Capital Caring Health Launches Television Special on Cardiac Care

"The Silent Pandemic: Heart Failure" Airs on NBC Channel 4 at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 17

Falls Church, VA (April 14, 2021)—Heart disease kills 655,000 each year, one person every 36  seconds. By contrast, COVID-19 killed 530,000 people in its first12 months, and now COVID-19 is accelerating deaths due to heart failure. To raise awareness about this American tragedy, Capital Caring Health will present a half-hour special on advanced in-home cardiac care on NBC Channel 4 at 7 p.m. on April 17. Hear from these experts and more:

  • Moderator – Dr. John Whyte, Chief Medical Officer, WebMD
  • Cameron Muir, Chief of Cardiac Care, Capital Caring Health
  • Altonia Garrett, RN and Executive Director – The Center for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity at Capital Caring Health

“It is a complete and unnecessary tragedy that only half of heart failure patients who are considered terminal with six months or less to live utilize in-home hospice services,” said Tom Koutsoumpas, CEO of Capital Caring Health. He further stated, “Far too many die alone in a hospital or nursing facility, when instead our hospice teams could care for them wherever they reside and they could enjoy a far higher quality of life surrounded by loved ones. This television program offers much insight into changing these experiences for the better.”

Heart disease will likely continue to have a disproportionate toll on many traditionally underserved groups who have higher rates of heart disease and associated risk factors. Executive Director of Capital Caring Health’s Center for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity, Altonia Garrett, commented. “Far too many people of color and LBGTQ+ advanced heart disease patients are not made aware of how to access comprehensive quality care at-home care which is covered by Medicare or private insurance or by Capital Caring Health directly; no one is turned away because they cannot pay.”

This advanced cardiac care initiative is a nationwide effort spearheaded by Capital Caring Health and 29 other not-for-profit community-based advanced illness care/hospice providers – all members of the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation.

Please see the show’s promotional content here. Requests to interview the show’s experts should be sent to communications@capitalcaring.org.

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About Capital Caring Health

Capital Caring Health is the largest non-profit provider of elder health, advanced illness, hospice and at-home care services for the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. area. We provide quality care where people live, supporting dignified, independent aging. For more information, visit capitalcaring.org or call our 24-Hour Care Line at 1-800-869-2136 to learn more.


Capital Caring Health Promotes Advance Care Planning

Leading Advance Illness Care Provider Supports National Health Care Decisions Day Awareness

Falls Church, VA (April 12, 2021)—The continued COVID-19 pandemic has forced individuals and families across the nation to face the prospects of serious illness, hospitalization, and in some cases, death. A seldom considered issue has taken on new urgency: Who will speak for you in a medical crisis if you can no longer speak for yourself?

The answer is through advance care planning—the act of making decisions about personal wishes for critical medical care and expressing them to loved ones…before you’re sick. At any age, a medical crisis could leave you too ill express your wishes.

With the Patient Self-Determination Act of 1990, Congress affirmed the right of every citizen to set forth his or her future healthcare wishes in writing. April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day, an occasion to inspire, educate, and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. Capital Caring Health (CCH) is many achieve that goal. Research shows that:

  • 90 percent of Americans say talking about end-of-life care wishes is important. Yet only 30 percent are actually having these conversations.
  • 97 percent of Americans say it’s important to put their wishes in writing. In fact, only 37 percent have done so.

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has prompted more people than ever to think about and discuss such matters. And CCH—the largest non-profit provider of elder health, advanced illness, hospice, and at-home care services in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.—is here to help them.

“Making our medical wishes known, in writing, brings comfort and peace of mind to our families. Caregivers that know our wishes are empowered to advocate for us,” states CCH President and CEO Tom Koutsoumpas. “As the pandemic’s impact to emotional and mental health continue to add up, it’s clear that advance care planning is a gift to patients and families. We encourage everyone to start the conversation.”

Toward that end, CCH’s website features “Conversation Starter Kits” to guide meaningful discussion about end-of-life preferences, including “ice breakers” to ease into the topic. The site also has resources for those who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s/dementia, and legal forms to designate and document a healthcare decisionmaker.

By taking the time to discuss and document last wishes, fewer families will struggle with making difficult decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient. Healthcare providers and facilities will be better equipped to address advance healthcare planning issues and will be better able to honor individual patient wishes.

