Celebrating Nurses | Candace Guthrie

Oasis Healthcare is celebrating nurses during the month of May! Meet Candace and learn about her passion for nursing as she explains her “why.”

“I have been a nurse for 4 years, and in the healthcare field for a total of 12 years. I chose nursing so I could be an advocate for patients when they are at their sickest, and we as nurses can be their voice.

Growing up with my mother as a nurse and my dad’s parents in and out of hospitals, I developed my passion for nursing. I chose hospice because I knew it was very rewarding being with patients and families during the toughest times. Being that person they can count on and guiding them with what is going on, reduces their pain and anxiety and relives some of the burdens that come with end of life care.

I am so thankful to everyone that has played a role in my journey as a hospice nurse. I choose to stay because of these awesome people!”

Celebrating Nurses | Angela Bryant

Oasis Healthcare is celebrating nurses during the Month of May! Meet Angela and learn about her passion for hospice nursing.

Angela Bryant decided to work in the medical field after several personal experiences of helping sick family members. Those experiences, coupled with her time spent serving as a 911 dispatcher, placed a calling on Angela to do more to help others, and she began a career in nursing. Now, twelve and a half years later, Angela serves as a hospice nurse and an RN Case Manager on the Oasis Healthcare team.

But she didn’t start out in hospice. “Prior to working for Oasis, I worked in a facility that had hospice patients, but I had never worked for a hospice company,” Angela said. “I had many peers tell me that they could see me doing hospice nursing and that I had the compassion for it, so I took a leap of faith and tried it. I love it and know that it’s where I’m supposed to be.”

Regardless of who or how she was serving, the stories and experiences that she has had over her years as a nurse have impacted her and stuck with her throughout her career. “I have worked with newborns at the beginning of life and the elderly at the end of life,” she said.

Highlights of her career include watching miracle babies grow and develop after their parents were told they would not and seeing elderly patients outlive their life expectancies. “To pick out one story from my career that sticks out is so hard!” she said.

Although she loves helping patients and their families, she also enjoys the opportunities to learn and grow during her nursing career. “As a hospice nurse, I can help others and grow as a person at the same time because of what I take from each family I encounter,” Angela said.

She said nursing is everything to her, and she doesn’t know what she would do if she wasn’t a nurse. We thank her for her service!

Celebrating Nurses | Jeanine Shaw

Oasis Healthcare is celebrating nurses during the month of May! Meet Jeanine and learn about her passion for nursing as she explains her “why.”

“Why did I choose nursing?

I believe that nursing chose me. I became an EMT and it was satisfying, but something was still missing. My sister became a nurse and urged me to do the same. So, with my sister’s encouragement, I went to nursing school. During my clinicals in nursing school, I realized helping others in their time of need and sorrow was my calling.

During my career as a staff nurse, I had the blessing of being with one of my patients at their time of death. My patient was scared, and I was able to bring comfort to her at the end by simply sitting beside her, talking with her and holding her hand. When she passed, I knew I had given her comfort in her time of need. At that moment in my career, I vowed never to let a patient die alone if I could help it.

We all come into this world with a waiting room full of loved ones so excited to meet and greet us. At the end of life, we sometimes have no one present. I will be present, if able, to allow my patients to pass from this world to the next with someone who loves and cares for them. My patients deserve this and deserve to die with dignity.

I love being a hospice nurse. Some people do not understand why I do what I do, even after explaining. I am blessed to be a part of a patient’s life and death. It is a great honor and blessing to work at Oasis Healthcare. This team believes in what they are doing and do it with such compassion. I have learned so much through hospice nursing and am truly blessed.”

Celebrating Nurses | Katie Dominguez

Oasis Healthcare is celebrating nurses during the month of May! Meet Katie and learn about her passion for nursing as she explains her “why.”

“I remember when I was a little girl, I dreamed of being someone who could help other people. People who are hurting, people who are sick, or just people who need someone to listen to them and care. I did not get to nursing school until I was in my mid 30’s. The excitement I had when I was accepted into nursing school was overwhelming. You see, I never thought that at my age I could live my dream. Now, I’ve graduated from nursing school and spend my days caring for people.

I spent over 17 years working in surgery – part of my career as a Surgical Tech and the last 8 years as a circulating nurse. I loved surgery but felt something was missing. Then, this amazing opportunity opened up. A wonderful friend talked to me about hospice care and how amazing and supportive the team is. This place is Oasis Hospice Care. I cannot ask for a better work family who are always kind and ready to help whenever you need them.

Now, for the most important part of this awesome opportunity – I meet the most amazing people. Yes, they are sick, but you learn so much from the patients and their families.  If you open your heart and your ears, you learn so much!  Just a few days ago, a patient told me, “My heart and soul feel so safe with the hospice team. Just knowing I can call and have someone help me without having to run to the hospital makes me feel peace where I did not feel peace before.”  You see, Hospice is about comfort, peace, friendship and care. It’s not about dying, it’s about living.”

