Hospice of Central Ohio Joins in National Healthcare Decisions Day Effort

National Healthcare Decisions Day is April 16, 2019, with focus on reminding people, regardless of age or current health status, of the importance of making their personal healthcare decisions known. Hospice of Central Ohio is joining the effort to encourage members of our community to participate in important discussions about end-of-life care.

Every day at Hospice of Central Ohio we help families come to terms with the unimaginable loss of a loved one. Family members are torn as they consider what is right, what is best, how to best honor the life of their loved one. There may be differences of opinion that can fracture families forever. This does not need to happen.

By sharing information with loved ones and your doctor about what you would want when you are facing life-limiting circumstances, you are not only helping yourself, you are also alleviating family members of guilt, stress, fear and potential long-lasting conflict.

According to a National Institute of Health study, only 26.3% of U.S. adults have completed an Advance Directive. Why not more? Most had thought about it but not completed the forms. The primary reasons offered were that they did not know about the forms or were concerned about cost or complexity.

In reality, it is simple, easy and free to take the steps to assure your healthcare decisions are honored.

  • Talk with your loved ones about your preferences for healthcare planning
  • Forms can also be found online at ohioshospice.org/ACP

Show your love for your family by taking the necessary steps to establish your wishes during National Healthcare Decisions Week. They will be forever grateful to you for it.

Ribbon Cutting for New Inpatient-Care Unit

Ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held on Monday, January 28, 2019 for the new hospice inpatient-care unit at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Hospice of Central Ohio, an affiliate of Ohio’s Hospice, will operate the inpatient hospice unit. The unit features 12 patient rooms designed with a nature motif to create a peaceful environment for patients and families, along with flexible space designated for family gatherings. Families are able to stay with or visit loved ones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

This innovative $2.5 million initiative, by Hospice of Central Ohio, will complement the continuum of care available for patients and will ensure that patients facing a serious or life-limiting illness receive the care, support, dignity, and comfort they need to have a meaningful end-of-life experience.

“When we decided to add inpatient hospice services, we went through an extensive selection process to ensure we partnered with a not-for-profit organization with a strong commitment to providing the highest standard of care while supporting the communities it serves,” said David McQuaid, CEO of The Ohio State University Health System and chief operating officer of Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.

“We’re honored to provide our world-class end-of-life care to patients at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center,” said Kent Anderson, president and CEO of Ohio’s Hospice. “Patients and their families from across the state can expect smooth transitions of care from inpatient to home hospice when needed.”

Hospice of Central Ohio President and CEO Kerry Hamilton said, “This new partnership enables us to enhance and expand services to our central Ohio community and statewide, creating seamless continuity of care when patients and families most need it.”

Staff from The James Cancer Hospital remarked that they are grateful to have this unit so close for the next phase of their patients’ journey.

Nurses shared their eagerness for the unit to open as patients will greatly benefit from having a peaceful, serene center available when inpatient hospital care is no longer desired.

A local community leader attending the event remarked that the ribbon cutting was a wonderful event and the “inpatient unit is impressive.”

A grateful family member tearfully shared that she wished such an option was available when her sister was terminally ill a few years ago.  She said she was pleased that other patients and families will be cared for so tenderly.

Several supporters in attendance were excited to know that another inpatient unit offering superior care and service, will be closer to home. Their loved ones received exceptional care at the Selma Markowitz Care Center at Licking Memorial Hospital, which was created by Hospice of Central Ohio 22 years ago.

Those interested in learning more about ways to support this project can contact Stacy Geller, vice president of philanthropic development with Hospice of Central Ohio, at 740.788.1488.

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Alternative Therapies are Effective in Reducing the Need for Opioid Medications

From the beginning, hospice has been characterized by a curiosity about holistic and alternative approaches to care and has employed those proven to have effective outcomes. Now, in a time when the use of opioids for pain control has created serious addiction problems for the nation, Hospice of Central Ohio is exploring alternative therapies and finding valuable options to replace prescription medications.

