Women’s Giving Circle: History of Funded Projects
2020 YEAR IN REVIEW
164 Members ~ Funds Raised: $82,000
- Extended Stay Fund – $12,500
Many patients and families struggle with difficult decisions and the physical demands of caregiving while faced with financial burdens throughout a terminal illness. Often rapid physical and mental decline coupled with escalating symptoms brings patients to the Inpatient Center. While Medicare pays for care in the Inpatient Center, once symptoms are managed Medicare no longer pays for care and plans are made to transfer a patient back to their home or to a senior living facility. In some circumstances, the Inpatient Center remains the most appropriate setting for continued care for a period of time or until a patient’s death. The Extended Stay Fund provides the financial means for seamless care and support in the Inpatient Center when Medicare no longer reimburses for general inpatient level of care and provides immense relief from the angst and feeling of helplessness our patients and families experience when confronted with caregiving decisions and financial challenges during an incredibly difficult time.
- Gift Cards – $7,000
The gift card project has been generously supported by the Women’s Giving Circle for several years. These cards provide much-needed support to patients and families who are often coping with significant financial challenges brought on by their illness. The cards are usually disbursed in $100 increments and have supported the purchase of basic necessities like food, medications not covered by the Hospice Medicare benefit, baby formula and phone cards. At times, the cards are disbursed to free up money for other necessities like utilities or rent. The need for the gift cards is identified by Hospice Social Workers.
- Personal Protective Equipment – $5,000
Our need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) increases as the COVID pandemic continues. As we continue to care for COVID patients it is paramount that we protect our staff. Although we had a fair amount of PPE when the pandemic started, over time the supply has dwindled or becomes unavailable from our routine suppliers. I am asking for a grant to continue the purchasing of PPE. This may include N95 masks, gloves, face shields, goggles, surgical masks, alcohol based hand gel or disposable gowns.
- Clinical Patient Special Needs Fund – $15,000
I am requesting $15,000 to help to replenish the Clinical Patient Special Needs Fund (CPSNF). Hospice & Community Care is taking care of more patients who are younger, sicker and without access to a steady income, leaving them to fall through the cracks of our economic system and other local non-profit resources (which social workers always try to utilize before requesting from the CPSNF). We are often left with very few options when our patients are in need of basic human necessities. These funds would be used to provide medications for a patient that doesn’t have health insurance, provide emergency funds to pay the electric bill of an oxygen-dependent patient in danger of having their electric shut off, provide translation services to a non-English speaking family or patient, provide a sign language interpreter for a deaf patient or family, purchase specialized medical equipment for a pediatric patient whose comfort depends upon that specialized equipment, or provide a washer for a patient whose inability to go to a laundry mat has impeded our ability to provide care. These are just a few examples. Since our patients often don’t have time and resources to cover these urgent needs, having this fund allows Hospice leadership to grant funding requests in a timely manner. The Clinical Patient Special Needs Fund has existed since 2012; nearly every year since its existence, this fund has been completely depleted. This is a representation of the frequency and quantity of the extraordinary needs of patients and families which are provided for through the Clinical Patient Special Needs Fund.
- Ambulance Assistance Fund – $2,000
Access to transportation for urgently needed symptom management and hospice-related diagnostic services is part of the continuum of care at Hospice. Because ambulance transportation is not part of the covered services under private insurance, patients must pay out of pocket for this transportation. Patients with no insurance must also utilize private funds to pay for transport. During a period of crisis, patients and families are required to choose between paying for the cost of transportation to the Inpatient Center and remaining at home to manage distressing symptoms. Patients without the ability to pay are faced with the potential up front ambulance costs of $650 or more. Many families in this situation decline to transfer their loved one. Support from the Women’s Giving Circle will be utilized for home hospice patients to be transported to and from the Inpatient Center when there is no other mechanism for payment for the transportation.
- Patient Ready Bath Rinse-Free Shampoo and Conditioning Caps – $1,023
Imagine not being able to wash your hair for a few days or even weeks! Such a simple pleasure can mean so much and make us feel better about ourselves. The Inpatient Center provides patients with baths, showers and whirlpools, but some patients are too ill, too painful or too debilitated to have their hair washed. Ready Bath Rinse-Free Shampoo and Conditioning Caps have proven to be a great alternative for these patients. Many tell us how much they appreciate the service and for others we can see the pleasure on their faces without saying a word. We are requesting funds to purchase 16 cases (480 caps) to provide this “spa” service for patients throughout the year.
