|Posted by Joe B. Nester on April 9, 2016 at 10:50 PM||comments (26718)|
I was standing on a high bluff in Weehawken New jersey looking across the Hudson at the most spectacular view of the New York skyline I had ever seen. The sun was about to set and the soft golden light presented the scene in what seemed more like a painting than the reality of the moment. Ferry boats in both directions navigated the wide waterway of the Hudson in route to piers along each shoreline.
I tried to imagine the number of people that were packed into the buildings and streets of such a large city. The pictures I had seen of New York in the past had never showed the true dimension and land mass of the multiple Burroughs that stretched endlessly in both directions. I wondered if the people living on this side of the Hudson took this view for granted as they went about their daily routines.
There was a ferry pier directly below where I was standing with a large metal stairway with over 15 landings fastened precariously to the approximate 200 foot drop to the banks of the waterway. Every so often a person in a rush would disappear from the sidewalk and start descending the stairs, the clanging of their footsteps on the metal stairs fading into the distance with each landing they reached.
The sun sank further below the horizon and the lights from the buildings twinkled in the twilight. It occurred to me that the scene would constantly evolve as the light patterns for each building changed as people within came and went.
I could see the streets of the great city were still jammed with cars, buses and taxis as people presumably struggled to shed the masses for the serenity of their own homes. I marveled at the mechanisms and logistics which accomplished the dance of several million people moving daily between the glass and steel canyons from job to home. It seemed like the relatively uncrowded expanse of the Hudson offered a brief respite as people escaped the clogged streets and sidewalks on their journey home.
I was amazed that such a large boisterous city did not swallow the New Jersey shoreline with a barrage of noise, but standing where I was looking across the expanse, I could barely hear a sound save the occasional fog horn from the ferry boats that ploughed the waterway of the Hudson.
There is a captivating magnetic pull from the city which gave me a feeling I was missing something and that something could be found within.
The sun sank lower below the horizon and the night sky took on a dark purple hue. The building edges fused into neighboring buildings and the softer edges resembled an impressionist painting. Huge lighted antennas and needle like protrusions soared into the night sky as if to puncture the veil of darkness. As I turned from the scene I was confident that adventures awaited a person who was willing to immerse oneself in the mystique of the great city we know as New York.
|Posted by Joe B. Nester on January 31, 2016 at 12:05 AM||comments (27)|
There is a direct correlation between therapy, length of stay, and more importantly, the longevity of residents in assisted living communities. In addition therapy gives residents who have seen a decline in their ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL's) an opportunity to improve and regain lost mobility and skills which can increase their independence.
We found in our communities, the highest average length of stay was where we had the highest utilization of resident therapy. The sweet spot was 25% of residents receiving physical therapy at any given time. This makes sense when you realize residents who are in better health and who function at a higher level directly affect the overall health of the community.
Partnering with a good therapy company is essential for achieving desired results and you will want to consider implementing these systems when putting a successful therapy partnership in place.
• Track your average length of stay and therapy utilization each month.
• Evaluate residents quarterly as well as after changes in condition.
• Commit to having at least 25% of your residents on therapy.
• Work with your therapy partner to make sure residents have the same therapists for home health and outpatient therapy
• Have therapy partner provide statistics showing their optimum outcomes for your residents.
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) in a published Fact Sheet said this about the value of providing occupational therapy in an assisted living setting.
Occupational therapy practitioners can provide a unique and valuable service in supporting clients residing in assisted living facilities, directly and indirectly, in their occupations (activities) of choice, and in their efforts to remain independent and to successfully age in place.
|Posted by Joe B. Nester on January 19, 2016 at 8:40 PM||comments (465)|
A person with vision, a forward thinker, someone with fierce leadership ability and a strong advocate for hospice, these are just a few of the criteria taken into consideration when choosing the recipient for the Tamra West Leadership Award.
Mrs. West, the awards namesake was The Carolina Centers TCC South Carolina Program Director for over 11 years. She was recognized as a hospice leader for TCC as well as for the entire state of South Carolina.
