De­mand for hospice care in­creas­ing in Caro­line

Times-Record - - NEWS -

— 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.

SUBMIT­TED PHOTO

The Caro­line Hospice Home in Denton.

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