Posted tagged ‘NHPCO’

Who the true heroes are

February 20, 2014

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

WHV_level2

The two silver stars represent completion of level two.

I don’t think it’s any secret that HPCCR is especially devoted to caring for Veterans.  We think that the men and women who sacrificed so much for this country deserve the absolute best care possible when facing the end of life.  We understand that Veterans have unique needs at end of life, often because of injuries and scars (mental and physical) that occurred during their heroic service.  And they are heroes — every single one of them.

Just this week, USA Olympic hockey team member T. J. Oshie was called an American  hero because he scored the winning goal against the Russian team.  He quickly corrected the interviewer, “The American heroes are wearing camo.  That’s not me.”

We couldn’t have said it better, Mr. Oshie.

So, in honor of our true American heroes, HPCCR has been working hard over the past year.  And we are proud to announce that we just recently completed level two (building organizational capacity to provide quality care for Veterans) of the We Honor Veterans initiative, a joint venture between the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Department of Veterans Affairs.   What this accomplishment entailed was conducting Veteran-specific presentations within our organization, integrating content about Veterans into staff and volunteer orientation processes, conducting outreach presentations within Veteran organization venues, and developing ongoing relationships with a designated VA contact and other Veterans service organizations.

Now we’re moving on to level three: developing and strengthening relationships with VA medical centers and other Veteran organizations.  We’ll be creating a Veteran-to-Veteran volunteer program, continuing to develop our relationships with the VA and other Veteran organizations, integrating a military history checklist into admissions procedures, and actively participating in community events supporting our Veteran population.

Yes, we have lots to do to complete this next level, but every step is worth it.  Our Veterans represent what’s honorable and good about the United States.  They personify love of country and an innate sense of duty.  Their achievements are incalculable; they risked their lives to protect the freedom of all Americans.  To me, that’s just slightly more impressive than scoring a winning goal in a hockey game.  I think Mr. Oshie would agree.

Center yourself in November

November 14, 2013

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

Votive CandlesNovember is a big deal around Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region.  First of all, it’s National Hospice Month which means that for 30 days, we do our best to ramp up awareness about end of life within the communities we serve.  During this time, we encourage people to complete advance directives and to make decisions about their care at end of life.  During these 30 days, we try to get the word out that hospice is not just for the last days of life.  That hospice is so much more than that.

During November, we show special tribute to our Veterans, the men and women who bravely defended our country and retained our freedom.  Because of our participation in the We Honor Veterans program (a joint partnership between the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Department of Veteran Affairs), we have staff who are trained to serve the unique needs of this noble group.

And, for the first time ever, we are beginning our Light Up A Life interfaith memorial services during the month of November.  This may surprise some of you who are accustomed to joining us in December (and don’t worry — we will still have some services in December).  But since the holiday season seems to start earlier and earlier (I swear I saw Christmas-colored candy wrappers in the stores when I was buying Halloween candy!) we are following suit so that you don’t get too overwhelmed by the many December activities.

Our Light Up A Life services are special.  Seriously.  They are beautiful, meaningful, sorrowful, and uplifting all at the same time.  They are just what you need to get your mind and heart ready for the holidays.  Attending one of our Light Up A Life services leaves you centered.  Prioritized.  You are more easily able to weed out all the artificial messages that bombard you the minute Halloween is over.  You are more equipped to focus on what’s important — family and loved ones, present and past.  You might walk away feeling wistful for the ones you miss, but you will feel cleansed by honoring their memory.

No two services are exactly the same.  Each has its own music, readings, and participants.  The only common theme among the services is the act of lighting the candles.  You will light your candle from the flame of the person sitting next to you and then you will say the name of a family member or loved one who has died.  It’s a healing moment, born out of sadness, love, and hope.  You might cry.  You might not.  But you will certainly feel.

Our first two services are this Saturday.  One will take place at Levine & Dickson Hospice House – Huntersville at 2pm.  The other will be held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church at 5pm.  We will have one more service in November at Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Southminster — 3pm on November 23.  The rest will be in December and you can find details among the list of services below.

Join us.  Come to one of our Light Up A Life services and open yourself up to the memories and love that await you.  I promise it will put you in the right frame of mind.  And who knows? It might even give you the capacity to enjoy the 658 versions of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer that will certainly assault your eardrums starting the day after Thanksgiving.  That’s gotta count for something, right?

