compassion

Houston Hospice Volunteer of the Year 2021 – Jerri Trigg

Houston Hospice Volunteer of the Year 2021 is Jerri Trigg

Jerri Trigg, Volunteer of the Year

Each year, our Volunteer Team thoughtfully selects the Houston Hospice Volunteer of the Year from over 120 wonderful and generous people. This year’s special altruist was selected for going above and beyond general duties to help hospice patients, families, and staff during one of the most challenging year’s the world has seen. We are pleased to share that Jerri Trigg has been named 2021 Houston Hospice Volunteer of the Year!

“Over her seven years of volunteer work at Houston Hospice, Jerri has donated her time and talent in so many valuable ways,” said Patty Valle, Volunteer Manager, Houston Hospice. “She has worked directly with patients and families, assisted in our Texas Medical Center business office and Northwest office, delivered Thanksgiving dinner to a family in need, decorated holiday wreaths that adorned our in-patient unit, delivered elusive cans of  Lysol and N95 masks to help keep us safe during the pandemic, and so much more! We are grateful to Jerri for her generosity, kindness, and dedication to Houston Hospice,” continued Patty.

Jerri’s path to Houston Hospice began when her parents were in hospice care one year apart from each other. In both cases, the family experienced compassion, caring, patient and informative guidance during their journey through the end-of-life process. These quality-of-life experiences had a positive impact on Jerri and encouraged her volunteer efforts.

“I have always volunteered and participated in fundraising events throughout the community,” recalled Jerri. “After my own experiences with hospice, I always said I would like to give back in some way. Then, a friend of mine shared information about an upcoming  Butterfly Luncheon.  I was surprised to find out that it  was hospice for children and that really touched me! I attended the luncheon, and as they say, the rest is history,” she proudly stated.

Houston Hospice Volunteers are an integral part of our multi-disciplinary team, are carefully vetted and thoroughly trained to focus on improving the quality of life of patients with a serious illness. Each team consists of seven members – a physician, nurse, social worker, chaplain, bereavement counselor, hospice aide and volunteer. This specialized group of people provide a unique care plan for each individual patient, and their family, throughout the hospice care experience and the bereavement process. It takes a great deal of courage and compassion to be a hospice volunteer.

“Volunteering at Houston Hospice has been a positive and rewarding experience,” said Jerri. “I have met so many wonderful people here. Our many volunteers are like a big, caring family and I am so honored to be a part of this organization,” she beamed.

Houston Hospice is grateful to Volunteer of the Year 2021 Jerri Trigg, and to all her fellow volunteers, for the time, talent, and compassion they have invested to ensure patients and families receive the best possible end-of-life care they truly deserve.

For more information about volunteering at Houston Hospice, visit www.houstonhospice.org/volunteers.

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Houston Hospice Family Honors Anniversary with Sweet Gratitude

Lyssy Family Delivers Mini Bundt Cakes to Houston Hospice Nurses Feb 2021

Pictured from left: Houston Hospice Family LeAnne and Ervin presented mini-bundt cakes to nurses and staff at Houston Hospice in honor of their loved one’s passing.

Sharing with others proves helpful during the bereavement process

 

On the anniversary of a patient’s death, Houston Hospice families honor their loved ones in a variety of ways. Our organization supports the healthy expression of love and remembrance during each person’s grief journey.

Recently, the Lyssy Family returned to Houston Hospice to express their heartfelt appreciation to the nurses and staff who cared for the matriarch of their family during her time in hospice care.

“This is the 6-month anniversary of our mother’s passing,” said LeAnne (pictured above and on behalf of her siblings). “Our family wanted to make this day special by expressing our gratitude to the compassionate nurses who showed us kindness and respect. Our mom was a nurse too and an inspiration,” she continued.

The clinical staff received dozens of mini-bundt cakes from the Pearland couple.

Houston Hospices Nurses and Staff Receive Mini-Bundt Cake from the Lyssy Family in honor of the passing of Karen Lyssy.

Houston Hospice clinical staff share their surprise, mini-bundt cakes from the Lyssy Family in honor of Karen Lyssy’s passing. Pictured from left are Serena Simms-Young, CNA; Angelina Perales, CNA; Chemane Hubbard, RN.

For more ways to donate to Houston Hospice, please visit www.houstonhospice.org/donate.

