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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 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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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.

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. 

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.

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. 

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!

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.

 

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.

 

 


Hospice of Central Ohio, an affiliate of Ohio’s Hospice, is opening a new office location and will celebrate with an Open House Thursday, August 23, from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm. An official ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 11:00 am at the new location, 1166 Military Rd., Suite A, in Zanesville.

Hospice of Central Ohio has served patients and families for 35 years in nine central Ohio counties. Currently serving over 350 hospice patients and families and providing palliative care services to more than 200 patients daily, Hospice of Central Ohio is an affiliate of Ohio’s Hospice. As one of nine mission-driven, not-for-profit hospices in central and southwestern Ohio, Ohio’s Hospice affiliates are committed to a shared vision of strengthening and preserving community-based, not-for-profit hospices and share the values of:

  • Providing a patient atmosphere of hospitality, respect and caring
  • Attending to the social, physical, and spiritual needs of each person we are privileged to serve
  • Preserving and enhancing patient dignity
  • Celebrating the life of each individual we serve
  • Reducing unnecessary suffering in the communities we serve

Hospice of Central Ohio offers:

  • Superior care and superior services to patients and families
  • Resources like respiratory therapy, massage, occupational and additional therapies
  • Support for patients wherever they call home, in every care setting, including extended care facilities, assisted living facilities, hospice houses and hospital inpatient settings.
  • Hospice-certified nurses and doctors on staff and available 24 hours per day.
  • Hospice services accredited by The Joint Commission and approved by Medicare
  • Palliative care services certified by The Joint Commission for Community Based Palliative Care
  • Coming soon - Inpatient services at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute and University Hospital at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
  • Inpatient care through the Selma Markowitz Inpatient Center at Licking Memorial Hospital

 

 


Loneliness is not to be taken lightly.

While everyone feels lonely and socially isolated sometimes, those who live in a persistently lonely state are subject to increased levels of stress and health problems that can be downright deadly. As a hospice organization, we are aware that many of those we serve find themselves increasingly isolated as they suffer from chronic pain or become fulltime caregivers.

Our volunteer services offer “friendly visitors” who visit on a regular basis and establish ongoing relationships with patients and caregivers who have found their social connections shrinking. Support groups for the recently bereaved and for caregivers are another resource that enables those who are lonely to connect with others who are sharing their struggle, pain or loss.

Choosing the best time of day to connect with someone who is ill – when pain and symptoms are more under control – may enable those with illnesses to more comfortably interact with others. Reducing the amount of time, while emphasizing the importance and desire to continue seeing loved ones, can be a better option for visits.

Direct person-to-person connections are invaluable, but some who are lonely find regular connections by texting, Facebook messaging or use of other social forums helps them stay in touch. Online support groups can be validating and offer encouragement from others who have special insights and suggestions for how to overcome isolation.

If you are concerned for someone who appears to be lonely, find a way to include them in your life. Invite them along on an errand or a walk. Include them in gatherings of family or friends. Call to check in on them and express your concern. By reaching out to them, you can expand your own social network and give strength to someone who needs your support.

Loneliness is often a normal part of the grief experience. If you are a grieving person struggling with loneliness, we have grief support options that can help. Hospice of Central Ohio offers bereavement care to anyone living in our service area, regardless of his/her affiliation with our hospice program.  All services are free of charge to the community.  If you would like to schedule an appointment to speak to a member of our bereavement services team, please contact Maria Johnson at 740.788.1474.

Resources:
https://www.caring.com/articles/loneliness-and-health
https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/loneliness-can-really-hurt-you/
http://princessinthetower.org/the-isolating-loneliness-of-chronic-pain-invisible-illness/

Hospice of Central Ohio has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval®by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal of Approval is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective care. In addition, Hospice of Central Ohio earned “deemed” status, which indicates a provider meets or exceeds Medicare conditions of participation. Hospice of Central Ohio is also one of the few hospice organizations in Ohio to receive simultaneous Joint Commission certification in Community Palliative Care services and accreditation for home health care services. Accreditation evaluates the quality and safety of healthcare organizations, provides an audit of the delivery of critical services and patient care and validates continuous improvement efforts of healthcare providers.

