Not being able to gather with loved ones to celebrate holidays can be especially difficult during this time. Although Marylanders have been ordered to stay home in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, that doesn’t mean that they can’t connect with family members. It just requires a little creativity.
At Carroll Hospice, therapeutic music empowers the human spirit—even in the most difficult of times. Lydia Bandy and Jo Morrison know firsthand the power of therapeutic music. Their harp performances at Dove House—Carroll Hospice’s inpatient facility—have literally awakened the soul.
The American Association of Retired Persons® (AARP) recently posted information about choosing a hospice on their website. In the article, professionals recommend initiating conversations earlier to avoid patients and families needing to make a choice “under duress.” They also stressed the importance of prefacing any discussion regarding end-of-life care with first exploring what is important to the patient, what he or she understands about his or her illness, and how best to personalize his or her care.
The article also provided a list of questions to ask a hospice when considering enrolling in their care. The following is how Carroll Hospice would respond to those questions:
Q: Does the hospice’s medical director make home visits to address complex symptom management?
A: Yes. Our full-time medical director, John Middleton, M.D., cares for patients at Dove House and in the community.
Q: How and how quickly does the hospice respond to patient care crises after hours?
A: Carroll Hospice has staff available 24 hours/day every day of the year. Our NEWS Crew (Nights, Evenings and Weekend staff) consists of team members who specifically work after hours. Families consistently rate our after-hours responsiveness as being above the national benchmark.
Q: Does the hospice provide all levels of care mandated by the Medicare Hospice benefit?
A: Yes. Carroll Hospice is a fully compliant Medicare-certified hospice. General inpatient care is provided in our eight-bed inpatient facility, Dove House. Respite care is typically provided in a local nursing facility with which we partner. Continuous care is always available to symptomatic patients who choose not to leave the home setting. We bring the higher level of care to them.
Q: Is the hospice accredited by one of the three national organizations that survey hospices on their quality, which means it went above and beyond what is required by Medicare?
A: Yes. Carroll Hospice is accredited by Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP).
Q: Are the hospice’s professional staff individually certified as experts in their field by their recognized professional bodies?
A: Certification is required for all nursing and hospice aide staff members who have been with Carroll Hospice for four years or more. We are 100 percent compliant. Social workers, chaplains and our bereavement counselors have also individually pursued certification.
Q: How robust is the hospice’s volunteer program, and what does it include?
A: Volunteers are at the heart of Carroll Hospice—providing all those things to patients and families that do not require a professional touch. We have a vibrant Veteran Volunteer Program, doula program and pet visitation program among others.
Regina Bodnar is the executive director of Carroll Hospice.
Each month we set the facts straight regarding myths surrounding hospice care.
This month’s myth: Patients lose their relationship with their attending physician when they enter hospice care
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.”
—C. S. Lewis
After the loss of a loved one, grieving takes a toll on your heart. Memories may trigger outbursts of emotion, sometimes when you may least expect it. Intense emotions can come on unexpectedly and persist. These may include shock, numbness, disorientation, sadness, anger, despair, guilt and emptiness.
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the 4th Annual State of Aging conference presented by The Center for the Study of Aging at McDaniel College. The focus of this daylong learning event was patient-centered care across care settings and how it contributes to the well-being of older adults.