Let’s Talk: How To Tell Your Story with the Ending You Want  

We all tell at least one story, and usually many more, that describes major life events, reflects who we are, and reveals what’s important to us. Typically, we share these with family and friends – sometimes over and over again, as they may remind us!

Yet most of us leave out a key element of our own narrative -- how we hope our story will end.

 

April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day an occasion to encourage you to start the conversation that can affect how you spend your final days. It begins by learning how to share your values and preferences for advanced illness and end-of-life care. And it ends with a guide for family members, loved ones and caregivers that illustrates what you want, and how to follow your wishes.

You don’t have to be old or sick to start the conversation. In fact, the best time to talk about your preferences is before the need arises.

Having the conversation about end-of-life care

To help you get started, Capital Caring offers some valuable resources available on our website (https://www.capitalcaring.org/campaigns/advance-directives/).

The resources cover how to think about your values and preferences, how to discuss them with others and how to complete an advance care directive, a legal guide to implement your wishes.

A majority of people – according to research – strongly believe this is an issue they should deal with. However, the gap between thought and deed is wide:

  • 90% of Americans say that talking about their end-of-life care wishes is important, yet only 27% of people are actually having these conversations;
  • 60% say it is extremely important not to burden their family with such decisions, yet 56% have not communicated their end-of-life wishes;
  • 82% say it’s important to put their wishes in writing, but only 23% have actually done it.

While these are not easy discussions, having the conversation and committing your preferences to paper can make the situation easier for yourself, your family and caregivers when the time comes.

Resources you’ll need to document your care preferences

An advance directive can also comfort loved ones dealing with stress, grief and depression by knowing that they honored your last requests.

Capital Caring provides the resources you’ll need to document your care preferences, including “Five Wishes” – the country’s most popular living will – which meets the legal requirements for 42 states including Virginia and Maryland. If you live in Washington D.C., you’ll need to use this form. You can also request a printed version of the Five Wishes document.

Dr. Christopher Pile talks about the importance of Advance Care Planning

Tools and resources for our community 

Our Capital Caring team will also be out in the community in April talking about the importance of advance care planning, advance directives, end-of-life care and what you can do to make the transitions easier and more comfortable for everyone involved—patients, family members, caregivers and medical professionals. We’ll be visiting assisted living centers/senior centers, health facilities, employers, and faith communities. If you or your organization would like to learn more – either where to attend a talk or to arrange a presentation, please email: marketing@capitalcaring.org.

We know these are challenging issues, but day in and day out, Capital Caring is committed to helping you tell and end your story in just the way you want, wherever you are in your healthcare journey.

 


Lockheed Martin Red Wagon Donation Improves Transport for Pediatric Patients

Lockheed Martin has made it possible for Capital Caring to receive six red wagons equipped with IV poles to help children with serious medical issues enjoy easier transport. The wagons were recently distributed among Capital Caring’s four inpatient hospice centers throughout Maryland, Washington D.C. and northern Virginia.

Members of the Lockheed Martin team joined Capital Caring interim President and CEO President Tom Koutsoumpas to celebrate this beautiful gift to the Capital Caring children and their families who are facing a life-limiting illness.

The Radio Flyer red wagons were designed by Roger Leggett after he noticed how difficult it was to transport children with IV poles from one location to another while his granddaughter was being treated for a serious illness. Mr. Leggett and his son Chad developed a plan to outfit Radio Flyer wagons with IV poles. Tragically, Mr. Leggett’s son died of heatstroke. His former co-workers at Lockheed Martin decided to help him continue building the wagons with IV poles, and Mr. Leggett’s dream was fulfilled.

Now there are hundreds of wagons that bear the label “Chad’s Bracket” in honor of his son, including some wagons sent as far away as Scotland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT CAPITAL CARING

Capital Caring’s mission is to provide the highest quality advanced illness care with dignity, respect and compassion. Since our founding in 1977, we have grown into one of the largest and most experienced nonprofit providers of hospice care, palliative care and bereavement counseling services in the nation. In 2017 alone, we served nearly 7,000 hospice patients and provided more than $3 million in charity care to those who had nowhere else to turn.
Capital Caring serves families and patients throughout Northern Virginia, as far south as Fredericksburg and Richmond, as well as Prince George’s County, Maryland, and DC. To learn more about Capital Caring, visit www.capitalcaring.org or call 800‐869‐2136.


Northern Virginia Top Doctors 2019

Capital Caring Physicians featured as Top Doctors in NoVa Magazine

Matthew Kestenbaum, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, and Cameron Muir, M.D., Chief Innovation Officer,  at Capital Caring, were recently voted as Top Doctors in Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
Drs. Kestenbaum and Muir are featured with the physicians in Northern Virginia who were nominated and selected as Top Doctors 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, Dr. Muir was Medical Director of the Palliative Care and Home Hospice Program of Northwestern Memorial Hospital.


