The CCH Hospice Care Team
Hospice Care is a team effort. Each member of the team plays an important role in providing compassionate care that meets the unique needs of each patient. Together, with the patient and family members (who serve as primary caregivers), the professional hospice care team works to ensure that the patient is as comfortable as possible and able to live life to the fullest.
At Crater Community Hospice our care team is led by Medical Director, Dr. Michael R. Cohen. Dr. Cohen works with our professional care team to develop a plan for patient treatment, support, personal care, and other specialized services that benefit the patient and support the family.
The Hospice Care Nurse has specialized training in pain and symptom management. The RN visits the patient regularly and assesses and addresses patient and family needs. The Hospice Nurse then works with the team to ensure that needs are met and that the plan of care is followed. The Nurse also helps support the patient and family, as needed.
The Hospice Aide provides direct care to the patient and provides physical and emotional support to the patient and family. The Aide also reports needs to the Hospice Care Nurse.
The Hospice Social Worker assesses the patient’s and family’s emotional and financial needs and makes referrals accordingly. The Social Worker can also provide direct counseling and assist with end-of-life planning.
Our Chaplain provides emotional and spiritual support to the patient and their family. The Chaplain may also coordinate with community clergy to meet the needs of the patient and family. The Chaplain also helps to provide bereavement support.
Hospice Volunteers give their time in many ways: providing companionship and support to hospice patients and their families; working in our office to provide clerical support; serving on our Board of Directors, sitting on various committees of our Board, lending support at various events and more. Our volunteers also provide non-medical support services and respite to the family and offer bereavement support after the patient has passed away.
After the loss of the hospice patient, the Hospice Bereavement Counselor provides support to the family for a minimum of 13 months. The Bereavement Counselor provides one-on-one support, and plans and moderates grief support groups.
CCH is a non-profit hospice organization, Our Community is also an important part of the Hospice Care Team. With your financial support we are able to provide hospice care to anyone in need regardless of their ability to pay and to meet the care needs of patients whose medications or care plans exceed the cost of insurance or Medicare reimbursement.
At Crater Community Hospice, our Hospice Care Team is dedicated to meeting the needs of our patients and families from referral through on-going bereavement support. Our goal is to help the families we serve “celebrate life every day.”
The holidays can be both a joyful and stressful time of year, with an endless “to do” list of holiday shopping, decorations and financial stressors. It can be even more difficult for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one or caring for a loved one with a serious illness. When others around you seem happy and full of holiday cheer, you may want to just skip the holidays altogether. The sights, sounds and smells of the holiday season can be overwhelming and the period of time leading up to the holidays can actually be worse than the day itself.
Before Christmas Day, think about what might be tough and plan ahead, for example the “empty chair” ….should you keep it in place or remove it from the table all together? Should the oldest child or another family member sit there now? Should you set a place in honor of your loved one who isn’t with you this year? There’s no right or wrong answer, do what’s best for you and your family!
Be realistic…. Don’t over schedule, you know yourself better than anyone. Set realistic goals and always have more than one plan. By having multiple plans, plan A, B and C you can quickly move to the next plan if the previous one isn’t working or becomes too difficult. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to do things the way you’ve always done them. It may be a good time to start some new traditions, this doesn’t mean you’re going to lose the old traditions; you can always go back to them or incorporate them again when you’re ready. Just because you’ve always put on a huge feast doesn’t mean you have to this year, have everyone bring a dish, have another family member host Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, or go out to a restaurant this year.
Address the “elephant in the room,” acknowledge your loved one and include them in holiday gatherings by lighting a candle, making a “toast” in their honor or sharing favorite memories and funny stories about them. It may be difficult to start these conversations but it will benefit everyone around you and help each of you heal, a little bit at a time. A wonderful new tradition is to cover the table with a plain table cloth, provide permanent markers for family members and guests to write what they’re “thankful” for on the table cloth, a favorite memory or message to your loved one; children can have fun by drawing pictures. Bring the tablecloth out at each holiday gathering until it’s full and then start a new one!
Remember to give “thanks” for those who have touched our hearts and lives with their memories and love, which can never be taken from us. This year give thanks that the grief you feel is based on the beautiful memories you have made and on the enormous love you’ve shared!
by Patti Cox, Hospice Bereavement Counselor
The word hospice comes from the Latin word “Hospitium” meaning guest house or hospitality. In medieval times, a hospice was a place for weary travelers to rest while on their journey. In 1948, Dr. Cicely Saunders first used the word “hospice” to describe a special hospital for the terminally ill. Having been a social worker, nurse and physician, Dr. Saunders had returned to medical school to specialize in pain control for the terminally ill. In 1967 she organized and became director of the St. Christopher’s Hospice in London. The goal of the her medical practice was to keep patients active, alert and making decisions about their own care for as long as possible. Dr. Saunders believed that patients who had exhausted curative options were being ignored by their health care providers. She is quoted as saying, “There is never nothing more that can be done.” Her emphasis on comfort-oriented care and pain management, emotional care and spiritual care served to enhance the patients’ quality of life while facing the end of life.
Dr. Saunders introduced her method of specialty care for the dying in the United States in 1963 in a lecture for nurses, social workers and physicians at Yale University. In her lecture she used case studies and photographs of patients to show the dramatic differences patients experienced before and after symptom and pain control became the primary focus of their care.
Today hospice care is much like it was first envisioned by Dr. Cicely Saunders with the greatest difference being the introduction of home based care versus institutional care for the dying.
Crater Community Hospice was founded in 1995 after the need for hospice services was identified by both John Randolph Hospital in Hopewell and Southside Regional Medical Center in Petersburg. At that time both facilities were community hospitals and recognized that a community based hospice could better serve the local community and patients throughout the Crater Health District.
Today CCH is the only community-based hospice organization in the region. Our team of hospice professionals (registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, aides, social workers, and a chaplain) as well as community volunteers, cares for hospice patients in their homes, health care facilities, or in the hospital, helping patients to celebrate life every day.
by Brenda Mitchell,MSN,RN,APHN-BC,CHPN,CHPA
Executive Director, Crater Community Hospice
“Help is Here” is more than a tag line at CCH. It is who we are and what we do for patients, and caregivers. Caregiver stress and burnout are common among people who have cared for the elderly and people living with a serious illness. At CCH, we encourage families to use our services long before they think the patient is ready for hospice care so that the patient and the caregiver can take advantage of our unique services especially designed to offer respite, renewal and resources.
With support from CCH’s hospice care team, including our in-home volunteers, caregivers are given the opportunity to take time for self-care, knowing that someone is at home with their loved one. Self-care is important when seeking to avoid caregiver burn-out. Self-care includes eating right, getting enough sleep and taking time to do things and participate in activities that renew your energy. This can include exercise, yoga, meditation, journaling, creative arts, massage or just having time away from the one for whom you are caring.
Crater Community Hospice has received a grant enabling us to offer massage therapy, aromatherapy, and music therapy for patients and caregivers. In-patient respite care can be arranged for the patient to receive care in a local hospital or nursing care facility, giving the caregiver a much needed break while ensuring that their loved one is well taken of.
Caregivers are encouraged to ask for and accept help, and set realistic goals and expectations of what can be done each day. Remember that laughter is often the best medicine and find what helps you relieve stress and keep a list of these activities at hand. Caregivers are also invited to visit Crater Community Hospice’s Pinterest Page for visual stress relievers and a virtual vacation, and call CCH ((804)526-4300 for support. Don’t do it alone. Help is Here.
by Brenda Mitchell,MSN,RN,APHN-BC,CHPN,CHPA
Executive Director, Crater Community Hospice