To learn more about advance care planning and helpful conversation resources, visit https://www.capitalcaring.org/campaigns/advance-directives/. To speak to someone who can help you start and complete the process via phone, live chat or online meetings, contact Marcie Fairbanks (703-538-2041, mfairbanks@capitalcaring.org) for more information.

Requests to interview Marcie Fairbanks should be sent to communications@capitalcaring.org.

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About Capital Caring Health

Capital Caring Health is the largest non-profit provider of elder health, advanced illness, hospice and at-home care services for the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. area. We provide quality care where people live, supporting dignified, independent aging. For more information, visit capitalcaring.org or call our 24-Hour Care Line at 1-800-869-2136 to learn more.

Contact:
Nancy Cook, VP Marketing & Communications
703-447-4480
ncook@capitalcaring.org


Capital Caring Health Announces New Board Members and Names New Board Leadership

New members will enhance board focus on expanding care services and combating inequalities in healthcare access

Falls Church, VA (April 6, 2021)—Capital Caring Health, one of the leading providers of elder care, hospice, and palliative care in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, today announced four new members and new officer positions within its board of directors, roles which will each support the nonprofit’s mission to provide patients and their families with advanced illness care of the highest quality. New board members include Angela Webb, Steve Galles, John Adams, and Terence E. Burns.

In addition to bringing on the new members, the Capital Caring Health board has elected immediate past vice-chair Lynn Mento as chair. “I am personally delighted to welcome such a strong group of new board members, and I look forward to serving with each of them in the coming year,” said Mento. “I’m also very pleased that Rev. Dr. Tyrone Pitts will support the next chapter of our work in his new role as board vice-chair. Tyrone has demonstrated exceptional commitment to advancing Capital Caring Health’s mission, and we’re looking forward to his leadership.” New board member Terence Burns will become board treasurer.

“We are pleased to welcome new board members Angela, Steve, John, and Terence at a pivotal time for advanced illness treatment as we continue to expand our geographic and clinical impact,” said Capital Caring Health President and CEO Tom Koutsoumpas. “Delivering compassionate, patient-centered care is in this organization’s DNA. Our board represents a variety of expertise including health law, social impact, financial management, philanthropy, investment, and more. Not only do these new members embody our vision and core values, but they join our undertaking in addressing the significant disparity among minority groups in accessing quality advanced illness, home, and hospice care.”

The four new board members are:

  • Angela Webb, a founding member of Peachtree Providence Partners Holding Company, LLC. With over 25 years of corporate and entrepreneurial expertise, Angela provides critical insights that drive enhanced performance. She is also the former President and a founding member of CertusBank, a full-service, nationally chartered financial institution operating 35 branches in the southern U.S. Angela is a 20-year veteran and former executive of Wells Fargo and its predecessor institutions. In this role, Angela managed a human resources team that supported more than 20,000 domestic and international employees, exhibiting a deep acumen in disciplines including: strategic management, consulting, business underwriting, scorecard management, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, financial center management, sales, cultural integration, and diversity consulting. She also supported Wachovia Corporation’s offshoring efforts into India and the Philippines. Angela graduated from the University of North Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in industrial psychology. She has won numerous awards for her community engagement.
  • Steve Galles, TRINITY Group Construction’s chief financial officer. In addition to managing all of TRINITY’s financial, administrative, and information technology functions, he handles all treasury, tax, and risk management functions for the company. Prior to his position at TRINITY, Steve was an executive with a regional general contractor, which became one of the leading general contractors in the Mid-Atlantic region. He was responsible for designing and implementing all accounting and financial policies and procedures for the firm. In addition to his operational experience as a controller and financial officer, Steve spent five years with a national consulting firm advising and implementing financial systems and reengineering financial operations for large institutional and government organizations. Steve earned a bachelor’s degree in information systems technology at James Madison University and received his MBA in finance from George Mason University.
  • John Adams, partner at McGuireWoods, a full-service firm providing legal and public affairs solutions. He brings an extensive background in private practice and senior government service, representing corporations, boards, and executives facing significant legal, regulatory, and reputational risk. John has resolved complex, high-stakes investigations through innovative settlements and has successfully tried cases both as a federal prosecutor and defense counsel. In addition to his investigations practice, John routinely advises clients with matters pending before the U.S. Supreme Court and the Solicitor General’s Office. Prior to joining McGuireWoods, John served in positions of significant responsibility throughout the government. Before working in law, he served as a U.S. naval officer, deploying to the Persian Gulf. John has at various times served as an adjunct professor of appellate and trial advocacy at the University of Richmond School of Law, and he serves as Trustee and Vice President of the VMI Foundation. He attended college at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), and later graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law.
  • Terence E. Burns, CFA and the president and founder of Campion Asset Management, a boutique investment advisory firm that serves individuals, families, and tax-exempt organizations. With over 20 years of investment analysis and portfolio management experience, Terence has served a wide range of individuals and tax-exempt organizations. Former affiliations include Bank of America Private Bank, Riggs & Co., the Association for Investment Management & Research, and Fannie Mae. As an active volunteer in the investment community, Terence has served as president of the CFA Society, as a president’s council representative for the CFA Institute, and as a member of CFA Institute Standards of Practice Committee. He currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Wealth Management. Terence received an MBA from Pepperdine University and a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Maryland. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation.

