By Emily Banks Wooten
Julie Wolf and Christina Wood of Kindred Hospice recently put on a program for the Rotary Club of Livingston. Wolf, who studied gerontology in her master’s program and was named national clinician of the year, has been with hospice for 21 years. Wood is a hospice care consultant and has been with hospice for 10 years.
Wolff said her father became sick in the 1990s with glioblastoma brain cancer and the family employed hospice toward the end of his life and it was a horrible experience. “I never felt so alone and so frightened.” That’s when she went into hospice.
“Hospice is a benefit for people at the end of their life, if they have a medically terminal illness or a life expectancy of six months or less. After Medicare insurance follows suit, your physician sends an order to hospice, or it can also be a family member. A nurse will go out and conduct an evaluation,” Wolf said.
A medical director oversees all of the care. In addition to the medical director, other team members include a registered nurse, a volunteer coordinator, a bereavement coordinator, a chaplain and a social worker. “The team meets every 14 days to review every single patient,” Wolf said, adding that end of life education and resources are provided for the family and the chaplain is non-denominational.
“Hospice provides all of the supplies such as diapers, wipes, gloves. We provide all of the equipment whether it’s a hospital bed, wheelchair, walker, commode. It’s a very comprehensive benefit. It’s one benefit that I think Medicare got right,” she said, stressing the continuity of services.
Wolf tried to address some of the questions and misconceptions she’s heard over the last 21 years.
“Hospice is not a place. It’s a service. We have Alzheimer’s patients, cancer patients, stroke patients, cardiac issues. You don’t have to have a do not resuscitate order. People think there’s a sense of giving up. What we do is very little. We try to make every day for you and your loved one the very best it can possibly be. You can still see your own doctor,” Wolf said, commenting that those are the really common myths.
“At times when people do too well, we have to discharge them back to their regular healthcare. Typically, when people come into our service, they don’t want to leave our service because of the continuity,” Wolf said.
She added that they are starting to have a process for veterans and that it’s a new initiative for them.
Wood, who said this is not what she planned, that she set out to be a teacher, said she is here to be a resource for the people in her community.
Kindred Hospice is located at 210 West Park Dr. Suite 107 in Livingston. The phone number is 936-327-5888 and the website is www.kindredhospice.com.