“Hospice is not an ending, but a beginning to making every moment count. Hospice provides comfort and dignity for your loved one, and support for your family within the home of facility in which you live.”
Those are words that are favored by the Fayette County Health Department hospice nurses and staff, feeling that they more accurately describe Hospice than the common thought that it is a “last resort.
The Fayette County Health Department began their Medicare-certified home health program in 1976 and added the hospice program in 1995, which was Medicare-certified in 2002.
Kayla Ochs and Elizabeth Washburn, registered nurses with the FCHD hospice program, explained the two programs, which are combined to offer needed care and services to qualified Fayette County residents.
• Home Health provides IV therapy and medication management; chronic disease and pain management; catheter, Ostomy care, drain care and wound care; and counseling services provided by a qualified social workers
Certified home health aides check vital signs, and assist with bathing, grooming, nail and hair care, oral hygiene and dressing. They work closely with registered nurses, and report any significant changes in a timely manner.
Home health care also provides physical, occupational and speech therapy for rehabilitation and prescribed exercises to help the patient gain strength and coordination.
• Hospice offers 24-hour or on-call services, provided by a compassionate team of registered nurses, certified nurse’s aides, medical social workers, area pastors and trained volunteers who work in partnership with the attending physician and the medical director to provide compassionate, exceptional care, including pain and symptom control, support and instruction to caregivers.
Medical equipment and medications related to terminal diagnosis are delivered to the patient’s home. Counseling services are available by a licensed social worker and a bereavement program is also offered.
To Be Eligible
Oches explained that referral for home care requires that the person be under the care of a licensed physician, is homebound and in need of skilled services.
If the requirements are met, then the home care registered nurse will establish a plan of care, which must be certified, as well as the necessity of the services by the physician. The physician will also review the plan from time to time for recertification of the services.
Referrals to the home care program may be made by family, friends, physicians, facilities or by the patient, with follow up work with patient’s provider done to evaluate eligibility.
If the patient is hospitalized, home care bythe Fayette County Health Department may be requested to the discharge planner.
Hospice Services …
… are provided for a terminal diagnosis of six months or less, and there is a decision to stop curative measures.
Nurses provide comfort and dignity for the patient and loves ones, and support for the family.
Medical Social Workers …
… help the patient and family members to learn to cope with stress that may arise as a result of present illnesses or diseases as they progress. Social workers also help families gain access to community support groups.
The Fayette County Health Department Staff …
…coordinates and works together with skills, knowledge and compassion to provide comfort and effective care for the patients and the families.
Since beginning the programs, home health care and hospice have served well over 10,000 patients and families, with the staff’s compassionate caring, knowledge and skills, and commitment to the profession that they chose – to help others.
The staff includes registered nurses Elizabeth Washburn, hospice coordinator; Kayla Ochs-home health and hospice director; and Bev Swofford, director of home care.
Other members of the teams are Natosha Brown, Michelle Bird, Robin Hayes, Kelly Swofford, Jami Lockart, Courtney Gabeau, Barb Lawson; spiritual counselor-Joe Lawson; medical social worker-Sue Heth; and medical director-Dr. Skow.