It’s never too late to say ‘thank you’ to our nation’s Veterans: even at the end of life

It’s never too late to say ‘thank you’ to our nation’s Veterans: even at the end of life

Americans across the country celebrate Veterans Day on November 11, a special day to salute the men and women who have bravely served our country in the military.

These fellow Americans have made profound sacrifices in defense of freedom and they deserve our heartfelt thanks and appreciation. Honoring our nation’s Veterans includes supporting them throughout their entire lives, especially at the end.

As our nation marks Veterans Day on November 11, Front Range Hospice wants to share its commitment to increase Veterans’ access to compassionate, high quality hospice and palliative care for those who are facing serious and life-limiting illness. As part of this commitment, Front Range Hospice is a part of an innovative program, We Honor Veterans, developed by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Through We Honor Veterans, we are ensuring that our organization is equipped to address the unique needs of our nation’s Veterans.

It surprises many Americans to learn that every day, 1,800 Veterans die. That’s more than 680,000 Veterans every year – or 25 percent of all the people who die in this country annually. A generation of World War II and Korean War Veterans are facing end-of-life care decisions now, and they are quickly being followed by younger Vietnam War Veterans, many of whom are confronting serious illnesses at an even earlier age.

The liberty that we, as US citizens, enjoy comes at a price paid by these valiant men and women. Let each of us make sure we do our part to recognize and support them throughout their lives.

If you know a Veteran who is in need of the special care hospice and palliative care brings to people facing serious and life-limiting illness, please reach out and help them learn more about the services that hospice and palliative care can provide. Contact us at (303) 957-3101 or 970-776-8080 to learn more about the ways we support our nation’s heroes and to learn how you can become a volunteer to support those veterans facing a life-limiting illness.

To all our nation’s Veterans, thank you.

If you would like to support work being done at the national level to expand care for Veterans at the end of life, please visit www.WeHonorVeterans.org/support.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Started Hospice At Home Today – I’m Scared!

By Victor Montour

A young daughter moved home 3 years ago to assist mom with dad who has heart disease, mild dementia and a host of other ailments. Without warning mom passed away suddenly from a brain tumor newly diagnosed early last fall and she passed away two weeks later. Suddenly, she was planning her mother’s funeral and taking care of her dad on her own. She had just buried her mom and her dad came down with pneumonia and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure less than two weeks later.

After 6 weeks in and out of the hospital, she and her brother realize this is a vicious cycle for Dad. His doctors say he likely won’t get better and they should consider hospice. She is scared to death because frankly, it’s just her and she doesn’t know anything about being a caregiver. When her brother is done visiting, he gets to go home to his family and she now lives with dad and feels all alone. Hospice does have a nurse and aide coming in a few times a week, but otherwise it’s just her. She had to suspend/give up her business. Dad is fighting her on the bathroom issue- he needs lots of assistance and must wear a diaper. She knows he is scared and feels humiliated. How does she help him understand she is just trying to help? She struggles everyday trying to reposition dad in bed by herself so he is comfortable. This daughter wants more guidance and support and just is not sure how to get it.

What is it about hospice that is scary? Is it knowing your loved one is at the end of life? Is it knowing you or your family are going to become a caregiver you never planned on being. Or is it the fear of doing something wrong? I say it’s all of the above. This young lady is very fortunate because she and her brother have opted to enroll their father into hospice. Now you’re thinking what can be so fortunate about hospice? Her dad is dying. Well, let’s talk about that.

A hospice worth its weight in salt will not only complete an admission assessment on the father to start medical care for him, but they should complete a spiritual and psycho social evaluation on the family. Upon this assessment the hospice would discover the very recent loss of the wife and mother and the loss of her business. This puts the hospice in a special position to add grieving support to the daughter, son and the patient.

This evaluation will also help the hospice understand the fears and concerns the daughter has about taking care of dad at home. Again a good hospice will spend the time to listen and validate the daughter’s fears and concerns. As each team member meets with the daughter more and more of her concerns should be addressed. Like providing education on ways to deal with dad’s bathroom issues or showing the daughter different ways to scoot dad up in bed. Yes, hospice is intermittent, but that does not mean you’re alone. Your hospice should be ready to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If hospice scares you or if you have any questions call 303-957-3101 or 970-776-8080 or email us at info@frhospice.com

Look for our next Blog: It’s Never too Late to Say ‘Thank You’

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

911 and COPD

911 and COPD

By Victor Montour

My sound sleep was abruptly disturbed by my phone ringing in the middle of the night. Knowing my friends and family very well, none of them would call me in the middle of the night unless there was a major problem. It’s my mother on the phone calling to tell me she has called 911 because grandma can’t breathe.

