The Beautiful Truth About Hospice

If you do a Google search about hospice, you’ll find all kinds of commentary. And frankly, some of it’s a little bit scary. But I’m here to tell you that Hospice is not at all scary when you understand what it is. On the contrary. For my family, it took the scary out of the end of life process for sure.

My Hospice Experiences

Over the last ten years, my family has experienced a lot of loss. Losing people you love is hard enough without having to feel your way through the process on your own. Fortunately, we chose to enlist the help of hospice. Words can’t really describe the difference hospice made for our family, but our experiences have made a hospice advocate out of me. The myths surrounding hospice lead to a really unfortunate under-utilization of it, so in this episode, we spent some time talking about a few of those myths and revealing the beautiful truth about hospice. I hope this conversation inspires you to dig a little deeper and learn more about the benefits of hospice care (the links and resources section below is a great place to start!). You can listen to episode 26 here or if reading is more your style, you’ll find the full transcript at the bottom of the page.

My Guests

I was happy to host Andrew Molosky and Dean Forman of Chapters Health System to help me wade through some of the common misconceptions about hospice. Both Andrew and Dean found their careers in hospice through personal experiences that identified a calling and a desire to support families and empower patients during a difficult time. That’s pretty common among people who work in Hospice. They are a very special bunch!

Links & Resources Mentioned
Next Week

Having tough conversations with our aging loved ones is unavoidable. It can be uncomfortable to say the least but is very necessary for a smooth journey through aging. And by the way, these conversations should not be happening for the first time when a crisis occurs. Be proactive and start talking and planning now! My guest for episode 27 is Catherine Hodder, estate planning attorney turned author who will put us on the road to healthy conversations with our loved ones. BONUS! Catherine is giving away a signed copy of her book ‘Estate Planning for the Sandwich Generation: How to Help Your Parents and Protect Your Kids.’ Check back next week for details about how to win.

Thanks for listening!

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Transcript
Closed Captioning

Sage Aging episode 26

The Beautiful Truth About Hospice

Guests: Dean Forman and Andrew Molosky

Recorded 9/17/2020

SPEAKERS

Dean Forman, Liz Craven, Andrew Molosky

 

Liz Craven  00:02

Welcome to Episode 26 of the Sage Aging podcast. For lots of people, Hospice is a scary word because it’s associated with the end of life, confronting our own mortality or that of someone we hold dear is tough. And the final journey we take in this lifetime can be a challenge for the whole family. But what most people don’t realize is that not only does hospice provide the patient the ability to live well, right up to the final moment, but it also provides comprehensive support to the family as well. If you do a Google search about hospice, you’ll find all kinds of commentary. And frankly, some of it’s a little bit scary. But I’m here to tell you that Hospice is not at all scary when you understand what it is. On the contrary, for my family, it took the scary out of the end of life process for sure. The myths surrounding hospice lead to a really unfortunate under-utilization of it, so today, we’re going to spend some time talking about a few of those myths and revealing the beautiful truth about hospice. Today, I have not one, but two guests with me to accomplish that. I have with me today, Andrew Molosky, President and CEO of Chapters Health System and Dean Forman Chief Operating Officer of Chapters Health System. Having both served in the area of hospice for about 16 years now, Andrew and Dean are both committed to the Chapter’s Health mission to provide support and care for people who have or are affected by illnesses by offering a wide variety of compassionate health care choices. You’ll find a link to contact information, bios, and the Chapters Health website in the show notes. And you can also find that in the blog post for Episode 26 at Sageaging.us. Welcome to the show, gentlemen, and thanks for joining me today. I am so looking forward to this conversation because it really holds something very personal for me having used hospice a couple of times. I know what a difference it can make for people. But before we get started, I would love to hear a little bit about each of you and what led you to work in the area of hospice in the first place. Why don’t you go first, Andrew?

