In this week’s edition of “5 Questions With…” we interviewed Nicole Mandros with Hospice of Sweetwater County about the services they provide, resources, and the funding of this much needed organization.
What is your role with Hospice of Sweetwater County?
I am the Executive Director and I oversee daily operations of the organization. I am also a Registered Nurse and assist with patient and family care as needed.
Our other team members include our Medical Director, Director of Patient and Family Services, Registered Nurses and Registered Nurse Case Managers, a CNA, Office Manager, Support Services Coordinator, Chaplain, Social Worker, and multiple volunteers.
What is the mission of Hospice of Sweetwater County?
The mission of Hospice of Sweetwater County is to provide high quality, individualized care to our patients who are facing an end-of-life journey. We extend our services to our patients, family and caregivers from referral through bereavement.
What kind of resources are provided by Hospice of Sweetwater County?
We serve members of our community who are terminally ill and are not seeking aggressive or curative treatment. Our focus is on quality of life and comfort, and our services neither extend or shorten life. We serve all of Sweetwater County and follow patients in their own homes, long term care facilities, assisted living facilities and sometimes even in the hospital. Our services are available 24 hours per day and we have a Registered Nurse on-call every night, weekends and holidays to meet the needs of our patients and families.
We work closely with patients and families to identify and meet goals during their final journey. We support patients in spending their available time doing whatever they please, whether that be traveling to see a grandchild be born, to go gambling once a month, or to go fishing one last time, or to just stay within the comfort of their own home. We work closely with medical providers so our patients donâ€™t have to go to medical appointments or to the hospital. We encourage patients and families to be active participants in their care and support decisions to continue, or discontinue, various treatments and medications.
Each patient and family has an individualized plan of care with physician direction, nursing visits, nursing aid visits, spiritual support and chaplain services, bereavement and grief support, social services, respite for caregivers and volunteer visits. We also provide all medications related to the terminal illness, medical equipment (like hospital beds, oxygen, wheelchairs and walkers), and necessary disposable supplies, such as bathing supplies, bed pads, incontinence supplies, and gloves.
Bereavement and grief support is extended to the public as well, free of charge. We offer group support meetings, individual sessions, mailings, various workshops and an annual candlelight ceremony.
Who can receive hospice care?
Hospice care is available to those who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, meaning that if oneâ€™s disease was to follow its normal course, death would occur in approximately six months. Patients are reevaluated at specific times and are able to continue hospice care beyond six months as long as they still meet criteria. Once admitted, patients also have the choice to stop receiving hospice services at any time. Â We do not base admission on insurance coverage, financial status or ability to pay.
How does funding work?
Hospice of Sweetwater County is a non-profit organization and is able to bill Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance for services provided. The organization receives funding from Sweetwater County as well as from memorials, donations and fundraising. We use this funding to help supplement care for patients who are underinsured, uninsured or require services beyond what is reimbursed by insurance. We also use this funding to provide bereavement and grief support to patients, families as well as to the public. Patients and their families never receive a bill from us and that is something we are very proud of as an organization.