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  • Writer's pictureHospice of the Fisher Home

What is a Hospice Community Program? - An Interview With the Fisher Home's Clinical Director 

A hospice community program, also known as community-based hospice care, is a service that provides end-of-life care and support to individuals who are terminally-ill and nearing the end of their lives. Community-based hospice care allows patients to receive care in the comfort of their own homes or in other community settings such as nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

community of people putting their arms around each other

These programs typically offer a range of services aimed at meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of patients and their families. This may include pain management, symptom control, emotional support, spiritual counseling, assistance with activities of daily living, and respite care for caregivers.

Hospice community programs consist of a team of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, and trained volunteers, who work together to provide comprehensive care tailored to the individual needs of each patient and their family. The Hospice of the Fisher Home Community Program is an excellent option for those who want to opt for hospice care provided wherever they may live. We sat down with our Clinical Director, Alexander Pangborn, RN to get some answers for our community's most pressing questions about the community program. 

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Alexander Pangborn, clinical director of hospice

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What is your role at the Fisher Home?

Alexander: I chose nursing as a second career after years of working in social services and have spent the majority of my time as a nurse in hospice care. I feel it is an honor to serve and support people and their families in meeting their individual needs and desires regarding the quality of their end of life experience. 

When I came to Fisher Home, I was a “jack of all trades;” learning quality assurance, assisting with referrals and admissions, making patient visits and filling open nursing shifts, and generally supporting the clinical team. My current role as Clinical Director is a culmination of the experience I brought with me and the processes I’ve learned here at Fisher Home. My responsibility is for the oversight of all aspects of our clinical programs. 

You are in charge of the hospice community program, can you briefly explain that?

Alexander: Our community program provides hospice services and support in a patient’s private residence, assisted living facility, or long term care setting. My primary role is to oversee and support our community RN and CNA staff as well as our psychosocial team, to manage referrals and coordinate admissions, and to ensure the provision of high quality care for our patients and their families. 

What makes in-residence care and at-home care via the community program different?

Alexander: The Hospice of the Fisher Home residence provides 24 hour RN and CNA services, where each resident has a private room. With our community program patients remain in their own home where family or private caregivers are the primary source of care, with hospice RN and CNA visits scheduled at intervals agreed upon by hospice staff and family. 

On average, how many community program patients are there?

Alexander: Our community program census fluctuates. We focus on each nurse having a patient census that allows for individualized care and flexibility of scheduling and time spent. It’s important that we have the ability to meet needs as they arise - whether that is making an “as needed” visit upon request or spending a longer period of time at a visit to ensure that all educational, support, and medical needs have been met.

What area does the Fisher Home community program cover?

Alexander: The community program covers Hampshire County, parts of Hampden county, and parts of Franklin county. Generally, a residence is considered out of our service area if we would be unable to respond to an urgent visit request within a timely manner. It is important to us that when a patient or family calls with an urgent need that they are not waiting a long time to receive in-person assistance.

What would you say are the benefits with at-home hospice care?

Alexander: The choice between hospice care provided at home or at our residence is a highly personalized decision. For people who have a strong preference for staying at home through the end of life, our community program can offer the education and support to meet that goal!

How does getting admitted to the community program work?

Alexander: A referral for hospice services can begin with an individual, family member, or physician. Typically this is initiated with a phone call to Hospice of the Fisher Home, where we gather information about the patient and type of service desired. 

In your opinion, what's the best thing about the community program?

Alexander: Our clinical staff are the most amazing part of the Fisher Home Community Program! Our nurses and CNAs bring their experience and compassion to every person and family they serve.

The goal of hospice community programs is to improve the quality of life for patients facing terminal illness, to help them live as comfortably and fully as possible during their remaining time, and to provide support and guidance to their loved ones throughout the end-of-life process. The Hospice of the Fisher Home is happy to offer this service to our community!

Plus, if you’re a Medicare recipient, you can get FREE hospice care in your home from the 5-star rated Hospice of the Fisher Home. This benefit also applies if you’re in Assisted Living, a Skilled Nursing Facility, or anywhere else you may reside! Please contact us to learn how easy it is to start your hospice care. Or, if you’d like to support our mission, consider donating today. 

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