Light Up A Life Services:

Levine & Dickson Hospice House – Huntersville
11900 Vanstory Drive, Huntersville
Saturday, November 16, 2pm

St. Martin’s Episcopal Church
1510 East 7th Street, Charlotte
Saturday, November 16, 5pm

Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Southminster
8919 Park Road, Charlotte
Saturday, November 23, 3pm

Temple Beth-El
5101 Providence Road, Charlotte
Tuesday, December 3, 7pm

Emanuel Reformed Church
329 East Main Street, Lincolnton
Sunday, December 8, 3:30pm

Mt. Zion United Methodist Church
19600 Zion Street, Cornelius
Tuesday, December 10, 6:30pm

Thanks to Anngie

October 23, 2013

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager

Stand down dog tagsHave you ever met a stranger who just draws you in?  Someone you don’t know, but who (you feel certain) would welcome you to unburden your problems?  Someone who (without knowing you) would patiently listen and understand?  It’s a rare and special person who has this gift of feeling and compassion.  At HPCCR, we are lucky to have more than one of these folks in our midst.  And just last week, we were especially lucky to have one at the Veterans Stand Down.

Stand Downs are events that provide services to homeless Veterans such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services, such as health care, housing, employment, and substance use treatment.  They are collaborative events, coordinated between local VAs, other government agencies, and community agencies serving the homeless.

HPCCR participated in the Charlotte Stand Down last Tuesday at the Grady Cole Center.  We had taken up a collection of travel-size toiletry items (thank you, HPCCR staff!) and created small “kits” to hand out.  Our Education & Resource Managers (ERMs) manned the table.  And one of those ERMs happened to be Anngie Williams.

Anngie is one of those people I was talking about.  Anngie will literally do anything to help out someone in need.  I truly believe that people don’t intentionally seek her out, but if they are in need of an open heart and a willing ear, some imperceptible inner radar will drive them directly to Anngie.

Case in point number one.  An older Veteran, Mike, made his way over to the Grady Cole Center last week to check out the event.  He didn’t really know why; he didn’t see how it would help his situation.  He walked in and made his way over to the HPCCR table.  And then he zeroed in on Anngie.  “Where is the suicide prevention booth?” he asked.  Anngie, without hesitation, stood up and went over to Mike.  She took his arm and led him around to each and every booth at the Stand Down.  She talked to him, learning his story while she circulated him through the housing booth, the crisis education booth, the counselor for further services, and others.  She got him registered into the “system” and then she took him over to the suicide prevention booth, where she insisted that he talk to a counselor right there and then.

Turns out, Mike had pretty much lost interest in life.  He told Anngie, “I’m invisible” and “If I die, there is not a single person that would know or even care.”  He had lost touch with any family, he was living on the streets, he had applied for services through the VA and had never heard anything back (he didn’t know that you have to be persistent and call them back over and over).  Before Mike came to the Stand Down, he felt like an oversight, forgotten and completely neglected.  But then his radar found Anngie and, after only several hours, he felt the stirrings of hope.  He came over to thank her before he left and these were his parting words, “For the first time in years, I feel like things are looking up.”

Case in point number two.  A younger Vet came in made his way over to the HPCCR table.  Again, he zeroed in on Anngie.  “I have a friend back at the shelter,” he said, “who only has a few months to live.  He’s on the heart transplant list and he also has cancer.”  Anngie told him immediately to call his dying friend.  Once they had him on the phone, Anngie convinced him to come in and talk to hospice.  After he arrived, Anngie educated him about hospice care, persuaded him to give it a try, and then wrote a note for him to give to his physician that detailed exactly what needed to happen to bring this man under our care.

Now, Anngie is modest.  She’ll say that these amazing occurrences had less to do with her and more to do with the incredible progress HPCCR has made with our Veterans initiative.  And she’d be partly right.  Since joining the We Honor Veterans program (a joint initiative of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Department of Veteran Affairs), HPCCR has been focused on tailoring care to Veterans who need our services.  Staff members have been receiving ongoing Veteran-centric training throughout the year, making them more equipped to handle the distinct issues that our serviceman and women have at end of life.  When Veterans come under care, we acknowledge their service and present them with a special pin, recognizing the contributions they’ve made to our country.  As an organization, we have made great strides, indeed.

But Anngie is unique.  She has a gift.  The opposite of the Grinch, she has a heart that is ten times bigger than most.  Yet she’s also made of strong stuff.  She can hear the most devastating story in the world, and rather than be torn into a million pieces, she will calmly proceed to easing the pain; doing everything within her power to help that person in need.  No questions asked.  No thanks necessary.  It’s what makes her perfect for this job.  It’s why the radars of lost souls hone directly in on Anngie wherever she goes.