Cancer pain specialist now offering interventional pain management procedures in D.C.

Dr. Michael Byas-Smith, an expert in interventional pain management and palliative care, is now providing treatments to help patients suffering from cancer pain in the Greater Washington, D.C. region. He is seeing patients on Mondays and Thursdays on the campus of Sibley Memorial Hospital, a member Johns Hopkins Medicine.

According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly 80 percent of patients with advanced-stage cancer have moderate to severe pain that has a negative impact on a person’s functional status and quality of life. Interventions provided by Dr. Byas-Smith are helping relieve pain and symptoms that impair a patient’s capacity to fully enjoy life experiences – allowing them to regain a sense of independence and to make the most of every moment with their loved ones.

Dr. Byas-Smith has more than 25 years of experience performing interventions to relieve pain associated with cancer and managing symptoms associated with neuropathy, osteoarthritis, and a wide variety of advanced illness.

Pain management interventions include:

  • Neurolytic procedures
  • Intrathecal pump therapies
  • Sympathetic nerve blocks
  • Epidural injections
  • Injections for axial spine fractures
  • Ascites and pleural effusion management

Dr. Byas-Smith serves as medical director of the Capital Caring Adler Center and the Center for Pain and Palliative Care in Aldie, VA where he provides comprehensive interventional pain and palliative care consulting services for patients with advanced disease symptoms.

Appointments are now available for patients seeking cancer pain relief in the Greater Washington, D.C. region. Details about Dr. Byas-Smith’s office hours are below.

 

Sibley Memorial Hospital, a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine
Medical Building A
5215 Loughboro Road, N.W.
Suite 460
Washington, D.C. 20016
202-327-8294
Seeing Patients on Mondays and Thursdays

Capital Caring Adler Center
Center for Pain and Palliative Care
24419 Millstream Dr.
Aldie, VA 20105
703-957-1880
Seeing Patients on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Fridays

To learn more, visit www.capitalcaring.org/painmanagement.


Capital Caring Launches New Veterans’ Impact Program

Capital Caring's new Veteran's Impact Program (VIP) Focused on Enhanced Support for Those Who Have Served

Capital Caring is proud to serve the many veterans and their families within our community covering Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia. While we have been recognizing the veterans in our service for more than 40 years, we have discovered that what veterans and their caregivers need most is ‘boot-on-the ground’ help – help in securing more in-home caregiver support, assistance in securing veterans’ benefits, such as disability compensation, Veterans Affairs healthcare, and veterans’ pension with aid and attendance. In addition, veterans need assistance in working with physicians attuned to diagnosing conditions peculiar to active duty service.

Working in collaboration with all major departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and active duty medical facilities in the Virginia, Maryland, and DC area, as well as the numerous VA Community-based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs), Capital Caring will help  facilitate access to the valuable resources and benefits that veterans and their families are entitled to and build a world-class veterans care program for other hospice organizations to follow.

David Benhoff was recently selected to develop and implement a robust and multi-faceted Veterans Program throughout all of Capital Caring.  David served over 25 years as an intelligence and counterintelligence officer in the United States Marine Corps, during which time he deployed and took part in Operations Just Cause (Panama invasion and stabilization, 1989-90), Iraqi Freedom (Iraq, 2005), and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan, 2009).

Following retirement from the Marine Corps in 2012, David transitioned into the healthcare field as a way to continue serving—working as the Veteran Program Coordinator for several years with another hospice provider before coming to Capital Caring in 2016 as a Volunteer Coordinator, and later, serving as a Care Representative in the Manassas neighborhood.

In addition to his role with Capital Caring, David is also vice-president and co-founder of Hero’s Bridge, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting older veterans in need.  David holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Virginia Military Institute and a Master of Education, Curriculum and Instruction, from Lynchburg University.

For more information on Capital Caring’s Veterans’ Impact Program, contact David Benhoff at dbenhoff@capitalcaring.org.


Capital Caring Announces New Children’s Program

“I found out that other kids in my school had a parent die and now I will have better ways to deal with it.  I learned that when there’s grief, there’s happiness too.”-Katherine, age 12

Katherine participated in Capital Caring’s 6 week in-school grief club called Caring Circles.

Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy, and for children, coping with grief and the life changes that often accompany it, is especially challenging. Capital Caring has served as an oasis of caring for hundreds of children who have experienced the loss of a close loved one, providing them access to experienced grief counselors, art, music and pet therapists, grief education workshops and trained volunteers to nurture them along their grief journey.

