News from the Noteworthy by Helios Care
Hospice Nurses Are Innovators in a Changing Field
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 as they bring comfort and compassion to our patients and families in their time of need. Hospice nurses provide care, for the most part, in the patient’s 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.
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 patient’s care. Their nursing skills are completely holistic and 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 new nurses to replace an aging workforce. Meanwhile, the demand of the baby-boomer population, now entering their senior years, is increasing. Layer on top of that the prevalence of one or more chronic diseases and a population that is living longer.
There are not enough hospital and nursing home beds to support the aging population in our area or in our 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 in order to live at home.
There is a movement afoot to create a healthcare delivery system to provide care in the home and for aging in place. Governor Hochul has signed an 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 percent. 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.
In addition to hospice services, Helios Care has been providing palliative care 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 this 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 percent. 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. They 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 an 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.
Dan Ayres is president and chief executive officer of Helios Care.
These folks played an important part of my husbands care at his end of life. My family can never repay the support and care they gave to us!