Representatives from HPCCR were at the Stand Down event all day long last Tuesday.  Our booth may not have had the most traffic.  But, in the grand scheme of things, we made a huge impact.  A life was saved that day.  Hope was renewed.  Loving care promised.  All thanks to Anngie.

Hill Day perspective

April 14, 2011

by Pete Brunnick, HPCCR President & CEO

Last week, eight members of the Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region management team attended the 26th annual National Hospice and Palliative Care Management and Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.  The theme for this year’s event was “Navigating the Sea of Change”.  Attended by over 1,500 hospice leaders from across the nation, the conference offered us a forum to share, and in some cases commiserate, about how we as hospice providers must adapt to the new reality created by the health care reform initiatives contained within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 

The annual NHPCO meeting is also a time for sharing best practices with other providers and finding out what works and what doesn’t work in our operational approaches; ways in which we can learn to make ourselves more effective organizations.  However, overshadowing these numerous opportunities to learn remained the dark cloud of health care reform and the sundry list of unanswered questions we are facing as hospice providers.  The hospice movement has indeed come of age and we can no longer fly under the radar of reform.  Because of reform there is significant unrest among providers as we struggle to understand our place in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and other new models of delivery that promote patient-centered care. 

The operational challenges of health care reform are daunting but the recognition of patient-centered care as the desired state of health care is noble.  This recognition actually validates what hospice has been all about since the inception of hospice care in this country (in the mid-seventies).  Hospice has always offered a team approach to care; a patient’s wishes are respected and the whole person is recognized.  To see the entire health care spectrum recognizing this new reality was both inspiring and energizing for our team. 

As our delegation departed Washington to return home, we said goodbye to the numerous colleagues we had shared time with during the week, and we left with a greater perspective and appreciation for what so many do across the nation to provide this vitally important service we call hospice.  Even though we returned home to stacks of unopened mail and unanswered emails, our time away was important as we prepare for our brave new world of the health care reform movement.

In addition to his many duties as HPCCR President and CEO, Pete is a member of the NHPCO National Quality and Standards Committee. 

A report from the Hill

April 8, 2011

Pam Barrett, EVP Organizational ExcellenceBy Pam Barrett, ACSW, FACHE
Executive Vice President Organizational Excellence 

It’s an interesting time to be in Washington!

On Wednesday, approximately 400 hospice and palliative care advocates made the annual trek to Capitol Hill, meeting with our legislators and their healthcare legislative aides.  This opportunity is orchestrated by the Hospice Action Network, the advocacy arm of The National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization.  With lots of walking between the house and senate office buildings, it’s a long day, but also a highly energizing time!  We have an opportunity to remind our legislators about what it takes to help advance quality end-of-life care and how they can support us in doing so. 

Pam Barrett and Senator Kay Hagan

Even with our government on the verge of a shutdown and in the midst of divisive political debate, each office we visited was gracious and welcoming.  I am thankful that the importance of our work is universally acknowledged and considered bipartisan; we serve democrats, republicans, and independents alike.

This year we noted that all are looking for ways to remain fiscally responsible; we did not ask for additional Medicare funding.  Instead we advocated for support of a bill to help administratively streamline some regulatory requirements, approve a demonstration project on payment reform, and require more scrutiny of hospice providers.  “Why would a provider want more scrutiny?” one astute young staffer asked.  “Because we are committed to quality, consistency, and excellence,” I replied. 

Although HPCCR chooses voluntary accreditation, and we have a detailed audit of clinical and regulatory compliance (every three years), many others do not.  In fact, hospices are only expected to be reviewed every eight years.  Home health agencies, nursing homes, and hospitals are surveyed with much greater frequency.  The reality for hospices under current constraints is that it may be 10, 12, or even 17 years between surveys!  This is alarming and,we believe, related to increasing variability that has been reported among hospice providers. 

Our concerns were heard.  Both of the NC Senate offices (Burr and Hagan) welcomed our delegation.  In addition, I was able to visit the offices of Representatives Sue Myrick, Patrick McHenry, and Mel Watt who represent Districts nine, ten, and twelve respectively.  Others were able to visit Larry Kissell (District eight) and Virginia Fox (District five); all of whom collectively represent parts of our eight-county service region.  We had the opportunity to invite them and their staff to visit with us when in district; to see Levine & Dickson Hospice House and to get to know about the care and compassion being provided to their constituents.  After the past few days, I expect they will!

In addition to being the Executive Vice President Organizational Excellence for HPCCR, Pam is also a member of the NHPCO Public Policy Committee.