And, while not as common, children suffering with chronic, life-challenging illness may need palliative and hospice care themselves. Our holistic palliative care focuses on improving the quality of life for the child and the family through expert management of pain and other physical symptoms. To help the child and family cope with the complex issues resulting from a serious illness or condition, we provide emotional, spiritual and other support services.

It is with these small and vulnerable persons in mind that Capital Caring announces the establishment of a new Children’s Program to provide more comprehensive, coordinated care for children. The goal of the program is to ensure that every child facing a life-challenging illness has access to our state-of-the-art palliative and hospice care, and that each child who has lost someone they love has access to our compassionate bereavement care.

Thanks to a new partnership with Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC), Capital Caring’s pediatric hospice program is integrating web-based video consultations to discuss patient symptoms, treatment and support services, providing an even greater level of service to our patients and their families.

Additionally, Capital Caring's grief program for children includes The Point of Hope  bereavement camp, held annually in several Capital Caring neighborhoods. This program is designed to allow children of all ages to engage in traditional camp activities while learning healthy ways to express and cope with their grief and connect with other children who have experienced a loss.

Tara Hoit has been named Director of Capital Caring’s Children’s Program to help create, implement and sustain children’s bereavement and pediatric palliative support programs based on best practices. She has more than 15 years of experience as a children’s program development professional and has a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications with an emphasis on healthcare organizational communication. Her duties include raising funds for children’s programming through grants, private donations and corporate sponsorships. She helped raise $450k for Capital Caring’s recent Passion for Caring Gala supporting pediatric hospice and palliative care.

For more information on Capital Caring’s Children’s Program, contact Tara Hoit at thoit@capitalcaring.org.

 


$450,000 raised at Gala supporting pediatric hospice and palliative care

Raising awareness about the specialized services required for pediatric patients and their families was the focus of the annual Capital Caring Passion for Caring Gala. More than 400 community members gathered at the Marriott Marquis Washington DC on Nov. 17 to help raise $450,000 for programs and services benefiting some of the youngest, and most vulnerable patients.

“We are on a mission to raise awareness about the special needs of pediatric hospice and palliative care patients, and we are truly blessed to have generous support from so many in our community” said Tom Koutsoumpas, Capital Caring interim president and CEO.

“Oftentimes, when someone thinks about a serious illness it’s older adults who come to mind, but unfortunately there are many children who are suffering from serious, life-limiting conditions. The care provided to our pediatric patients is truly specialized and unique. Our goal is to increase awareness about this special patient population and continue to provide them with expert, compassionate, person-centered hospice and palliative care.”

In addition to raising funds at the gala, Capital Caring honored Dr. David Steinhorn and the PANDA Palliative Care Team at Children’s National Health System with the 2018 Passion for Caring Award. The annual Passion for Caring Award recognizes outstanding commitment to improve advanced illness care and support for patients and families. The PANDA Palliative Care team has been an ongoing partner of Capital Caring to help connect families to additional hospice support whenever needed.

The 2018 Chair’s Award was presented to Dr. Loring Flint, Chief Physician Executive and High Reliability Officer at Inova. In addition to Dr. Flint’s expansive medical career, he has been a dedicated volunteer for Capital Caring providing his leadership and expertise as a long-time member of the Board of Trustees.

Watch this video to learn more about Capital Caring’s Pediatric  Hospice and Palliative Care Programs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMiOI5PfAvI&t=2s.

Capital Caring thanks the following 2018 Passion for Caring sponsors for their generous support, including: Wise Hospice Options, The Adler Foundation, Direct Cremation Services of Northern Virginia and Hamilton Insurance Agency.

For more information about Capital Caring’s services and programs, visit www.capitalcaring.org.

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ABOUT CAPITAL CARING
Capital Caring’s mission is to provide the highest quality advanced illness care with dignity, respect and compassion. Since our founding in 1977, we have grown into one of the largest and most experienced nonprofit providers of hospice care, palliative care and bereavement counseling services in the nation. In 2017 alone, we served nearly 7,000 hospice patients and provided more than $3 million in charity care to those who had nowhere else to turn.
Capital Caring serves families and patients throughout Northern Virginia, as far south as Fredericksburg and Richmond, as well as Prince George’s County, Maryland, and DC. To learn more about Capital Caring, visit www.capitalcaring.org or call 800‐869‐2136.

