By Craig Dresang, CEO, Yolo Hospice
Originally published in The Davis Enterprise
So much of life is about choices. What we choose to put energy into. How we choose to spend our time. Who we choose to be with. If we make decisions selfishly or selflessly.
There is an old adage that says, “There are two ways of spreading light – to be the candle or to be the mirror that reflects it.” It is in that spirit that Yolo Hospice will be acknowledging its own community luminaries on March 24th at the Veterans Memorial Center in Davis. These individuals are a testament that what we do for ourselves alone dies with us. But what we do for the world around us lives on.
For nearly four decades, Yolo Hospice has been the beneficiary of choices made by the community. Choices that acknowledge a shared sense of compassion, and an energy that calls on the better angels of our nature. The real beneficiaries of this collective goodwill are our patients and their families. Together, our volunteers, staff, and organizational friends have shone light in the neighborhoods and counties where they live, and in the homes of strangers and friends alike.
In 1979, a small handful of these gutsy grassroots volunteers gave birth to a movement that evolved into an organization called Yolo Hospice. This sort of volunteerism was, and is, the ultimate exercise in democracy. People vote in elections every year, but when someone volunteers, they vote every day about the kind of community they want.
We’re fortunate that the life-giving spirit that birthed Yolo Hospice is the same spirit that drives our decisions and directs our care today. Evidence of that is clearly seen when we extend our care to patients who are homeless or uninsured. It’s also witnessed in the organization’s commitment to build and maintain a robust and free-of-charge bereavement program for adults and children who struggle with loss. And it’s witnessed in a Board of Directors that votes to approve a new mission statement making a bold promise: “To serve our communities, providing the highest level of care for every patient, every family, every time.”
I was recently asked if I thought Yolo Hospice was living up to its new mission statement. In my response, I realized that the facts speak for themselves.
- Our organization’s physician satisfaction survey shows that 100 percent of 160 referring physicians are satisfied with the care our team provides to their patients.
- Four out of five key quality indicators related to patient care have exceeded both State of California and national averages.
- Yolo Hospice’s bereavement program consistently scores among the top in the nation.
- The organization has the only 4-Star Veterans Program in both Yolo and Solano Counties.
- Partnership HealthPlan of California selected Yolo Hospice as one of just four partners to develop an innovative new model of palliative care for Medi-Cal patients.
- This legacy-rich program is one of just two hospices in California that was invited and accepted into the National Partnership for Hospice Innovation.
Founded by the community, for the community, Yolo Hospice takes seriously its role as a guardian of the public interest in end-of-life care, believing that every American is entitled to a comfortable and dignified last phase of life.
Yolo Hospice featured in KVIE Public Television documentary
A new Public Television documentary titled The Journey Ahead features Yolo Hospice along with several other healthcare providers in the Sacramento region. Produced by Joyce Mitchell, the program covers a range of topics, including differences between hospice and palliative care, updates to POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment), cultural competency in talking about death, and the End-of-Life Option law. The Journey Ahead will air on KVIE March 23 at 7 p.m.