Different Name, High Quality Of Care The Same

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

Left to right: Caroline Yost, Kathy Vance and Cathy Kesterson are part of the Hospice Compassus family. The medical personnel, support staff and volunteers all work in teams to provide the most comprehensive services to their clients.

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

The patient is the one who directs the care provided by Hospice Compassus through staff and volunteers such as Dan Lowe.

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

The patient is the one who directs the care provided by Hospice Compassus through staff and volunteers such as Christy Warner and Lorna Hansen.

The name is new — Hospice Compassus — but Rim Country residents will find the high quality of care is the same. RTA Hospice became Hospice Compassus recently, but the name change has not had an impact on the services it provides to people in the last stages of life and their loved ones.

The Hospice Compassus company, based in Tennessee, has 53 facilities in 15 states and has been providing services since 1979.

Among the few changes the new management is planning is to provide more community education programs, according to Director Carol Davison.

“We want to give back to the community for all it has done in helping Hospice grow,” Davison said.

Hospice care is for people who have a life expectancy of six months or less and have chosen to focus on palliative care, comfort and relief from pain and symptoms. Hospice care affirms the belief that it is important to make every moment of life as meaningful as possible, from the first days of a life-limiting illness to the last, and to provide care to the patient and family reflecting a living expression of love, warmth and compassion.

Diagnoses commonly associated with hospice care include cancer and other end-stage diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, respiratory disease, liver/renal disease, AIDS/HIV, adult failure to thrive, neurological disease, stroke or coma. Individuals appropriate for hospice care may exhibit some or all of the following: frequent hospitalizations, progressive weight loss, deteriorating mental abilities, recurrent infections or specific decline in condition.

Hospice Compassus provides services where the patient desires: at home, at the residence of a relative or friend, in an assisted living facility or nursing home, or at Hospice House.

The services provided include medical management, personal care assistance and emotional and spiritual support.

In the medical management service the trained clinical teams create plans of care designed specifically for each patient and their loved ones’ comfort and quality of life. The plan includes physician directed services, advanced nursing care, medications, medical equipment and supplies and short-term inpatient care.

Personal care assistance is designed to lessen family burdens and provide patient dignity. This daily living personal care assistance is provided by hospice aides and includes personal care management, routine breaks for caregivers and incontinence supplies.

The emotional and spiritual support for both hospice patients and their families is provided by experienced professionals and is available on-call around the clock. The support includes medical social services, respite care, crisis counseling, spiritual counseling, bereavement services and help from trained volunteers.

The care offered by Hospice Compassus is a fully covered Medicare/Medicaid benefit, unlimited in length, and many private insurance companies also cover it. Most plans cover hospice care, medications, supplies and equipment related to the hospice diagnosis with no out-of-pocket expenses to the patient.

Early referrals help patients and their families access and receive the maximum benefit and full scope of hospice service. These referrals generally come from health care professionals, but can also be made by the patient, their family, friends and spiritual counselors.

The plan of care provided through Hospice Compassus is directed by the patient and managed by the team assigned to that patient which includes but is not limited to the medical director, the patient’s primary care physician, experienced nurses, social workers and therapists, hospice aides and nursing assistants, chaplains and bereavement counselors and trained volunteers.

The volunteer corps at Hospice Compassus is essential to the services provided. Volunteers with hospice are compassionate, caring and loving. Volunteers give their time, talent and hearts with generosity and unselfishly. Typically they help by forming close bonds with patients and family members, by listening to patients and acknowledging their feelings in an unbiased way as they share their life story, and by supporting family members as they seek ways to comfort their loved one. Volunteers also may help improve communication within families by encouraging healthy interactions to open the way for people to talk honestly. Volunteers also assist in a variety of other ways with patient support, bereavement, and administrative tasks.

Patient support volunteers make friendly visits to both the patient and their family, write letters, read to patients, do light housekeeping and meal preparation, run errands or do hair care.

Bereavement volunteers support families and friends of deceased patients. During the grieving process, the volunteer is an invaluable resource, especially for those who lack a solid support network. These volunteers assist with grief support groups, coordinate community resources and help the bereavement coordinator with writing letters and making calls.

Administrative volunteers help the staff, often working in the office. Tasks include such things as typing, filing and other light office work; sending birthday cards, sympathy cards and bereavement notes; assisting at community workshops; coordinating support services; and making deliveries.

Volunteers are given in-depth training before being assigned to hospice patients. However, many bring first-hand experience to hospice, having been close to the last stages of life of a family member or friend, or perhaps seen the work of hospice through that process. Formal training is provided on the goals and philosophy of hospice care; the responsibilities and duties of caring for patients and their families; the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of death and dying; listening and communication skills; patient and family rights; family relationships; spiritual and cultural diversity; and patient confidentiality.

After training is completed, volunteers determine how much time they commit to hospice work. Whether dedicating as little as two hours a month or six hours a week, all efforts are appreciated and much needed.

To learn more about Hospice Compassus, call (928) 472-6340 or 800-450-9558, online visit www.hospicecompassus.com or visit the hospice facility at 511 S. Mud Springs Road, Payson.

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