Soaring Above & Beyond for Our Patients

         

Being able to grant our hospice patients one last wish is always a very heartwarming experience for everyone involved. In this case, having the chance to facilitate a flyover for this WWII fighter pilot and Vietnam veteran, who had been flying for more than 40 years, had everyone involved feeling a little extra thankful for our veterans that day.

The patient’s granddaughter was able to arrange a flyover with a P-51 Mustang plane – the exact plane which he piloted in WWII – over his home. While surrounded by his family and friends, this was a wonderful experience for this true American hero. As his granddaughter expressed, “Thank you all for making this day possible for my grandfather! Our family will be forever thankful for Abode.”

The granddaughter went on to explain that the patient had always enjoyed telling stories to his great-grandson about his flying experiences and how he stopped the ‘bad guys.’ The patient also had a collection of P-51 Mustang planes, as it was his favorite plane model.

As the plane flew over the patient’s home, smiles were had by everyone – especially the guest of honor. With the American flag flying high, cheers, and waving, this was truly an experience deserving of an American hero.

These Life Inspiring Events are just a small part of what Abode does to soar above and beyond for its patients. We strive to provide any sort of joy or comfort available to the patients during their time with hospice.

  • Left photo: The photo on the left is of the patient and his family. This photo includes four generations who were all able to experience this event together.
  • Middle photo: The middle photo is of the patient with staff members who helped make this event possible.
  • Right photo: The photo to the right is of the P-51 Mustang that was flown.

A Recital to Remember

A Recital to Remember

Many people have a passion that they develop and grow to love during their lifetime. For one of our patients, she dedicated many years of her life to performing and teaching students how to play the harp and piano. As a patient with Stage IV lung cancer, she has become increasingly weaker, forcing her to stop teaching her beloved students.

As a result, an Abode employee came up with the idea of having the patient’s students play a private concert for her as a surprise. Using the Broadmoor hotel as the venue, team members were able to coax the patient to come to lunch at the Broadmoor, where she was surprised with her students awaiting. The students played for her for an hour while finishing her afternoon with lunch complimentary of the Broadmoor Golf Club following the event.

Interestingly enough, it was discovered that the patient had played over 100 times at the Broadmoor for weddings and private events over the years, which made the event more special. The Broadmoor team was overly accommodating to help with this event as they have grown to love the patient and her music over the years. Without the help of Abode’s amazing staff and the staff at Broadmoor, this event would not have been possible. As the patient’s son put it,

“What Abode has done is above and beyond. I thought it was incredible the lengths the crew went to make this event possible. I’m absolutely blown away.”

Oftentimes our patients are unable to participate in the tasks they once loved. We strive to make sure they are able to get a taste of these beloved hobbies or interests during their time with us in hospice. This is the perfect example of how we can bring a little bit of that joy back into our patients’ lives.

SHPBestTM Hospice Caregiver Satisfaction Awarded to Abode Hospice & Home Health!

Abode Hospice & Home Health earns the 2018 SHPBestTM Hospice Caregiver Satisfaction Award

Abode Hospice & Home Health has been recognized by Strategic Healthcare Programs (SHP) as a superior for achieving an overall caregiver and family satisfaction score that ranked in the top 20% of all eligible SHP clients for the 2018 calendar year.

The annual SHPBest™ award program was created to acknowledge hospice providers that consistently provide high quality service to families and caregivers of patients receiving hospice care. The 2018 award recipients were determined by reviewing and ranking the overall CAHPS Hospice survey satisfaction score for more than 1,000 hospice providers. With one of the largest CAHPS Hospice benchmarks in the nation, SHP is in a unique position to identify and recognize organizations that have made family and caregiver satisfaction satisfaction a priority and have been rewarded for their efforts with high marks on the CAHPS Hospice survey.

“SHP is proud to present the SHPBest awards to our top-performing customers. We commend these organizations for their continuous focus on delivering the highest quality of care to their patients”, said Rob Paulsson, President of SHP.