Hospice of Central Ohio underwent a rigorous on-site survey that examined compliance with standards regarding the provision of care, treatment and services, emergency management, human resources, individual rights and responsibilities, and leadership. The accreditation process also provided Hospice of Central Ohio with education and guidance to help staff continue to enhance its program performance.

Established in 1988, The Joint Commission’s Home Care Accreditation Program supports the efforts of its accredited organizations to help deliver safe, high-quality care and services. More than 6,000 home care programs currently maintain accreditation, awarded for a three-year period, from The Joint Commission.

"Hospice of Central Ohio is pleased to receive accreditation from The Joint Commission, the premier health care quality improvement and accrediting body in the nation,” said Hospice of Central Ohio President/CEO Kerry Hamilton. “Accreditation honors the hard work and dedication of our staff in providing superior care and superior services of the highest standards. Staff from across our organization continue to work together to strengthen the continuum of care and to deliver and maintain optimal hospice care services for members of our community.”

Hospice of Central Ohio has provided a holistic, community-based approach to hospice care for over 30 years. Hospice of Central Ohio is a not-for-profit organization serving nine counties in Central Ohio and is dedicated to supporting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and families dealing with life-limiting conditions. The Selma Markowitz Inpatient Center is located on the 6th floor of Licking Memorial Hospital. In addition, Palliative Care of Central Ohio, a service of Hospice of Central Ohio, is among the few Ohio palliative care services certified by the Joint Commission.

Hospice of Central Ohio is a member of Ohio’s Hospice, a partnership of mission-driven, not-for-profit hospices in Ohio committed to a shared vision of strengthening and preserving community-based hospices.

The Joint Commission

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commissionseeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org.

 

March is National Social Work Month and an important time to recognize and express appreciation for the social workers who are central to our Quality of Life Teams.

Hospice of Central Ohio social workers help patients and families address the practical and emotional issues that come with serious illness.

  • They help families connect with valuable community resources, including meals on wheels, in-home caregiver support and financial assistance.
  • They educate and inform family caregivers so they feel confident in caring for their loved one.
  • They help patient and family openly discuss their fears and concerns.
  • They help smooth the way when patients need to transition from one living environment to another.
  • They serve as advocates for patients, helping to identify and plan so patients can achieve their end-of-life goals.
  • They assist with completing advance directives and funeral planning.
  • They help assure that children receive the services and support they need when facing the loss of a loved one.

Social workers bring knowledge and expertise in working with ethnic, cultural, and economic diversity. They are familiar with navigating the complexities of health care systems. They understand bereavement and are focused on enhancing quality of life and well-being for patients and families.

While accomplishing all these things, social workers also provide emotional support and understanding as families face the most difficult challenge of saying goodbye.

We are grateful for the role our social workers play in providing superior care and superior services in the communities where we have the privilege of serving.

 

Hospice of Central Ohio wants to expand pet therapy programs for patients and families and is seeking more animal owners who are interested in becoming pet therapy companions.

Pets have a long-standing history of providing companionship and unconditional love for humans in their lives, creating a powerful bond. Studies have shown that interaction with pets can reduce stress and anxiety, lift spirits and decrease feelings of isolation. The resulting health benefits include reduced blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health and the release of endorphins that have a calming effect. Interaction with animals can also encourage communication and socialization.

Liz Adamshick, Manager of Volunteer Services at Hospice of Central Ohio, says such responses make pet therapy a wonderful addition to patient care. “We require animals to be trained and certified in order to see patients who request a pet therapy companion visit,” she explains. “We have had wonderful feedback on the impact interactions with animals have with our patients and families.”

To find out more about pet therapy and how you can become a part of this important service for patients and families please contact volunteer services at Hospice of Central Ohio, 740.788.1404 or volunteerservices@hospiceofcentralohio.org.

 

It is one of the beautiful compensations in life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.                                                 Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bob Allen shares this quote as he talks about his involvement with the Veteran outreach and the American Pride program. “That kind of reciprocity is always there,” he says of his experience in interacting with Veterans.