 

Andrew Molosky  02:24

Well, thanks, Liz. Yes, first off, we appreciate the opportunity to be here. You said it very well. Hospice is, oftentimes experienced on a personal level, and that really becomes foundational for folks. And that, sort of is somewhat the story of my professional career. A health care practitioner by background, who was more or less one day sort of working with the leadership of the organization I was employed by when the opportunity to support the hospice team presented and after having a chance to really sort of experience firsthand what it meant to see medicine practice in a way that was holistic, that was individualized for the patient, it really was a realization that, you know, there’s a better way, and it was an environment that you felt welcomed and warm and as if you really were contributing to not just someone’s health care, but to someone’s overall experience and living their life. And, you know, once you’ve had a taste of that it’s really difficult to find any other calling, that’s as meaningful. And that’s been the journey that I’ve been on for quite some time now.

 

Liz Craven  03:23

I would imagine that you get attached to a lot of people in your line of work.

 

Andrew Molosky  03:27

I certainly think that that’s a safe assumption. It’s attachment to the patients and families that you had the privilege to care for. But you know, as Dean, I’m sure will share with you as well you get attached to your employees and your peers, right, then have conversations, this is far more than an employment or far more than a job. This is very much a mission or a calling, and you find yourself feeding off of the energy for what can be very challenging situations on a daily basis. And so when you develop those personal relationships and personal connections, you know, it’s easy to keep giving, and it’s easy to keep feeling like there’s more in the tank. And so yes, that attachment and that level of personal relationship is very much one of the drivers behind not just serving, but being part of the hospice mission.

 

Liz Craven  04:10

That’s fantastic. How about you, Dean? Tell us a little more about you.

 

Dean Forman  04:13

Yeah, I think similar to so many that are in the hospice line of care, so to speak. It’s a personal experience that calls you to this work, as Andrew said, and, you know, for me, it was a couple family experiences that opened my eyes to hospice and the model of care, just the holistic support. And I think we’ll get into this, these types of conversations here in a little bit with you Liz,  but you know, just the difference that it makes during a family’s most vulnerable moments, having the hospice team by their side, and I just found that was a place I wanted to be. And although not a clinician, my sails are filled on a day to day basis, making sure that when we come to work, we’re supporting those that are on the front lines, and the teams that support those people that are on the front lines to make sure we’re delivering that experience for patients and families.

 

Liz Craven  05:07

You know, that patient experience and the family experience, from my perspective, is really incredible. I think for somebody who has not experienced what it’s like to have hospice in an end of life situation, they just can’t relate to how that really is. Those of us who have been through it, we, not even on purpose, become spokes people saying, Wait a minute, you really need to look into this. And you really need to discover this for yourself, because it makes all the difference in the world, in that kind of situation. And it’s really just amazing what you do. So, you know, it’s no surprise that the word hospice sometimes inspires fear in people. Facing our own mortality is not an easy thing to do. And then on top of that, you have everything that you can find on the internet, sometimes I think we can Google ourselves to death. And it instills a lot of fear, because people don’t really understand what Hospice is, and I think the misinformation inspires more fear than the end of life process itself. So let’s break this down and start from the beginning. What is hospice?

 

Andrew Molosky  06:20

You know, Liz, I’ll offer a perspective. And I think one of the, you know, maybe the best things about serving this mission is that everybody has a little different take on why it’s important to them. But what it is, it’s pretty universal, right? So when you look at hospice, hospice, by its definition is care for the terminally ill, you know, and most folks find that to be relatively straightforward, but there’s so many elements that are misunderstood. And to your earlier point, about misinformation or misunderstanding, you know, Hospice is not giving up, right, Hospice is not here for only cancer patients. And it’s not just for the elderly, right. So if you’ve been afflicted with a chronic illness or an end of life situation, you know, you have the ability to look into working with hospice and being part of the hospice experience. And you know, what could you experience is perhaps the root of the question you asked, and it’s very much as I earlier indicated, you know, it’s a care plan drawn up by your team of physicians, nurses, chaplains, social workers, aides, pharmacists, and the entire medical team working with the hospice program. But more than that, right, its partnership with our volunteers, its partnership with the organization, they’ll spend time with you and your family. And we’ll design a care plan that’s really built around how you want to make the most of life. Right. And, and I’m explicit about how I state that as opposed to, you know, how do you want to avoid death? How do you want to handle pain? You know, those are those are pieces, but those aren’t the root of it, right? It’s about experiencing and living life? And what does that mean to you, and as you and your family. Design that care plan with the team, you know, it becomes experiential, right. And so it’s that opportunity to connect with loved ones, it’s the opportunity to be in your home, it’s the opportunity to be free of pain. And it’s more importantly, the opportunity to kind of define the terms upon which you live your life, and that really is more of a mission than it is a medical type of statement. But I think so many people get into hospice, you know, like you said, with a with a big misunderstanding of what it is and what it isn’t, but as I often do, I look to Dean to kind of keep me straight and keep me honest, because if you asked one person, they’ll give you one version. But you know, Dean’s the individual leading our charge and does a great job of explaining hospice himself.

