Brundidge Rotarians learn about hospice care

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, March 20, 2013

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Hospice care focuses on the quality of life for the patient. Although the word “hospice” can be scary for some, it shouldn’t be a reflection of “doom and gloom.”

That was the message that Ashlee Stephens, community relations manager for Hospice Advantage in Troy, brought to the Brundidge Rotarians Wednesday.

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Stephens was the guest of program host Danny Graham, who told his fellow Rotarians that he first heard of hospice care years ago from the late Earl Helms.

“Today, hospice care is an integral part of the health care system,” he said.

Hospice Advantage was founded in November 2004 by Rod Hildebrant, a health care executive with more than 25 years experience in the home health care and hospice care fields, according to Stephens.

Hospice Advantage is a medicare certified program the provides hospice care, palliative treatment, home health hospice and other hospice services at 100 offices in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

“We recently added two offices in Tennessee so we continue to grow,” Stephens shared. “Hospice Advantage has logged more than 10 million miles while serving our patients. Hospice care and home health are not the same.”

Stephens noted that home health care patients receive health services in their homes until they get well or go into therapy. Hospice care is end of life care with a six month patient life expectancy.

“But we have had patients who lived two years and some two days,” she said. “Nobody knows the day.”

When a patient accepts hospice care, Stephens said, a nurse will visit the patient as needed, from three to seven days a week.

“The nurse is the liaison to the doctor and provides services like drawing labs so the patient won’t have to go into the hospital,” she added. “A hospice home health aide can give baths and do light housekeeping.”

Stephens said Hospice Advantage has a chaplain who can attended to a patient’s spiritual needs if requested and provide bereavement services.

“We also have volunteers who provide many services including sitting with the patients and making crafts for the patients or answering office phones,” Stephens said. “Hospice Advantage’s focus is to improve the quality of life for our patients. And, usually, those who accept our services say they wish that had gotten us sooner.”