Quality care for hospice patients requires control of pain, anxiety, and agitation. The affiliates of Ohio’s Hospice, including Hospice of Central Ohio, have introduced an array of complementary treatments that have been proven to improve clinical outcomes for patients while reducing the need for medications. All of these complementary services are supported through donor dollars. They include:

Starlight Therapy(TM):  One of the more unique therapies available is Starlight Therapy, which research has shown has a 90% rate of effectiveness in helping patients find relief from agitation, anxiety, and restlessness within 30 minutes. The use of a laser star projector to shine pinpoints of light that move like the stars helps patients achieve greater relaxation, reducing the need for medication.

Massage therapy: Massage therapy can supplement and help decrease the side effects of various pain medications. Patients asked to rate pain and anxiety before and after massage therapy showed significant improvement in levels of anxiety, pain, and peacefulness. Research has also shown benefits not only in reduced physical distress but in emotional distress as well.

Music therapy: Music can be a powerful tool to effectively address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of hospice patients. Qualified music therapists can provide opportunities for creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. Music can also be useful in physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing motivation, and providing emotional support for patients and their families. It encourages reminiscence and provides an outlet for the expression of feelings.

Animal-assisted therapy: Trained and certified therapy pets provide animal-assisted therapy visits that reduce stress and anxiety, encourage interaction, and elicit emotional responses. Even patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia can benefit from animal-assisted therapy with the use of robotic animals that interact and respond to touch and sound, mimicking animal responses of wagging tails and purring.

Aromatherapy: Increasing research supports the effectiveness of aromatherapy in relieving anxiety, stress, and related symptoms such as hypertension, depression, and insomnia. Volunteers and personal care specialists are trained in the use of aromatherapy with patients as an adjunct approach for care and comfort.

Weighted Blanket Therapy: New research with hospice patients is discovering that weighted blankets are an effective tool in reducing anxiety, agitation, and insomnia.

By exploring every option for pain and symptom management, our clinical professionals assure that the individual needs of every patient are addressed and quality of life is the central focus of care. In the process, we are also reducing the use of opioid medications to ensure the safety of the communities we serve.

Living Through Loss During a Season of Celebration

For many,  an ever-lengthening marathon of holiday preparations and activities can be especially painful following the loss of a loved one. Even in the best of times, the holiday season can tax our physical, emotional, and financial resources.  It should come as no surprise when grieving people start to feel a sense of dread as they contemplate the first holidays after a loss. Since withdrawing into a cave and hibernating with the bears until spring comes is not a practical option, the best strategy is to prepare and plan for the challenges the holiday season brings.

-Recognize your very human tendency to expect and predict the worst. In fact, most bereaved veterans of “first holidays” will tell you that although the holiday itself presented them with some painful moments, their anticipation was much worse than the experience.

-Seek out structured opportunities to acknowledge your loss and honor the memory of your loved one.  Participation in memorial or remembrance events or one of the many advocacy group sponsored events can serve as meaningful opportunities for healing.

-Involve other family members in planning for the holidays. A family conference can be an effective forum that encourages the renegotiation of holiday plans and individual responsibilities based on input from everyone.

-Scale back or eliminate—decorating, shopping, baking, cards, social obligations. Even in the best of years we often find ourselves exhausted by trying to “do it all’; when grief is part of the mix, it becomes clear that “doing it all” is more than impossible.

-Consider altering, rather than discarding, important family traditions. While it might be too painful this year to gather around the dining room table for the “traditional” home-cooked dinner, a buffet meal that everyone contributes to, or dinner out at a restaurant, may be preferable alternatives.

-Create new rituals that incorporate your loved one’s memory into the holiday.  Flameless candles that “burn” throughout the season, lighting a memorial candle at mealtime, decorating the gravesite with seasonal flowers or other items are all examples of small, but meaningful,  rituals that acknowledge our continuing bonds.

-The custom of holiday gift giving is often a painful reminder of the gifts and people we are no longer shopping for.  Many find that intentional gifts to lonely shut-ins, residents in nursing homes, or individuals/families with material needs can be a meaningful way of honoring deceased loved ones.

-Intentional “random acts of kindness” during the holiday season can be highly therapeutic.  A larger than normal tip for the waiter or waitress, paying the bill for an unsuspecting diner, leaving change in a vending machine, leaving a book in a waiting room or bus station with a note to enjoy, sending an anonymous gift to someone you know, offering a kind word to a frazzled mother… the opportunities to look outside ourselves are limitless.

