able to assess patients and coordinate care with their primary physicians.

“We’re pretty much the eyes and ears for the doctors,” Thai said.

The San Diego Family Circle program is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, when patients receive nursing services, physical therapy, occupational therapy and personal care services such as toilet help.

Clients also participate in therapeutic activities and receive snacks and lunch, Thai said.

San Diego Family Circle is covered by many insurance plans, such as Kaiser Permanente, Medi-Cal and Blue Shield of California, she said.

Patients who enroll at San Diego Family Circle must stay for four of the five available hours for any number of days per week, Thai said.

San Diego Family Circle Adult Day Health Center clients are treated like family members, program director Lisa Thai says.
(Courtesy of San Diego Family Circle Adult Day Health Center)

Most clients attend two or three days a week, she said. “The hours fly. We keep them engaged.”

San Diego Family Circle can transport patients to and from their homes, covering downtown San Diego north to Poway and all communities west to the beach.

Patients also can arrange their own rides, which often are covered by insurance, or take public transportation, Thai said.

Once patients arrive, they are seen by a nurse who checks vital signs such as blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

They then receive a snack, followed by an exercise class and then an activity such as trivia games or a cultural celebration.

After a lunch catered to the patients’ dietary needs, San Diego Family Circle clients have individual activities like drawing, followed by a group walk and then transportation home.

“It’s a chance for them to meet other people, get out of the house,” Thai said. It’s also a respite for family members caregiving at home, she added.

The facility currently serves 40 to 50 patients a day and is licensed to care for up to 105 patients daily.

Staff members speak languages including Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Korean and Tagalog, Thai said.

“Like the name says, we treat everybody as if they were our family members,” said Thai, who has been a program director in adult health care for 21 years and has a background in social work. “We treat [staff] as family; we treat our participants as family. I think that makes a difference.”

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