Published in the Davis Enterprise on April 15, 2012
Janiece Kinsey believed she had a great deal of experience with hospice. Her mother and best friend both had used hospice services. She experienced hospice a third time when her husband became a Yolo Hospice patient in 2009. It was this third time, during her husband’s time in hospice care, that Janiece realized there was much more to know. “I knew some of the hospice services from my previous experiences, but didn’t know it all,” said Janiece. “Nor did I realize how wonderful the people supporting us would be. The nurse, the social worker, they were all great, but our nurse just clicked with my husband.”
[pullquote2 quotes=”true” align=”center” cite=”Sharon Blaha, Director of Community Relations for Yolo Hospice”]Hospice offers a lot of services—from those designed to meet physical needs, to those services that help loved ones with their grief.[/pullquote2]
The number of people using hospice is growing, but despite the growth, most people are not quite sure what hospice is all about, or like Janiece, don’t know the full range of services and support available.
“In my experience, most people generally know of hospice, but that is it,” said Sharon Blaha, Director of Community Relations for Yolo Hospice. “Hospice offers a lot of services — from those designed to meet physical needs, to those services that help loved ones with their grief.”
Hospice is based on the concept that end-of-life requires unique care of the whole person – care that encompasses the physical, emotional and spiritual. Yolo Hospice includes the patient’s loved ones in this care as they are effected by the illness also. To provide successfully for the patient and loved ones, Yolo Hospice provides a team. The team includes Yolo Hospice’s nursing staff, hospice aides, social workers, spiritual counselors (chaplains), and volunteers who all work together to comfort, assist, and care for each patient and that patient’s loved ones.
[pullquote2 quotes=”true” align=”right” cite=”Janiece Kinsey”]What really surprised me about hospice care was the variety of options and services available through hospice and grief services[/pullquote2]
“What really surprised me about hospice care was the variety of options and services available through hospice and grief services,” said Janiece.
Yolo Hospice is working hard to make sure the community is knowledgeable about hospice and their own choices when it comes to end-of-life.
“We are out in the community weekly talking about hospice,” said Sharon. “It is part of our mission and we consider it necessary as a good community partner to do our best to ensure people understand the services available through Yolo Hospice whether they have a loved one is in need of hospice service now or not.”
At community events, Yolo Hospice staff members set up a table and talk about hospice or just hand out materials visitors can take to read at home.
Yolo Hospice has a speaker’s bureau to help reach the public through civic, community or faith group meetings. The Yolo Hospice team goes to speak to the members of these groups about hospice services. The presentation they most often give is “Hospice 101.”
“Hospice 101” can include a video which reviews some of the benefits of hospice and includes a poignant interview with the husband of a Yolo Hospice patient. During the presentation, Yolo Hospice team members do their best to ensure the attendees understand the care Yolo Hospice provides. You can see the video yourself. It has just been launched on Youtube.
An advance directive is another popular topic for discussion at these presentations. An advance directive is a legal document that appoints someone to make medical decisions for you if you cannot speak for yourself. Advance directives are important for anyone over the age 18, but are particularly helpful to those who suffer from a chronic or progressive illness, a serious health condition or are medically frail.
“I think it helps to read about hospice or have a friend tell you about it,” said Janiece. People taking care of their ill loved one or those in grief are distracted and overwhelmed. Learning as much about hospice as possible, before you need it, can only help.
Any group in the community can request a presentation on Hospice 101, Advance Directives or another topic by calling Yolo Hospice at 530-601-5777. If you have a personal interest or question about hospice, you are also invited to call to learn more at 530-758-5566 or you may visit the website at www.yolohospice.org.
Yolo Hospice will be featured at the Benefits for Veterans event on Saturday, April 28th from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at Joseph A. Nelson Community Center (611Village Drive, Suisun City). The Oakland claims processors will be present to answer questions. To RSVP call 707-455-8025.