-Nurture yourself. Take a nap, sleep in, soak in the tub, or get a massage.

-Ask yourself this question- “If I knew that this holiday season was to be the last one that I would have with my remaining loved ones, how would I spend it?”  Loss teaches us that the moments we are granted in life are incredibly fleeting and valuable.

-Seek out additional support. Attending a grief support group or talking to a grief counselor can be of immeasurable help in meeting the challenges of navigating the holiday season.

Information about grief support programs available through Hospice of Central Ohio can be found here. 

Get to Know Our Interdisciplinary Team

Hospice care is a holistic approach to end-of-life care that addresses the physical, social and spiritual needs of patients. Our interdisciplinary team is committed to providing the highest possible quality of life for patients. Our hospice team includes the talents and expertise of many to achieve that goal. The team includes:

Physicians: Our doctors are certified specialists in hospice and palliative care. Their expertise is in managing symptoms and developing personalized solutions for patients. They work directly with the primary care physician to address the needs of patients and provide support to families.

Nurse Care Managers: Our nursing staff monitor and address the changing needs of patients and provide education to patients and families. They focus on symptom control and improving quality of life by coordinating a wide range of support to benefit patients and families.

Personal Care Specialists: Our expert team of Personal Care Specialists provides assistance with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, eating, light housekeeping and more.  They are essential to the quality of life our patients enjoy.

Chaplains: Our chaplains deliver spiritual support for patients from a starting point of respect for the personal beliefs of each individual. Our chaplains honor and encourage their faith, joining with personal clergy to reinforce spiritual foundations and religious traditions.

Social Workers: Social workers play a central role in holistic hospice care serving as advocates for patient and family and connecting them with community resources important for quality of life. Social workers help with the emotional impact of grief and bereavement as well as practical concerns such as insurance and veteran’s benefits.

Pharmacists: Our pharmacists monitor patient medications to assure safety and tailor medications to meet individual patient needs. When cost might compromise patient quality of life, our pharmacists work with drug manufacturers to provide medications through patient assistance programs.

Therapists: Our therapy teams bring an additional level of comfort, care and quality of life to patients. Respiratory, occupational and massage therapists assure comfort and care, while music, art and pet therapies contribute to quality of life. Aromatherapy, light and Reiki therapies are additional levels of comfort available to our hospice patients.

Volunteers: Our volunteers receive special training to support patients and provide patient companionship, caregiver relief, errand running and a multitude of other services to enhance patient and family care.

To learn more about how we can assist you or your loved one, please give us a call at 740.788.1400.

Have the Conversation with Loved Ones this Holiday Season


Sharing the holidays with loved ones enables us to reconnect and renew relationships that may become remote due to distance, the demands of jobs, parenting responsibilities or a myriad of other reasons. As families gather for the holidays, it is a good time to involve everyone in the family in discussions about personal preferences for end-of-life. These talks are especially important if family elders are experiencing challenges from illness or chronic disease, but others should participate as well because the risk of accidents put people a risk regardless of age or health status. Set a goal of learning each other’s preferences so that they can be honored. These discussions can prevent family discord, reduce guilt and make decisions so much easier when someone is facing the loss of a loved one.

The conversation can start with Living Wills which enable people to spell out what kinds of interventions and treatments they do and do not want when confronting a life-limiting situation. For example, people can explore and express how they feel about receiving tube feedings or being kept on life-support. Family members may be surprised that not all relatives share the same attitudes regarding such options. How you choose to live until you die is as unique to each individual as a fingerprint. A tool to help you consider important questions is available here.

From that starting point, the discussion could move into designating someone who could make decisions for you if you are unable to voice those wishes for yourself. It becomes easier to choose an advocate to speak on your behalf when you have had the opportunity to discuss topics surrounding end-of-life in advance of serious illness. Understanding your goals, values, wishes and what you care most about in life is important when someone is expected to speak on your behalf during a medical crisis. The best person to speak for you may not be your spouse or adult child. It may be someone else who understands and is comfortable with making decisions in keeping with your wishes. Once an advocate has been selected, complete a durable power of attorney for healthcare form and schedule a discussion with your primary care physician to share this document with them. This information can then be stored as part of your medical record so those treating you will have access to the information when necessary.

A guide and the forms you will need to complete can be found here. 

