Capital Caring is pleased to have been chosen by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to participate in an investigational study called the Medicare Care Choices Model (MCCM). We are privileged to be one of 140 hospices across the country to participate in this program designed to explore ways to improve care options for hospice-eligible beneficiaries. The Care Choices program provides patients with greater flexibility in deciding between hospice care and curative treatment.
Under the Care Choices program, beneficiaries with advanced cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure, and HIV/AIDS who meet hospice requirements under the Medicare hospice benefit, will be able to receive palliative care services from hospice providers participating in the study, while concurrently receiving curative services provided by their own medical providers.
Currently, Medicare beneficiaries are required to forgo curative care in order to receive access to services offered by hospice.
The Care Choices model will study whether access to such services will result in improved quality of care and patient and family satisfaction, and whether there are any effects on use of curative services and the Medicare hospice benefit.
Capital Caring’s Care Choices program will be piloted in our Richmond neighborhood, beginning January 1, 2018 and running through December 31, 2020.
A special landing page has been created (capitalcaring.org/carechoices) with information about the program for patients and providers. For more information or to enroll in the program, you may call our 24 hour, toll-free number – 1-800-869-2136.
The Care Choices program provides another valuable option for patients enabling us to provide care coordination earlier for patients, along with easier access to hospice care.
National Hospice and Palliative Care Month is a great opportunity to raise awareness of all that Capital and WV Caring have to offer. This month’s celebration is a perfect chance to share the unique and individual approach to advanced illness that we use for each patient and family.
This distinctive and holistic approach means that sometimes we improve care with symptom and pain management, and sometimes the biggest help to a family is through instilling confidence and a knowledge of the end-of-life process. However, it seems that sometimes we have improved care the most, when we are able to treat the ‘heart.’
Through the work of our staff, volunteers, partners and donors, we have fulfilled hundreds of ‘last wishes.’ Some big, some small, but all with the same value to the patient and family. Wishes that bring peace and closure. So, how appropriate it was that as we kicked off our observance this month that our staff was once again turning their attention to a matter of the heart – literally, and figuratively.
The WV Caring team in Elkins, WV was serving an 18-year old patient named Austin for a heart condition. As his pain and symptoms were managed, the team discovered that he had a simple wish – he wanted to ride a bus to see his former classmates. As Austin had deteriorated physically, one of his happy places was the great memories he had of high school. Austin suffered from a heart condition physically, but also emotionally. The WV Caring team began making arrangements with a local bus company and the school to fulfill this wish. However, this effort grew in herculean proportions as Austin’s love of superheroes was discovered. More calls, more responses of the heart, and a community of helpers appeared out of nowhere.
Sometimes, things just fall into place.
Originally, Austin and his mom were taking a bus ride. In the end, Austin’s entire family was on board the bus as they pulled up to the back of Elkins High School where a professional Batman impersonator was ceremoniously waiting beside his Batmobile. Originally, the Principal was going to have a few classes come out front to greet Austin and Batman – in the end, he was so moved that he made an announcement and had the entire school, 850 students, out front waving and cheering when Austin rounded the corner riding in the Batmobile. Originally, Austin was riding on his mom’s lap with her arms holding him up, but in the end, when he saw all of the students and community members outside, he suddenly insisted on sitting up on his own strength and waved to the crowd. Originally, we picked up a patient to help a family take care of their son. In the end, Austin’s mother thanked the staff for “giving us this memory to last a lifetime.” It was more than the heart’s desire.
The next day, Austin died. Austin’s family and our WV Caring staff gathered last week for his funeral, and exactly as it should be – Batman in the Batmobile lead the procession.
An artist, Satsuki Shibuya, said, “By doing what you love you inspire and awaken the hearts of others.” Austin had so much meaning to his life and he touched people. So does everyone else who supports this critical work. We hope you will continue this month to listen, speak, and share the superpower that lies within you.