Happy Nurses Day!

Today, we recognize our nurses for their hard work, support, and compassion. Because of you, we live in a happier, healthier world. Happy Nurses Day!

Your hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed. Now, more than ever, we appreciate you!

COVID-19 & Hospice

Pandemic Relief via legislation, CMS waivers, and enforcement discretion

  • Telehealth
  • Waived requirement to use volunteers
  • Waive non-core services (physical, occupational, and speech pathology) *hospice only
  • Waive on-site visits for hospice aide supervision

Telehealth and Telephonic Visits

  • CMS permits hospices to provide telehealth to a Medicare patient receiving routine home care during the emergency period, if it is feasible and appropriate to do so.
  • Face-to-face encounters for purposed of patient recertification for the Medicare hospice benefit can now be conducted via telehealth (must be 2-way audio-visual)
  • Must be physician-ordered and on the plan of care

In an effort to protect patients, some SNF, LTC, hospice, and other facilities are limiting the number of visits that Abode Healthcare staff may make to patients in their care. Some patients are even requesting fewer in-person visits to reduce their exposure to the outside world.

Abode Healthcare understands and joins in these protection measures by offering telehealth visits. In some cases where access has been limited or is desired, Abode staff are utilizing telehealth on a weekly or bi-weekly basis in order to maintain contact with high-risk patients.

In all cases, telehealth visits are meant to be supplementary to in-person patient visits. Telehealth visits should not replace in-person visits altogether.

Telehealth Tools

Our commitment, as always, is to serve our patients as best we can. Our clinical team has been trained in effective ways to utilize telehealth systems to streamline patient care through our own remote access system using the following tools:

  • Phone: Abode Healthcare staff may conduct remote visits with patients through phone calls.
  • Video: Abode Healthcare staff may conduct remote visits with patients through Doxy.me. (All F2F between NPs or MDs, DOs must be done through a 2-way type of technology. This is for both HH and Hospice)
  • me can be utilized via tablets or phone and has been selected by Abode due to the ease of use for both the clinician and the patient/family/caregiver as well as its ability to capture/validate that the tele visit occurred, and its security features.

Though telehealth is never our first choice, it is the right choice during this time. Abode Healthcare continues to partner with providers to preserve the health and wellbeing of all of our patients.

Our “Why” During COVID-19

Times of uncertainty often bring about reflection on our individual mission and purpose – our “why” in life.  We all have a different “why” that has been formed through our passions and life experiences.  Maybe your mission and purpose in life is teaching and mentoring the youth in your community, or maybe it is working in law enforcement to keep your community safe.  Across the company, we are fortunate to have some of the healthcare industry’s most talented professionals whose “why” also aligns with our mission to provide first-class care to our patients and their families.

While we all adjust to changes in our daily lives, our employees are continuing to fulfill their commitment to our patients.  From conducting music therapy in outdoor nursing home courtyards to providing meals for hospital staff and first responders, the current pandemic has even given us the opportunity to be creative in carrying out our mission.

As stated by Rosie Avila, Community Liaison at our Nurses in Touch location, “our purpose here is not for ourselves; it’s for others and in turn their purpose was for us.”  This rings true throughout the company, and our employees are living out their mission and purpose every day.

What is your mission and purpose – your “why” in life?  Perhaps it will be uncovered during these times.  Perhaps it will align with ours.  Perhaps it will provide an opportunity for us to partner in carrying out our missions to support our communities.  We are all in this together!

Making the Hospice Decision

Before a baby is born, planning around the baby’s life begins. The parents prepare for the baby by creating a registry. Friends plan and host a baby shower. Family helps decorate the nursery. As the baby grows, the parents teach the baby, now a child, how to read. They prepare the child for kindergarten, then elementary school, then middle school, and then high school. The child, now a young adult, decides on a trade school versus entering the work force directly after high school versus college, and if college is selected, the young adults selects a major, and prepares to earn a degree. Then the young adult applies for and accepts a job, decides to get married, and chooses when to start a family. He or she then decides how many children to have and how to raise those children.

We spend so much of our life preparing and planning—so why should it be any different when making a hospice decision? Ideally, from the start of a diagnosis of a life-limiting illness, people should begin planning their goals and priorities with their physician. By having these conversations early, the person with a life-limiting illness can be fully involved in planning and making decisions regarding their wishes before the stress of a medical crisis.

Hospice is a continuation of care that shifts the goals of the patient from curative to comfort. When you or a loved one has a life-limiting illness and medical treatment is no longer effective, the doctor may refer you to hospice care. It should not be seen as a last resort but rather as an opportunity to focus on managing pain and other symptoms to find relief. This approach lets you dedicate your attention to what truly matters: living the rest of your life to the fullest.