- Clinical Care Recliner – $1,725
The Inpatient Center would like to request a Clinical Care Recliner to provide a higher standard of comfort for patients. We received funding for two recliners from the Women’s Giving Circle to trial and would like to request an additional recliner to trial on our third wing. The new recliners allow for ease of movement throughout the room or in the halls, promoting comfort for patients and ease of transportation for family members and reduces the risk of staff injury. We had a patient who had difficulty fitting into our old recliner and the new recliner was able to comfortably accommodate him. He was able to move to the screened-in porch and enjoy the beautiful view, as well as sit at the dining room table to chat with a friend. Our current recliners do not recline properly and the tray tables do not fit over the recliners. The Clinical Care Recliner allows for the use of tray tables enabling meals or other personal objects to be close to the patient. There are multiple positions with the new recliners. The Upright Position is ideal for patient transport and can be used to initiate patient treatment. The second position is known at the “TV” position which is ideal for rest and reading. The third position is also known as the full recline position and is also ideal for rest and reading.
- Medisets for Patients – $2,200
Medication safety is a major concern for patients, families and staff. Many patients struggle to remember when to take which medication. Without an organized system, doses can be missed, duplicated or taken incorrectly. Providing a Mediset to patients and families to support safe medication practice in the home has proven valuable. Single patient use, the Medisets will be branded with Hospice & Community Care’s logo and 24-hour phone number. Nurses will instruct on the use of the Medisets and fill them as needed. This project would provide a supply anticipated to last two and a half years.
- Supportive Care Symptom Management Kits – $3,500
Symptom Management Kits and Bowel Kits are provided for Hospice patients. The kits have a small quantity of various medications that our nurses can utilize to manage a patient’s symptoms of pain, shortness of breath, anxiety, nausea and constipation. These kits serve as a toolbox in the patient’s home, accessible 24-hours a day. These kits are often the key to keeping the patients comfortable and out of the hospital. Funding from the Women’s Giving Circle will provide 100 of these kits for patients in Supportive Care. Supportive Care offers assistance with symptom management, helps facilitate advance care planning conversations and helps avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits. Medications from the Symptom Management Kits are not covered under the Supportive Care program, so patients in this program must privately pay for the kits. The cost of the kit is $35, which for many patients is a financial hardship. Patients in Supportive Care often transition to Hospice Care; when this occurs, the kit would continue to be used throughout the patient’s care.
- Hospitality Cart – $2,000
At the Inpatient Center, families and friends are able to visit their patient loved ones 24/7. Their presence can enhance the patient’s overall quality of life, yet the hours spent at the bedside can be long and tiring for families. Offering families substantial, ready-made snacks, drinks and something to read may provide care and comfort to our caregivers. During the Covid-19 pandemic, I have observed firsthand how important it is for families to have access to coffee, drinks and snacks. Visitors have been required to stay in the patient’s room and not able to utilize the kitchens or common areas, and food and drinks have to be taken to the room for families and visitors by staff. Funding from the Women’s Giving Circle would be used to establish a hospitality cart, filled with microwavable meals, snacks, drinks and magazines, delivered daily to patient rooms by volunteers. This additional service will provide increased care and comfort to the caregivers during their visits to their loved ones. The care items on the cart would also be available to patients as appropriate.
- Supportive Care Patient Grants – $15,000
Just last week our Supportive Care Chaplain made a visit to a patient’s home, where tears of gratitude filled the family’s eyes when they were told they would not have to pay $1000 for their care. The family called it a miracle. Supportive Care was created to provide Hospice services to patients still receiving active treatment for their illness. This program provides management of difficult symptoms, spiritual and emotional support as well as coordination of care for patients and families. We have received funding from the Women’s Giving Circle which has enabled us to serve more than 1000 patients over the last five years. In addition to Women’s Giving Circle funding, there has been Medicare funding available to patients that will be ending in June of 2021, although Medicare funding is only available to a quarter of our patients. Most patients qualify for some level of financial assistance through Hospice’s charitable care program, however, many patients will still owe $500-$2,500 based on their income level. Even patients who have insurance may struggle to meet their co-pays or deductibles. These expenses can cause financial hardships to patients and some choose to forgo the support offered by the program. Having a grant to assist with the cost of care helps patients with a financial need to receive care without cost to them and helps more patients benefit from Supportive Care.
- Patient Fall Mats – $1,012
Preventing falls and fall-related injuries in healthcare facilities is crucial to patient safety. Any patient of any age or physical ability can be at risk for a fall due to physiological changes from a medical condition, medications, surgery, procedures, or diagnostic testing that can leave them weakened or confused. Almost all patients in the Inpatient Center are at high risk for falls. In conjunction with frequent monitoring, toileting schedules, environmental adjustments, chair/bed alarms, safety rounds, staff assists for transfers/ambulation and more, patient fall risk remains. Many of our confused, restless or agitated patients attempt to get out of bed without assistance. Fall mats are utilized in addition to staff presence and monitoring to minimize injury from patients rolling and/or attempting to get out of bed. We currently have three fall mats for the Inpatient Center; to our high risk population, we are requesting funds to purchase eight fall mats to maximize patient safety.