Dr. Gregory A. Compton, winner of the 2015 Tamra West Leadership Award possess all of the traits, skills and qualities which exemplify leadership in the field of hospice and palliative care.
He is currently the medical director of the Palliative Medicine Program for Agapé Hospice and was instrumental in forming the partnership between Trident Health Systems. The program provides palliative care to patients at both Trident Medical Center and Summerville Medical Center in Charleston.
Dr. Compton has a unique ability to not only provide care but also to educate teams and pull together resources within the hospital to provide treatment for patients in a holistic manner. He looks beyond the hospital walls and engages other partners, physicians and specialists to provide outpatient palliative care in the Charleston area as well.
Dr. Compton's passion for impacting lives, his knowledge, teaching ability, and leadership skills made him a perfect choice as recipient of the award.
Dr. Compton is board certified in Internal Medicine with subspecialty certifications in Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Geriatrics, and is a certified Medical Director. He is also currently pursuing his Masters in Bio-Ethics.
|Posted by Joe B. Nester on January 8, 2016 at 5:20 PM||comments (59)|
There is a powerful concept within senior healthcare which has potential to transform the industry in South Carolina and possibly become a model for the nation. The concept is not new, complicated or difficult but will require leadership and cooperation between providers of senior care services.
The concept is healthcare partnerships. Every provider of senior healthcare in South Carolina should be asking themselves the question. Are my residents and patients receiving the most appropriate level of care today? If the answer is no, then the provider should be seeking partnerships with companies which can provide a yes.
Scott Middleton, CEO of Agapé and Author of Parent Talk, "Nine Conversations to have with an Aging Loved One," gave a speech at Marcus Evans, Long Term Care Summit in Florida where he outlined the nine partnerships senior care providers should consider for their communities.
For the next nine weeks we will be exploring each of the nine partnerships in greater detail and showing how providers implementing these strategic alliances will benefit residents and the communities in which they live.
· Therapy - What is the correlation between therapy, length of stay, and, more importantly, the longevity of residents?
· Physician Services - How often should physicians, nurse practitioners or physician assistants be seeing residents?
· Skilled Nursing Facility - What are six critical requirements for a skilled nursing partnership?
· Pharmacy - How does "Cycle Fill" help with medication administration?
· Home Care - What are the benefits of partnering with Home Care?
· Real Estate - What role can real estate play in your census?
· Durable Medical Equipment - What is an innovation room and why your Durable Medical Provider should set it up?
· Hospice - Why hospice is likely the most valuable partner you can have?
· Coaching - How coaching can save you time and money from costly mistakes?
|Posted by Joe B. Nester on December 23, 2015 at 3:15 PM||comments (348)|
Theresa Younis, Chief Operating Officer for Agapé Hospice has a vision and goal to transform end-of life care in South Carolina. Younis understands investing in medical staff as both clinicians and leaders is paramount to this end. Younis stated, "Having and maintaining one of the best educated clinician staffs in the state directly equates to better care for our patients and families."
The Hospice and Palliative Nurse Association HPNA is an organization which has a mission and vision on a National level and has developed certification programs which seek to advance expert care and to transform the care and culture of serious illnesses.
Agapé Hospice has elected to obtain certification for its RN's through the HPNA. According to Younis "the certification is a tangible representation of specialized clinical and leadership experience within the hospice field."
To date Agapé Hospice has 29 of its RNs certified through the program as Hospice and Palliative Nurses CHPN and an additional 6 RN's who have been certified as CHPN instructors.
Dana Altman, RN, CHPN with Agapé Hospice stated, "To achieve board certification was a validation for me that "Yes, I am an expert in this specialty." When you have more knowledge, you have more confidence which benefits both staff and patients. Education and knowledge have the power to transform health care.""
