11 Sep

PATIENT ADVOCATE FOR LIFE RECIPIENTS

AMERICA’S FIRST HOSPICE NAMES “PATIENT ADVOCATE FOR LIFE” RECIPIENTS

Acclaimed Surgeon/Sculptor Southwick; Renowned Sculptor Lucchesi and spouses to be honored in Branford September 21st.

On Sept. 21, acclaimed doctor and sculptor Wayne O. Southwick, M.D., Chairman of the Board, and his mentor, world-renowned Italian sculptor Bruno Lucchesi, will be honored with their spouses at their poignant bronze sculpture crafted for the country’s first hospice, The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. in Branford, CT.

The life-sized sculpture of a nurse with raised, lighted torch, aside family members supporting a loved one, embodies the circle of care at Connecticut Hospice Inc. In recognition of hospice’s focus on family as an indivisible element of a patient’s care, the 2014 “Patient Advocate for Life” awards will be presented to the sculptors and their wives who have so lovingly supported them in their lives, said President and CEO Mrs. Marc Alphons Hurzeler.

“It’s a testament to how strong each couple is as a team; and how together they have put their talents into creating this beautiful symbol of hope that graces our grounds,” said Hurzeler.

Installed in 2007, the sculpture is the focal point of an annual “Legacy of Hope” ceremony held each fall at Connecticut Hospice, Inc. This year’s Sept. 21 ceremony will be especially notable as it also marks hospice’s 40th year – or 21st millionth minute – of care to the palliative community.

“In this year, as we celebrate our 21st millionth minute of care, in which every minute is precious, we recognize the creators of this beautiful sculpture that is so symbolic of how patients and family are at the center for care at hospice,” said Hurzeler.

Southwick is Co-Chairman of the Connecticut Hospice Board of Directors and Chairman of the Old Lyme Academy for the Arts when he undertook creating the statue with his mentor as a gift to hospice. His acclaimed career in medicine includes credit in pioneering work in cervical spine surgery and culminated with his appointment as Professor and Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at Yale University School of Medicine. Many of Southwick’s sculptures are installed at Yale School of Medicine. Southwick met and married his wife, Jessie Ann (Seacrest) Southwick, during his medical studies at the University of Nebraska.

Lucchesi has been recognized as “the last of the Renaissance sculptors.” Since the 1950’s, he has created over 70 public works around the world, from China to Colorado, New York to New Haven (at Yale University). His wife, Ann Rosow-Lucchesi, is a West Hartford native and accomplished artist and sculptor.

Non-profit Connecticut Hospice Inc. operates with the knowledge that every minute of life is precious. Established in Branford in 1974, this year marks hospice’s 40th anniversary, or 21st millionth minute, of providing exceptional care for all in need. As the nation’s top-rated, award- winning hospice, The Connecticut Hospice Inc. continues to set the national standard for home and inpatient hospice care.

 

10 Sep

Behind the Scenes: Meet Our “Unitex Man” Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson, A delivery professional with Unitex for 15 years

In a day filled with delivering medical textiles to many a health care location, Richard Johnson’s visit to Connecticut Hospice is a welcome reprieve.

As a delivery driver with service provider Unitex, Richard can be counted upon to help CT Hospice provide the superior linens to ensure the utmost comfort and quality of life for each client in our care.

Richard’s smiling face and quiet, friendly demeanor fits with the flow of the many behind-the-scenes services happening on a daily basis here. As Richard describes his visits, which take place four to six times a week, “…it’s all nice and smooth.” A delivery professional with Unitex for 15 years, Richard’s daily route includes many area hospitals and medical facilities; but he counts his deliveries to CT Hospice among his favorite part of the job.

“It’s a very nice setting, a beautiful setting,” says Richard. “I enjoy making deliveries here. The people are so nice and everybody is getting their linens. They’re nice people at a nice place.”

