National Hospice Month was recognized this month and the local hospice recently discussed its care team and the care it provides to those near the end of their lives.
November is recognized as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. Hospice works to raise awareness and promote the important role of hospice care to patients and their families along with furthering the mission and vision of its care. During this month, Hospice of Fayette County celebrates the nurses, therapists, aids and other providers who play a central role in the health care system and in homes across the area.
Articulated well in its mission statement, Hospice of Fayette County affirms life and exists to provide comfort, symptom management and support in physical, mental and spiritual aspects when there is a life-limiting illness. Recently, Hospice of Fayette County Executive Director Lynda Wilt thanked the staff for their efforts and named a few of the workers who live in and care for Highland County.
“We have employees who live in Highland County,” Wilt said. “These people range from pastor to social worker to Hospice aide to nurse. When they are in their home county, we try to match them up with patients who also live there so that perhaps they will be more familiar with them. A lot of the people we serve come from word of mouth referrals, so a lot of times, when we get a patient from that area, one of them knows that person, the name, or maybe even a family member of them.”
With help from many different backgrounds and in different areas, Hospice of Fayette County has become respected for the service they provide. This is thanks to those people Wilt and others thank for continuing to keep Hospice care as high of quality as possible. Wilt highlighted those individuals from Highland County who work for Hospice of Fayette County and explained their roles in maintaining that quality:
– Lisa Capper, RN, is a quality assurance nurse. She looks at the program and makes sure from the front door to the back door that anything that Hospice does is done with the highest quality. She determines any area that needs to be improved upon and her goal is to improve upon them.
– Kathy Saunders, STNA, has been a Hospice aide for a time and is on the front line of care. Saunders travels to patients’ homes to provide personal care. If they require specific extra care that a family may be unable to provide, she will take care of it. According to Wilt, when Saunders, as well as others working on patient care, has been in a home she is asked to come back because of how well the patient has been cared for.
– Courtney Lubbers is a social work assistant and is there to listen to the patients and their family. Whenever they may have a need to share, Lubbers is there. She can then step in if there is an issue and resolve it. She can help financially by helping the patient understand and solve medicare and medicaid systems. She also helps with any emotional issues that the patient or family can be going through. Using this information, Lubbers can guide them through the issues and try to provide answers to their concerns and direct them toward a solution.
– Kasey Roden, LPN, has been with Hospice of Fayette County for over 10 years, according to Wilt. She has recently gone back to school to become an RN and is an excellent teacher. She provides information to patients and their families explaining many aspects of the care to them. Wilt also noted that Roden is very patient, becomes attached to those she cares for and will fight for their needs. If she believes that it is something her patient needs, she will, “Go to battle for them,” Wilt said.
– Melissa Fout, RN, started at Hospice of Fayette County within the past year. She came from a local nursing home and has great energy, Wilt said. Known for her beautiful smile, patients will gravitate toward her and she has been providing excellent care for the team thus far, proving to be a perfect addition. She further works as a case manager and drives the patient care by developing a plan with the family, including their goals, and puts that in motion.
– Amber Frazier, LPN, is also a newer nurse and has a great personality, amazing energy and connects with patients and their families very quickly. Wilt said that she has been a joy to be around and is also a great educator. Recently she went back to school to become an RN which has helped her gain a bit of knowledge in Hospice care. Overall, Wilt said she has picked it up quickly.
– Pastor Jeff Davis was spoken of highly, with Wilt saying that she has absolutely nothing negative to say about him. She said that you will not find a family or patient that has anything negative to say either. He is known as a gentle soul and approaches patients and families in this manner, and if they aren’t ready for them, it is okay, because he can find a way to reach those people. Wilt said that once someone meets Davis, they always want him back. This is the time in people’s lives when they are looking at death approaching and a lot of issues come to the forefront – the chief among them being spiritual. Davis helps them walk through their questions and concerns, which leads them to their own answers in their own timing. Families continue to call him a lot to perform funeral ceremonies and he keeps up with grieving families to make sure they are continued to be cared for.
“Hospice care is a need that a lot of people don’t hear about,” Wilt said. “We are a non-profit organization and have always been. So we never charge our patients for the care that we provide. Patients reach a point in their disease or by decision that there is no longer a treatment option available to them or they do not want to pursue any other treatments. They are accepting of where they are and they want to be comfortable. They become more focused on quality than trying to maintain quantity. So our goal is to keep them covered and help them achieve the highest quality of life in the days they have left and not focus so much on the end of their life, but that they are still living life.”
Hospice of Fayette County, which is approaching 30 years of providing care to its patients, is a non-profit hospice care agency that never bills a patient for care or supplies provided relating to their illness. This local hospice proudly serves Fayette County and all surrounding counties, including Madison, Clark, Greene, Clinton, Highland, Ross and Pickaway. With care that is patient-driven and focuses on personal fulfillment, pain relief and symptom management rather than curative measures, they have been helping patients that are facing life-limiting illnesses and support those patients’ loved ones.