Janet DiNino, RN, LNHA, LNC, CHC, CAPPM, Chief Clinical Officer for Agapé Hospice echoes Altman's comments "It caused me to question practices and review policies and procedures daily. It empowered me to think comprehensively and proactively…The certification equips RNs with a broad array of clinical knowledge, skills and competencies."
Agapé Hospice has demonstrated its commitment to the HPNA certification program by removing barriers for completion. According to Younis, "Nurses are paid while attending preparatory classes as well as the certification test. And once an RN is certified, they receive a financial reward with an increase in compensation."
For more information about Agape Hospice and its mission see AgapeHospice.com or call us at (800) 411-2427
|Posted by Joe B. Nester on December 11, 2015 at 9:00 AM||comments (227)|
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said "It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." I believe this describes a hospice volunteer’s experience when spending precious time with a patient. The volunteer’s gift of time may seem like a small thing on the surface but the relationship and impact they can have with the patient and family is immeasurable.
People are sometimes hesitant to get involved with volunteering because they do not believe they have anything to offer. The person may have the gift of time and a desire to make a difference but believe they lack the talent or skills necessary. Kay Lee, Agapé Hospice Volunteer Coordinator for the Rock Hill area tells her volunteer recruits this. "Any talent, hobby or interest you have can and will be incorporated into our volunteer ministry."
When a person makes a commitment to volunteer with hospice, the first step is to get connected through a volunteer coordinator. The coordinator helps the new volunteer acquire the orientation and training required to allow him/her to get started in the field. The training is approximately six hours and is often broken into smaller segments for the convenience of the volunteer.
Not every volunteer in hospice works directly with patients, there are hundreds of ways a volunteer can be utilized in a hospice organization. Hospice sponsored education, events and service projects are just a few of the areas where a volunteer could have an impact. It is the coordinators job to ensure each volunteer is positioned for success in his/her chosen role.
Agapé Hospice serves all 46 Counties in South Carolina and each region of the state has volunteer coordinator's that can answer questions about the ministry. There is a contact form online @ http://www.agapehospice.com/volunteer-form where a person can submit their information to get connected or call 800-411-(Agape) 2427 for more information.
|Posted by Joe B. Nester on November 12, 2015 at 9:25 AM||comments (125)|
Recently medical professionals within Agapé Hospice had an opportunity to attend specialized training focusing on their role in the end-of life journey. Kashyap Patel, MD, a nationally renowned oncologist and President of the South Carolina Oncology Society along with Jeff Brantley, MD, founding faculty member of Duke Integrative Medicine, were the presenters.
The nonprofit Institute of Medicine's report, Dying in America, published last September, found that the vast majority of people in the U.S. have never had an end-of-life discussion with a health care provider. Better education focused on end-of life comprehension within the medical community is a great place to start the conversation.
Dr. Patel's Education in Palliative and End of Life Care (EPEC) training helps medical professionals identify the importance of their role in the end-of life process. When families find themselves in such crisis, the person to whom they look for advice, assurance, and even comfort is the physician. Because of this, physicians must be comfortable not only talking with families about end of life realities but actually being an important active part of that end of life journey. Dr. Patel's training teaches physicians the emotional toll these activities can have and to be cognizant of their own mental and physical well-being.
Dr. Brantley's Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training addresses proactive steps medical professionals can take when confronted with the stress related to working in the healthcare industry. MBSR is a method of using meditation and yoga to promote awareness and reduce stress. The techniques are based on an ancient practice of mindfulness, which is about waking up, being fully alive, and present for the wealth of each moment in our lives. Through this process medical professionals gain access to their inner resources for living and healing.
For more information on these programs please contact
Grace Waddell, Dean of Agapé University.
|Posted by Joe B. Nester on October 15, 2015 at 4:00 PM||comments (128)|
There are probably not many things in life as difficult as caring for someone with Alzheimer's. In the case of a husband or a wife caring for a spouse the difficulty is magnified by the additional grief of loss as their partner effectively slips through time into a past life that may not include them.
The caregiving process is a long road strewn with new challenges as the disease moves through its stages. Updating skills along the way becomes essential for a caregiver. Experts on the subject can offer insights into some of the latest techniques and workshops can offer opportunities for upgraded skills along with a chance to bond with people facing similar challenges.
Caregivers should not try to go-it alone. Burnout is an all too real danger and proactive steps should be considered to avoid its pitfalls. Taking time to talk with family and friends, researching websites, attending workshops and joining support groups are activities caregivers can take to avoid problems with their own health.
Every day may bring opportunities for a caregiver to enter into the world of their loved one. And every day there may be beautiful discoveries made within that world. The more a caregiver understands about the disease and its progression the better chance of having a successful journey.
|Posted by Joe B. Nester on June 9, 2015 at 2:00 PM||comments (22)|
On a cold and windy November evening in 2011 a hospice memorial service was held on the steps of the South Carolina Statehouse. The service was the conclusion of a two day celebration designed to raise public awareness about hospice. Holli McGee Roberts stepped to the podium and in 48 short words defined perfectly what hospice had meant to her family.
"Agapé Hospice was there for us; they wrapped their arms around our family and helped us through the dark times. Like the umbrellas' here tonight, Agapé Hospice sheltered us from a storm. I will always remember their support, their loving care they gave to my Mother, Emma McGee"
Holli had lost her best friend when her Mom, Emma McGee died in August of 2010. Her Mom had been through what seemed like a lifetime of battling cancer. The first sign of trouble had come in the form of breast cancer when Holli was just eight years old. This was followed with a long period of remission until cancer resurfaced 18 years later in another form. At this point Holli was married and raising a young family.
For the next three and a half years Holli along with her family dug in for a battle. Holli became the primary caregiver along with her dad Carroll McGee and took daily care of her Mother while trying to raise her own young family. Holli started to show all of the classic signs of caregiver burnout during this time including the degradation of her own health.
Hospice was called in during the final stages of Emma's life which allowed Holli some precious time to just be present with her Mom. Emma was on hospice for just seven days before she passed peacefully into the next life.
Looking back on her experience, Holli wished she had been aware of hospice earlier in the struggle. Spending quality time with her Mom without constantly worrying about the actual care would have been the best gift Holli could have received.
Holli and Carroll are now Ambassadors for the new Lexington Agapé Hospice House & Suites that just opened in June of 2015. Carroll will be a part-time Chaplain for the facility and Holli will volunteer and continue her advocacy for hospice.
|Posted by Joe B. Nester on May 25, 2015 at 3:10 PM||comments (42)|
The NHPCO National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization put out a memorial day press release reminding people of the unique needs of Veterans on hospice. Five years ago the organization recognized the necessity for an enhanced educational and awareness program to help providers better care for Veteran hospice patients. The "We Honor Veterans." program was born and it allowed hospice providers an opportunity to partner with NHPCO to achieve a higher and more relevant level of care for their Veteran patients.
The program has four partnership levels with educational benchmarks and practices required to advance to each level. The partnership allows hospice companies an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to the special considerations and practices involved when caring for the Veteran.
Agapé Hospice, one of the largest hospice providers in South Carolina was already caring for many veterans inside and outside of its communities at the time and welcomed the new program with open arms. "Our veterans and their families sacrificed so much for our freedom. Agape Hospice is proud to be a significant part of the We Honor Veterans national initiative, affording us the opportunity to better serve those who gave so much for our country." stated Theresa Younis, COO for Agapé Senior.
Agapé instituted a program within its online employee training system, Agapé University, to meet the educational goals of "We Honor Veterans." The company today is a level three partner and hopes to achieve the fourth level soon.
Donald Schumacher, NHPCO President and CEO stated "Our Veterans deserve support and recognition of their service and the losses they may have experienced. Memorial Day can be a time to reach out to acknowledge all they've given and celebrate our national pride."
So on this memorial day we honor those men and women that paid the ultimate price for our freedom. And we are thankful and honored to have the opportunity to be of service to the Veterans that made it back and need our help today.