A study by the National Palliative Care Organization found that patients who spent their final days on hospice reported having a better life experience than those who spent the end of their lives in intensive care. The researchers found that the patient’s choices often influenced the end-of-life care they got, which is why it is so important for people to plan for hospice, long before the need arises.

So, when should you make the hospice decision? Talk to your physician about signs and symptoms to consider prior to electing hospice care. Frequent hospitalizations, frequent infections, a decline in functional status, and an increase in uncontrollable symptoms or pain can all be indicators. Decide what you wish to do when treatment is no longer effective. Consider the benefits of managing symptoms from home rather than frequent visits to the physician or hospital. Consider the benefit of having a team of specialists available to you in your home—from a registered nurse to an aide, your doctor, a medical director, a social worker, and a chaplain. Consider access to your hospice team by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, where you could call your team if you had a question or a medical need. Consider the benefits of having medications related to your diagnosis and medical equipment made available to you in your home. These are all resources included in the Medicare hospice benefit, at no cost to the patient or their family.

If you have questions about the hospice benefit or when to elect your benefit, please contact us at 1 (877) 699-3303.

Hospice Care That Focuses On Quality of Life

The hospice benefit is a multi-disciplinary approach to end of life care. When hospice patients are able to utilize the benefit, in its full capacity, self-fulfillment needs, psychological needs, and basic needs are met. At Oasis Hospice, we seek to meet all levels of needs for each hospice patient in order to maximize their end of life journey and hospice benefit utilization. 180 days on hospice not only allows for better end of life transitions for patients, but allows family members to be family members and our team to become caregivers. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey.

Is COVID-19 the source of your grief?

That nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach. The worry that you just can’t shake. The anxiety that you’re feeling. It’s easy to recognize stress, fear, and worry. But at its core, these feelings of stress, fear, or worry could really be expressions of an even deeper emotion—grief.

During this time of uncertainty with COVID-19, we are grieving a loss of normalcy; a loss of safety; a loss of finances; a loss of health for people we love and care about deeply; a loss of milestone moments for our kids—graduations, proms, sports; a loss of connectivity to our family and friends; and a loss of events and regular activities that bring us together, allow us time to destress, or provide us with an escape from the daily grind. The list goes on and on with the challenges and changes that our new social distancing practices have put in place.

It’s okay to feel these emotions and to recognize your grief. Recognizing your grief does not diminish all that you are thankful for. For example, you can grieve a loss of work but still be thankful for your time with your family—time that you might never would have taken, otherwise. Or you can grieve the expectation that you are now an employee, parent, and teacher all in the same moment while still being thankful that your children are home safe and that you have a job. Grieving one does not lessen your joy of the other.

Seasons of life, even the really difficult ones, are not strictly one-sided or black and white. These moments are Bittersweet and point to the fact that something can be both bitter and sweet at the same time. Much like this, joy can exist, intertwine, and mingle right alongside our grief. We can feel the hurt and the loss, yet look around and find moments of joy, happiness and hope.

This bittersweet feeling is one that our patients and families often describe. A loss of independence, health, and ability to perform tasks that bring joy can cause grief, but periods of togetherness, closure, acceptance, and comfort can provide sweetness and enrichment to the lives of our patients and their families. Our staff feels this complex grief too – grief upon our patients’ passing but also a comfort and peace that our patients and their families found moments of joy during a difficult time.

In an article in the Harvard Business Review, grief expert David Kessler discussed these feelings of grief and how to combat those feelings. To summarize, he said:

  1. “Find balance in the things you’re thinking.” – Don’t just dwell in the worst-case scenarios. As it relates to the Coronavirus—think not just of the people who will be sick but also of all the people who will not because of our efforts to flatten the curve. As it relates to hospice – think not only of the passing of a loved one but also of the joy that your time with that person has added to your life.
  2. “Come into the present.” – In this present moment, your anticipatory thoughts are just that—thoughts, which may or may not come to fruition.
  3. “Let go of what you can’t control.”—Focus on what you can control. As it relates to the Coronavirus – practice social distancing, wash your hands, and don’t touch your face. As it relates to end of life– focus on what you can do, what you can enjoy, and what makes you happy.
  4. “Stock up on compassion.”—Fear and emotion manifest at pivotal times, such as a pandemic or at end of life. Recognize that a behavior may seem magnified out of fear. Give grace to those who behave out of character due to fear or emotion. Recognize them for who they typically are.

For the complete article from the Harvard Business Review, visit the link: https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief?fbclid=IwAR35_lZ8_xajIcqad-GfMTT6_Hcp_ytepXFah30uvVNMHnbri4RB6GmVPC4