The modern hospice movement in the United States has its roots in the spirit of volunteerism. Compassionate end-of-life care was pioneered in America in the late 1970s and early 1980s by dedicated volunteers who envisioned a better way to provide care to the dying. This new model focused not only on pain management, but also on spiritual counseling, personal dignity and grief support for the family of the hospice patient.
Formerly known as Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care, Helios Care was started by a group of Fox Hospital nurses that operated as a volunteer-staffed organization for the first 10 years of its existence. Dr. Yoshiro Matsuo, a local oncologist, volunteered as its medical director for the first 25 years.
The goal of hospice and palliative care is to make life easier for everyone involved, patients and their families. Hospice provides specialty care for those believed to be in the last six months of their life. Hospice is for anyone with a life-limiting progressive illness, such as people with endstage diagnoses that include cancer, heart disease, lung disease, dementia and others.
Palliative care, on the other hand, can be an option at any stage of serious illness. You can still receive aggressive treatments and seek a cure while receiving palliative care, which can help manage your pain and symptoms. There is confusion about these two options, and it is best toask questions and get educated about the best options for you at different stages of your illness.
Dan Ayres said, “We’ve found that patients would much rather be in the familiar surroundings of home and in the company of family and friends as they cope with a terminal illness. With the support of Helios Hospice Care, patients can stay comfortably and safely at home.”
“We’ve found that patients would much rather be in the familiar surroundings of home and in the company of family and friends as they cope with a terminal illness. With the support of Helios Hospice Care, patients can stay comfortably and safely at home.” – Dan Ayers, CEO
Helios Care also offers service wherever patients call home, whether that’s an assisted living community, nursing home or private residence. Helios Hospice Care provides customized treatment to relieve many symptoms and side effects of cancer and other diseases. The Helios Care team are experts in managing a person’s pain. The team works closely with the patient and his/her physician to manage their symptoms.
Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances provide a hospice benefit, which can include the cost of some medications, medical supplies and equipment. You may not know that Medicare benefits can also pay for hospice aides, who can help with activities such as bathing, dressing, grooming and light household chores, or massage therapy.
While a physician is required to certify eligibility for hospice care, the process can be started by anyone. Any person or family member can contact Helios Care to discuss what hospice and palliative care options are available to them.
Kathyrn Dailey, director of development and marketing, said, “Helios Care will provide care to anyone who needs the services, regardless of their ability to pay.”
That’s why Helios Care raises funds from multiple sponsors and numerous events, including the annual Daffodil Jazz Brunch in Franklin, New York and the annual golf tournament. Pam Finch, manager of the Helios Care Thrift & Boutique at 5626 state Highway 7 in Oneonta, said “37 wonderful volunteers staff the boutique and 100% of the proceeds from the sale of donated items goes to patient care.”
– By MONICA CALZOLARI | Upstate Life Magazine | Fall 2023