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About Capital Caring Health
Capital Caring Health is one of the leading nonprofit providers of elder health, hospice, and advanced illness care for persons of all ages in the mid-Atlantic region. A member of a national network of 70 nonprofit hospice providers, our mission is to provide patients and their families with advanced illness care that is second to none. We also have special hospice teams serving children and veterans. On an annual basis, we serve over 7,000 hospice patients and provide more than $3 million in charity care to those who are uninsured and have nowhere else to turn. Almost 90 cents out of every dollar goes to caring for patients and their families.

The website, capitalcaring.org, is available in English, Spanish, and Korean plus offers 24/7 Live Chat. Since the beginning of hospice care over 40 years ago, we have served 120,000 patients and their families in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. 24 Hour Care Line: 800-869-2136.


Tom Koutsoumpas, President & CEO, Featured in the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Tom Koutsoumpas column: One major way to combat the mental health crisis brought on by COVID-19

Click here to read the article

Taking Heart Disease to Heart

Capital Caring Health Plays Key Role in National Initiative

Each year, more Americans die from heart disease than any other condition, including cancer. Heart disease is also a leading cause for hospitalization: Patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) alone account for more than 1 million inpatient admissions annually.

Yet many of those hospital stays could have been prevented—and many of those patients could have lived longer and better lives—through palliative/advanced illness and hospice care delivered directly in the home. 

With hospice’s focus on symptom and pain management, supportive and spiritual care, the specialty can reduce 911 calls, emergency room visits, and inpatient stays, even as it improves the quality of life for end-stage heart failure patients. In fact, one study shows that CHF patients under hospice care have a mean survival of 402 days versus 321 for non-hospice patients.*

But the sad fact is that few CHF patients ever receive the benefit of hospice care. Research reveals that only 5 percent of end-stage CHF patients covered by Medicare are referred to hospice or palliative care after hospitalization. As a result, thousands of end-stage cardiovascular patients nationwide are missing out on the physical comfort and emotional solace palliative/hospice care can provide.

That’s why the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation (NPHI)—an association of non-profit hospices dedicated to helping people live fully through the end of life is launching the Advanced Cardiac Care (ACC) Initiative. And Capital Caring Health, a founding member of NPHI, is playing a leading role based upon its expertise, experience, and stature in the field.

The Need is Now

While the issue of advanced cardiac disease deserves attention at any time, the initiative could not be more timely given the triple threat posed by:

  • COVID-19: One of the most serious underlying conditions affecting the outcome for hospitalized coronavirus patients is heart disease, including Congestive Heart Failure. In fact, hospitalized COVID-19 patients with cardiovascular disease are twice as likely to die as those without the complication.
  • Growing Prevalence: Already the leading cause of mortality in the US, heart disease is responsible for one out of every four deaths, with more than 655,000 Americans lost every year. Due to increases in obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol—and growing numbers of older adults—the incidence of cardiovascular disease continues to rise.
  • Disparities in Care: Although heart disease affects all Americans across the board, it can hit African Americans especially hard. As a group, African Americans are often diagnosed at a later stage, with more advanced and complicated conditions, and a poorer prognosis, often the result of poor or delayed access to the care they need.