23 Apr

The Norma F. Pfriem Foundation has granted an extraordinary opportunity for Hospice patients and families

 

 Norma F. Pfriem Foundation has granted beds for Connecticut Hospice

L to R: Delfino; Nina, RN Instructor; Rachel, Fairfield University Nursing student; Carol*, an original Pioneer of our first bed; Judy, RN*, also a founder of the first bed and weekend supervisor; Robert, Director of Engineering; Lynne, our photographer in nursing; and Luis.

A special Thank You to the Norma F. Pfriem foundation for their generous donation of 52 beds.

A special Thank You to the Norma F. Pfriem foundation for their generous donation of 52 beds.

The Norma F. Pfriem Foundation has granted an extraordinary opportunity for patients and families to have the luxury of a first-class bed, upon their arrival. The Connecticut Hospice, Inc., the first palliative teaching hospital, who received the first Advanced Palliative Care certification in the United States of America, became the recipients of an enormous gift.

A beautiful bed for each patient and family with a state-of-the-art mattress, as envisaged in the finest homes in America, arrived for our bedrooms on Thursday, March 20, 2014.

As Spring evolves, our Norma F. Pfriem beds, together with our precious patients, will be seen on the Norma F. Pfriem Promenade. The Norma F. Pfriem Promenade, goes right to the sea and in their new Norma F. Pfriem beds, our patients will be able to sit up and enjoy the splendor of sunrises and sunsets with their families.

One of our housekeepers, Luis, said that this would be “beautifully best for families.”

Co-Chairman of the Board and of the Professional Advisory Committee, Dr. Wayne Southwick, M.D., together with Dr. Wen-Jen Hwu, M.D., Ph.D., Board of Directors and Chairman of Professional Advisory Committee, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Professor, Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology and United States Chairman of Woman in Cancer Research, and member Chief William Farrell, who is also Chairman of the President’s Circle, “never has a gift been beamed more intensely at our patients and families.” The only exception was 14 years ago when Norma F. Pfriem, herself, granted the state-of-the-art beds to each patient and family.

The nursing staff all participate in the International Norma F. Pfriem Fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing, has enabled over sixty-eight (68) of the nurses to sit and pass their national boards in hospice and palliative care and thirty-three (33) of our certified nurses aides.

Some of those staff, pictured here in their ta-dah mode, were the very ones who selected the first* state-of-the-art, ICU superbly crafted mattress to support the remarkable patients that we are honored to care for.

The luxury of this support is only matched by the magnificence of the Norma F. Pfriem nursing staff at the Hospice, as “The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. will celebrate its 40th Anniversary, or in a place where every minute counts, its 21st Million Minute, “Operation Blessings”.

Eileen Mino
The Connecticut Hospice, Inc.
Communications Department
emino@hospice.com http://www.hospice.com
203-315-7556
www.hospice.com

 

25 Mar

The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), accredits The John D. Thompson Hospice Institute for Education, Training and Research, Inc., (“The Institute”) with Commendation.

The Connecticut Hospice, Inc., and its related research and training affiliate The John D. Thompson Hospice Institute for Education, Training and Research, Inc., (“The Institute”) is pleased to announce that the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), has again credited the Institute, with commendation, for a six year period, through 2019.  The ACCME’s mission is the identification, development, and promotion of standards for quality continuing medical education (CME) utilized by physicians in their maintenance of competence and incorporation of new knowledge to improve quality medical care for patients and their communities.

The ACCME undertook a detailed review of the Institution, evidence of performance in the practice and extensive interviews.  Accreditation with Commendation is awarded to providers that demonstrate compliance in all 22 Criteria and the accreditation policies.  The ACCME commends “The Institute” for meeting the ACCME’s accreditation requirements and for demonstrating that ours is a learning organization and a change agent for the physicians we serve.  The ACCME stated that the Institute has demonstrated an engagement with our environment in support of physician learning and a change that is a part of a system for quality improvement.

Luis Gonzalez, M.A., M.P.H., HA, an extraordinary administrator of The Institute since 1996, said that, “The vitality and endurance that his colleagues and staff play, the passionate response from the students, and the comprehensive and diverse nature of the materials, gave way to the academic achievement that The Institute received validation for, through the ACCME Board of Directors.”