Abode Hospice & Home Health is proud to accept this prestigious award. Every day, we work to provide the best home health services to our patients and we would like to thank all of our staff for working hard to help make this award possible.

 

Read more about the SHPBest awards program, including methodology and award recipient lists at https://www.shpdata.com/hospice/shpbest-cahps-hospice/.

Wellness Spotlight Christal Ransom

Wellness Matters!

Wellness written with wooden letters, fresh chamomile flowers on rustic surface

We all know it can be difficult to maintain a healthy (or even healthy-ish) lifestyle, but here is one employee who believes: “Always focus on doing the right thing”.

Christal Ransom has been with Abode Hospice and Home Health in Colorado Springs since day one; she serves as Director of Public Relations and Community Liaison. Before joining the Abode team, Christal worked in outpatient orthopedics, sports medicine, and social work, where she found her passion for hospice.

Christal has deep roots in the sport Judo that instilled many values she holds true today in her career like “perseverance, work ethic, and integrity” and “wanting to be the best and have the best team” she says.

In 2000, Christal moved out to Colorado Springs to train at the Olympic Center. She also competed for the U.S. National team for 12 years. In 2008, she won the Olympic trials but unfortunately was unable to go to the Olympics because her weight division wasn’t qualified.

For the 2012 Olympics, “I trained to make the London team but was unable to qualify and got selected to attend the Olympics as a training partner” she says. After London in 2012, Christal retired and was elected to join the Board of Directors for U.S.A. Judo which she currently serves on today.

It’s easy to see how such an intense sport can really instill such values and characteristics that have carried over into Christal’s life today.

An average day for Christal is going to the gym every morning about 6:30 AM, “I usually begin taking calls there and I’m out and about driving around all day” she says. Among other things, “I work with patients, families, and facilities in order to help coordinate admissions and patient care”.

But for those who don’t have a complete background in Judo or any sport for that matter Christal has some sound advice for living a healthy lifestyle.

Christal Ransom second from the left attending a last wish event!

Christal Ransom – second from the left attending a last wish event!

Often our jobs are sometimes stressful, what might be the best way to combat that?

If your immune system is beat down and you are stressed the best thing you can do is to eat right and take care of your body so you can recover, so you aren’t sick for weeks.

 

On that note, what foods can you not live without?

Chicken. Chicken three times. Or chicken, coconut oil, and espresso. Coconut oil is also key!!

 

What might be the best advice to find the right eating and working out schedule?

My suggestion to people who do what we do would be to bring your lunch – meal prep that way you have healthy snacks. Since I am always on the go, I have a little icebox in my car that I pack my lunch in; chicken and avocado!

Other clean food like nuts or protein bars, healthy but quick to eat. That way when you have no time to stop and eat you at least have something healthy on the go that’s going to fuel your body. Oh and no smoking!!

 

Are you reading any interesting books, blogs, magazines that have health tips in it?

Nothing too particular or specific to health but I was reading about coconut oil – coconut oil helps boost your immune system.

 

Cold and flu season are around the corner, do you have any tips that might help to combat that?

Yes, I can be quite germ-a-phoab! Wash your hands, all too often we rely on hand sanitizer – you have got to wash your hands!

Also, don’t wear your shoes in the house, I feel like you track in a lot of dirt and nasty germs from the hospital or wherever in your home. Leave your shoes at the door!

A couple of other helpful tips are zinc and vitamin C – they also help boost your immune system. I’d say if you do not take supplements regularly, you should at least take something that is boosting your immune system during the flu season.

Lastly, wipe your phones down with antibacterial wipes. Our phones are considered one of our dirtiest possessions. People don’t realize but your phone is your nastiest piece of equipment – use antibacterial wipes!

For those of you always on the go, here are some helpful tips and advice from one of our own that can hopefully help you jump start and maintain your health! Wellness in all forms matter and taking the right small steps can make a huge difference in your day-to-day lifestyle.

Hospice Volunteers: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Things

For Abode Hospice & Home Health, hospice affirms life. And when in hospice care it is likely you have an interdisciplinary team consisting of kind and skilled nurses, medical directors, aids, social workers, chaplains, and hospice volunteers all practicing a holistic tailored approach.