If family members share this discussion together, regardless of age, it sets the stage for loving, respectful decision-making at a time when decisions become ever more difficult. The ability to enter a crisis with a clear understanding of what is most important to those you love empowers you to support them while feeling secure that you are doing what they want. The peace of mind that comes with that knowledge is priceless  – a true gift to those you love.

During a Season of Giving, Here are Ways You Can Support Our Mission

5 Easy Ways to Support Our Mission

Our mission is to provide every family a compassionate and personalized end-of-life experience that exceeds their expectations.

Here are five easy steps you can take to support our mission and benefit patients and families in our community who are coping with life-limiting illnesses.

    1. Annual & Memorial Gifts - Consider making a difference with your donation during our annual giving campaign. A meaningful way to honor the memory of a loved one.
    2. Volunteer - Time is a valuable resource to our patients and their families. From friendly visits and flower deliveries to office support and data entry, every minute of volunteer time helps Hospice of Central Ohio deliver on its mission.
    3. United Way & Employer Match Programs - If you give to United Way, you can designate your charity of choice. In addition, many businesses offer matching funds when employees donate to charities.
    4. Invite Us - Invite us to speak at your group’s next meeting. We welcome the opportunity to let people know who we are and how we help.
    5. Attend Our Events - Proceeds from our events benefit patient care. See what's coming up here. 

Thanks for Joining Us at Keys of Life!

It was the fun-raiser we were hoping for! Thanks to everyone who came out to support our not-for-profit hospice mission at our Fun Pianos - Traveling Dueling Pianos Show by 176 Keys. With community support at events like Keys of Life, proceeds support our patients and families regardless of their ability to pay.

A special thanks to our generous event sponsors:

Presenting Sponsors
Kessler Sign Company
Matesich Distributing
The Granville Investment Group, LLC

Piano Sponsors
Licking Memorial Health Systems
The Hinderer Family
OptumCare

Supporting Sponsors
Tom and Beth Beattie
Bricker & Eckler LLP
COTC Central Ohio Technical College and Ohio State Newark
Galaxy Medical
Guanciale Group
Huntington Park
Andy and Kathy McMillen
Mr. Tool Belt LLC
P & F Bathworks
Park National Bank
Waste Away Systems

Patron Sponsors
Leslie Poole and Tom Barry
Bloomberg Eye Center
Handelman Law Office
Lisa McKivirgen
Mortellaro McDonald's
David and Cathy Stansbury
Russ and Beth Suskind
TrueCore Foundation
Valuecare Ambulance
Jeremy and Jill Young

See photos from our event below!

Community Invited to “Light Up a Life”

The Foundation for Hospice of Central Ohio is marking the 29th year of Light Up a Life this month.

Members of the community are invited to join in supporting the hospice mission by making a donation and memorializing a loved one by name on a dove to be displayed on a brightly lit “memorial” tree. The display of trees will be located at Wilson’s Garden Center, 10923 Lambs Lane in Newark, between November 22 and December 24, Monday – Saturday 9 am – 6 pm. For many in the community, the annual event has become a holiday ritual.

As a not-for-profit hospice, Hospice of Central Ohio relies on the support and generosity of individuals and corporations to assure that quality compassionate care is always available to patients and families regardless of access to insurance or ability to pay. With charitable gifts, the Foundation can support essential services that guarantee comfort, dignity, and meaning to people with life-ending illnesses and support to their families. No one is turned away from Hospice of Central Ohio because of financial circumstances.

More information is available by calling 740-788-1503. Donations to Hospice of Central Ohio can also be made online.

 

Hospice of Central Ohio Annual Education Conference Slated for October 3

Home administrators, nurses and social workers can earn continuing education credits at a day-long educational conference slated by Hospice of Central Ohio for October 3, 2018.

The program will begin with registration at 8 am and course offerings from 8:30 to 4 pm, with lunch included. Cost for the daylong conference is $75. Participants can earn up to 6 contact hours of continuing education credit.