 

Dean Forman  08:32

Andrew, great job. And as you articulately say hospice has different, meaning to different people, but Liz, in general, I think of hospice as meeting patients and families where they are, helping them understand the support that a team of professionals can wrap around a patient family, the interdisciplinary approach to hospice care, and the review of each individualized plan of care, because every person, every family, every situation is different. And the hospice professionals are pros at making sure that they’re tuned in, if you will, to the needs of a specific patient or family. And that can change during the course of a hospice day. So, overall, to me, hospice is, meeting patients or families where they are. That could be at home, that could be in a nursing home, that could be an assisted living facility. That can be in an ICU at a hospital. It could be underneath an overpass on the highway. Our mission as an organization, is to make sure that we’re serving the needs of the entire community. When it comes to the hospice benefit, It doesn’t matter where you’re at, doesn’t matter, race, religion, anything. Our job is the person and the family. To me, that’s what Hospice is and there’s a lot wrapped into the phrase ‘meeting a patient where they are.’

 

Liz Craven  10:02

Absolutely. And I love that meeting the patient where they are that describes it so well. Because for everybody that might look a little bit different. You know, I think one of the misconceptions that I hear over and over from people is that Hospice is only for those who have just a little bit of time left, maybe they’re in the last days or weeks of their life. What do you say to that?

 

Andrew Molosky  10:25

A common reaction from the family is, if we’d only known sooner, right. We loved your service, it’s been great, as you said, we had a wonderful experience, but we just wish we’d have known sooner. And you know, It’s bittersweet for hospice programs, especially our hospice program, to hear that because we agree, if we could have only been there earlier for the patient and family. And while each individual clinical condition varies, the misnomer that it’s a matter of days or weeks is not accurate, right. You know, it’s oftentimes months, up to a year, and even then it’s still about, you know, the individual, patient and family, and how do we qualify them for the services? So yes, if their thought around Hospice is this is 24 or 48 hours only when someone is very close to the end. That is indeed a misnomer. And it doesn’t do anyone any favors in terms of the experience to spin myths. So much of that experience, as I said, is defined for the family and the patient. One of the other pieces that isn’t talked about, but it certainly recognizes a wonderful benefit is, you know, the bereavement element that exists as part of the hospice service. Yes, you know, the bereavement element will follow and spend time with the family, past their loved ones passing, or oftentimes up to 13 months, right? It’s that opportunity to get through the first holiday season, that first anniversary through those first memorable times the things you did every year with your loved one. And I don’t think people necessarily fully understand until they’ve been through it, how much that emotional journey matters. And so again, the point about it being days or weeks, you know, that is true, that’s part of it. But that’s certainly not the entirety of it.

 

Liz Craven  12:06

To add on to that, I think another thing that people think is, once you enter hospice, you’ll never come out. And I, for one, have seen people come out of hospice

 

Dean Forman  12:17

Liz, that’s a very important point. And we kind of celebrate that we, you know, we call them graduations, so to speak, many times when the interdisciplinary team comes in and works in a holistic way with the patient, simplifying the plan of care, simplifying medication list, you’re wrapping the care in the visits, the aide the nurse, to social worker, the chaplain, you know, constant oversight attention by the physician that has a way of sometimes stabilizing a patient for a period of time, and we watch and monitor that closely on a week to week, month to month basis. And in many cases, you know, we’re privileged to be able to walk into a home or to a bedside and say, hey, we’ve got great news. And you know, we’re going to we’re going to graduate, you will be here, you know, when in the fetus again, but you’re more, you know, instead of being in stage, right, the rule is less than six months. Based on the the physicians assessment and the team’s report, they may determine that patient is chronic or stable. And we’re happy to graduate and discharge that patient and make sure we keep in touch with them. So we’re there to answer the bell or the call to speak, one of the patient needs us again,