 

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Nurses Week 2020

Houston Hospice ‘s  Our Nurses

 

National Nurses Week starts with National Nurses Day on May 6, 2020 and concludes on May 12, 2020 with International Nurses Day, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who is credited with founding modern nursing. The week-long celebration has been established as a recognized, annual event for appreciating health care workers, but you already knew this long-established, nursing-history fact. I bet you didn’t know that nurses make up over 50% of the global healthcare workforce, and on January 31, 2019, the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed a call for 2020 to be officially recognized as the ‘Year of the Nurse and Midwife’. Finally, a whole year dedicated to nurses, and it’s about time. Wouldn’t you say?

Presenting! WHO International Year of the Nurse and Midwife

 

Today’s modern nurses are Frontline Heroes, from all walks of life, and with more strength and courage than you can shake a stethoscope at.  “Houston Hospice places tremendous value in our nursing team,” says Jim Faucett, President and CEO, Houston Hospice. “Our highly skilled RN’s, LVN’s, and Nurse’s Aides epitomize hospice care excellence and are the cornerstone of Houston Hospice. Without them, we would not be able to provide the team-oriented, medical care that our patients deserve. For their faithful compassion and commitment to the needs of our patients and their families, I want to extend my deep appreciation and a Thank You to our entire Nursing Team,” continued Jim.

People of TMC

The Texas Medical Center interviewed our very own, Gabrielle Staten, RN, BSN, associate patient care manager, IPU. “We’ve been able to allow family members to visit their dying loved one when hospitals couldn’t,” stated Gabrielle. Click here to read the entire piece, highlighted on the TMC website.

Employee Committee Lights the Way


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“Let me know if there is anything I can do”

Published by unknown hospice physician

“Let me know if I can do anything.” How many times have we uttered that sentence when a friend, distant relative or a colleague has informed us they have suffered a loss of a loved one? Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure most of us mean it and it seems like the right thing to say along with “I’m so sorry.” When I look back through my life, I can easily count how many times people have taken me up on my offer. As you’ve guessed, and I’m sure you can relate, it’s 0 number of times. In a time of loss and pain, people don’t want to ask others to go out of their way to help. They aren’t going to tell you they have no energy to cook, need help watching children, money to pay the bills or buy groceries. They won’t tell you they just need a hug and your gentle presence. We are afraid of impinging on people’s privacy and space. We don’t know what words to share or how to behave and in that uncertainty of what to do or say is where the subsequent isolation occurs for the one grieving. The isolation then leads to a sense of loneliness despite the rich number of friends and family willing to help but not knowing how.
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National Nurses Week Spotlights Most Trusted Profession

Published in nurse.com by Eileen Williamson, MSN, RN

You are celebrated during National Nurses Week for the many contributions you make to the nursing profession and the healthcare of our nation. The word “excellence,” in fact, is one we hear more than any other during Nurses Week.


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How to Become a Social Worker

Every day, the nation’s 680,000 social workers work to empower and elevate millions of people, including some of the most vulnerable in our society.

National Professional Social Work Month in March 2019 is an opportunity for social workers around the nation and world and their supporters to educate the public about the invaluable contributions of the profession. 

Being a social worker is a rewarding profession. Following are tips on how to get into the field and the academic background needed.


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Five Reasons Home Health Care Is on The Rise

Published in Third Age by Tina Marrelli, MSN, MA, RN, FAAN

If you have tried to get care at home for a loved one, it may have been a difficult and time-consuming process. You are not alone. I also had the experience of trying to find care for an older adult family member, and though I have worked in home care for many years, it is not an easy experience. According to the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, around 12 million people in the United States (U.S.) receive home health care from more than 33,000 provider organizations. As the population continues to grow, that number will likely more than double by 2050, increasing to 27 million.

Here are five factors contributing to the complexity.

*Aging of the population. This has been referred to as the graying tsunami, and for good reason. The projection that roughly 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 each day, and that this trend will continue for the next 19 years, is staggering, no matter how many times it is repeated.  In the U.S., one of the fastest growing segments are those people who are age 85 or older. Called the “oldest old” by the National Institutes on Aging (NIA), they constitute the most quickly growing segment of the U.S. population. And now think about how many people you know who are in their 90s and maybe have passed the 100 mark? My sweet father-in-law moved in to our home when he was 93 and lived with us for three years – until he died at our home with care and hospice support. This scenario is not unusual. And think about the health implications in the oldest old with the frailty and other challenges that come from living to that age.

