Thursday, May 22, 2014

Samira K. Beckwith participates in U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging panel

Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services, participated in a U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging panel in Washington, D.C., May 21 that focused on end-of-life issues and how the private sector and government can be more responsive to patients and their families.

“Our health care system is excellent at managing acute episodic illness or injury, but there is great need to establish appropriate care systems for the number of aging boomers with advanced progressing illness,” Beckwith shared with the committee. “Hospice benefits need to be more accessible for individuals as they experience significant physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial burdens and become eligible for hospice care.”

The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging is chaired by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Fla.) with ranking member Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-Maine).

Beckwith urged the committee to examine the nine significant regulatory changes in 2014 that occurred without coordinating policy changes or their implementation, and without considering the impact on patients and families. Administrative and regulatory burdens that present obstacles include the new Medicare Part D requirements, face-to-face requirement and a “one size fits all” approach across providers and patient populations that does not work for end-of-life care.

“The Medicare Hospice Benefit was designed to be flexible enough to meet the wide variety of needs and experiences that can be present in our vulnerable patient population,” said Beckwith. “These are the very aspects of the benefit that seem threatened now through the scrutiny on variations in length of stay, levels of care, setting of care and utilization of various staff on the hospice interdisciplinary team.”

Beckwith advocated for a national effort to increase hospice use during the last two years of life – instead of “misguided” efforts to reduce the length of stay - to reduce costs and improve patients’ quality of life.

Joining Beckwith in the “Continuing the Conversation: The Role of Health Care Providers in Advance Care Planning” roundtable discussion were: Carmella A. Bocchino, RN, America’s Health Insurance Plans; William Novelli, Coalition to Transform Advanced Care and McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University; Randall Krakauer, MD, Aetna; Daniel O’Brien, Ph.D., Ascension Health; and Paul Malley, Aging With Dignity. Jennie Chin Hansen, RN, of the American Geriatrics Society, moderated the panel.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Samira on Lee Pitts Live: Sunday, May 25

Be sure to tune in for Samira's interview with Lee Pitts on Sunday, May 25 at 8:30 a.m. on FOX 4. This will be Samira's first appearance on the talk show since being named Person of the Year. Learn more about how Samira found her career path, her involvement with the national hospice movement and details about some of Hope’s lesser-known programs and services.

Friday, May 2, 2014

When is it time for hospice care?

A common question asked by those considering hospice care for a loved one is, “When is the right time?”

Many families who chose hospice care for the loved one have later said, “We wish we had come to hospice earlier.” It would have been better for the loved one - having more compassionate and comprehensive care during their illness, and it would have given the family greater peace of mind.

Of course, it can be a very difficult decision to make. No one wants to feel as if they are “giving up” on someone they love. Even for physicians, trained to heal, it is not easy to say, “There is nothing more I can do.” Fortunately, it's not a decision you have to make alone.

A referral for hospice means that something can be done: the patient who cannot be cured can be comforted - physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Last year, more than a million Americans received hospice care. But we know that for every person who received care, another person could have also benefited from this exceptional type of care - but did not.

A person is eligible for hospice after being certified by a physician as having a serious illness with a life expectancy that may be six months or less, depending on the course of the disease.

Anyone - family member, friend, physician, can refer someone to hospice. Many patients are referred by a health care professional, but others were first referred by a friend or loved one.

If you are wondering if it's the right time for hospice care, ask for a free consultation. Our staff can provide guidance after learning more about your unique circumstances, needs and goals. We are always available to answer your questions. Please call Hope at (239) 482-4673 or (800) 835-1673.