 

Andrew Molosky  13:32

Liz, and with your endorsement, I would spin off again, just a little bit, you know, so as your listeners are considering options for their family members, or perhaps themselves or a conversation to have with their physician, you know, this is where it’s so very valuable when you do look at something like hospice to consider the organization in hand as well, right. So the point about remaining in touch with that patient, we recognize that a moment in time, it’s just one moment in time. And you may be eligible for hospice today. And to your point, you know, not tomorrow. But if the organization is committed as we are, to offering a continuum of services that says, well today hospice, you’ve graduated, but let’s keep an eye on you with it with a home health program or a primary care group, or something that ultimately is in the family of services that we don’t lose touch per patient, right, because it’s about a journey. It’s not about a specific point in time, and we want to make sure that journey is making the most of life. So for the purposes of your listeners and, all those impacted by this conversation. To your point earlier hospice election or earlier hospice benefit use may or may not mean it’s the end, but you still want to maintain that journey with your with your organization.

 

Liz Craven  14:40

Absolutely. So how then does someone become connected with hospice? I think another misconception is that it has to be prescribed by your doctor and that you can’t contact hospice on your own.

 

Andrew Molosky  14:54

So Dean we can certainly split that one. I would think you’re correct, Liz, it’s again a misnomer that it has to be physician initiated, it does not have to be physician initiated, it needs to be physician certified. And there the difference, right. So if you see your loved one, in a position of decline, if you yourself are facing some health challenges and are sensing things that are different, you know, you can certainly as an individual, pick up the phone and reach out to hospice, you can represent your loved one to reach out to hospice. Certainly physicians and healthcare practitioners can reach out on behalf of, you know, their patients or their contacts. Really, Hospice is about initiating the conversation from there. That’s when, of course, there are some regulatory requirements that must be adhered to, and one of which is physician certification around the person’s condition, but it doesn’t have to be there. prior to having a conversation. You know, I often tell a personal story, and I lived out of state now it’s one of those folks who would see my grandfather, on the days you would expect major holidays, birthdays, etc. And it’s a little easier to kind of notice decline in someone you love when you only see them periodically than if you’re in front of them every day. But you know, when you notice that, you know, it’s easy to pick up the phone and say, Grandpa, maybe we need to have a talk with your doctor just about what the future might look like. I obviously am not a physician that was able to initiate that conversation. So I guess I looked at the dean to keep me honest. But you know, one of the big misnomers is that it has to come from a certain person, when in reality, it doesn’t just get in the dialogue started and the important part.

 

Dean Forman  16:25

Yeah, I would just add to that, Liz, iAndrew made some good points. So I don’t have the data in front of me, but I think up to 15 to 20% of our referrals, as an organization come from a patient family friend, you know, our job when that phone rings, and someone is making the emotional attachment, if you will, to explore hospice care or to talk about hospice care, our job is to pick up that phone and was be a rapid response, first responder to support the needs of that individual and family in that moment. And we’ll happily take the baton there and get our arms and minds around what’s going on with this particular individual. And the family. Find out what the medical records look like, reach out to the physician or physicians involved. We use our own doctors to be part of that support that call going away that there’s a path to hospice care, and the patient is eligible, we’re going to make that happen. And if they’re not, we’re going to determine if there’s potentially something else that they might need to support them at a time, whether it’s a palliative care consult, or perhaps a home health need, or perhaps some need in the community, we do what we refer to as a social determinants of health news, transportation, or a meal, or an Alzheimer’s support group or any number of things. Our job once that phone call is made to us is to determine what that patient the family needs, and then figure out the appropriate services, what we call the right level of care at the right place at the right time to wrap around that patient family. And if we don’t own it and operate it directly, then we want to make sure we’re connecting them with those in the community that can support that.