Topics include Toolbox for High-Risk Situations which addresses the unique challenges posed for clinicians by complex family situations.  This course is designed to identify ways in which some of these situations can create barriers to care, and how clinicians can be prepared to address them. Presenters include Susan Boesch, RN, OCN, CHPN, RN Care Manager at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. Susan has over 23 years of experience working in hospice and palliative care settings. Susan is a frequent and experienced presenter at local, state, and national hospice conferences. Susan will be joined by Bonnie Orlins MSW, LISW-S, ACHP-SW, a Bereavement Counseling Professional at Pathways of Hope grief support services of Ohio’s Hospice of Butler & Warren Counties. She provides ongoing counseling and support to individuals and families in the surrounding community and helps facilitate regular support groups. Bonnie is also an experienced presenter at local, state, and national hospice conferences and nephrology conferences.

Mark Pierce, MDiv, BCC, and Kelly Stansel, LSW, CHP-SW, of Hospice of Central Ohio, will offer Cultural Differences at the End of Life. More than ever before, healthcare workers are providing care to a very diverse community.  People from all cultural backgrounds need quality, compassionate care.  This program will enable participants to become more culturally competent. Mark has been a full-time chaplain serving Hospice of Central Ohio for fourteen years. He has extensive experience and is passionate about caring for individuals who have dementia and is attentive to their unique spiritual needs. He serves people in a wide variety of faith backgrounds. Kelly Has a combined twelve+ years of experience with Hospice of Central Ohio and is currently a home team social worker.  Kelly received her Hospice and Palliative Care certification in 2016 and offers frequent presentations on hospice and end of life care for local organizations.

Universal Precautions for Drug Misuse and Diversion in Hospice will provide much-needed information on drug regulations and effective medication management, now more important than ever due to the current drug epidemic in the country.  Participants will learn about the current epidemic of drug misuse and diversion and how it compels hospice programs to provide effective management of scheduled medications; examine the state and federal regulations with which medication protocols and policies must be compliant; explore the components of an effective toolkit for medication management in hospice and techniques for proper medication disposal and discover how a policy of universal precautions for medication management improves safety, compliance, and engagement for patients, families and staff. Presenters are Lisa Maurer, DO, Hospice of Central Ohio, and Cleanne Cass DO, FAAHPM, FAAFP, Director of Community Care and Education at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. Dr. Lisa Maurer is certified by the American Board of Osteopathic Family Physicians with Subspecialty Board Certification in Hospice and Palliative Medicine.  She serves as Assistant Clinical Professor of Family Medicine for the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.  She has been practicing in central Ohio since 1995 and joined Hospice of Central Ohio as an Associate Medical Director in 2012. Dr. Cass is board certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine and is a fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She is also board certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians and holds a Certificate of Added Qualifications in Geriatrics. Dr. Cass is a clinical professor of Palliative Medicine at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and Clinical Associate Instructor in the Department of Family Medicine at Boonshoft College of Medicine, Wright State University.  She serves as Chair of the American Osteopathic Association’s Council of Palliative Care Issues and is a member of the Board of the Ohio Pain Initiative and previously served on the National Quality forum Advisory Committee for Hospice and Palliative Care. She is also an appointed member of the Governor’s Cabinet Opioid Action team which is developing guidelines for safe opioid prescribing in the state of Ohio and is c active with the task force working to implement MOLST (Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) in the state of Ohio. Dr. Cass was the 2013 recipient of the Ohio Osteopathic Association’s Trustee’s Award for Distinguished Service and recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Service Award from the Ohio Chapter, American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.

Go In Peace, The Caregivers Role in Healing the Soul Wounds of Veterans will focus on care for Veterans.  One-fourth of Americans who die this year will be Veterans.  Healthcare professionals are now caring for 3 different War Eras of Veterans, all who are nearing end of life.  This presentation focuses on recognizing these individuals and understanding some of the specific care needs that may present challenges to quality care.  Presenter Robert “Bob” Allen is a decorated Army officer who flew helicopters in Vietnam. The son of a career Army veteran, Bob grew up in the military and traveled the world with his family during his father’s assignments. His experience has given him a lifelong affinity and passion for veterans and for his work with helping them overcome the emotional and silent scars they sometimes carry. Bob holds a BS in Marketing and an MA in Marketing Management. He began his career as a corporate pilot before working in college and university admissions for over thirty years. Bob is co-founder of “Awakenings,” an organization promoting care and healing for Veterans through peer mentoring. He is also an active public speaker for Veteran’s issues.

Registration is available here.