Carol Davison found her life’s work passion by accident. A health care professional by training, Davison responded to an advertisement for a case manager for a hospice program in Houston, Texas.
Before answering the ad, she knew nothing about hospice, Davison said.
Her early work with hospice included admissions, as well as case management. Then she moved into administration.
Davison is now the interim executive director of Payson’s RTA Hospice & Palliative Care.
“I love the field and the direct patient care we are able to provide.
“I also love that we can make a difference for our patients and their families.”
From not knowing anything about hospice, Davison’s passion for the service drove her to become an advocate for the concept.
“I spent the biggest part of my time (as an administrator) educating medical professionals and other caregivers about hospice,” she said.
Now in Payson, the need to educate the medical and caregiver community does not have to be Davison’s primary focus.
“What I love about this town is we (the medical community) all work together,” she said.
She sees her role as becoming an advocate for patients in need.
“It’s awesome that everyone cares about the patient. I’m excited to be here. We have a great staff and they all have the biggest hearts. I believe I’ve found my home.”
November is National Hospice Month and while the modern hospice is relatively young, the concept is nearly as old as mankind.
In prehistoric times, the death of an individual impacted the whole community, with everyone participating in the care of one another.
As superstition and fear became associated with death, the dying were often left alone at the end of life.
The word hospice is rooted in the Latin “hospes,” which means to host a stranger or a guest.
The first hospice started when medieval monks and nuns provided care for travelers, the sick and injured in early European monasteries.
The first modern hospice, St. Christopher’s Hospice, was started in London in 1967, dedicated to the control of pain and preparation for death.
Ray Frost and a group of volunteers founded the program in Payson in 1990, said Kathleen Hughes, community liaison for RTA Hospice & Palliative Care.
Volunteers still provide an important portion of the hospice’s service, but medical and other professionals give the direct patient care.
The goal of RTA is to profoundly enhance the lives of individuals and their families as the end of life is faced.
Ensuring access to hospice care that promotes autonomy and provides spiritual, emotional, physical and financial peace, comfort and dignity does this.
A team approach is used in the care of the patients and their families. The team includes input from the patient, their family, doctors, nurses, nurses aides, medical social workers, clergy and volunteers. Services provided include: nursing services; home health aide and homemaker services; social work services; spiritual and emotional support; volunteer services; respite care; education, information and resource referral; hospice-related medications; 24-hour answering service for around-the-clock emergency assistance; and bereavement counseling provided to the family for one year following the death of the patient.
To learn more, visit the RTA Hospice & Palliative Care station at the Nov. 1 Community Health and Care Fair, or call (928) 472-6340.