President and CEO Mrs. Marc Alphons Hurzeler, R.N., M.P.H., H.A. said that, “The Institute, having achieved three decades of educating intrastate, continues to rely on “Doctor” Gonzalez for his brilliant trailblazing.”

The Connecticut Hospice was the first hospice in the United States and is about to celebrate its 40th anniversary of providing the utmost care to its patients and families.  The Institute is Hospice’s education arm and stands for the commitment to educate the medical community on palliative and hospice care.

For additional information please contact:

Eileen Mino

Communications Department

The Connecticut Hospice Institute

(203) 315-7556

emino@hospice.com

25 Mar

James Prota, RPh. of The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. appointed to the Palliative Care Advisory Panel

For Immediate Release – Branford, Connecticut – March 14, 2014

 

Senator Donald E. Williams, Jr., Senator Pro Tempe of the Connecticut Senate, appoints James Prota, RPh. of The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. to the Palliative Care Advisory Panel

The Connecticut Hospice, Inc., is pleased to announce that its Director of Pharmacy, James Prota, RPh., has been appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Connecticut Senate, Senator Donald E. Williams, Jr. to the Connecticut Palliative Care Advisory Council.  This Council was established by law earlier this year (Public Act 13-55) to analyze the current state of palliative care in Connecticut; and advise the Connecticut Department of Public Health on matters relating to the improvement of palliative care and the quality of life for persons with serious or chronic illnesses.  The Council will provide findings and recommendations concerning these matters to the Commissioner of Public Health and committees of the legislature.

As Director of Pharmacy of The Connecticut Hospice, Inc., Jim is uniquely qualified to serve on the Advisory Panel based on his years of experience focusing intensely on pharmaceutical approaches to palliative care.  He carries out the clinical responsibilities for our hospital-hospice and provides daily clinical consultation services to our palliative and hospice home care patients statewide.  Jim also undertakes academic responsibilities, as the Pharmacy Department at The Connecticut Hospice is a Preceptor Site for University of Connecticut Pharmacy students who are completing their clinical requirements for a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

“I am very thankful and honored to be selected to the palliative care advisory committee and I hope to utilize my experience as a Hospice and Palliative care Pharmacist to make recommendations that will positively impact patients and their families,” said James Prota, RPh.

The Connecticut Hospice is the first hospice in the United States and will celebrate its 40th Anniversary, or in a place where every minute counts, its 21st Million Minute, “Operation Blessings.”

For additional information please contact:

Eileen Mino

Communications Department

The Connecticut Hospice, Inc.

(203) 315-7556

emino@hospice.com

25 Mar

Governor Malloy appoints Joseph Andrews, M.D., H.P.M. of The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. to the Palliative Care Advisory Panel

For Immediate Release – Branford, Connecticut – March 14, 2014

Governor Malloy appoints Joseph Andrews, M.D., H.P.M. of The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. to the Palliative Care Advisory Panel

The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. is pleased to announce that its Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joseph F.  Andrews, MD, HPM has been appointed by Governor Dannel P. Malloy to the Connecticut Palliative Care Advisory Council.  This Council was established by law earlier this year (Public Act 13-55) to analyze the current state of palliative care in Connecticut; and advise the Connecticut Department of Public Health on matters relating to the improvement of palliative care and the quality of life for persons with serious or chronic illnesses.  The Council will provide findings and recommendations concerning these matters to the Commissioner of Public Health and committees of the legislature.

As Chief Medical Officer of The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. and Chairman of the Connecticut Palliative Physicians Group ™ (CPPG), Dr. Andrews is uniquely qualified to serve on the Advisory Council.  He is Board Certified in Hospice and Palliative Care and under his guidance, the interdisciplinary team, consisting of physicians and over 100 nurses, deliver palliative care to over 300 patients in their homes, skilled nursing facilities and hospitals throughout the state.

“It is an honor to serve on the Governor’s Palliative Care Advisory panel and I also consider it an honor for the Connecticut Hospice, the first hospice in America.  I look forward to working with other members of the panel and advising the Governor about our new and growing palliative care,” said Dr. Andrews.