I race to the local emergency room and find my mother waiting in the waiting room, almost in tears. After waiting the longest 5 minutes of our life a young nurse comes out and informs us that my grandmother has made it to the emergency room. The nurse then offers to take us to her room.

My grandmother is sitting up in the hospital gurney with a nebulizer mask over her nose and mouth. Her eyes are as big as fifty cent pieces and she is working really hard to breath. The nurse informs my mom and I that she is giving my grandmother a breathing treatment to try and open up her air way.

After 24 hours in the hospital and a multitude of tests the doctor returns and tells us my grandmother has COPD. Not sure what that means I did a little research of my own and this is what I found out.

What is COPD? Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) refers to a group of lung diseases that block airflow and makes breathing difficult. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common conditions that make up COPD. Chronic bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from your lungs. Emphysema occurs when the air sacs (alveoli) at the end of the smallest air passages (bronchioles) in the lungs are gradually destroyed.

Damage to your lungs from COPD can’t be reversed, but treatment can help control symptoms and minimize further damage. Symptoms of COPD often don’t appear until significant lung damage has occurred, and they usually worsen over time.

People with COPD are also likely to experience episodes called exacerbations, during which their symptoms become worse and persist for days or longer.

In the vast majority of cases, the lung damage that leads to COPD is caused by long-term cigarette smoking. But there are likely other factors at play in the development of COPD, such as a genetic susceptibility to the disease, because only about 20 percent of smokers develop COPD.

Other irritants can cause COPD, including cigar smoke, secondhand smoke, pipe smoke, air pollution and workplace exposure to dust, smoke or fumes.

As I continue to research COPD I found that a number of skilled nursing facilities, hospices and home care agencies have developed specialty programs that focus on the care and symptom management of COPD. These specialty programs are being developed to provide specially trained nurses and other care givers on the best clinical methods for treating the symptoms of COPD. Finding a hospice or home care agency with these specialty programs will improve your chances of getting the best symptom management for your COPD.

My grandmother lived 9 years with her COPD. In and out of hospitals, nursing homes even homecare for a while. In the end my grandmother was tired of spending her time in the hospital away from her family. She chose to have hospice come in and care for her at home. Hospice was able to treat her symptoms and make her comfortable while allowing her to remain in her home till she passed.

If you would like more information about Front Range Hospice and our COPD program call 303-957-3101 or 970-776-8080 or email us at info@frhospice.com

Watch out for our next blog Started Hospice at Home Today – I’m Scared!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Front Range Hospice

Front Range Hospice


                            

Location of Care

  • Front Range Hospice provides care for patients residing in Weld, Boulder, Broomfield, Adams and Larimer Counties.
  • Front Range Hospice cares for patients and their families in their home, wherever they call home –private residence, assisted living, independent living facilities, and skilled nursing facilities.

Staffing / Visit Patterns

  • Hospice is skilled, intermittent care. Every care plan is individualized to meet your needs.
  • Front Range Hospice clinical staff carry the smallest caseloads in the industry.
  • Our Clinical Team consists of Registered Nurses, Social Workers, Chaplains, Certified Nurses Aides and Volunteers.
  • Front Range Hospice on call team consists of a Medical Director, an RN, a psychosocial team members and an Administrator.
  • Front Range Hospice volunteers are professionally trained to provide companionship throughout the hospice journey as well as Veteran and Vigil volunteers.
  • Our physicians are mobile and are able to visit patients in their own homes. We also work closely with primary care physicians in the community.

Services

  • Front Range Hospice provides care for all patients over the age of 18.
  • When calling Front Range Hospice after hours, the caller is directly connected to a full time Front Range Hospice Nurse or Administrator.
  • Front Range Hospice provides admission services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We respond rapidly and can often be at your home within the hour.
  • Front Range Hospice offers individual bereavement counseling.

Insurance / Finances

  • Front Range Hospice provides care for patients with Medicaid, Medicare and all HMO Senior products. We also are contracted with Aetna, United Health Care, Cofinity, Colorado Foundation for Medical Care, Blue Cross, Veterans Administration, and Humana. We continue to add new insurances.

Every uninsured patient’s care is considered on a case by case basis. Front Range Hospice is Different from the Rest!

