Hospice Care

Hospice at Community Health and Counseling Services

"The kindness sent from one compassionate soul to another during the time of loss of one held so dear allows the sorrow-filled heart to open wide, filling the space of emptiness that grief may have created with a renewed sense of peace, compassion, and love.”
Molly Friedenfeld, The Book of Simple Human Truths

Of all the comprehensive programs CHCS offers, perhaps the most underutilized is the Hospice program. According to Alicia Mooney, Manager of Advanced Illness and Wellness, often patients and their families are hesitant to receive all that Hospice has to offer because they aren't familiar with what the program encompasses and in essence they feel like they are giving up hope. They associate the word 'hospice' with finality.

Though Hospice is designed to care for a patient for six months based on their physician's prognosis, the program offers so much more. Sadly, many people's reluctance prevents them from reaping all of the benefits they could have had they been aware of how beneficial the program can be.
In addition to nursing care, patients receive medications, equipment such as walkers and wheel chairs, volunteers, social work and thirteen months of bereavement counseling for loved ones. Not only is a financial burden lifted from the patient (bed and oxygen rental alone are $400 per month, and meds....!), but the knowledge that they can remain or return to their homes with care ever-present or just a phone call away, day or night, is invaluable.
Mooney explains that the services afforded to a patient within the program are varied, personalized and are rendered with the above and beyond attitude and generosity one would expect from a non-profit organization.

"It's about quality vs. quantity." she says. "I ask the patient: 'How do you want to live? What can I do to help you? You tell me what you want and how you want to proceed and I will try to make that happen because I want to respect your wishes and for you to make the decisions." Every aspect of the patient's well-being is taken into consideration; from religion to family dynamics. Mooney, certified in hospice for sixteen years says: "We really encourage up front care planning, dialogue, and empowering family and the patient. We're not here to judge them. We have to learn to navigate through family dynamics. But if there is a broken relationship that somebody wants to mend then the social worker will help them." Every family and every individual handles a loved one's illness and passing differently. CHCS assists the family with zero judgment and helps with any and all eventualities. Mooney personally has been present at the passing of patients with various religious affiliations and says that CHCS honors the diversity. She has aided family members with carrying out loved one's wishes to make organ donations or donate their bodies to science. In essence, CHCS Hospice is a voice for someone who is at their most vulnerable.

While primary focus is on pain management and quality of life, it can be the little gestures, simply listening, or the gift of quality time spent. Alicia Mooney is just one member of a team who is dedicated to improving lives. Her stories are poignant and she is a perfect example of the kind of person that should be with someone in their most challenging time. "I love patient care. I don’t love death and dying but I had to resolve to myself that I'm put here in this person's life because this is where I belong to see this person through the exit. Sometimes I say to myself 'boy wouldn't I like to have known them when. But I have to understand that’s not my journey with that patient. My journey with that patient is from here on out. It's an honor."

What every person at any stage of health should know is that they have choices when it comes to their care. For anyone with a disheartening prognosis, the choice is still theirs. Patients don't have to go with the hospital's affiliated home care and hospice. They are free to work with whomever fits their needs, concerns, and desires.

If anyone has any questions regarding CHCS Hospice for themselves or on behalf of a loved one they are encouraged to call Alicia Mooney at (207)922-4563. Questions can be answered over the phone and someone can even come to talk with you for free. You do not have to go through this alone.

CHCS Mission

Community Health and Counseling Services will provide community health services that are needed and valued by the communities and individuals we serve.