So, who are the ordinary people doing extraordinary things? Well everyone on your team, but today we are recognizing why hospice volunteers can have such an important role in end-of-life care.

A hospice volunteer is considered someone who has the ability to share their heart and watch others’ hearts grow as time passes, sharing a connectedness. For some, it may be the only other heart around and for others it could be adding to the love shared within a family. The capacity to go about serving selflessly is an act only some are capable of and are the ones who represent Abode Hospice & Home Health undoubtedly.

Hospice volunteers are there to see what patients needs are and help fulfill them. Our volunteers accomplish a multitude of things from providing companionship and support, to lending a helping hand around the house, talking, going on a stroll with or reading to the patient, to helping with fulfilling final wishes, and anything else that can be thought of in-between. The support the Abode Hospice & Home Health volunteer team is able to provide goes above and beyond what is expected.

In other words, a hospice volunteer is there to help enhance the patient’s quality of life in many ways. Having volunteers only helps increase the scope of the care to help provide more relief, comfort, and sometimes just to simply take your mind off things.

In volunteering instances, it is not only the patient’s quality of life improving but the same is also happening for the volunteer. When volunteering, a sense of purpose is met which can bring fun and fulfillment to your life. Not only that but it is a way to increase social and relationship skills. Our volunteers at Abode Hospice & Home Health form bonds with our patients and their families holding them near in their hearts.

If we wanted to get scientific with why volunteering is helpful to not only the patient but the volunteer as well, researchers from London School of Economics found that “helping others kindles happiness…”. If you think hospice volunteering is right for you please feel free to contact Laura Ehmann at Laura.Ehmann@premierhospiceaz.com

To find out more about how Abode Hospice services can benefit your loved one, please contact us.

Caring Services For A Caring Person: Raising Awareness for ALS

Roy Mass giving a thumbs up in raising awareness for ALS

Roy Mass giving the camera a thumbs up in raising awareness for ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease for his loved wife Nicole.

Roy Mass knows what it is like to push through the pain when your mind tells you to stop. Like his previous grueling Ironman Triathalons, on race day he relied on his “bank” of training and his commitment to his wife Nicole. However, the race in Boulder, CO had a dramatic difference: Nicole wasn’t holding her artsy sign or cheering encouraging words.

“It was strange because I’ll never have her there with me again to support me,” Roy said. “I had motivation to race for her. On the run it boiled down to reminding myself I was doing it for Nicole.”

In fact, the words “For my Nicole,” were written on top of a blue rose on Roy’s jersey to raise awareness for ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Thankfully, with support from Abode Hospice & Home Health, Nicole’s deteriorating health did not keep her from watching Roy’s race.

“A Hospice volunteer and her husband spent all day cheering me on and taking pictures and videos,” Roy said. “They posted videos and pictures to my Facebook (page) throughout the race for Nicole to see while she was at home … Since Nicole couldn’t make a sign for me, I made a sign for her and at miles 7 and 19 I got to see the sign.”

Besides bringing community awareness of ALS during events such as Roy’s Ironman race, Abode has provided skilled nurses, certified nursing assistants (CNA), medical social workers, volunteers, and holistic, home healthcare services for Nicole.
As a fulltime, certified dietary manager in the Army, Roy relies on exceptional support, specialized, and loving care from Abode.
“When I was on 24-hour duty, Abode rotated someone through every hour to help me, from nurses to chaplains to social workers, “ Roy said. “Every hour, someone new came, just to make sure someone was in the house with Nicole. Volunteers kept Nicole company, just so I could get out of the house and work or get something done.”