*Home care means many things. There are home health agencies certified by Medicare and Medicaid. These are agencies that provide what are called “intermittent” visits by nurses, aides, therapists and/or social workers. These services are provided under a physician-directed plan of care. There are specific rules related to coverage and care provided and like any medical insurance program, there are covered and non-covered services. There are also private duty organizations that provide services, such as a “shift” of 4 or 8 hours. In this instance, a family may contact a number of organizations to obtain an aide to be with and care for a family member who might have personal care needs, such as a need for assistance with bathing, dressing and/or meal preparation.  There are also home care services that are provided to very ill or technology-dependent people at home, and they may need specialized nursing care, such as that provided by a registered nurse.

*Lack of enough trained caregivers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS) home health aides and personal care aides are two of the fastest growing jobs. In fact, according to the BLS, their job outlook, defined as the projected numeric change in employment from 2016-2026, is 41 percent; which is much faster than average. The employment increase is estimated at 1,208,800 more aides!  Varying factors contribute to organizations having trouble finding and then retaining more aides.

*Chronic conditions and the growing complexity of care. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, it is estimated that 117 million adults have one or more chronic health conditions, and one in four adults have two or more chronic health conditions. These conditions can include cardiovascular (heart) conditions, such as heart failure, respiratory (breathing) conditions such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or asthma, arthritis, cancer, depression, diabetes and more. Such chronic diseases also demand trained caregivers to help people better manage their health conditions.

*People wanting to age in place. This may be their home or may be an assisted living residence. It was not so long ago that people were cared for primarily at home and oftentimes died at home. Many patients receive care in their homes through the Medicare hospice benefit. In fact, most hospice care is provided in the home setting. Wanting to age in place is a great goal, although it may not always be realistic, depending on the person, the care needs and safety concerns.

So all these kinds of care at home are home care and are increasing the need for these specialized services. The term “home” becomes flexible as people seek the “best” situation for themselves and their loved ones to age in place. There is no question that home care is more complicated than people think. When finding care for yourself or a loved one, ask for (and check) references, read reviews and do your homework. Some of the best knowledge is local, so ask your neighbors and friends who they have worked with when care was needed for their family member.

Tina Marrelli, MSN, MA, RN, FAAN is the author of the Handbook of Home Health Standards: Quality, Documentation, and Reimbursement (6th edition, 2018) and A Guide for Caregiving: What’s Next? Planning for Safety, Quality, and Compassionate Care for Your Loved One and Yourself. 

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Those in hospice need additional care

Published in Picayune Item by Leah McEwen

Those who are in hospice care often have many needs, but don’t always have access to the assistance required.

One of my grandmothers developed Alzheimer’s about ten years ago and lived with it for several years. She was in her 60s when she received the diagnosis. While the onset of the illness was slow, when it worsened, it became unmanageable.

She forgot who we were, disappeared from her home several times and eventually became a danger to herself. As her condition worsened, she also developed several other illnesses, which made taking care of her impossible for my grandfather. Thankfully, my family was able to pay for outside help to provide the care she needed until she passed away.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for everyone. Many elderly adults don’t have family to care for them, and do not have the funds to pay for outside help such as a nursing facility or in-house nurse.

Many hospice services fill this gap by providing care that is paid for through donations, or government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. There are also non-profit organizations that can provide everyday necessities like groceries.

I recently met a man in his early nineties who had saved enough money to pay for his livelihood until he reached 85-years-old. He said he hadn’t expected to live past that point, but when he did, he found himself penniless and with no one to turn to.

With the help of local volunteers and nonprofit organizations who discovered his need, he was relocated to a better home, his utilities were paid and he was provided with groceries and medical coverage.

Organizations that help elderly adults and hospice patients in need improve the quality of life for patients and their families.

 

 

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Healthcare services, policies for end of life misunderstood says hospice leader

Reform burdensome Medicare regulations to improve end-of-life care

Published in The Hill By Norman McRae, opinion contributor – The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

Research shows that more than a quarter of Americans have given little to no thought about how they want to die – or how they prefer to be cared for in their final days. As a hospice care provider for more than 32 years, sadly, this is not a surprise to me.

