Monthly Archives: August 2013

The STL Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s Disease has become more familiar to Americans in recent years, perhaps due to news of well-known Americans who have been affected by the disease. Alzheimer’s victims include Ronald Reagan, Rita Hayworth and Charlton Heston. Recently, singer Glen Campbell was diagnosed.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It is a condition that gradually worsens. It generally affects those over the age of 65, but can also occur in younger adults. Memory loss is just part of Alzheimer’s. This disease of the brain eventually affects bodily functions and leads to death.

The St. Louis chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is holding its 2013 Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday, August 31, 8:00 a.m., starting at Busch Stadium. Hope Hospice will be a sponsor and an active participant in the Walk. Many of our staff and volunteers will be walking. Some will be greeting walkers at our Memory Wall.

You are invited to take a moment and sign the wall and write a short note about a person in whose memory you may be walking. Look for our Memory Wall at 18th and Olive in St. Louis.

Alzheimer’s research continues with the goal of finding more ways to treat the disease. Of course, the ultimate goal of this research is to discover a cure.

The Alzheimer’s Association helps fund research. The group also provides information about Alzheimer’s for patients, families and medical personnel. Our team at Hope Hospice has benefitted from knowledge the group freely shares.

We encourage you to Walk to End Alzheimer’s this Saturday. Click HERE to sign up. You can start a team, join a team or walk as an individual. If you are unable to walk on Saturday, you can walk virtually. There is no fee to register for the walk but this is a fundraising event and your contribution will be appreciated.

See you there this weekend!

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We Honor Veterans at Hope Hospice

Hope Hospice has recently partnered with We Honor Veterans, a program developed by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

This partnership will enable Hope Hospice to better serve U.S. Veterans and their families. We have always held Veterans in high regard and have had the honor of providing hospice care to a large number of Veterans. Our new partnership with We Honor Veterans allows us to certify our commitment to providing an even higher level of care to Veterans.

It is important for Hope Hospice staff members to show a special respect and appreciation for  the Veterans in our care. We Honor Veterans training for Hope Hospice personnel informs them about many of the wars and conflicts that America fought before they were born. Possessing knowledge about World War II as well as wars fought in Korea, Vietnam and the Mideast, helps our team members better communicate with those Hope Hospice patients who are Veterans.

Just over twenty-five percent of those who pass away each year in the United States are Veterans. A vast majority of Veterans are not enrolled in VA and may not be aware of end of life services and benefits available to them, including the Medicare hospice benefit and VA-paid hospice care.

We Honor Veterans is not just the name of the program, it is a philosophy that we at Hope Hospice are proud and happy to embrace. We recognize the unique needs of our nation’s Veterans who may be facing a terminal illness. In cases where there are specific needs related to military service, combat experience or traumatic events, Hope Hospice will find tools to help support those we are caring for.

We pledge to bring comfort to our patients who are Veterans and to offer our guidance and counsel to their families and, in so doing, honoring their service to our nation. For more information about Hope Hospice and the We Honor Veterans program, please call 314-984-9800.

 

 

Call Hospice Sooner Rather Than Later

Studies and surveys have shown over and over again that the earlier a patient goes on hospice, the greater the benefits to the patient and caregivers. But many patients still come to hospice too late to receive the full spectrum of hospice services.

Why do patients and caregivers wait too long? In a 2005 survey of families of recently deceased hospice patients, those who felt that their family member had been admitted to hospice too late said the most common barrier was a doctor. Reasons included inaccurate prognoses, disagreements by doctors with hospice philosophies and desires by doctors to pursue further treatment.

Survivors who felt their family member went on hospice care too late were, overall, less satisfied with hospice. Conversely, those who felt their family member became a hospice patient at “about the right time,” are more satisfied.

Of course, in other cases, it is the patient or the family member who may have refused to accept the doctor’s assessment that a condition is terminal.

At Hope Hospice, we admit patients at all stages of end-of-life. Occasionally, a patient dies within just a few days of becoming a Hope patient. We certainly do our best to provide quality service to each patient no matter the circumstance.

But experience has taught us that patients who are on hospice for several weeks or several months develop good relationships with our nurses, home health aides and other professionals. There is trust and good will. We are better able to serve the patient (and the family) when a patient has more time as a Hope Hospice patient.

One of our goals at Hope Hospice is to convince physicians that hospice care is the right thing for their terminal patients whose life expectancy is six months or less. To those in the St. Louis medical community, we encourage you to learn more about hospice and the good things that hospices are doing for patients and families.

If you are a patient or a family member facing a decision about hospice, don’t wait until it’s too late. If you have questions, call us at 314-984-9800.

Hope Hospice Communicates

The weekly meeting of the Hope Hospice staff each Wednesday morning has many agenda items, but focuses primarily on providing patient updates to the team. Nurses and home health aides share their latest evaluations of a patient’s various conditions. They talk about physical and emotional conditions.

The social worker or the chaplains may also interject input into the discussion about a particular patient. They may mention a remark a patient has made that can be relevant to the patient’s care. A patient’s potential needs may be discussed at these meetings.

The sharing of information among team members is impressive. In some organizations, information is passed along to workers on a “need to know” basis. At Hope Hospice, being informed about patients and their individual circumstances makes it possible for all team members to do the most and best they can for each patient.

Information about new procedures, equipment and regulations is presented to the Hope staff at these weekly meetings. This allows questions to be asked about new information.

In addition to communicating with other staff members in weekly meetings, the entire Hope Hospice team is dedicated to communicating clearly with patients and caregivers. Along with giving information, Hope Hospice personnel listen to patients and caregivers to make sure that needs and wants are receiving proper attention.

Communication is an important element in any medical organization. When a Hope Hospice employee has questions, she or he can knows that answers will be forthcoming. Since Hope Hospice is locally owned and is not part of a large hospital group, management personnel are close by and readily available.

This is good news for Hope Hospice patients and their caregivers. When the lines of communication are direct and do not have to go through numerous levels of administration, concerns are addressed in a timely manner.

At Hope Hospice, good communication practices are a priority. If you have questions about hospice, call Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800. We will work to answer your questions clearly and completely.

Hope Hospice offices are at 13537 Barrett Parkway (at Manchester and Barrett Station) in west St. Louis County.