Circle of Life Award

Today’s guest blog comes to us from our friends at Hospice of the Valley – winner of the recent Circle of Life Award. Once you’ve had a chance to read the blog, we hope you’ll take a moment to et us know what you think. Generating meaningful conversations around the health stories making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

One of the things I love most about Hospice of the Valley is how our mission shines through in all we do– comfort and dignity for all who come to us– even those who don’t need hospice care! We’ve just received a most prestigious national honor– the American Hospital Association’s 2018 Circle of Life award for creating innovative palliative care programs for people who need help managing chronic illnesses and their symptoms.

These are people who often fall through the cracks of our healthcare system—the chronically ill who are in and out of the hospital—or people living with dementia who have little support outside of their family caregivers. Their quality of life could be greatly improved if they had in-home care, support for medical decisions they need to make, and someone to call for help when a crisis happens.

That was our motivation for creating two unique programs: Arizona Palliative Home Care (AZPHC) and Palliative Care for Dementia (PCD). The Circle of Life committee felt they were models of inspiration for other care providers across the country.

Palliative Care for Dementia serves patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias—and their caregivers. Our multidisciplinary teams create a customized approach — addressing each patient’s needs, finding activities they enjoy– enriching their lives. At the same time, caregivers learn how to manage behaviors and discover new ways to connect with their loved one. Trained volunteers provide much needed respite, so caregivers can get a break — and perhaps attend one of our mindfulness relaxation classes.

Our Palliative Home Care program creates a critical safety net for those with serious advanced illness. We work with patients and their doctors to manage symptoms, provide education and support, and clarify goals of care—discussing and documenting patient’s wishes.

Both Palliative Care for Dementia and Palliative Home Care patients receive access to our 24/7 in-person and telemedicine clinical support from nurses, never an answering service. This means we are there for you when you need us, not just when an office is open. Both programs improve quality of life for patients and their caregivers, help navigate complex healthcare options, and provide critical support during crises that may help patients avoid being hospitalized. Palliative care is a crucial building block to creating healthier communities and bridging the gaps of our current healthcare system.

Hospice of the Valley couldn’t have developed these programs and made a difference in so many families’ lives without the trust of our community, the support of health systems and hospitals, and payors who partnered with us.   We are humbled by this national recognition and truly honored to provide this comprehensive and innovative care to patients in need. If you would like more information on either program, please contact Barbara Volk-Craft, PhD, RN at 602-776-6858.

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