 

Liz Craven  18:12

So this is a great place to add a question that I had, I asked the question in multiple caregiver groups online via Reddit and Facebook, if the users of those forums had any questions that they wanted to ask directly about hospice, and one lady says, When do you know it’s time to call for hospice? I see on the web six months to live. But how do you know, especially with dementia, my mom’s 94 and does it help if you already have caregivers? What else do they offer beyond maybe a few hours of caregiving a week? Now, obviously, this is general and each organization might be a little bit different, but can you give an answer for her?

 

Dean Forman  18:57

I don’t want to be too complex with this. But each chronic disease, if you will, has what we call eligibility criteria. They’re developed by Medicare. They’re not developed by hospices or hospitals or physician groups. Then basically, one of the reasons why we’re happy to do what we’re doing today is to encourage people to reach out to us because we can easily have a discussion, a dialogue, look at some clinical medical records and have a physician here, look at that record a deterministic think that that patient is eligible for hospice because what they call prognostication, right prognosticating in six months or less, there’s no perfect science there. And it’s and it’s a guideline. So it’s one of those great bounces between art and science. And because it’s not clear and every patient is different. The individualized plan of care starts with that initial phone call. And what’s going on with this patient. What does the decline look like? What does that look like compared to the eligibility guidelines? You know, let’s have a conversation about what makes sense at this particular time.

 

Liz Craven  20:09

And to her other part of the question, she wanted to know, if having caregivers on hand already Is that something that was helpful, and something they need to worry about, and what other things are offered by hospice, aside from the visits?

 

Andrew Molosky  20:28

When your audience member asked, you know, in terms of when do you know how it’s time to access, how it’s time to call? You know, everything that Dean said, is absolutely correct and well stated. You know, we’ve offered on numerous occasions to our consumers, is a good rule of thumb, and that is, you know, would it surprise me if my loved one passed away in the next six months. And while it’s certainly not highly scientific, you’d be surprised at how often it’s accurate, right? And whether we’re talking to our physicians, or whether we’re talking to our family members, you know, we give them that as a benchmark. And if they can say, no, it wouldn’t surprise me, if they passed away in six months, then it’s probably a wise move to get hospice involved simply to help work through that assessment process. And it may or may not turn out to be the right time. But you know, too often, we regret what we didn’t do and not what we did. So that’s just a very generic rule of thumb that we offer, folks, you don’t have to be a medical professional to understand. And, you know, the second part of your question was around, what level of resources do you need to have? Or should you have in your own home environment to enlist the help of hospice, my response, and certainly Dean can weigh in, you know, is that, obviously, we want to incorporate any and all family members into the plan of care. So no matter how small or large your family unit is, you know, we want to make sure you have the role you desire. And that can be from as little as standing back and watching and observing to taking an active part. We have folks who are, you know, coming in from different parts of the country, we have those who live in with their loved ones. But very often, we have folks who are alone, very often we have folks with no, you know, support in the home and we build our care plan around, you know, what does that patient need, it is not necessarily 24 hours a day, but it’s oftentimes very, oftentimes more than just a couple hours a week. And so you would probably not be wise to paint with a broad brush, because everyone’s plan looks different. But there’s no pre required level of care in the home to your level of support in the home to get the most from hospice.

 

Liz Craven  22:34

Fantastic. Thank you for answering that question. I love that we can incorporate some of what the audience is thinking and get those questions answered for them. Because again, Hospice is probably the one area that I find people need the most help and understanding. Another thing that I often hear and you mentioned this earlier in the introduction was Hospice is giving up on life, which really isn’t the case at all, I kind of think, from my perspective, it’s embracing what life you have, and finding a way to live it the best way you can. What do you say to that?