Please contact Capital Caring at www.capitalcaring.org or call us at 800-869-2136, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and let us help you.
Recognized since 2001, Pain Awareness Month increases awareness of the many ways pain impacts individuals, families, and communities, while also offering support and treatment options to individuals. At Capital Caring, many of the moms, dads, and kids who come to us facing advanced illnesses also suffer severe pain due to their individual conditions or to the side-effects of treatments.
We know that pain and discomfort cannot wait, so Capital Caring cares for our patients the way we would want members of our own families treated. We seek to reduce pain to manageable levels (0-2 out of 10) within 48 hours of bringing a new patient into care, and we alleviate stress associated with shortness of breath within 24 hours. Pain and distress do not need to be part of advanced illness, and Capital Caring’s clinical teams are dedicated to quality care that meet these outcomes.
Our Center for Pain and Palliative Care, located at the Capital Caring Adler Center on the Van Metre Campus, is the only such facility of its kind and offers comprehensive interventional pain support and palliative care counseling for individuals with advanced disease symptoms that impact their quality of life. The CPPC can provide relief from side effects of chemotherapy, restlessness for those with dementia, shortness of breath exacerbated by COPD, and other symptoms associated with a wide array of advanced illnesses.
How does pain impact your life or the life of a loved one? Please contact Capital Caring at www.capitalcaring.org or call us at 800-869-2136, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and let us help you.
Labor Day celebrates American workers – our achievements, contributions, and dedication to supporting those in our communities. Fortunately, most of us are able to celebrate “our day” by relaxing and enjoying time with friends and family as we say goodbye to summer and look forward to autumn. At Capital Caring, we celebrate our employees’ achievements and contributions every day – we are grateful that so many individuals brought their passion for service to Capital Caring. Each of our colleagues consistently live our mission to simply improve care, and their actions impact the lives of our neighbors across the mid-Atlantic region every day of the year.
While many of us are enjoying the holiday, we know our work does not take a break – hospice care is a 24/7 calling. Those who are working today and living our core values are an example to all of us of the care we have provided for 40 years and will continue to provide for many years into the future.
Whether they are working today or not, we are so appreciative of all Capital Caring’s employees for your achievements, contributions, and your dedication.
On August 18, Capital Caring presented the Center of Excellence award to Bev Greene, the administrator at Powhatan Nursing Home, noting the facility’s commitment to caring for those facing advanced illness. The Centers of Excellence program, launched earlier this year, is a partnership between Capital Caring and select long-term care facilities recognized for providing world-class and compassionate end-of-life care. Organizations chosen as Centers of Excellence combine their own staff expertise in caring for others with additional education and training from Capital Caring’s clinical, spiritual, and emotional case management teams, all with the goal of simply improving care for individuals with advanced illnesses.
“It is fitting that we recognize our friends at Powhatan,” said Rev. Carolyn Richar, Executive Director of Capital Caring’s Arlington neighborhood. “Powhatan and Capital Caring first came together more than 30 years ago to provide hospice care for residents here. Facility-based hospice care began in Arlington here at Powhatan because of the foresight and concern for residents shared by the administrator at that time, J.T. Butler, and Dr. Josefina Magno, who founded Capital Caring in 1977.”
“I remember meeting Dr. Magno way back when,” said Cyndi Butler, the daughter of the late J.T. Butler, and current owner of Powhatan Nursing Home. “Some of the nurses were nervous about what it would mean to provide hospice care here, but we are proud of our partnership with Capital Caring and know we have been able to provide incredible care for so many more of our residents than we otherwise could have done. I’m grateful for this award and for Capital Caring’s recognition.”
Powhatan Nursing Home joins Carroll Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Elizabeth Adam Crump Health and Rehabilitation, The Fountains at Washington House, Heritage Hall Leesburg, and Potomac Falls Health & Rehab Center as Centers of Excellence recognized since the program’s launch in early 2017.