There’s another, even broader, issue that impacts these patients and others that the Initiative hopes to resolve: low overall awareness, understanding, and use of both hospice and advanced illness/palliative care for all diseases. As an example, hospice admissions are particularly low among certain underserved, minority populations such as African Americans, Latino, and the LGBTQ community, for reasons that include historical and cultural factors. And much of the population isn’t aware that advanced illness/palliative care can manage symptoms even while curative care continues.

Yet, despite an initial lack of understanding, once a family member experiences palliative or hospice care, their perception changes dramatically with most saying they wish they had known about the service sooner.

The challenge is to raise community awareness of all that advanced illness, palliative, and hospice care offers, and of the critical difference it can make to patients with end-stage cardiac disease and their families.

Changing Attitudes, A Call to Action

The Advanced Cardiac Care Initiative will examine the reasons behind the low utilization of such a valuable service, and recommend actions to improve awareness, access, use, and the broader issue of disparity in care.

The Initiative is also releasing a guide—The Patient and Caregivers Handbook—for those living with CHF or newly diagnosed, featuring practical information and tools to safely manage symptoms at home. The latter is often a challenging and burdensome task for patients and families, as advanced cardiac disease is usually accompanied by a number of serious symptoms. These include shortness of breath, major fatigue, persistent cough, edema (swelling, usually in the legs and ankles), chest pain, loss of appetite/nausea, and depression and anxiety…all issues that palliative and advanced care is uniquely qualified to address.

The Handbook features sections on understanding heart failure, symptom management and self-care, and a review of medications and diet. Experts also created The Monitoring Symptoms Chart and My Action Plan—What to Do When I Feel...as a guide to handle specific issues at home, when to contact a member of your care team—such as a nurse or your doctor—or seek emergency care.

NPHI experts have also developed materials—to be widely shared—to aid physicians. Physician-directed guidelines include evidenced-based information on when cardiologists, primary care providers, and others should consider palliative and/or hospice care. Studies show the greatest benefit comes when patients spend at least two to three months in hospice care; the initial Medicare coverage period is for six months.

Lastly, the ACC Initiative will be widely publicized to raise public awareness nationwide of the scope and quality of care that hospice provides for advanced cardiac care patients. Capital Caring Health currently provides care and support to many CHF patients and their families, witnessing firsthand the tremendous difference it makes. So we’ll be working with the media in the communities we serve to spread the word, too.

Heart to Heart

This Initiative will take on a growing problem: Improving the care of end-stage advanced cardiac patients. By increasing awareness of palliative/hospice’s care, support, and symptom management provided safely at home, the focus can return to what matters most to patients and families: spending quality, meaningful time with loved ones at the end of life. That’s what all of us—NPHI and Capital Caring Health—want for everyone.


4 Common Myths About Pediatric Hospice Social Work

Written by Mary Beaven, Lead Pediatric Social Worker & Bereavement Coordinator for Capital Caring Health

There are many myths about the role of the social worker in pediatric hospice.  I am often asked, “do you work for the county or the state?”  Other times I’m told, “I don’t want to talk about how I’m doing.”  Comments like these are sometimes based on personal experiences, but more often than not, they are assumptions people have made based on things they have heard through the grapevine or seen in movies. Here, I’ll address some commonly-held misunderstandings about social workers on a pediatric hospice care team.

Myth 1: “Social workers work for the government.”

While it is true that some social workers do work for county or state agencies, many social workers, including hospice social workers, work for private companies or helping organizations. Capital Caring Health is a not-for-profit hospice agency and employs around 80 social workers in both direct hospice care and bereavement support. Social workers respect all people and their ability to make their own decisions. In our organization, social workers work with families regardless of factors like age, gender, socioeconomic status and immigration status.

Myth 2: “Social workers take kids away.”

The sad reality is that some children are abused or neglected by their caregivers and require intervention from county or state agencies in order to protect children. Even so, the goal of this type of intervention is always to support the family structure as much as possible. All employees at Capital Caring Kids are mandated reporters, meaning that if we see evidence of abuse or neglect it is our duty to report it.  Thankfully, this experience is extremely rare, and in my 7 years of working as a hospice social worker have only had to make one report.

Myth 3: “Anyone can call themselves a social worker.”