 

Dean Forman  23:14

Liz your perspective is great on that and hospice is not giving up so from from my perspective, in a way, I’ve always looked at it and like Andrew, we’ve been with, you know, many, many patients and families with admission nurses time where they’re making that hospice decision, and the family has heard from the physician, there’s nothing more we can do. And you know, our team is walking in at that point to restore dignity, confidence, caring, and the type of things that that patient that patient and family need to proceed. For me, when I’ve been in those situations with my own family and with others, what I’ve talked about is, you know, life is about goals. And all through life goals change. And in these types of situations, you’re correct Liz, it is about making the most of what’s left. But beyond that, it’s dialing into what that means individually, it may mean a final trip to the beach, or to a ballgame. Or to reconcile with a brother or a sister or a parent or daughter. And why often say in these moments is this team, this organization is gonna support you the way that will make the most the time you have left based on what you want your charge and you have this variable. And it’s important that they know that Hospice is often a shift from aggressive cure to aggressive care. And when I’m talking with patients and families, I use those types of words to chime in reset them, make them feel empowered. Patients, especially to me want to make sure they’re empowered to be in charge of that time they have left and do the things that they want to do with our team support. And our team’s job is to move heaven and earth right to make that happen where appropriate and where possible.

 

Liz Craven  25:25

One point about hospice that I think people also have a very big misconception about is that hospice care is only for the elderly. When in truth, hospice cares for anyone who’s experiencing end of life.

 

Dean Forman  25:41

Absolutely lives. That’s 100% correct. statement. You know, end of life doesn’t differentiate age. Unfortunately, our organization cares for pediatric patients through the teenage years, right, early adulthood, you know, all the way to mid lifers and senior citizens. So you said it best. It’s not just for the elderly, we have professionals that support, I’ll go back to it right and supporting that patient and family where they are. And that means wherever they are, physically, where they are, mentally, where they are in their station in life. And that’s what our teams are experts at and prides themselves on.

 

Liz Craven  26:26

And what about to the point, another misnomer – another misunderstanding, hospice care is expensive. How do you answer that one?

 

Andrew Molosky  26:38

Yeah, Liz, that’s one of the ones that I think probably I speak for Dean, you know, pains us the most, when we hear that, you know, so hospice, and again, you know, there’s so many different situations out there, but globally speaking hospice is a benefit that almost every single person is entitled to in oftentimes case, you know, at almost no cost, right. So Hospice is a Medicare benefit that our seniors are entitled to, it’s a benefit that’s covered by most Medicaid or state plans. And the vast majority of commercial insurances have a hospice benefit as well. And you know, even in the event that none of those are applicable, organizations like chapters, take pride in being able to service you as a patient or a family independent of your ability to pay. And so between, you know, the generous philanthropist and donors who support foundation work, and an organization’s stance on making sure care is available to everyone. A Hospice is not expensive, more often than not, it’s completely covered in those instances where, you know, finances or resources are a challenge. A great number of hospice organizations take pride in making sure that people receive care independent of their ability to pay.

 

Liz Craven  27:51

That’s great to know. And that goes to speak directly to another question that we had had in one of the online forums. She was asking about Medicaid and Medicare and such. So thank you for bringing up those points. And I think that sufficiently answers her question. So I’d like to shift gears unless you have other myths that you’d like to directly talk to. I want to shift gears to family support. That’s something I think that people don’t realize comes along with the hospice experience. And I know from my own experience, that support made such a difference in the whole situation. From the time we engaged with hospice to like you said months and months later, when we still receive comforting messages and somebody’s checking in on us, it really is an amazing thing.

 

Andrew Molosky  28:44

Yeah, Liz, we, meaning the hospice movement, the hospice mission, really approach everything from that of kind of a team, you know, you think about the team of caregivers, you think about the team, in the office supporting those caregivers. But the team is not complete without the whole family, you know, and not just the patient. And just because the patient may pass on or move on, part of that team is still in need. And that’s that family and that’s the community around them. It’s not often just the family, you know, many times with this person has resided in a nursing home and assisted living. There’s folks there that have come to have memories and personal relationships, and how do you support them? Right? So good hospice program really looks at the entirety of the totality of that patient’s life and their family and their surroundings and their community in their church, and tries to figure out a way to give back and support not just again, while they’re there delivering the hospice mission, but for many, many months and oftentimes years beyond that.

 

Liz Craven  29:43

And does your organization offer support groups, family support groups that people can plug into?

 

Dean Forman  29:48

Sure. Yeah, absolutely Liz. e have extensive grief and bereavement support for all ages and some of that is group some of That is individualized. We, in Polk County as an example, we send over 100 children a year to a children’s grief camp, to help provide them with the skills to cope, to go on as productive adults in society and to deal with their feelings and their grief. We we’ve been privileged to see kids that were campers at one time that are now counselors and young adults that support that. And it’s not only rewarding for us as an organization, but very rewarding to see those individuals we can support at all ages, with bereavement, grief skills to, you know, to go on.

