As we close out National Nurses Week, I would like to recognize a very special discipline of nursing, Hospice Nurses. While all nurses are special, I know I’m married to one, I think Hospice Nurses are special in many unique ways.
I often tout that Helios Care has innovation in our DNA, and that is because of the way our nurses approach each and every day. Not unlike Postal Carriers, they will not be deterred by rain, nor snow, nor dark of night to bring comfort and compassion to our patients and families in their time of need. They provide care, for the most part, in the patients or family’s homes. They meet the need of the patient and families on their terms. Each patient, one-on-one, with their individual needs.
Helios Care covers over 3,000 square miles in our hilly and mountainous terrain, and on back roads, some not paved. They need to plan each day for the most efficient route, only to be diverted by an immediate need. Being connected by cell phone and laptop computer, they need to know where the hot spots are- thank you McDonalds.
The hospice nurse needs to work at the top of their scope of practice. They are the eyes and ears of the physician or practitioner who oversees the patients care. Their nursing skills are completely wholistic, comprehensive and their clinical judgement sound.
Healthcare has been in upheaval since the Pandemic and while some advances have been forced upon providers, the need to improve upon population health and more efficient delivery models are necessary. Exacerbating the challenge has been the loss of nurses from the workforce and the fact that we as a nation are not producing enough nurses to replace an aging workforce. Meanwhile the demand of the baby-boomer population who are now entering their senior years is increasing. Layer on top of that the prevalence of one or more chronic diseases and the population living longer.
There are not enough hospital and nursing home beds to support the aging population in our area, and State. The local population is aging faster than the national norm due to the exodus of our younger population to more urban and warmer locations in search of jobs. This also impacts the social support our aging, sicker population needs to live at home.
There is a movement afoot to create a healthcare delivery system to provide care in the home and aging in place. Governor Hochul has signed Executive Order to create a Master Plan for Aging to become the first “age friendly” state in the nation. New York has the fourth-largest population of older adults in the country. The number of residents on Medicare is quickly approaching 25%. Among the Governor’s initiatives is a $10 billion investment in healthcare infrastructure to increase the availability of community-based options that allow older adults to age in place.
Helios Care has been providing Palliative Care Services in addition to Hospice Services, which is the management of chronic disease symptoms while still receiving curative care. The Medicare Hospice benefit is Palliative Care but does not include curative treatments. The Helios Care Palliative Care Service is currently funded through a grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. Through the grant Helios Care has been able to reduce acute care utilization of those who frequent the Emergency Department or are admitted to the hospital by 70%. That is the future of care in the home and supports aging in place. And our Hospice Nurses are or are in the process of becoming Palliative Care Certified and are on the leading edge, innovating in a changing healthcare landscape.
We are growing in preparation for the new Healthcare Delivery System. If you are a RN, an LPN or a direct care provider, interested in one-on-one care and are excited about the future of care in the home, come join us at Helios Care. View our career opportunities.