Demand for hospice care increasing in Caroline
— Caroline Hospice Foundation reported a 42 percent increase in patients seeking hospice care in Caroline County in 2016, it was announced in a news release.
In 2015, the organization helped fund the cost of care for 105 patients Caroline County. In 2016, that number rose to 149 patients.
Caroline Hospice Foundation works to ensure that residents of Caroline County have access to exceptional end-of-life care. The organization raises funds through donations, fundraisers and grants to help offset the cost of hospice care for local residents. Medical care for all hospice patients in Caroline County is provided by Compass Regional Hospice, which ser ves the communities of Queen Anne’s, Kent and Caroline Counties.
“We have an outstanding partnership with Compass Regional Hospice,” said Heidi Plutschak, executive director of Caroline Hospice Foundation.
Plutschak attributed part of the increased demand for hospice services to the reputation Compass Regional Hospice has earned in the community.
“Compass has wonderful staff who really make a difference for patients and their families,” Plutschak said.
Plutschak said the increase could also be partly attributed to the reopening of the Caroline Hospice Home in Denton in August 2015 after extensive renovations.
The home has three private rooms for residential patient care. Compass Regional Hospice provides medical care at the home, as well as at private residences, assisted living facilities and nursing homes. This flexibility of where care is delivered has allowed more Caroline County patients to access hospice ser vices.
Plutschak credited Caroline Hospice Foundation’s new outreach efforts with raising community awareness about the availability of hospice care in Caroline County. The organization launched a new website and annual appeal campaign in 2016.
“Our new website has helped local families understand the benefits of hospice care for their loved ones,” Plutschak said. “It is more informative and makes it easier for families to get help during a very challenging and emotional time in their lives.”
The new website has assisted the organization in raising funds through donations and event ticket sales, more important than ever, as the 42 percent increase in patients in 2016 resulted in a more than 200 percent increase in the cost of care paid for by Caroline Hospice Foundation.
“We could not fulfill our mission to fund hospice patients in Caroline County if it wasn’t for the generosity of this community,” said Plutschak.
Plutschak said a recent challenge for the organization has been confusion about a competing fundraising appeal from an out-ofstate hospice organization. Several local residents have reported receiving an appeal letter from a hospice organization in Virginia that has no affiliation with Caroline Hospice Foundation.
“Caroline Hospice Foundation is the only hospice foundation to support hospice services in Caroline County, and Compass Regional Hospice is the only fully licensed hospice provider,” said Plutschak.
Plutschak said Caroline Hospice Foundation is predicting similar levels of pa- tient enrollment for hospice care in Caroline County in 2017.
The organization accepts donations through its website at www.carolinehospicefoundation.org or by check at Caroline Hospice Foundation, 613 S. 5th Ave., Denton, MD 21629.
The Caroline Hospice Home in Denton.