 

Liz Craven  30:48

That really is a real gift.

 

Andrew Molosky  30:51

When you speak of gifts, you know, and as Dean is so eloquently spoken of Polk County specifically, we have a wonderful, wonderful program and location area called the Bethany center. And while I don’t want to take the entirety of the podcast to get into the details, it’s it’s a, it’s a program and it’s a building with some incredible offerings to our to our youth, to those impacted by losing a loved one, the experience that one would have by visiting the Bethany centers, unlike any others, so to your audience, in Polk County, that’s one of the things that is available, you know, to you, and we would encourage visitors, we encourage the ability to show off that program. And again, to get into the educating of what Hospice is, and some of the not widely understood benefits of it, you know, our offerings for bereavement and support via the Bethany center, and the children’s grief camps in in the poll community are really something.

 

Liz Craven  31:49

And just to clarify, those services are available, regardless of whether or not you’ve had a family go through hospice, is that right?

 

Andrew Molosky  31:56

That is accurate? Yeah, we’re committed to our communities. And well, those who have elected hospice tend to learn about them in the course of their experience with us, we do our best to try to make sure we’re educating the community because to your point, there are oftentimes, you know, moments of grief and moments of bereavement that don’t arise just from hospice, but they’re no less impactful. And, you know, you think about what it means to support a community, you know, we see are too often things and school shootings and car accidents and just tragic circumstances that lead to unexpected bereavement consequences. And we want to make sure that we’re taking care of folks, even if they didn’t have the benefit of hospice, it still should be a reason to address their grief issues.

 

Liz Craven  32:39

Gosh, thank you for doing that. That really is amazing. So Hospice is something that people will find all over the country, where would you recommend if somebody was not living in the Central Florida region? How would they best find the hospice near them?

 

Andrew Molosky  32:57

Liz there’s a there’s a couple of resources out there that do focus on being national level, connectors, or conveners of people, you know, and, and they’re very good, obviously, Chapters Health System works closely with these folks. You know, there’s the National Partnership for Hospice Innovation, you know, and you can find them by simply googling National Partnership for hospice innovation or NPH, NIH, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. And then thirdly, the National Association for home care and hospice. Those folks, just simply googling them will connect you to websites that do offer provider directories and state by state locations. Obviously, you know, you can speak to your medical professional in your local community, as they oftentimes are very educated on the services that are there. And certainly, we would tell all your listeners that, you know, even if you’re in a pinch, one of the things that Dean spoke about was the mission that hospice serves. And if they need to reach out to chapters and asked who they can speak to in Seattle, or they can speak to in Los Angeles, even though we’re not there, we’ll do our darndest to make sure that they get connected with a good provider because it’s such a vital service that, as you said, is oftentimes misunderstood will help in any way we can.

 

Liz Craven  34:11

Great and I will also make sure that I provide links for anything that we discussed today in both the show notes and the blog post for this episode, which is Episode 26. And you’ll find that blog post at Sage aging.us. So no worries if you didn’t get a chance to write down those websites or anything else that we mentioned. So are there any other really terrific resources that you love to point people to for educating themselves and digging a little bit deeper or even just kind of processing the fact that they are about to utilize hospice services?

 

Dean Forman  34:49

Suppose I think those resources that Andrew pointed out for finding a or locating a hospice near you also have great material To think about and review as you’re considering hospice, and what hospice can do for you, as an individual, and as a family, certainly websites, like chapters or affiliate, their Polk County, Good Shepherd, hospice would have lots of information on that website that would be supportive and informational. Then there’s just the old fashion and today’s world, like you said, In the beginning, in the era of Google, you can just simply google and get a whole host of information, probably more than you could digest on hospice, care what to expect, how to evaluate, when to consider those types of things.