  • Our focus is to allow patients to live and die in the environment of their choice.
  • Our response time from referral to admission is less than two hours – guaranteed.
  • We are Joint Commission Accreditated which is the Gold Standard in the industry and rare in the hospice world.
  • Members of Studer Group, a healthcare consulting firm that focuses on the experience of care
  • We understand that there are no do over’s in end of life care so we strive to get it right, every time.
  • We strive to provide Legendary End of Life Care.

Front Range Hospice
(303)957-3101 or (970) 776-8080
http://www.FrontRangeHospice.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Front Range Hospice Non-Profit Memorial Fund 501(c) 3

Front Range Hospice Non-Profit Memorial Fund 501(c) 3

As mentioned in a prior post there’s not much difference in for-profit and non-profit organizations. Providing legendary care however is a huge difference. Legendary Care is not just a slogan; it is the heartbeat and soul of Front Range Hospice.

At Front Range Hospice we go above and beyond to provide Legendary Care to patients, families and referral sources. Putting people first and doing the right thing is the beginning of our legendary care. Meeting this goal is sometimes challenging with the current Medicare hospice benefit limitations patients and families are faced with everyday. To help bridge this gap in coverage Front Range Hospice started the Front Range Hospice Non-Profit Memorial Fund.

When donating to the Front Range Hospice Non-Profit Memorial Fund people are not donating money to fund a beautiful fountain in the city park or a unit in a hospital wing named after a benefactor. What they will find is 100% of all donations go to pay for things not covered by the Medicare hospice benefit. Here are examples of what we have used the money for:

  • A patient suffering from end stage COPD wants nothing more than to see his only son before dying. The son is a single guy trying to pay for college and support himself on minimum wage and doesn’t have the money saved up to fly home to see his father. Putting people first and doing the right thing, the memorial fund was used to purchase a round trip airline ticket and then a shuttle to and from the airport so this father and son could spend time together and say their “I love you, I am sorry, and goodbye”. What better example of doing the right thing.
  • The Front Range Hospice Non-Profit Memorial fund has been used for filling propane tanks so a patient’s home can be warm during the winter. One patient was quite young and had been the major wage earner. Our certified nurse’s aide arrived one winter morning at the home and when she went in she could see her breath. The patient was under four blankets and still shivering. When she found out that the family was rationing their propane because they could not afford to fill the tank she called the office. A propane company was out to the home that afternoon and filled the tank. When they were told to send the bill to Front Range Hospice Memorial Fund, they reduced the bill.
  • The fund often buys clothing for residents in nursing homes who have no family.
  • The fund buys pocket talkers (amplifiers) so a patient can hear the laughter of their grandchildren in the home.

These are just a few examples of the many things that the donations to the Front Range Hospice Non-Profit Memorial Fund has done to ease the end of life journey of patients and families.

Front Range Hospice does not receive payment from this fund nor is there a cost associated with administrating the fund as all administrative functions are either donated or paid for privately. 100% of all funds are used to ease the journey of the patient and their family. When approving expenses, the committee asks one question. “Would anyone that donated this money object to this expenditure?”

Front Range Hospice, going above and beyond to provide Legendary Care to patients and families by putting people first and always doing the right thing.

For more information call 303-957-3101 or 970-776-8080 or email us at info@frhospice.com. If you would like to give a tax deductible donation, send your check to:

Front Range Hospice Memorial Fund

3770 Puritan Way Unit #E

Frederick CO 80516

Look for our next blog – Summary of Front Range Hospice Services

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

FOR-PROFIT AND NON-PROFIT HOSPICES

As hospice liaisons we are asked on a daily basis “are you a non-profit hospice?” After being asked this question day after day we thought what a great topic for our blog page. All of us at Front Range Hospice believe that knowledge is power, so visit our blog page frequently or like us on face book to get the answers to the questions you may have.

FOR-PROFIT AND NON-PROFIT HOSPICES

by Victor Montour

The Medicare Hospice benefit is a highly regulated program with very specific requirements that are monitored closely. This oversight is in part needed because approximately 90% of hospice patients are receiving services under their Medicare benefit.

Medicare pays all hospices a per diem rate, which is the dollar amount Medicare, has determined that will cover essentially all of the expenses related to the management of the patient’s care. This dollar amount varies from state-to-state and then from county-to-county. The rate is based on the location the care is provided not the location of the hospice office. There is no difference in the rate between for-profit or non-profit.

