Amy Kelley, Hospice Consultant, from Legacy Hospice spoke to the Kiwanis Club, Tuesday, January 18, 2022. Accompanying her to the meeting was Megan Frederick, Volunteer Coordinator. The Hospice Director is Sherry Spivey. They also have 3 Registered Nurses and 3 aides, a social worker, chaplain, and an office manager. They can accept patients within a 50 mile radius. At this time they have about 18 patients.
The initial visit includes the social worker and the chaplain. Patients are signed up for 6 months and when the six months is up they can resign depending on their health. The nurses and aides see the patients 2 – 3 times a week. As the patient’s condition worsens they can be seen more often. The chaplain comes once a week or as the family desires. There is also a bereavement program for the family that lasts up to 13 months after the patient passes away. Patients can be in the home or in a nursing home. Patients in the nursing home get double care because they receive their normal care and they also receive care from hospice. Diseases that would have a patient on hospice include dementia, Parkinsons, strokes, COPD, congestive heart failure, and cancer. A patient can be on hospice for six months, if they have improved they can be removed or if they are the same or worse they can be re-signed for another six months.
Knowing when to put a patient on hospice is the hardest part. Doctors have a hard time putting patients on hospice because their job is to heal. Physician’s orders are required for a patient to be on hospice.
Kelley spoke on the differences between Home Health and Hospice. They have very different goals. A home health patient must be housebound and there are goals to meet-nursing, therapy, etc. A hospice patient is to be made comfortable. Hospice wants to make it as good as possible for the patient and for their family. When a patient is on hospice, hospice pays for all medical equipment needed including beds, diapers, wipes, nutritional supplements, medicine. Most insurances, including medicaid and medicare, cover hospice. The family never receives a bill.
Kelley introduced Megan Frederick, Volunteer Coordinator. Due to Covid it is difficult to use volunteers as in the past. Volunteers are put through training and can be used to help the family have some time out of the house, pick up groceries, or other beneficial tasks. Respite care is when a patient is placed in a facility for up to 5 days so the family can have some rest time. Autumn Leaves and Winn Nursing are both respite care facilities as well as the hospital.