As Dr. Andrews said, he wants his patients treated in a luxurious manner since the rhythm of disease maybe inoculates patients and families in different ways.

The Connecticut Hospice was the first hospice in the United States and Connecticut Hospice will celebrate its 40th Anniversary, or in a place where every minute counts, its 21st Million Minute, “Operation Blessings,” said Hospice’s President and CEO, Mrs. Marc Alphons Hurzeler, R.N., M.P.H., H.A.

For additional information please contact:  Eileen Mino

Communications Department

The Connecticut Hospice, Inc.

(203) 315-7556

emino@hospice.com

25 Mar

First certified palliative care teaching hospital-hospice in the nation.

For Immediate Release – Branford, Connecticut – March 14, 2014

The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. in Branford – America’s First Hospice

Recertified by The Joint Commission as the First Palliative Hospital-Hospice

The Joint Commission, a national accreditation agency that evaluates health care organizations, today announced that The Connecticut Hospice, Inc., America’s first hospice, established in 1974 – has been awarded certification by The Joint Commission as the first certified palliative care teaching hospital-hospice in the nation.

The Joint Commission is a national accreditation body that seeks to continuously improve the quality of health care provided to the public evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality.  The Joint Commission created a new, rigorous national standard for specialized palliative care hospitals in the United States.  Connecticut Hospice was the first facility in the nation to be accredited under the new standard in November 2011.  Now, two years later, The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. was recertified by The Joint Commission after its stringent examination without any recommendation for improvement.

The policies and procedures that were followed, include:

  • A formal, organized palliative care program led by an interdisciplinary team whose members possess the requisite expertise in palliative care;
  • Leadership endorsement and support of the program’s goals for providing care, treatment and services;
  • A special focus on patient and family engagement;
  • Processes which support the coordination of care and communication among all care settings and providers; and
  • The use of evidence-based national guidelines or expert consensus to guide patient care.

Spanning four decades as the country’s first hospice, The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. is also the first palliative teaching hospital earning the national Joint Commission’s first “Advanced Palliative Certification.” Our rating of 100 percent compliance, without recommendations for improvement, reflects our commitment to the highest ratio of care between nurses and patients in the country.  Our nurses are the most highly educated nurses through our Norma F. Pfriem International Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing Program.  Hospice is also recognized by the American Hospital Association Volunteer Excellence Pediatric Rocker Program, the 2013 Arts Council “In the Wings” award, and American Council for Continuing Medical Education Accreditation with commendation.

For additional information please contact:

Eileen Mino

Communications Department

The Connecticut Hospice, Inc.

(203) 315-7556

emino@hospice.com

 

 

 

25 Mar

HB 5326, “An Act Concerning Compassionate Aide in Dying for Terminally Ill Patients”

 Testimony of

Dr. Joseph F. Andrews, Jr., M.D., HPM

Chief Medical Officer of The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. and

Chairman of the Connecticut Palliative Physicians Group™

on

HB 5326, “An Act Concerning Compassionate Aide in Dying for Terminally Ill Patients”

March 17, 2014

I am honored, on behalf of The Connecticut Hospice, Inc, and of my colleagues, Rev. Godbolt and Nurse Practitioner, Kathleen Nopper, to share this time with the advocates of the disabled.  We are a diverse group, and share important positions.

1.            Relief of suffering is paramount to all.

 

2.             Physicians and other caregivers need to focus attention more closely upon relief of suffering of patients and families, as well as, upon disordered physiology.

 

3.             We all share the burdens and frustrations of chronic, often partial, and seemingly endless illnesses.

 

We acknowledge the concerns of the bill’s proponents but have different solutions.  We oppose HB Bill 5326 for three sets of reasons.

 

First, palliative and hospice care is clearly and demonstrably effective at providing relief from fear, anxiety, pain, dyspnea, nausea, and delirium.  In occasional cases where complete relief eludes our efforts, we can use medications more aggressively if the patient and family are agreeable to reduced alertness and increased somnolence.  Our goal is comfort; the duration of the patient’s life is often lengthened a bit, most often unchanged, and rarely shortened by palliative care in this setting.  In my seven years at Connecticut Hospice I have discussed assisted suicide with fewer than five patients and believe that good relief of symptoms almost always ends the discussion.  In this way, the patient’s wishes are honored and a comfortable death expected.

