Hospice Compassus encompasses more than helping those in the last stage of life and their families, it also provides the community with a source of information about health care and services.
The staff of Hospice Compassus is trained to help get everyone the right help needed.
The community it serves goes beyond Payson and the surrounding area, it operates as far as Happy Jack and Forest Lakes, down in Young and east of Tonto Basin (just on the other side of the bridge).
When helping determine and find the help needed for someone who is ailing and/or in failing health, a staff member will come to the individual’s home to make an assessment. The individual, a family member, a friend or neighbor, someone from the person’s church or anyone else who may suspect there might be something wrong, can make the initial contact with Hospice. The help could be anything from getting them transportation to the grocery store, getting them to the Senior Circle or Senior Center for socializing, arranging for Meals on Wheels or help around the house and yard or medical care.
None of the services from Hospice cost anything, not even the hands-on care the staff gives its primary patients.
“Nationwide only 40 percent of Medicare eligible patients ever receive the gift of hospice,” said Mary Jane Rogers, executive director of Hospice Compassus in Payson.
“But all are eligible for it and hospice is the only service for which Medicare pays 100 percent,” she added. There is no co-pay, no deductible.
Social workers can even help patients get all the added benefits available through the government that can provide financial relief from the pressures an end-of-life condition creates for the individual and their family.
She said the goal of Hospice Compassus is to not let any Medicare hospice appropriate patient go without the gift of all the service can provide.
“The community needs to know it. Physicians need to know it.”
The care and comfort Hospice provides is most often in the patient’s home, but it can also be given to those in the area’s long-term care facilities. While the patient’s medical needs may be taken care of by the long-term care staff, Hospice can give them the added support of visits by a chaplain, a social worker or a bereavement counselor. The bereavement counselor also works with the patient’s family with anticipatory grief and for as long as 13 months after the death of the loved one.
Hospice Compassus will also provide care for patients at Hospice House on Mud Springs Road in Payson.
The care at Hospice House is given when short-term medical management needs cannot be met at home or in a care center, such as when the prescribed pain management stops working or another medical crisis needs to be brought under control. When the medical situation is under control, the patient is returned home or to their care center.
Patients will also come into the Hospice House for respite care when their caregiver needs a break or has their own medical condition (injury, surgery, etc.) for which they need care and recovery time. The respite care is provided for up to five days for the Hospice patient.
“When we don’t have any patients, we will close the in-patient unit, which has happened a few days during the year,” Rogers said.
“However, if we get a call for the unit, it can be opened and staffed within an hour,” said Kathleen Hughes, Hospice care consultant.
That staff now includes two new associate medical directors — James Schouten and David Cluff — working with medical director Paul Gilbert. With the addition of Schouten and Cluff, there is a medical director available for patients around the clock. There is also a new grief counselor, Jeanine Affeldt. The doctors joined Hospice in October; Affeldt came on board in December.
“Schouten and Cluff are well established in the community and have really brought a great perspective and breath of fresh air (to us) and we’re really excited to have them here,” Rogers said.
Affeldt has started a caregivers’ support group, open to everyone at no charge. She leads grief support group meetings as well.
To learn more about Hospice Compassus, call (928) 472-6340 or stop by the Hospice House, 511 S. Mud Springs Road, Payson, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. If a weekend informational meeting is needed, those can be arranged by appointment as well.
Hospice is always in need of volunteers, so those interested can call volunteer coordinator Patty Kaufman at the above number to learn about opportunities to help. Those who would like to make a financial contribution to Hospice can send it to Rim Country Hospice Foundation, P.O. Box 305, Payson, AZ 85547. Kaufman is also the contact to learn more about the foundation and making donations.