A Veteran of the Vietnam War, Bob was looking for something to do after his retirement in 2013. “My wife got me involved in the fledgling Veterans program at Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County where she worked,” Bob recalls. It was a turning point for him. Bob discovered a passion for connecting with other Veterans. Bob then  joined the American Pride effort of Hospice of Central Ohio after relocating to the Newark area. He continues all of his outreach activities and actively recruits other Veterans for involvement in the American Pride effort. “Most of us are more mature and retired,” Bob says. “We need more younger Veterans and more females – more good people who want to serve a higher cause and give of themselves.”

The American Pride program helps Veterans receive all the benefits they've earned and provides support for the unique end of life experience of Veterans. Especially important are American Pride volunteers who serve as companions to fellow Veterans. Their common experience provides a valuable starting point for sharing and support. Veterans of all eras make valuable contributions by talking with fellow servicemen and women. Bob says it is cathartic to speak with other Veterans about their shared experience. “The more you talk openly and candidly about these experiences, the more meaningful they become,” Bob observes.

Bob feels his participation in the American Pride program helps address two major experiences of Veterans facing end-of-life. “The two things that seem to really deteriorate for Veterans at the end-of-life are dignity and respect,” says Bob. “As their physical needs increase, they experience a loss of dignity. Many of them are also fearful that they do not have a right to respect because of things they may have done during their military service. They may never be able to speak of this to their family, but they can share their concerns with other Veterans. We offer no judgment and can talk about these issues to help restore the respect they deserve.”

Asked about an experience in his American Pride interactions that particularly touched him, Bob answered without hesitation. “We regularly visit the hospice wing at the VA Medical Center to visit and honor veterans. On one visit we encountered a gentleman who was disabled and mostly unresponsive. We pinned and honored him as we always do. As  leave, we always offer a personal salute. He tried to salute us in return, as best he could. The staff told us it was the first time he had moved since he’d become a patient with them.”

To become involved with the American Pride program at Hospice of Central Ohio, please contact Volunteer Services at 740.788.1404 or volunteerservices@HospiceOfCentralOhio.org.

 

It is flu season again. It is especially important for those caring for loved ones with chronic illnesses to avoid the flu virus. Caregivers may themselves experience compromised immune systems due to lack of rest and stress. If they contract the flu, they may not be able to care for their loved one or will risk exposing them to the virus. The flu vaccine is an important first-line protection. However, hygiene is also a critical preventative. Frequent and thorough handwashing is essential to preventing illness. Avoid kissing, handshakes and sharing drinks or food with those who are infected. Also avoid touching surfaces including sinks, countertops, and doorknobs that may have been contaminated by someone with the virus. Utensils, dishes, clothing, towels and other items may also be contaminated and can indirectly spread infection.

Caregivers are their loved ones should be attuned to flu symptoms that indicate emergency medical care may be needed. According to the Centers for Disease Control,  the following symptoms merit emergency attention:

  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe vomiting
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • High fever that persists for more than three days
  • Flu symptoms that improve but then return with a severe cough and fever

Hospice care can provide respite care for patients if a caregiver is ill and unable to provide care for their loved one. It is one of the important ways hospice care helps support caregivers while also caring for patients. For additional information about caregiver support and hospice services click here.

 

Kudos to Hospice of Central Ohio volunteer Marilyn Dresser (pictured, center) who was recently honored with the Hospice Caregiver Award by Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Service. The awards are designed to recognize hospice caregivers who provide patients and families with wonderful care and compassion.

Those nominating Marilyn for the honor cited her fifteen years of service as a caregiver, her decade of leadership in organizing the annual camp HOCO Kid’s Grief Camp and dedication to the hospice mission. The nomination notes that “Marilyn knows no bounds, demonstrating energy, caring compassion, enthusiasm for every day she is alive. Mentor, guide, friend, companion…she walks her walk every day. Marilyn LIVES the Hospice ofCentral Ohio motto ‘caring for one person every day all the time.’”

We are grateful for Marilyn’s support and value her many contributions to the Hospice of Central Ohio mission.

