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Hospice Chenango Receives HealthCare First Hospice Honors
In 2022, Hospice & Palliative Care of Chenango County was awarded with the HEALTHCAREfirst Hospice Honors. Award criteria were based on Hospice CAHPS survey results for an evaluation period of October 2020 through September 2021. Award recipients were identified by evaluating performance on a set of 24 quality indicator measures. Performance scores were aggregated from all completed surveys and were compared on a question-by-question basis to a National Performance Score calculated from all hospices contained in the HEALTHCAREfirst’s Hospice CAHPS database. Hospice Honors recipients include those hospices scoring above the HEALTHCAREfirst National Performance Score on 20 of the evaluated questions.”
Kendall Drexler, Executive Director of Hospice Chenango, commented that “during this time frame, we were struggling with being short staffed due to the pandemic and staff outages due to illness. The fact that the staff were able to deliver this level of care during such a trying time, is a true testament to the dedication of the staff at Hospice & Palliative Care of Chenango County to our organization’s mission.”
A Patient’s Story
When Tom Pritchard’s puzzling symptoms finally led to a Bulbar onset ALS diagnosis in the Winter of 2019, he knew time was of the essence. He had always been a man of many interests and hobbies. His home office is full of books, awards, and memorabilia of an adventurous life well lived. Now, he needed to set to work making the most of the time that he had left.
Tom signed up for google alerts for ALS, and began to make connections with other people who had ALS and the institutions that support them. Tom wore an ankle monitor, which sent health data to Harvard to help researchers better understand his disease progression. Perhaps, most importantly, Tom advocated for his body to be donated to science to help the medical community further understand the implications of his particular ALS on others.
With the help of his brother in law, Tony, Tom learned about how Hospice services could help Tom as his ALS continued to run its course. Designed not only to support Tom with his pain and symptom management, but also to provide support to his spouse, Lisa.
Tom passed peacefully on March 12, 2022.
Health Literacy Project
Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information needed to make appropriate health decisions. Low health literacy is associated with older adults, minority populations, those who have low socioeconomic status, and medically underserved people.
During this past year, our Masters Social Work Student Intern, worked on a Health Literacy Project, creating 5 series on this topic for us to present in the community.
The series topics are as follows:
1) Common misconceptions about going to a primary care physician.
2) Why it is easy to be intimidated by your doctor *and why you shouldn’t be!*
3) 5 Ways to advocate for yourself or others in a healthcare setting.
4) Understanding Advance Directives (DNR vs. DNI)
5) Ways to improve quality of life at ANY Stage of Life!
Staff Member Award Recipient
On June 16, 2022, Sarah Green, Hospice Chenango Volunteer Coordinator, was presented with The Leadership Chenango Alumni Award at the annual Commerce Chenango Awards Gala. Commerce Chenango commented about this new award in the gala press release: “This is awarded to an individual who serves as a role model both personally and professionally. They embody the spirit of a leader who demonstrates excellence in their profession.”
Sarah’s participation in the Leadership Chenango Class of 2020 was sponsored by Hospice & Palliative Care of Chenango County; hospice is committed to supporting the education and professional and leadership growth of its employees in programs such as this, as well as certification and training programs for staff to enhance their skill set and qualifications. Following her completion of Leadership Chenango, Sarah earned her Certification in Volunteer Administration (CVA) to grow her expertise in her profession. She also began serving on the boards of the Chenango Arts Council and of the school district attended by her children, and she volunteers for and supports local causes.
Sarah reflected that, “Leadership Chenango provided me with the confidence and an increased knowledge of ways to become more involved in the county my family and I call home. It was an invaluable experience that expanded my understanding of Chenango County, as well as of myself!”
Grief Phone Story
Last year, Hospice & Palliative Care of Chenango County embarked on a project that is often called, “Telephone of the Wind”. If you research this concept online, you will find several articles about various places globally where wuch phones exist. Our organization was inspired to replicate this here in Chenango County, particularly by the story of the “Telephone of the Wind” located at Priest Point Park in Olympia, Washington. As described in the January 4, 2021 article in Seattle Refined, the idea is to “…place a disconnected telephone in the woods, available to anyone who needs to talk to someone who cannot hear them.”
Two phones have been installed in public, outdoor locations in Chenango County; one is on a trail at the Friends of Rogers Center in Sherburne, and the second is located at the General Clinton Park in Bainbridge. The phones serve as an outlet for those who may have a message they would like to share with lost family or friends; it’s a place to speak of memories shared, or say the goodbye one never had a chance to say.