Volume 8, Number 29 - October 9, 2008
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Sublette County welcomes new hospice
With an ever-growing list of services provided in Sublette County, one of the newest is a hospice working in conjunction with the Sublette Center in Pinedale.
“The idea for forming a hospice in Sublette County came about nearly a year and a half ago with Edna Schilling, R.N., director of the current Home Health program in Sublette County,” said Helen Lagodlagod, one of the Sublette County Hospice nurses. “One of the patients in the Home Health program who was suffering from a terminal illness wanted to spend his last days traveling around the countryside to visit friends, relatives and places where he had lived and grown up.”
According to Medicare law, to receive reimbursement terminally ill patients must remain homebound. This bothered Schilling who then looked into the rules of hospice care and found these patients have no homebound restrictions.
“I believe that terminally ill patients should have the choice of whether to remain at home during their last days. ... Many of them have unfinished business they need to address, and often, it can’t be done if they are homebound,” says Schilling.
Since then, Schilling has worked diligentlytoward the formation of the hospice.
She has created both a home for the service as well as looking into the fundingand help needed from around the county.
“Hospice care is only partially reimbursed by Medicare and Medicaid, thus the need for volunteers, donations and community fundraising activities,” LaGodlagod said. “Hospice provides a wide range of services from an interdisciplinary group of doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists, chaplains and volunteers. ... Medical personnel oversee physical and emotional comfort, chaplains attend to spiritual issues and volunteers provide everything from grocery shopping to conversation.”
The hospice offers numerous services including comfort care, skilled nursing, medication assistance, physical therapy and counseling, but according to Schilling, listening is one the best services offered.
“We are a presence at the bedside of the dying patient – one of the greatest gifts we can offer someone at this time is to listen, to them and to their family,” she said.
This home-health care service is something that means a lot to people injured or ill, as it means the ability to get better or simply be comfortable where they want to be and in a place familiar to them.
“Hospice care is not just for the elderly or for cancer patients – it is for all ages and most diseases and disabilities,” says Schilling. “It would be a great benefit for all residents in Sublette County.”
Currently the hospice has a medical director, four nurses, two home health aides, a chaplain and nearly 20 volunteers serving patients in Sublette County as well as LaBarge.
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