What My Hospice means is different to each individual and family we serve. For My Hospice Ambassadors, like Teddi Anderson, it means acting as a leader in their state to support Medicare’s first coordinated care model and protect the Medicare Hospice Benefit.

My Hospice Ambassadors are hospice and palliative care professionals with an interest in advocacy who work with NHPCO to facilitate on-going outreach and relationship development with federal policymakers.

Here Ambassador Teddi Anderson answers what My Hospice means to her:

Tell us a little bit about your role.

Until July of 2019, I was a Regional Manager of Market Development with Sutter Care at Home in California for five years. In that role, I managed a team of business development liaisons for home health, home infusion, durable medical equipment and hospice. I recently retired in order to pursue some personal interests, including becoming a hospice volunteer with Sutter Care at Home.

As a hospice volunteer, my role is to provide compassionate support to hospice patients and their families. Activities may include grocery shopping, preparing light meals for patients, helping with simple household chores, helping the patient’s caregiver with their errands and other daily tasks.

How did you first get involved with hospice?

In 2010 an elderly friend and neighbor was in the end stages of lung cancer. She received hospice care in the last week of her life, but before then, she really suffered with pain and shortness of breath. I took from that experience a desire to find a better path for those I loved. With my mother in declining health, I began researching healthcare options that would be afforded to her when the time came. I learned about the Medicare Hospice benefit and had frank conversations with my mom about what I learned. She was receptive to the idea of hospice and agreed to be evaluated for eligibility during a particularly difficult hospitalization. She discharged home on hospice and received compassionate and loving care during the last four months of her life. As a result, my mother experienced a good death. In addition, the entire hospice team was an incredible support to my family. They became part of our family!

As a result of this profound experience, I left the company where I had been working for 26 years and came to work for Sutter Care at Home.

What do you like best about your job?

I haven’t had a patient yet as a volunteer, but I suspect what I will like most about this work is similar to what I liked most about my previous job with Sutter Care at Home- being a part of making someone’s end-of-life experience in any way, even if it’s an infinitesimally small amount, just a little bit easier.

What motivates your advocacy and why do you think others should get involved?

So many people in our society don’t understand what hospice is nor the many benefits that come with receiving hospice care. Dying is hard work, both for the person dying and the family and it is so much harder when we aren’t prepared or informed. Because hospice can have a huge positive impact on how the end-of-life journey goes for patients and their loved ones, I would like everyone to know about this level of care so they will feel empowered when making healthcare decisions near the end of life.

Others should get involved because by advocating for hospice care, you are doing good by everyone – family, friends, neighbors, strangers, healthcare providers, and government payers.

What does My Hospice mean to you?

My Hospice means having access to the very best possible medical care available when approaching the sacred time at the end-of-life.