Perhaps the most significant difference between a non-profit hospice and for- profit hospice is that non-profits do not pay taxes. This is an exclusive quality of all non-profits no matter what the goals of that organization may be. A common misconception is that “non-profit” means monies are not exchanged or that the non-profit organization is run by volunteers, donations, and grant money. Some of this is true; however it is not completely true, as non-profits have employees that receive compensation. In the case of a non-profit hospice, Medicare pays them the exact same per diem that the for-profit hospices receive. They are just not taxed on that money due to how their business is structured. The taxes that are assessed to the for- profit hospices are paid to the county in which they are located; this money is then used to support local government, social programs, and special projects that benefit the community.

Every hospice must follow the guidelines that Medicare has designated, and every hospice is run differently and is special in its own way. This flexibility is an intricate part of the Medicare Hospice Regulations. There are regulations of what needs to be provided and there is flexibility in how this is provided. Beyond the Medicare criteria, every hospice has the ability to do things in their own special way. For example, aroma therapy, music and pet therapies are just some of the complementary therapies that a hospice may have to offer. You may find different complementary services throughout the other hospices of Colorado. It is these special extras that make each hospice unique and establishes a personal fit to those that are entering hospice. It is indeed these special “extras” that may help a person when they are deciding which hospice is right for themselves or their loved one.

When you really look at the differences between for-profit and non-profit hospice organizations, I believe you will see they really aren’t so different. Hospices, regardless of how they are organized, are here to help people live their lives with dignity and in comfort. They want to help the patient as well as the family, their caregivers, and their physicians. All hospice organizations follow the Conditions of Participation, have wonderful and caring staff members, and are prone to giving back to their community.

The major difference that really stands out is the one of personal choice. When you are choosing the hospice that is right for you, finding the organization that has the personal touches that appeal to you may be the motivating factor that you would want to consider.

Watch for our next blog – Front Range Hospice Non-Profit Memorial Fund

For more information call 303-957-3101 or 970-776-8080 or email us at info@frhospice.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hospice Care in an Assisted Living Facility? Why Not?

Hospice Care in an Assisted Living Facility?  Why Not?
Written by Barbara Reed

Many people live fulfilling lives in Assisted Living communities. Their days include social events, dining, perhaps volunteer opportunities, and a measure of independence in their own apartments.    Many develop deep friendships with other residents and affection for the staff.  Families of residents often form a strong bond after seeing one another visiting family members on a regular basis.  In short – the time spent living in Assisted Living can be very rewarding for the resident and the family, and a deeply meaningful experience for the staff at the facility. So why would anyone want to change all these components just because a person qualifies for hospice?  When one’s health condition changes and a person can qualify for hospice care, most of the time that person can stay in the assisted living community – with additional support from the hospice team.  The hospice team works hand in hand with the community team, ensuring that the care plan created by hospice is manageable within the level of care that the assisted living community offers. This goes back to the core values of honoring the wishes of a patient and the family.

 

I’ve had an opportunity to see first-hand how this collaborative care can be so successful.  Before joining Front Range Hospice, I worked for over 8 years for a large assisted living provider.  I saw on a daily basis how complimentary these two disciplines can be……from the perspective of the assisted living community.  We all want the least restrictive, most independent environment for the resident.  The collaborative relationship between assisted living and hospice creates the best end of life quality for the resident and the family.  A referral for hospice care early in the resident’s disease process allows the two teams to develop strategy to maximize all of the ways hospice provides care.

 

I recall clearly a patient in her 40′s for which the assisted living community and Front Range Hospice provided amazing care.  She had no family living locally and she had been ill long enough that only her most loyal friends stayed in touch.  When I was first made aware of her situation, it was through a phone call from the case manager at the local hospital – looking for a good fit for her favorite patient.  I was able to show the case manager how closely the wellness team and Front Range Hospice work together. On the recommendation of the case manager, the patient moved into our community and became our resident.  As she began her decline, these two teams decided to host a tea party in her room – complete with china cups, tea pots, and sweets.  We took turns enjoying the company of our resident/patient and we were so happy to do this for her!  

September 7th – 13th is National Assisted Living Week – a time to honor the incredible work done every day by our Assisted Living partners. 

Please remember that a move from the familiar surroundings of home – whether someone lives in their own home or in an assisted living community – can be very stressful.  Front Range Hospice will work closely with the assisted living team to ensure the best possible care is given wherever the patient calls home.  It is essential to understand what care is needed now, and as the patient’s health declines – what the assisted living community, family, and patient should expect going forward.   Honest and open communication is the key to caring successfully for a hospice patient in an Assisted Living community.

If you are considering relocating a patient or a loved one from Assisted Living simply because that person qualifies for hospice, please consider the option to have that person stay in his or her home – surrounded by their familiar support systems and receiving  Legendary Care from Front Range Hospice.

 

Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/FRHospice

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment