Patricia Eye of Eddington, Maine has dedicated her life to improving end-of-life care in her community. Since the 1980s, Eye has helped the Bangor area end-of-life care community grow from not a single hospice program to at least five programs currently serving thousands of patients. She even founded her own program, New Hope Hospice, in 1994, and at 83 is still working in community outreach and clinical support.
“Some people’s personalities just resonate at a level that is deep and reflective,” Kandyce Powell, the longtime director of the Hospice Council of Maine, said. She’s known Eye professionally “for so long I can’t even remember,” she said. “Pat’s heart and soul have always been sensitive to the deepest needs of the people she cares for.”
Thank you, Patricia, for your years of dedication to patients and families!
Firefighter and 45-year old father of two Frank Martinez recently decided to begin hospice care after years of unsuccessful cancer treatment. A six-year veteran of the Atlanta Fire Department Squad 4, Martinez was escorted from the treatment center to his home by an Honor Convoy of his fellow firefighters. Several neighboring departments radioed in to the convoy to express their support for their comrade.
“We’re going to miss him,” said Mike Brooks, a friend of Frank’s for over 10 years. “But we’re here to celebrate his life and to give him the send-off he deserves. He’s a fireman’s fireman; the best you’re going to ever meet.”
In Honor of National Rural Health Day, I am happy to present some thoughts from Marilyn Connor, Executive Director of Central Wyoming Hospice and Transitions Program, and one of our Hospice Advocates, about the challenges they face in providing quality hospice care in rural America:
Growing up in urban Chicago, I was raised with the misconception that rural healthcare was substandard. In my mind, rural healthcare lacked the sophistication and quality us “urbanites” were privy to.
Having spent the past 13 years as a hospice administrator in Wyoming, I am now a very vocal advocate for the quality of rural healthcare. As a rural hospice provider, we do have unique challenges; but most of those challenges make our program stronger.
Our state can boast we have more cattle than people. This means it may take us a year to find a qualified certified social worker. It also means we are very self-reliant and can work autonomously. It makes us work harder to ensure we are educated and up to date on all issues impacting hospice and palliative care. Our staff is strongly encouraged to spend time on the NHPCO website and become a part of My NHPCO so that we can stay abreast of changes.
We have a serious physician shortage, which, coupled with a limited census, prevents us from having a captured Medical Director. On the flip side, we know every doctor in our service area on a first name basis and they know and trust our staff. We are considered a major player in the community’s continuum of care.
We have a limited pool of nurses to choose from. As a result of the limited number of nurses, it is no secret as to who Is a choice employer. And it is no secret that while we have very high expectations of our staff, we get so much in return from our patients.
Distance is an enormous challenge, especially in the midst of a typical winter snow. We often times spend more windshield time for a patient than we do bedside time. We are trying to narrow this gap with the use of technology.
We have limited staffing and medical resources but we have an abundance of community support, web and phone based support and an incredibly strong team. Our QAPI program will demonstrate our care is second to none and our compassion is impressive. We have all of the quality our urban colleagues have, wrapped in a hug from our rural community.
Please ask Congress to support the Rural Access to Hospice Act to help ensure quality end-of-life care is available to all Americans! Click Here to Take Action!
Originating in Mexico, Dia de los Muertos is a holiday now celebrated throughout the Americas. The holiday, spanning November 1 and 2, honors deceased friends and relatives through prayer and community celebration. More upbeat than solemn, Dia de los Muertos is characterized by the creation of private altars in the home, which are adorned with pictures, sugar skulls, marigolds, candles, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed. Families will also visit graves with these gifts and sometimes leave possessions of the deceased at the graves. There are also street festivals and parades where death is acknowledged as a natural part of life. Many people find that marking this day helps their grief and bereavement process, and makes them feel like their deceased family members are still a part of their lives.
NHPCO is proud to partner with Grammy-nominated singer Rory Feek to promote his upcoming film, “To Joey, with Love.” The documentary, which will be featured in select theaters for one-night only on Tuesday, September 20th, follows the musical and reality TV stars over the course of an extraordinary year – one that brought them home to their farming roots, celebrated the birth of their daughter, and followed Joey on her incredible journey as she battled and ultimately succumbed to cervical cancer. Through this loving tribute to his wife, Rory Feek hopes to help families who face difficult end-of-life decisions, and will be sharing information and resources about hospice care, including a preview from the award-winning “Moments of Life” campaign. To purchase tickets, visit http://tojoeywithlove.com/theaters.
Hospices that wish to disseminate information at their local screening must first get permission from Fathom Events. If you are interested in sharing information, please submit a request to email@example.com including the name of your Hospice organization, the preferred theater location, and a pdf of the materials you’d like to distribute.