EUGENE REGISTER GUARD
Guest View: Debunking Myths About Hospice Care
It is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. As a provider of such services, I am often confronted with the myths that have sprouted regarding these two areas of health care, and thought this month would be a good opportunity to dispel some misinformation about these services that help patients and their families live the best life possible.
First, some basics. Every year, nearly 1.6 million people living with a life-limiting illness receive care from hospices in this country. Hospice services employ highly trained professionals who provide patients and families a supportive, comforting and peaceful transition at the end of life.
Further, hospice and palliative care programs provide pain management, symptom control, psychological support and spiritual care to patients and their families when a cure is not possible. These programs combine the highest level of quality medical care with the emotional and spiritual support that families need most when facing a serious or terminal illness.
The unhealthy mythology about hospice and palliative care tends to center around the dual concepts of hope and time. For some, the idea of enrolling a loved one in palliative care or hospice is akin to giving up hope and admitting defeat. Nothing could be further from the truth. Joining hospice or palliative care is all about hope: hope for a better quality of life, hope for a better journey for the patient and loved one and hope for every precious moment to be lived as comfortably and joyfully as possible.
That first myth of giving up hope leads to the second myth that time is somehow the enemy, and postponing and delaying important decisions is a sound strategy. It’s not. Denial that leads to delay simply means that a patient and their friends and family are deprived of more days spent enjoying the time that is left. By seeing time as your ally, all parties can work toward maximizing the quality of days that remain. Instead of waiting, earlier entry into hospice or palliative care can ensure more time to celebrate life.
The facts about hospice or palliative care are rock solid, reassuring and they conclusively point to more positive outcomes the earlier they are utilized:
- Patients in palliative can still receive curative treatments.
- Providers work in collaboration with primary caregivers as part of an overall strategy.
- If a patient needs to progress toward hospice, already receiving palliative care makes for a much more seamless transition for both
patient and family.
- Hospice is not necessarily a place. Most hospice patients receive care at home which, for the vast majority of people, is where they want to be.
- Hospice doesn’t just provide for the immediate medical needs. Social workers, spiritual care professionals and bereavement experts provide comfort to patients – as well as loved ones.
- In fact, hospice is just as much about supporting loved ones as it is about patients.
- Finally, many studies have found that terminally ill patients who received hospice care lived longer with a higher quality of life than
non-hospice patients with similar diagnoses.
As our population continues to age, the need for early entry into hospice and palliative care will grow exponentially into the future. It would be a wonderful outcome if some of the myths around these vital services dissolve and are replaced by a better understanding and appreciation for what they can do. This month, hopefully more people also will also acknowledge that these services create – instead of remove – hope and time.
Rebecca Gonzalez is director of clinical services for Cascade Health – a nonprofit provider of home health, palliative care and hospices services in Lane County.
October 20, 2020
Contact: Michael Dunne
Cascade Health Manager Features in Medical Matters
Cascade Health’s manager of behavioral health is featured in the October issue of Medical Matters, Lane County Medical Society’s membership publication.
October 7, 2020
Cascade Health Again Named to 100 Best Nonprofits List
2020 Marks 11th Year Appearing on Oregon Business’s Ranking
Eugene, Ore. (October 7, 2020) – Cascade Health, one of Lane County’s largest
community-based nonprofit health care organizations, was again recognized as a 100 Best
Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon by Oregon Business Magazine. 2020 marks the 11th year
that Cascade Health was named to the list.
“We are thrilled to once again make Oregon Business’s list of top nonprofits,” said Eric Van
Houten, chief executive officer of Cascade Health. “The list is so much more than just
recognition for organizations, but rather a showcase of the practices, ideas and cultures that
nonprofits provide for individual communities and the entire state of Oregon.”
The list is based upon employee surveys to determine overall staff satisfaction; culture, skills
development opportunities and leadership efficacy. Cascade Health has made the list 11 times
since its inception in 2009. The full list and rankings appear in this week’s Oregon Business
October 1, 2020
Cascade Health Providing Seasonal Flu Shots
Heightened level of safety during Pandemic
Eugene, Ore. (October 1, 2020) – Cascade Health, one of Lane County’s largest
community-based nonprofit health care organizations will once again offer seasonal flu shots to
employers and their employees throughout Lane County for the next several months. Wellness
nurses will provide additional health precautions including masks, continuously sanitized
surfaces and socially-distant wait times in order to meet COVID-19 requirements.
“It’s more important than ever for employees to get their seasonal flu shots,” said Travis Brooke,
Cascade Health’s director of occupational health. “By getting the flu vaccine, people can greatly
reduce their chances of getting the seasonal flu which displays many of the same symptoms as
Cascade Health provides flu vaccines for between 100 to 200 small and large employers
throughout Lane County. The organization can directly bill Pacific Source, Kaiser, MODA,
Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Providence. The organization can also bill employers
directly with prior authorization. Participants can self-pay via check or exact change in the
amount of $32.00.
To schedule on-site flu shot clinics, employers can call: 541.228.3104
September 14, 2020
CASCADE HEALTH TO OFFER INDIVIDUAL AND EMPLOYER ON-SITE CPR/AED CLASSES
Trainings will be offered at a variety of times and locations
Eugene, Ore. (September 14, 2020) – Cascade Health, one of Lane County’s largest community-based nonprofit health care organizations will be offering initial and re-certification classes for Adult CPR / AED & First Aid. The classes will be offered at Cascade Health’s headquarters for individuals, as well as employer onsite trainings for entire teams.
“We realize it’s often difficult to close down a department so staff can get the training they need, says Ryan Freeman, Cascade Health’s assistant manager for Mobile Health. “That’s why we are offering classes for individual sign-ups to minimize scheduling challenges as well as whole-team onsite options.”
The course will be taught by certified CPR instructors and will be fully compliant with Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 guidelines.
According to the American Heart Association, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests happen each year outside of a hospital and that correctly administered CPR can triple the chance of survival.
To find out more and to sign up for individual or on-sight classes, go to cascadehealth.org or call 541-228-3009.
ABOUT CASCADE HEALTH
Cascade Health is a local, nonprofit organization comprised of caring, qualified professionals who meet the unmet health needs of the community. The organization provides personal care opportunities outside of a hospital setting, including services for individual and family counseling, diabetes and nutritional education, home health, palliative care, and hospice. Cascade Health also delivers a continuum of workplace services encompassing pre-employment screening and drug testing, injury prevention and treatment, as well as co-worker conflict resolution and leadership training. The Pete Moore Hospice House offers a home-like environment to provide quality, compassionate end-of-life care. For more information, go to: cascadehealth.org.