For 24 years Roy and Nicole have built a life together. They have enjoyed fast-paced hockey games, strolls through the top zoos in the country, marveled at sceneries like Alaska, and explored other sweet spots coordinated around Roy’s racing plans.
Roy’s nearly 19-year stint in the Army often kept them apart, but Nicole made sure their marriage stayed solid.
“She (Nicole) always did a really great job taking care of people,” Roy said. “During my deployments, she would go to the dollar store to pickup little toys and send care packages every month, tailoring them around holidays. She knew what seasons she could send chocolate. She always sent another jar of peanut butter. She knew the soldiers’ favorites.”
Now, the tide has turned, and Abode is helping Roy take care of Nicole. Abode offers comfort, and relief to her body, mind and spirit. The Abode nurse comes out everyday to do physical assessments, wound care, order medical supplies, manage her pain and even paint her nails.“Abode manages her health needs very well,” Roy said. “They give her baths, help her get ready for bed and provide general hygiene. A specific volunteer comes out and reads to Nicole or they watch a movie with her and just talk.”
Nicole has developed friendships with Abode employees and everyone at Abode knows who she is and makes a positive difference in her life.

“Currently, Tracy the volunteer is reading the Wizard of Oz,” Roy said. “Nicole didn’t care for the first book. Tracy the volunteer, told Linda the nurse that she made a funny face; she didn’t like it. She also loves watching Minon and Whinny the Pooh.”
Before diagnosed with ALS, Nicole was working on her RN degree. She enjoyed scrapbooking, creating beautiful, handmade cards and taking care of her family.

“Nicole has had some great CNAs from Abode. Especially since it’s her field, Nicole knows right off the bat if the nurse knew what he or she was doing. Can’t fake competence with Nicole,” laughed Roy.
Roy and Nicole are thankful for Abode’s interdisciplinary teamwork and reliable communication skills.
“The biggest thing is Abode hospice can really reach out and help you in sticky situations,” Roy said. “They helped cover me until I got someone over one time, and they have a lot of resources that they can put you in touch with.”

To find out more about Abode Hospice services can benefit your loved on, contact us.

The Importance of Chaplains

At certain times throughout life we are reminded that the mind, body, and spirit all share a connectedness and at times need to be nurtured. Everyone has their unique situation which is important to consider, especially when hospice care is needed. In a hospice care setting, it’s necessary to feel every aspect of support is actively being cared for.

Today, healthcare providers have come to realize patients want a holistic approach to well-being which is where hospice chaplains come into play. Hospice chaplains go beyond the constraints of medical practitioners by becoming spiritual caregivers or providers for the terminally ill and their loved ones. A chaplain is not a spiritual caregiver in a religious sense but are there to help support emotional and spiritual health along the journey. During times like so, it is comforting to find relief.

Relief comes in different forms and is individualistic to the person in need. Chaplains cater to all individuals’ religious and non-religious experiences. The foundation of this practice is to provide an active presence and a listening body. Chaplains take into account the emotional, physical, and mental stressors to provide the most appropriate care.

Fortunately, chaplains are not alone. They work with a hospice team that consists of physicians, volunteers, dietitians, and various health aides. The team is coordinated with a medical manager putting into action the best end of life care plan for your loved ones. These professionals are here to provide comfort in all forms for patients and loved ones through care of the mind and body.

To find out more about Abode Hospice services can benefit your loved on, please contact us.

Free Caregiver Support Groups

Free Caregiver Support Groups Offered at Local Coffee Houses

As a caregiver for a loved one, whether they are at home, in a care facility or miles away, you’re likely to face a host of new responsibilities, many of which are unfamiliar or intimidating. At times, you may feel overwhelmed and alone. All caregivers need respite, resources and reassuring support from others.

Thursday Mornings10 to 11:15 am
Café 225 225 N. Weber, CO Springs 80903

Thursday Evenings6 to 7:15 pm
Peak Place Coffee House2360 Montebello Square, Suite H1, Colorado Springs 80918

Knowing the complex schedules of caregivers, the groups are on a come-as-you-are-able basis.
All sessions are free and welcoming to any caregivers in the community.  Please join us.

Facilitator:  RoMa Johnson, MA, MDiv, Abode Chaplain
For more information contact the Abode Hospice office, 719-358-6428.