Congratulations to Hospice of Central Ohio Volunteer Services Coordinator Liz Adamshick who was recently honored as the 2017 Outstanding Caregiver Partner by Schoedinger Funeral & Cremation Services in their annual Hospice Caregiver Award ceremony.

"Liz works tirelessly to gives her volunteers everything they need to be successful working with hospice patients and families," says Julie Olds, Director of Community Relations and Education with Schoedinger. "She believes strongly in continuing growth through educational and learning opportunities not just for her volunteers, but for all staff as well."

Liz worked with Schoedinger in the development of Volunteer Universities, offering inspiring guest speakers and educational break-out sessions for hospice staff, volunteers and the community.

"Liz nourishes the partnership between Hospice of Central Ohio and its business partners in the community," notes Olds. "For these reasons and many more, we recognize Liz Adamshick as this year's Outstanding Caregiving Partner."

Annual award recipients are selected from those who are awarded monthly recognition in the awards program. Hospice of Central Ohio nominees for January 18 recognition include Newark Home Team Leader Sue Grube and social workers Kelly Stansell and Ruth Robson. Also nominated are volunteer coordinator Pam Scanlon and extended hours RN Michelle Roberts.

Liz and these new nominees join an impressive cast of previous Hospice of Central Ohio nominees and recipients of honors in the Schoedinger hospice awards program. The first recipient of the Hospice Caregiver of the Year award was Hospice of Central Ohio social worker Charla Sedziol. Chaplain Mark Pierce has also been honored as Hospice Caregiver of the Month, and nominees have included ICC Team volunteer Kathy McMillen, patient care specialist Vandana Patel, patient companion volunteers Marilyn Dresser and Bernadette Tippie.

Here’s a great New Year’s Resolution to consider – make 2018 the year you complete Advance Directives.

Only about one-third of Americans have Advance Directives in place to help guide their loved ones and physicians on their personal preferences for end-of-life care. Who should make these decisions if you are unable to do so? Do you want it to be someone who knows and cares for you? If so, you need to take steps to ensure that is what happens. The completion of Advance Directives is critical to enabling you to be in control of your healthcare treatment when you are facing a life-limiting illness.

You can find Advance Directive forms and information here that will enable you to guarantee this New Year’s resolution is successfully achieved. It will be a much-appreciated gift to your loved ones and a guarantee of peace of mind for yourself.

The holiday season can be challenging to those who are grieving the loss of someone close.   Holiday rituals and traditions are important symbols of security and family bonds. Because of this, holidays can be both a reminder of the loss of a loved one, as well as a reminder of special, pleasant memories shared with that person.

For those who are grieving, painful feelings during the holidays are normal. Rather than place unrealistic expectations on themselves to do things the way they always have, grievers should lower expectations for themselves. While it may feel insincere if you try to force feelings of happiness and joy, do allow yourself to have fun. Loss teaches us more than anything about the preciousness of life and not to take it for granted.

We can also allow the holidays to be opportunities for memory, legacy, honor, connection, and healing. Expressing feelings and revisiting memories can be part of the healing process. Some suggestions for honoring lost loved ones might include:

  • Draw pictures or make cards of favorite holiday memories with the deceased.
  • Create a special ornament to hang on the tree or doorway.
  • Write a holiday letter to the deceased and place it in a special place either wrapped as a present under the tree or tied with a bow and placed next to their picture.
  • Place a picture of the deceased at the dinner table with a candle so they are part of the holiday feast.
  • Cook a favorite dish or dessert the deceased especially enjoyed.
  • Honor your loved one by making a toast, creating a memory area in your home, or hanging a holiday stocking filled with notes of special memories.
  • Look at photo albums and share memories.
  • Donate to a special charity in your loved one’s name.
  • Create a “gratitude bowl.” Family members can write holiday memories for which they will always be thankful about their loved one on colorful slips of paper. Share them out loud during a special time during the holidays.

These activities are powerful and healing because they allow mourning while at the same time giving permission to enjoy the holidays.

If you or someone you know could benefit from grief counseling from our professionals, please contact Maria Johnson at 740- 788- 1474 or mjohnson@hospiceofcentralohio.org