 

 

 


WJLA Ch. 7 Special Report: Supporting Family Caregivers

Caring for a  seriously ill loved one can be fulfilling. The role of a family caregiver can also be stressful and draining. Nathan Baca with WJLA 7 on Your Side talks with a Capital Caring patient and family caregiver about support available to family members who are caring for their loved ones. Take a look at this video featuring a local family caregiver who shares how Capital Caring is providing care to her mother as well as support to her entire family. Watch video.


Coping with Grief During the Holidays

As the winter holidays approach, we are bombarded with messages that this will be a season of joy, peace, and love.

And yet for those who are grieving, any holiday can be a time of greater sadness, stress, and isolation.  Wonderful memories of happy times may bring pain and tears now, or, if the holidays have always been a difficult time, there may be guilt or regret.  While those around us may be in festive spirits, we may be reminded even more of our loved one who will not be celebrating with us.  We may lack the energy or interest to plan or attend holiday events.  There may be family conflicts related to where and how the holiday will take place.  Many questions and fears may arise, such as:

  • Who will cut the turkey?
  • What if I start to cry in the middle of dinner?
  • What if I just don’t want to celebrate this year?
  • How will I manage to just cope with getting through the day?

It is important for those who grieve to recognize limitations—we are not functioning at normal capacity and must reevaluate our priorities.  This means that we must:

  • Realize that we have physical and emotional limitations.
  • Know that there is no right or wrong way to respond.
  • Set limits with others.
  • Recognize that the absence of a loved one will be painful no matter what we do, and thus allow for the pain.
  • Remember that it is natural and appropriate to miss someone we love.

Discuss and plan ahead with family and friends.  Knowing what to expect will reduce everyone’s anxiety.

 


Raising awareness about pediatric hospice care

For Immediate Release

Raising awareness about pediatric hospice and palliative care is focus of Capital Caring’s Passion for Caring Gala
Dr. David Steinhorn and the PANDA Palliative Care Team at Children’s National Health System; and Dr. Loring Flint, Inova Chief Physician Executive, to be honored at gala

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Capital Caring is raising awareness about hospice and palliative care and the specialized services needed for pediatric patients at its annual Passion for Caring Gala, Saturday, Nov. 17 at the Marriott Marquis Washington DC.

As one of the largest pediatric hospice providers in the country, Capital Caring provides compassionate, person-centered, specialized care to pediatric patients and support to their families throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

Capital Caring will also recognize Dr. David Steinhorn and the PANDA Palliative Care Team at Children’s National Health System with the 2018 Passion for Caring Award. The annual Passion for Caring Award recognizes outstanding commitment to improve advanced illness care and extraordinary support for patients and families. The PANDA Palliative Care team has been an ongoing partner of Capital Caring to help connect families to additional hospice support whenever needed.

Additionally, Capital Caring will present its 2018 Chair’s Award to Dr. Loring Flint, Chief Physician Executive and High Reliability Officer at Inova. In addition to Dr. Flint’s expansive medical career, he has been a dedicated volunteer for Capital Caring providing his leadership and expertise as a long-time member of the Board of Trustees.

The Passion for Caring Gala will also highlight the impact that generous community support has made on patients and families through the wide range of programs Capital Caring offers.

The gala will kick off with a silent auction, followed by networking, dinner, and a live auction.  Proceeds from the 2018 Passion for Caring Gala benefit Capital Caring’s Pediatric Hospice and Palliative Care Program.

Event Details

What:              Capital Caring’s Passion for Caring Gala

 

Where:            Marriott Marquis Washington, DC, 901 Massachusetts Ave, NW , Washington, DC 20001

 

When:             Saturday, November 17, 2018 - 5:30 -10:30 p.m.

For more information about Capital Caring’s service area and programs, visit www.capitalcaring.org.

Capital Caring thanks the 2018 Passion for Caring sponsors for their generous support: Wise Hospice Options, The Adler Foundation, Direct Cremation Services of Northern Virginia and Hamilton Insurance Agency.

Media passes are available. To register or to learn more about the Gala and opportunities to interview a Capital Caring expert about pediatric hospice and palliative care or a family member in our care, contact Amy Shields 703-531-6095; ashields@capitalcaring.org

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ABOUT CAPITAL CARING
Capital Caring’s mission is to provide the highest quality advanced illness care with dignity, respect and compassion. Since our founding in 1977, we have grown into one of the largest and most experienced nonprofit providers of hospice care, palliative care and bereavement counseling services in the nation. In 2017 alone, we served nearly 7,000 hospice patients and provided more than $3 million in charity care to those who had nowhere else to turn.
Capital Caring serves families and patients throughout Northern Virginia, as far south as Fredericksburg and Richmond, as well as Prince George’s County, Maryland, and DC. To learn more about Capital Caring, visit www.capitalcaring.org or call 800‐869‐2136.