Ed Hughes serves as one of our Truck Drivers for Community Hospice. His positive attitude and dedication to the mission of Community Hospice is an inspiration. Thank you for all your hard work, Ed!
February Super Star
Patients suffering from a terminal diagnosis often find they have a variety of options for care at the beginning of treatment and near the end of life. Often patients fall into a gap during the midpoint of treatment when they are looking for ways to deal with symptoms of their illness or side effects of medicine.
When patients fall into that gap, often it means added trips to an emergency room, increasing costs and aggravation. A pilot project by the Health Plan of San Joaquin (HPSJ) hopes to address that gap through a palliative care program.
“The program provides supportive care for chronic conditions,” said HPSJ Chief Medical Officer Lakshmi Dhanvanthari, MD. “The program focuses on when the patient is still getting curative care.”
Unlike, hospice care which focuses on helping patients deal with end-of-life issues, palliative care focuses on family-centered care that improves quality of life duringtreatment.
A series of nurses and social workers meet with patients to help anticipate, prevent and treat suffering. The program works throughout the continuum of illness to address physical, intellectual, emotional and social, as well as spiritual, needs. So far, about 70 members are enrolled in the program.
“Palliative care usually starts when you think the patient has about a year to live,” Dhanvanthari said. “It helps the patient to understand their illness better.”
The HPSJ program focuses on patients with end-stage liver disease, advanced cancer, end-stage congestive heart failure and end-stage chronic pulmonary disease.
“Our patients have very advanced illnesses,” Dhanvanthari said.
One of the big differences between this program and others is its focus on helping patients beyond the hospital. The program offers in-home consultation, and patients can call a team member 24-hours-per day. Health Plan of San Joaquin has also teamed with local agencies to expand local care expertise and capacity for palliative care in both San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.
“These services help them better manage their symptoms,” Dhanvanthari said.
One of the biggest goals of the program is to keep patients from having to make return trips to the hospital. By giving patients more information, they can often find remedies to symptoms or side effects of treatments that don’t require hospitalization.
“The palliative care team explains the patient’s options,” Dhanvanthari said. “How do you prevent some of these side effects from happening? Who do you call? You can reach out to the palliative care team. They can help a patient decide should they go to emergency room.”
The program also works to keep patients from bouncing back once they are out of the hospital and returned home from treatment.
“Usually care is provided in the hospital setting,” said Dhanvanthari. “They go home, and they bounce back to hospital. What we are trying to do is provide community care. We go into the patient’s home and into the community.”
Health Plan of San Joaquin is funding the cost of this pilot project for clinical services. A $24,000 grant from the California Healthcare Foundation helped get through the planning stage of the program. That planning helped the program get a head start by coordinating services with San Joaquin General Hospital, Hospice of San Joaquin and Community Care Choices and the palliative care program at Community Hospice in Stanislaus County.
The program that resulted from that planning earned HPSJ a second, two-year, $80,000 grant from the California Healthcare Foundation.
Program planners elected to offer outpatient care services for HPSJ members as a head start to a larger, state-focused palliative care effort. Such care will be a new Medi-Cal member benefit starting in early 2018.
Judging the success is one of the tougher aspects of programs such as this. The patients have terminal diseases that, so often, success has to be judged by quality of life.
“I think the best success is how do we help the member live life the way they want to live,” Dhanvanthari said. “The ability to deal with such a significant issue in their life is tough. It is a really hard time. Sometimes we help them transition to hospice. We want them living with dignity in their last days of life. That is the biggest thing that is hard to measure.”
Other quantifiable measures have shown success in similar programs around the country. Aetna’s Compassionate Care Program saw an 81-percent decline in inpatient days, saving $12,000 per member. One thing that often makes the biggest difference is how soon the palliative care starts.
A 2014 study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that palliative intervention within six days of hospital admission reduced costs by 14 percent. When care began within two days of admission, costs were reduced by an estimated 24 percent.
“We are definitely continuing the project,” Dhanvanthari said. “This helps bring people together. This is really needed in this community.”
By Kent Hohlfeld – January 18, 2018
Marisa Ousby serves as one of our Social Workers for Community Hospice. Her positive attitude and dedication to the mission of Community Hospice is an inspiration. Thank you for all your hard work, Marisa!