 

Liz Craven  35:43

Great. And I will make sure that I include some links to some things for you all, do a little of the homework for you so that you can go straight to some of those resources. I really do want you all, and I’m speaking to listeners here to do your due diligence, do some research, do some homework, and be confident in the choices that you’re making. Don’t let fear keep you from having the kind of experience that you want for your family and for your loved ones who are nearing the end of life, I promise you it will be a blessing to you and a blessing to them. And we’ll make your experience way different than if you try to go it alone. So is there anything that we’ve left out that you think we need to talk about?

 

Andrew Molosky  36:27

Liz, I would take the opportunity to say thank you and echo your sentiments and you asked, you know, where would folks look for additional information on hospice and, you know, cues and tips, you know, I might even take it one step further and say, Google it and find the good it’s done in your community, right? Ask around, look at the newspaper clippings wherever you get your sources of valid information. Hospice is about living, right Hospice is about making the most of life and there are so many neat, wonderful and touching stories that will really change how you view what hospice means and what Hospice is. And oftentimes, when you’re faced with needing it, it’s such a difficult comprehension, you know, take the opportunity now take the opportunity before it’s something you’re grappling with, to get a chance to look into it. And you’ll be really pleasantly surprised, and hopefully, very enthused about what you see.

 

Liz Craven  37:21

I think you’re right. Well, thank you both so much for joining me today. I think this is a terrific conversation that everybody should have, and probably one that we will likely have again on this show, because it’s something that I feel very strongly about and know that people are missing out on. It’s my sincere hope that our conversation today has been a help to all of you that are listening. And I hope that it’s opened an avenue of exploration for you to dig a little bit deeper and discover more about hospice care. And I’ll say it again, as somebody who’s been lucky enough to experience what hospice delivers. It’s my wish for all of you that your families get to feel that kind of support during a difficult time. So thank you, Andrew, and thank you, Dean for joining me today. I appreciate you very much.

 

Andrew Molosky  38:10

Thank you, Liz.

 

Liz Craven  38:12

Next week, we’ll be chatting with Catherine Hodder, she’s an attorney turned author, who will be shedding some light on having those tough conversations with your aging loved ones. We’ll also be giving away a signed copy of Catherine’s book, which is called estate planning for the sandwich generation, how to help your parents and protect your kids. So tune in next week and learn more about that and about the giveaway as well. If you found value in today’s conversation, I’d really appreciate it if you’d click the subscribe button now and share the sage aging podcast with a friend. As always, if you have topic ideas you’d like to share or you have guests you’d like for me to invite onto the show. drop me a line at info@Sageaging.us Thanks for listening, everyone. We’ll talk real soon.

Liz Craven

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As I’ve been preparing to launch this podcast I’ve enjoyed revisiting stages of my own life and reflecting on how this topic became such a passion for me. While I’ve built my career on helping older adults and their families connect to needed education and resources, my connection to the aging and care process goes much deeper.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my own multi-generational family living together in one home. I was 4 or 5 when my grandmother moved into our home to help care for my sisters and I while our parents worked. Soon after, her father and grandfather moved in as well. We had 5 generations living under one roof! That was a beautifully chaotic adventure and knowing what I know now, I have so much respect for what my parents and grandmother did.

Fast forward to age 24. Newly married and pregnant with our first child, I spent several months with my in-laws to help care for my husband’s grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. Fast forward again to about 2009 – Wes and I have two teenagers about to head to college and his mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years later, my mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years after that Wes’ stepdad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and his father is suffering from severe dementia. You can see where this is going right? For the better part of the last 10 years we have been the caregivers. We see it as an honor and privilege to have been able to do that for our parents.

The key to navigating our later years is being proactive about gathering information before we get there and staying engaged once we do. To be sage is to be wise. There is wisdom in taking the time to ask questions, seek solutions and know your options before the need arises.

Each week we will discuss relevant topics of aging with experts who can help us to understand and be better prepared for aging. We’ll also introduce you to some Sage Agers who are totally owning their journeys through life. No topic will be off limits and we will deliver open and honest conversation meant to educate and empower our listeners. Each episode will also be available in video and blog formats.

Whether you are proactively seeking to broaden your own knowledge, a caregiver for a loved one or a professional working in the aging care industry, this podcast is for you. We hope you will join us as we explore and celebrate Sage Aging.