More and better palliative care will answer our shared three needs listed above.

Second, HB Bill 5326 is filled with unclear language and inner contradictions.  Sec 3(d), prescribing that an extended care facility, in which the patient resides, shall designate a witness for the death, seems inconsistent with 3(b) wherein the facility owner/operator shall not participate in this.  Section 6(4) refers to a consultant confirming the diagnosis of terminal illness by the attending physician.  Is there certainty here, or preponderance of probability, which is more likely in my experience?  Must we not be certain here?  6(b) legalizes the falsification of a death certificate by forbidding the entry of assisted suicide as the cause of death.  This will cause endless difficulties with medical examiner, law, insurance, annuities despite 11(d) which assures us that no such difficulty will occur.  Insurance companies will look at all this quite closely.

15(c) forbids any public agency to call “suicide” or “assisted suicide” any name but “aid in dying.”

16(b) provides that the measures in the bill do not violate 53a-56.  But they do violate it.

I am not a lawyer, but these linguistic and conceptual problems do not increase respect for our laws.  At least 1 – 6(b) legalizes the illegal.

Third, good laws tend to make it easier for us to behave prudently and keep our integrity in our social and ethical lives.  We protect children from drugs and alcohol by law; we protect lives and property in many ways; we acknowledge by laws the impossibility of utopian perfection in the dark wood which is the world.

It is understandable that we would wish to abolish individual intolerable suffering by assisted suicide; yet I believe the impulse offers a narrow, solitary solution to a problem with complex cultural effects.  We are all not alone.  We are members of civil society, families, kinships, and networks.  After 40 years in medicine, I can testify that people in pain and misery will change their goals and wishes even from day to day.  The idea of death divides families, often bitterly.

If I provide my patient the means of death on a Monday, would he or she have changed his mind Tuesday?  Ah, he or she is gone Tuesday, a citizen of death’s gray land, they will have no shares in time’s tomorrows.

And the survivors?  They will have compassion fatigue, burnout, stress, and shared pain.  Death may give them an ambivalent mix of relief from toil and economic gain, even as bereavement deepens.  Many will feel guilt about their gains, and doubt the right of what was done.

Some attempts to use the power of the state and the laws to improve our lives and our society can work.  Witness the story of civil rights 1964-2014.  Yet, state power used for social ends can and has led to horror beyond imagining.  Witness the laws under the Third Reich and all that followed their enforcement.  Those who deny the “slippery slope” do so at peril to us all.

And so I conclude that the burdens of HB Bill 5326 outweighs any benefit.  To make it work you will need to shatter and scatter the renowned role of medicine in our society, all to pursue the mirage that death can always be made free of suffering for all involved.

The central error is the overthrow of a good work for the illusion of a perfect work.

Families and friends will be divided by these patients’ choices; the clinicians who  participate will be uneasy and will feel their dignity ebb into self-doubt.  The weak remedy of legality will not relieve the pain of moral failure.

I will oppose HB Bill 5326 and if it is passed, will not obey it, and I will urge my fellow physicians and APRNs to disobey it also, in defense of the sick, disabled, ourselves, and our deepest convictions.

18 Mar

Volunteer at The Connecticut Hospice, Inc.

If you or someone you know is looking for an opportunity to serve others in your community, we would like to hear from you.  Our patients and families are in need of your care and support.

The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. is sponsoring Spring training.  This volunteer course will inform and prepare prospective volunteers in all aspects of Hospice care including transportation.

Representatives from the nursing, social work, spiritual care, arts and bereavement departments of The Connecticut Hospice, Inc. will make presentations describing their individual roles in the interdisciplinary care of hospice patients.

Please contact Joan Cullen, Director of Volunteers at 203-315-7510 OR 1-800-8-HOSPICE ext. 510 or email at jcullen@hospice.com to set up an interview.