What too many don’t realize is that with heartfelt consideration and careful planning, death can be a profound, peaceful and personal journey. That is why it is so important that patients and their families have timely access to high-quality hospice care.

Given how warily our culture approaches death and dying, health care services and policies surrounding the end of life are often misunderstood. At the expense of comfort, precious time and countless dollars are spent chasing an elusive cure rather than approaching an end of life illness with peace and reflection.

Hospice care provides a holistic experience that focuses on the wishes and needs of the individual. The hospice model involves an interdisciplinary, team-oriented approach to treatment that includes expert medical care and comprehensive pain management but also includes emotional and spiritual support for the patient AND their family. It’s this philosophy that drew me to this field and what I and our team at Caris continue to practice and uphold today.

For more than 35 years, the Medicare Hospice Benefit has ensured older Americans at the end of life could access this philosophy of care. As Medicare’s original coordinated care model, hospice is a program that works.

While those in the hospice community have grown and adapted to meet the needs of those we serve these last 30-plus years, many of the regulations imposed on the Medicare Hospice Benefit are still outdated relics of the 1980s. Thankfully, members of Congress recognize the need to modernize and changes are on the horizon. We welcome updates to burdensome regulations that will improve the delivery of patient care, including the reduction of existing requirements that create needless and time-consuming administrative work for hospice programs. One positive example of this recently discussed on Capitol Hill is the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed rule to give more flexibility to physician assistants to re-certify patients who have been in hospice care for more than 180 days – a change broadly supported by the hospice community. We applaud efforts underway in Congress – including the Ways and Means Committee’s efforts to address and cut red tape in the Medicare program.

Policymakers should also consider reforms to make palliative care more widely available and hospice care available in a more timely fashion. This means that they must ensure that any proposed payment reforms do not threaten the integrity of the Medicare Hospice Benefit and the principles on which hospice care was founded.

During my tenure, I’ve seen plenty of change, and I imagine I’ll see more, maybe even policy changes to the Medicare Hospice Benefit. What all involved must remember is that any changes must compassionately consider protecting timely access to care while making sure that regulations are less rigid, duplicative and costly. Failure to implement commonsense reforms could unintentionally disrupt or delay patients’ access to high-quality end of life hospice care. Any new policies must continue to support the basic human right of quality end of life care and protect the values of hospice, the right of patient choice and the integrity of our care philosophy.

Norman McRae is on the board of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), chair of the Hospice Action Network (HAN) and the founder of Caris Healthcare in Knoxville, Tenn.

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‘They Deserve It’: In Foster Homes, Veterans Are Cared For Like Family

By Patricia Kime for Kaiser Health News

With the motto “Where Heroes Meet Angels,” a small Veterans Affairs effort pairs vets in need of nursing home care with caregivers willing to share their homes.

Ralph Stepney’s home on a quiet street in north Baltimore has a welcoming front porch and large rooms, with plenty of space for his comfortable recliner and vast collection of action movies. The house is owned by Joann West, a licensed caregiver who shares it with Stepney and his fellow Vietnam War veteran Frank Hundt.

“There is no place that I’d rather be. … I love the quiet of living here, the help we get. I thank the Lord every year that I am here,” Stepney, 73, said.

Caregiver Joann West calls taking care of veterans Ralph Stepney (left) and Frank Hundt at her home in Baltimore a “joy.” “They deserve it,” she says. (Lynne Shallcross/KHN)

It’s a far cry from a decade ago, when Stepney was homeless and “didn’t care about anything.” His diabetes went unchecked and he had suffered a stroke — a medical event that landed him at the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

After having part of his foot amputated, Stepney moved into long-term nursing home care at a VA medical facility, where he thought he’d remain — until he became a candidate for a small VA effort that puts aging veterans in private homes: the Medical Foster Home program.

The $20.7 million-per-year program provides housing and care for more than 1,000 veterans in 42 states and Puerto Rico, serving as an alternative to nursing home care for those who cannot live safely on their own. Veterans pay their caregivers $1,500 to $3,000 a month, depending on location, saving the government about $10,000 a month in nursing home care. It has been difficult to scale up, though, because the VA accepts only foster homes that meet strict qualifications.

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