Historically, social work jobs were open to caring, compassionate individuals who were dedicated to public service.  As the field has expanded, though, social work has become more highly regulated and now social workers must increasingly hold a master’s degree.  Many social workers, including hospice social workers, also hold a license through their state, which requires two years of supervised practice and passing an exam.

Myth 4: “Social workers force you to talk.”

Sometimes hearing the word “social worker” is a turn off to patients and families if they are fearful the social worker might force them to talk about their feelings or have hard conversations.  While helping families process their emotions and talking through care options is part of what we are trained to do, one of the main tenets of social work is to “meet the client where they are.”  This means that we will not force you to have conversations you aren’t ready to have.

How will a social worker in pediatric hospice support my family?

Social workers are part of the interdisciplinary team that cares for children in hospice.  They are specially trained to provide emotional support to the parents, caregivers, and siblings, as well as the child with the advanced illness.  When working with children, social workers use a variety of modalities including talk, play, and art to allow the child opportunities for self-expression.  Social workers provide education to families on advanced directives and goals of care, while helping the family make memories and identify what makes a “good day.”  In addition, alongside the nurse, social workers help navigate care coordination with community providers and private duty nursing.  Lastly, social workers assist families by connecting them with community resources.  There are many wish-granting organizations, as well as organizations that provide financial support that many families aren’t aware of, so social workers can provide information about these programs.

Each social worker has their own style and personality, but each has the goal of providing compassionate care to children with advanced illness and to their families.


Top Doctors Recognized by Northern Virginia Magazine 2021

Capital Caring Health is very proud of five of our many outstanding physicians who were recognized as Top Doctors by Northern Virginia Magazine.

Matthew Kestenbaum, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Cameron Muir, M.D., Chief Innovation Officer, Anne Silao-Solomon, M.D., NBRHD Lead Physician, Lee Anne West, M.D., Executive Director of Inpatient Services, and Eric De Jonge, M.D., Chief of Geriatrics at Capital Caring Health, were selected as Top Doctors in Hospice and Palliative Medicine and Geriatric Medicine by a group of their peers.

Dr. Kestenbaum is well known in the industry as an expert in hospice and palliative care. Among his many accomplishments and successes include his leadership with the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) and work with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

 

As chief innovation officer, Dr. Muir is responsible for identifying and implementing new business initiatives based on emerging innovative models designed to care for people with advanced illness. Prior to his work with Capital Caring Health, Dr. Muir was Medical Director of the Palliative Care and Home Hospice Program of Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

 

Dr. Silao-Solomon has been the hospice medical director in Capital Caring Health’s Loudoun community since 2010. She is also currently the hospice medical director in the Winchester region. She is certified in both Family Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Her main interests include management of cancer related symptoms, end of life communication, and integrative approaches in pain management to help maximize patients’ comfort at the advanced stage of their disease.

 

Dr. Lee Anne West is a board-certified physician in both Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine through the American Board of Internal Medicine. She has dedicated her professional career to the care of hospice and palliative patients throughout all levels of care within the continuum, from inpatient (ICU level of care) to home. She has also worked as an inpatient hospitalist and medical faculty member, as well as an outpatient primary care physician. 

 

Eric DeJonge, MDEric De Jonge, M.D., is one of the nation’s most renowned physicians specializing in geriatrics. As Chief of Geriatrics, he is leading efforts to build an array of health services for elders with advanced illness, including Primary Care at Home (PCH), Social Services, and other needed senior health services.

 

 

To see all Top Doctors recognized by Northern Virginia Magazine, click here. 


Celebrating Black History Month 2021

Capital Caring Health’s Center for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity

In February, we celebrate Black History Month in the United States. Black History Month is celebrated to recognize the contributions of Black Americans who have shaped the history of our country.  Black History is American history.

Black History Month is a foundation of pride for so many and affords us all the opportunity to be inspired and enlightened by the contributions of African Americans to our society.  Using our core values of Always doing the Right Thing and Respecting Everyone, allows us to remove blinders of bias that have limited us to advancing health care equity and reducing disparities in advanced illness care.

Together we will work to do our part in to address health care disparities and raise health equity through the work of our Center for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity.

Capital Caring Health’s Center for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity was established to help to advance our organization’s mission, strategies, and practices to support a diverse workplace and leverage the effects of diversity to achieve a more equitable business environment and enhance the communities we serve.

