Counting the Many Blessings Provided by Avera@Home's Hospice Services

posted by Alana Clark on Friday, November 25, 2022

Over the last few days, most of us have taken a moment to pause and reflect on our blessings.  Mine include that I’m so fortunate to be part of our amazing Avera@Home of Spencer Hospital team which provides home care and hospice services within our community. I’m grateful for the patients and their loved ones who entrust us with their care.

 November is nationally recognized as Hospice Month and I’d like to take this opportunity to share information about our services.

Many people are familiar with the hospice philosophy, which is to provide services that promote comfort in one’s end of life journey.  This is accomplished in many ways, including:

  • The hospice team assists in managing pain and discomfort of the patient who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness;
  • We educate and support caregivers in caring for the patient – patients and families are a vital part of the decision-making and care process;
  • Our multi-disciplinary team provides emotional and spiritual support to patients and their loved ones;
  • And, we also provide bereavement support to loved ones.
  • Our hospice staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide support to our patients and their loved ones.

To meet all the various needs of a patient and their family members, we have a diverse team of skilled and compassionate professionals. Our hospice care team for Avera@Home of Spencer Hospital includes:

  • The patient’s primary care physician, who is always involved in the continued care for the individual;
  • Our Hospice medical director, Dr. David Keith of Avera Medical Group Spencer;
  • Specifically trained, experienced and compassionate hospice nurses;
  • Our social worker, Chelsea Reed, who helps coordinate care and services and offers individualized support in fulfilling each patient’s needs;
  • Chaplain services;
  • Hospice aides who assist with personal care and light housekeeping;
  • Volunteers who are so valuable in caring for patients and families, often providing respite care so family members can run errands or take some personal time;
  • A pharmacist who manages medications and helps in the patient’s pain control to help assure the patient is comfortable as possible;
  • Our Music Therapist is Robin Keith, who is so talented and plays a number of instruments as well as sings;
  • And licensed massage therapist.

I am so proud of our team. Earlier this fall, our hospice agency achieved our first level “One Star” for the “We Honor Veterans” program. We are honored to provide care for those who have served our country during the time they are near their end of life, and the “We Honor Veterans” program recognizes our work in identifying and honoring patients with military experience.

Our hospice team has also been awarded a four star rating by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). We have an amazing team of caregivers and volunteers and they’re so deserving of this recognition.

Our hospice team treats people wherever they need care – in their home, in a care facility, or within the hospital. When hospitalization is necessary, Hospice of Spencer Hospital offers two dedicated hospice suites – a homelike facility offering inpatient-level care for those needing short-term, specialized caretaking, with an adjoining room for loved ones to remain close by. Short-term respite care services are also provided, using the beautiful hospice suites at Spencer Hospital.

I’d like to add that while hospice services are provided year-round, 24/7, the holidays can especially be a challenging time for families, especially for those who are grieving after losing a loved one. We offer bereavement services throughout the first year after a hospice patient’s death and are always ready to provide support when needed. We encourage those who have lost a loved one to talk with others about that special person; spend time remembering happy moments and honor their loved one.

One of our favorite events as a hospice team is the annual Service of Remembrance. The service is a collaborative effort, hosted by us, Warner Funeral Home and area clergy. This year’s Service of Remembrance is Monday, Nov. 28th, at 6:30 PM at Foundation Church, here in Spencer, at 1410 W. 18th Street. It’s a beautiful candlelight ceremony, and a special way to commemorate loved ones who have passed. We invite the community to join us.

In closing, I’d like to mention that our team would love to visit with anyone who has questions about hospice services and the individualized care we can provide. Please contact us by calling our office at Spencer Hospital, at 712-264-6380 and press option 1.

About The Author

Alana Clark

Alana Clark, RN BSN serves as the Director of Hospice and Home Health at Spencer Hospital. Alana has a Bachelor's degree in Nursing and Community Health from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Alana works with both acute and post-acute care patients, ensuring patients through all ages and s ... read more