A Love Story-This is Hospice

Abode recently signed on a patient to our hospice services who lives with her husband of over 60 years in an Independent Living Community.  Their story is…between the loving husband and devoted wife: they make a whole.

Unexpectedly, the husband is now hospitalized.  Our patient is being cared for at home, by an adult son, with the support of Abode Hospice.  Ah yes, the adult son, now the primary caregiver, who also has his life challenges, quickly realizing that this is not an ideal situation.  Sound familiar?  In order to support him, and ensure that our patient receives the care needed in a safe, nurturing environment, we have arranged a respite stay.

This wife is hesitant to leave her home, worried that when her husband returns, that they will not be together again.  After 60+ years of wedded bliss and understanding her terminal diagnosis, there is nothing more important than being with her husband!

Thanks to our wonderful community partners and hospice team, we found a Care Community that is accepting the husband for rehab, and welcoming our patient to respite at the same time…all the while, staying together!

The couple will most likely transition to an Assisted Living apartment in this community, continuing their life journey, for the time they have left…being together.  We are honoring the final chapter of their Love Story!

THIS IS HOSPICE!

To make more love stories with Abode Hospice, contact us today!

Cowgirl Forever In Our Hearts

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Thanks to Abode Hospice, 89-year-old Ruth is living her final days surrounded by family and friends. Ruth counts the hospice team members among those friends. Such relationships are possible because Abode’s caring professionals believe in the simple Golden Rule. “We treat others the way we want to be treated.”

Abode Hospice provides a full range of services to ensure that Ruth has everything she needs to be comfortable at Forest Ridge, the skilled nursing facility where she resides. This includes an expert registered nurse for symptom management, a chaplain for spiritual support, a social worker for emotional and community support, a certified nursing assistant for companionship and personal care, and volunteers for additional TLC. Abode staff members consider themselves extensions of Ruth’s family and the Forest Ridge staff. “Our goal as an agency is to team up with the facilities we work with in order to provide the best care possible for our patients and families.”

“I am very happy and blessed to have Abode come in and work with Ruth,” says Mary Ann, Ruth’s surrogate daughter. Ruth never had children, but considers MaryAnn her own. “Ruth was that extraordinary person I was blessed to have in my life,” says Mary Ann, “She did extra special things with me. My first train ride to New York and first play.” MaryAnn called in hospice upon learning she would be in Maryland for 7 weeks taking care of Ruth’s estate. “I wanted Ruth to have an extra level of care and ensure health professionals would be looking in on her frequently.”

Abode provided Ruth with that care, and went above and beyond what many other hospices would have done. Before moving from Maryland, Ruth told friends she was going West in search of a cowboy with a Palomino horse. So, when Mary Ann expressed an interest to take Ruth on a equestrian outing, the Abode team proceeded to check out what options were available. With that information Mary Ann contacted a local guest ranch and set a date. As an example of the extra care and concern shown by Abode, they made all the arrangements for a very special day including transportation and a delicious picnic lunch. Ruth’s caretakers made her wheelchair into an “all-terrain” vehicle, pushing her out into the pasture. There she spent much of the afternoon with a beautiful Palomino pony named Vanilla Oreo. She got such pleasure feeding carrots to this gentle horse under the attentive care of an authentic handsome Colorado cowboy.

Ruth spent her time on the ranch cuddled in a plaid comforter with a genuine smile on her face and a horse nuzzling his face next to hers. A “therapeutic day” for all lives touched by Ruth; a remarkable woman who used to ride horses bareback, speed across the river on her water skis,  corner tight turns on her motor bike and at 50+ years of age, took karate lessons. Her body and mind may have failed her, but there is no shortage of support from loved ones and her healthcare “cheerleaders” helping her enjoy life to its fullest.

What’s the takeaway message from Ruth story? When family is faced with the responsibility of caring for a failing loved one, it’s okay, and even admirable, to ask for help. Though the word hospice is often interpreted in a negative fashion, in reality hospice services can provide positive benefits that help people live their days with comfort, respect and dignity. To find out more about hospice and how Abode hospice services can benefit your loved one, please contact us.