The Goals for new Center include:

  • Providing education to our staff and volunteers that addresses biases in health care, cultural beliefs and practices, cultural and linguistic competence in advance illness care.
  • Addressing the health equality, equity, and disparities of care being delivered in CCH’s service area by developing integrative approaches and programs for the diverse populations served.
  • Attracting and leveraging diverse staff to increase engagement to make CCH the best place to work in healthcare

Here are few ways you and your families can learn more and celebrate Black History Month:

  1. Microsoft is curating a customized series of immersive virtual experiences in alliance with various museums, cultural centers and historic sites all around the country for students K-12.
  2. Tour the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture
  3. PBS is offering a variety of programming – achieved and newly premiering.
  4. Virginia Museum of History & Culture. Online Exhibition- Determined:  The 400 Year Struggle for Black Equality
  5. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Has a series of programming on the museum’s YouTube channel or Zoom registrations. Visit the site for a list of programming.
  6. The city of Winchester, VA will be featuring historical people and places with a short video series.
    1. Week 1 Ruth Jackson is featured.
  7. Prince George’s County is offering performances to history lessons to festivals organized by the Department of Parks and Recreation. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, ALL programs will be held virtually. Click here to register for a program. 
  8. Montgomery County is offering a series of virtual events that explore topics like: the Underground Railroad, County Council Commemoration, Yarrow Mamout and His Family and more.

The only way forward is Together!

Click here to learn more about our Center for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity


Seniors may be especially at risk for suicide right now

Capital Caring Health Grief Support experts offer advice on risk, warning signs and where to go for help.

Take isolation and loneliness, add illness or chronic disease, anxiety over COVID-19 and restrictions, plus the holidays, and the risk of suicide, including among seniors, is at an all-time high.

  • Everyday 123 Americans die of suicide (2018)
  • The pandemic has heightened pre-existing physical and mental health issues that have increased depression and suicide rates; the biggest risk factors are related to social isolation
  • Highest rates of suicide are among those age 75 and older; especially males and those divorced or widowed; and among women aged 45-54

What can you do? Capital Caring Health Director of Grief Support Marcie Fairbanks (available for interview) advises what to watch for and the help available.

Capital Caring Health, a nonprofit elder health and advanced illness/hospice provider understands being alone—especially at the holidays—or coping with illness are already a challenge. Adding the emotional stress and anxiety from worrying about ourselves or loved ones during the pandemic and social isolation makes it especially important to stay socially connected, and pay attention to our own feelings as well as what we see and hear from loved ones, friends, and neighbors.

Among the risk factors that may be especially prevalent among seniors:

  • Mental health conditions (affects 1 in 5 adults and often goes undiagnosed among seniors)
  • Major physical and/or chronic illnesses
  • Lack of social support and a sense of isolation
  • Stigma associated with asking others for help, especially for emotional or psychological issues

Among the suicide warning signs to watch for:

  • Talking about:
    • Being a “burden” to others
    • Feeling hopeless or having no purpose
    • Feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain.
    • Wanting to die or kill oneself and looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

To help, CCH offers free counseling and support groups to anyone dealing with depression, trauma, or loss within the communities we serve throughout Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. CCH also has written guides on dealing with loss related to COVID-19 for adults and families with children as well as the newly bereaved.

For anyone in need of immediate help for themselves or someone else, call or text (for live chat) the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:1-800-273-TALK (8255) 24/7. Help is also available Spanish.

Contact: Nancy Cook, VP Marketing, Communications & Public Relations
ncook@capitalcaring.org


Capital Caring Health Works to Reduce Number of Heart Patients Dying Alone in DMV in Hospitals

New Clinical Guidelines and Medical Staff Expertise Make Care at Home the Better Option

Falls Church, VA (Dec 14, 2020) - Each year, more Americans die from heart disease than any other condition, including cancer. Heart disease is also a leading cause for hospitalization: Patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) alone account for more than 1 million inpatient admissions annually.

Yet many of those hospital stays could have been prevented—and many of those patients could have lived longer and better lives—through palliative/advanced illness and hospice care delivered directly in the home. 

Unfortunately, only 5 percent of CHF patients are currently referred to palliative or hospice care following hospital discharge, despite the quality of life difference from the physical comfort and emotional solace such care can provide.