- We Honor Veterans – $2,500
Hospice & Community Care is committed to serve Veterans as part of the We Honor Veterans Program which recognizes staff, volunteers and patients in the following ways. On Veterans’ Day, Veterans are presented with a small flag, wooden rose, and card thanking them for their service. Veteran patients are able to receive a military pinning where they are presented with a certificate specific to their military branch of service, flag, star and a Veteran Service Flag Pin. On 4th of July, flags are placed on patients’ lawns. These efforts are important to our Veteran patients and are well received by families. Funding from the Women’s Giving Circle would allow us to accomplish these recognition efforts, and expand the program by offering virtual tours of the National Mall in Washington D.C. Since Hospice patients are often not able to travel, offering a virtual tour will allow patients to view short vignettes of the war memorial in 3D.
- Dementia Resource Tools – $2,700
In 2018, the Dementia Resource Team introduced the concept of dementia resources to the Women’s Giving Circle. We have found tremendous benefit from these tools, which include robotic cats and dogs, and weighted blankets. Based on the positive response from patients and families, we would like to increase the number of robotic animals and weighted blankets we have available for our staff and volunteers. Research shows that listening to music with dementia patients has emotional and behavioral benefits. Staff and volunteers have found a positive response to playing music for patients, alleviating dementia symptoms and connecting with those who have trouble communicating. By purchasing MP3 players, we would have the ability to offer music that can be kept by the patients’ bedside to enjoy between visits. The Virtual Dementia Tour (VDT) is another resource we utilize, which provides an interactive experience for our staff and volunteers to better understand how dementia affects people and how to better communicate with patients. Hospice & Community Care has invested in this program for a number of years and would like to increase the number of staff and volunteers we offer this sensory experience to, with the goal of providing better, person-centered care. In order to offer this to more people, we need additional devices for training, including goggles which simulate macular degeneration, shoe inserts which simulate neuropathy and headphones to simulate decreased hearing ability.
- Pediatric Memory and Grief Supplies – $1,886
I am requesting funds for memory-making craft supplies and anticipatory grief resources for Hospice pediatric patients and their families. Crafts provide the nurse with a fun activity for the child and family which can build trust and enable families to enjoy time together that is not focused on medical tasks. I recently cared for “Baby Jacob” and his family, including 3 and 5 year old sisters. The mother asked me “What words do I use?” and “How do I talk to the children?” This family given a memory making craft, which they did together and in-turn opened up dialog. It allowed the 5 year old to express her sadness and mom was able to dispel the fear that it was something the child did to cause the sibling’s illness. Other items included in this request are hand casting kits, preserving the child and families hands in detail as a “statue”, art supplies, fingerprint kits which etch patients fingerprint into a metal charm for the family and a welcome kit for pediatric patients. I would also like to purchase books on anticipatory grief, which can be given to the family to keep, offering guidance on how to speak to children about death, dying and grief.
- “Gone From Sight”, “Eleventh Hour”, “When the Time Comes” Booklets – $3,000
This proposal requests funding to continue providing “Gone from my Sight”, “The Eleventh Hour” and “When the Time Comes” educational booklets. Since receiving funding previously from the Women’s Giving Circle, there has been a positive response from staff, current patients, and families who have been impacted by this project. Many of these booklets are provided to patient families in the hospital who are receiving care from our Palliative Medicine program. Families are often on information overload at the hospital. These booklets are helpful for them to have something to read and better comprehend, rather than information shared verbally. These booklets are specific to the changes that can be expected at end of life and provide an explanation of symptoms in a simple, easy-to read format while providing comfort for the reader. I have had many family members say that the booklet helped them to anticipate different signs and symptoms of end of life and that help them to not panic, and to deal with their situation better. “When The Time Comes” booklets can be branded with the Hospice logo and 24-hour phone number.
- Seating Solutions – $3,953
Many patients are primarily chair bound the last weeks to months of life. Weakness, debility and infirmity can make it very difficult or painful to get up from a chair. Engaging with family and visitors can be enhanced through use of a power lift chair. A powered lifting seat can be placed on any chair, and aids the patient to stand. Specialized low air loss chair cushions for patients with severe sacral or buttock wounds aid comfort and promotes healing by reducing pressure. Alternative seating options aid comfort and enhance quality of life.
- Extended Stay Fund – $12,500
For a history of the projects funded through the Women’s Giving Circle, click here.