Erin Jimenez serves as one of our Volunteer Specialists for Community Hospice. Her positive attitude and dedication to the mission of Community Hospice is an inspiration. Thank you for all your hard work, Erin!
When Kristen Beatty lost her mother suddenly in 2012, her grief was complicated by another challenge: how to care for her 74-year-old father, who has Alzheimer’s disease. He’d been diagnosed 10 years earlier, and over the years her mother had become more than his caregiver: She was his gatekeeper, maintaining the privacy her retired Navy officer husband desired.
For Immediate Release
Kristin Mostowski | Director of Public Relations, Community Hospice | Kristin.Mostowski@hospiceheart.org | 209.578.6301
Community Hospice’s Fantasy of Trees Event Shines at the Gallo Center for the Arts
Modesto, CA (December 1, 2017 – December 2, 2017) – Beautiful designer decorated trees, wreaths and centerpieces filled the Gallo Center for the Arts lobby during the Friends of Community Hospice’s annual Fantasy of Trees Luncheon and Santa Shares Breakfast fundraiser. Fantasy of Trees started the weekend off Friday morning with champagne, a catered lunch, boutiques of local artisans and an opportunity to bid on gorgeous decorated trees, wreathes and centerpieces all designed by local community members.
The fun at the Gallo Center for the Arts continued on Saturday with a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus at Santa Shares Breakfast. “Santa Shares Breakfast is personally one of my favorites events,” mentions Monica Ojcius the Executive Director of the Community Hospice Foundation. “We gave over 130 tickets to this event to families in need to ensure no household goes without some holiday cheer”. Santa Shares Breakfast featured a family breakfast, children’s holiday crafts, dancers from the Central West Ballet Nutcracker and a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Proceeds from this event went to support the children and families of Community Hospice’s Gabriel’s Friends Pediatric Palliative Care Program.
For more information about Community Hospice events, visit give.hospiceheart.org.
About Community Hospice
Community Hospice is a nonprofit, community based hospice agency, serving the San Joaquin Valley since 1979. Community Hospice provides compassionate and quality care, education and support to terminally ill patients and their families, regardless of the ability to pay. Care extends to over 250 patients every day in private homes, skilled nursing facilities and at the 16-room Community Hospice Alexander Cohen Hospice House. Community Hospice also provides bereavement and grief support to anyone in the community. For more information please call (209) 477-6300 or visit www.hospiceheart.org.
We had a wonderful time hosting the Annual Central Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Holiday Mixer!
For Immediate Release
Kristin Mostowski, Director of Public Relations | Community Hospice | Kristin.Mostowski@hospiceheart.org | 209.578.6301
Community Hospice Joins the Global #GivingTuesday Movement
MODESTO, CA (November 7, 2017) – Community Hospice, has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Occurring this year on November 28, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the US) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.
Community Hospice joined #GivingTuesday to spread awareness of their mission of providing compassion and quality care, education and support to terminally ill patients and their families, regardless of ability to pay and hopes to inspire others to volunteer their time, talent, and/or treasure to ensure that Community Hospice is able to fulfill the needs of the community.
“Each year, the global impact of #GivingTuesday truly inspires me,” says the Director of the Community Hospice Foundation, Monica Ojcius. “It is an honor to bring this international philanthropic event to our community. What better a way to embrace the season of giving than to give back to a nonprofit that serves your friends, neighbors and family?”
For more information about supporting Community Hospice, please visit give.hospiceheart.org.
About Community Hospice
Community Hospice is the largest and oldest nonprofit hospice agency in the Central Valley. Serving the community since 1979, Community Hospice has cared for thousands of friends and neighbors offering compassionate and quality care, education and support to terminally ill patients and families, regardless of ability to pay. Care extends to over 2000 patients each year in private homes, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and at the 16-bed inpatient Community Hospice Alexander Cohen Hospice House. Community Hospice also provides bereavement and grief support to anyone in the community. For more information, please call (209) 578-6300 or visit hospiceheart.org.
#GivingTuesday is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in all 50 states and in countries around the world. This year, #GivingTuesday falls on November 28. #GivingTuesday harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners
to transform how people think about, talk about, and participate in the giving season. It inspires people to take collective action to improve their communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they believe in, and help create a better world. #GivingTuesday demonstrates how every act of generosity counts, and that they mean even more when we give together.
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