Now, Capital Caring Health (CCH), one of country’s oldest and largest nonprofit providers of advanced illness, home and hospice care, and a founding member of the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation (NPHI)—an association of 70 leading not-for-profit hospice and palliative care providers nationwide—are working to change those statistics. Through a new national initiative, CCH and other NPHI members dedicated to improving cardiac care will develop clinical protocols and patient and family education resources to help professionals and consumers alike make informed decisions about advanced and end-of-life care.

The initiative couldn’t be more timely.

“The guidelines are a priority given the impact of COVID-19 on advanced cardiac care patients,” says Cameron Muir, M.D., FAAHPM, Chief Innovation Officer for both CCH and NPHI. “While a vaccine will help, heart disease is expected to remain the #1 cause of death in the United States and to continue to have a disproportionate toll on many racial and ethnic groups that have higher rates of heart disease and associated risk factors.”

Statistics bear him out:

  • Prevalence: More Americans die each year from heart disease than any other condition, including cancer—it is responsible for one out of every four deaths. Due to increases in obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol—and growing numbers of older adults—the incidence of cardiovascular disease continues to rise.
  • Health disparities: Although heart disease affects all Americans across the board, African Americans and other ethnic groups may be diagnosed at a later stage, often the result of poor or delayed access to care. As a result, they suffer from more advanced and complicated conditions, leading to much worse outcomes. Complicating matters, COVID-19 is disproportionately leading to higher mortality rates among these populations in general.
  • COVID-19 risk: Heart disease places patients at greater risk of dying from COVID-19. In fact, cardiovascular complications contribute to roughly 40 percent of all coronavirus-related deaths. Conversely, many people with advanced heart disease are delaying hospital care out of fear of catching the virus, leading to later interventions when conditions have deteriorated.

“Preventing cardiac events and the related intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, mechanical ventilation, and mortality has clinical, emotional, and financial implications for patients and our healthcare system—particularly as hospitals face resource shortages due to COVID-19,” said Tom Koutsoumpas, president and CEO of Capital Caring Health (CCH) and the National Partnership of Healthcare and Hospice Innovation (NPHI). “Improved awareness of community resources and clinical best practices is critical to improving care quality and cost efficiencies.”

Hospice and advanced illness providers offer quality primary care at home, even for those who are not terminal, helping to avert the multiple emergency room visits and hospital stays often associated with advanced heart disease over months or years.

The large majority of patients and caregivers generally prefer to receive care in the comforts of their home environment. The effect of the pandemic on hospital visitor policies, fears of about the spread of the virus, and wanting to avoid overtaxing hospitals, has only intensified such preferences. Patients with cardiovascular disease are substantially more likely than those with other diseases, such as cancer, to die in the hospital or nursing facility than at home. Research suggests that lack of awareness of hospice and palliative care offerings in the community is one of the primary barriers to improved quality and access.

“Far too many Americans die in hospitals—these days, alone—from heart failure because too often, clinicians and patients—particularly minority patients—are not made aware of how not-for-profit hospice and advanced illness care organizations can provide affordable quality care at home,” said  Dr. Muir. “By collaborating with the nation’s leading experts in cardiac care, palliative care, and advanced illness, the guidelines we are developing will provide clarity and access to critical insights, clinical protocols, and resources that are urgently needed to address devastating gaps in care.”

Together with national and community partners, CCH will be working to better understand the needs of patients, family members, and clinicians and develop evidence-based tools that improve care quality, communication and costs. The initial set of resources is expected to roll out in the first quarter of 2021.

About Capital Caring Health
Capital Caring Health is one of the leading nonprofit providers of elder health, hospice, and advanced illness care for persons of all ages in the mid-Atlantic region. A member of a national network of 70 nonprofit hospice providers, our mission is to provide patients and their families with advanced illness care that is second to none. We also have special hospice teams serving children and veterans. On an annual basis, we serve over 7,000 hospice patients and provide more than $3 million in charity care to those who are uninsured and have nowhere else to turn. Almost 90 cents out of every dollar goes to caring for patients and their families.

The website, capitalcaring.org, is available in English, Spanish, and Korean plus offers 24/7 Live Chat. Since the beginning of hospice care over 40 years ago, we have served 120,000 patients and their families in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
24 Hour Care Line: 800-869-2136

Media Contact: Nancy Cook, VP Marketing, Communications & Public Relations
ncook@capitalcaring.org