Executive Corner by: Norm Mast, President/CEO

I am often asked “Aren’t all hospices the same? What makes your hospice better than the others?” My response has always been “No, hospices are not all the same.” That’s like saying all hamburgers are the same! Or even all ice cream is the same! (More about that later.) And the follow-up question is always “Well what makes Community Hospice better than the others?” And that question always makes me pause. I know we are different and better, but what is the right answer to this question? So, back to the ice cream thing – it’s quite easy for me to describe what makes certain ice cream better than others. I prefer real ice cream to custard. It has to be creamy and smooth without nuts and preferably with some sort of caramel or coffee flavor infused. Even better if it has both!

Enough about ice cream for now, let’s get back to what makes Community Hospice different/better than the other hospices.

Here are a few reasons why we are better:

– 30 years of service – Community Hospice has been around for more than 30 years. Now, older doesn’t necessarily mean better. As an organization we have been around the block a few times which has allowed us to gain experience and try to provide a higher quality of care. We are always looking at ways to improve and serve our patients and families. Health Care is constantly changing and in order to survive in this world we need to be nimble and adapt.

– Non-profit community based – Being a non-profit community based hospice allows us to be nimble and make changes and improve our services. We are not a part of any other organization, which allows us to make changes quickly without having limitations put on us by a parent organization. Since we are a non-profit, all money that is donated and any profits that are made are put right back into the organization to continue to change and improve what we do.

– Same day admissions – We pride ourselves on doing same day admissions or even within an hour of getting a call if needed. Most patients and families don’t plan out a hospice admission. The admission is usually driven by some type of event or decline in a patient’s condition. So when that crisis is occurring you don’t need to wait days for us to come see you. We can start care immediately and if needed can bring you to The Truman Hospice House for more intensive care.

– The Truman House – We pride ourselves in providing care wherever the patient needs us. There are times when patients need more care than can be provided at home due to symptoms that are not being controlled. The Truman House is a 12-bed inpatient facility designed for just those occasions. Staff provide 24-hour care in a home like setting so that caregivers can once again be the mother, father, son or daughter instead of worrying about how to care for a loved one. Since the facility is designed for short term stays, our specialized clinical staff work with families to provide a home going plan or for placement in a long-term care facility.

– Specialized medical expertise – Our team of nurses, physicians, social workers, hospice aides, chaplains and volunteers have extensive training in end-of-life care. It’s what we do and we believe that end-of-life care is just as important as the beginning of life. We want to be the best at what we do and provide peace, hope, compassion and dignity at end-of life no matter who you are.

– Providing care for all – We provide care to all patients regardless of ability to pay. Most patients have some sort of insurance, however there are times and circumstances that may occur when there is no billable insurance. As a result of the tremendous support of our community through donations and fundraisers, we can offer that care to qualifying patients without having to pay.

Now, back to the ice cream analogy. For all the same reasons that our organization is the right choice for patients and families, you could say that those reasons apply to ice cream as well. I want good old fashioned, local ice cream provided by someone who has perfected their recipe. I want good service provided by knowledgeable staff who are specially trained to provide that ice cream. I would love to say that I can get that ice cream 24-hours a day at no cost – but alas that is where the similarities end.