About Hospice Care

About Hospice Care

Hospice is a profoundly life-affirming approach to the mysterious, frightening process of dying. By assuring every person has the right to live out life in dignity, free of pain and attended to by caring people; hospice elevates all of us as well as our communities. As hospice eases the final journey, it also celebrates and affirms life by helping patients and families find meaning, comfort and often reconciliation.

This special caring is provided by Samaritan Evergreen Hospice. Founded in 1984, Evergreen became a program of Albany General Hospital in 1986. In 2003, the hospice program at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital affiliated with Evergreen to better coordinate mid-valley hospice services. Evergreen embodies the commitment to quality care and integrated services that characterizes Samaritan Health Services. And as hospice becomes more accepted and understood, it has experienced phenomenal growth over its 25 year history.

Nearly 700 patients and their families were touched by Samaritan Evergreen Hospice in 2009, a 20-percent increase from 2007. Now, in support of Evergreen's work and to meet the needs of other mid-valley hospice patients in surrounding counties, the Albany General Hospital Foundation proposes to raise $5.33 million to construct a hospice house, central office for the program staff, and to establish an endowment for patient care so that anyone who needs financial assistance will not be turned away.

Enhancing the dying experience for families

Most hospice care is offered at home, because the vast majority of patients prefer to stay in familiar surroundings. Sometimes, however, the home setting is no longer appropriate because of a medical crisis, uncontrollable pain or the dissipating energies of the caregiver. Identifying a local alternative for patients who cannot remain at home is a substantial challenge. A hospital stay is expensive and hospital staff are, understandably, not trained in the tenets of hospice care. Nursing homes are an option, but it can be several days before a bed is available, and a private room is never guaranteed. There is a proven option: a stand-alone hospice house where round-the-clock nursing care ensures patients and families are made comfortable in a homelike setting. The dying experience for mid-valley families will improve when a facility is designed and staffed using the hospice philosophy. Here are several reasons why an individual might be admitted to an inpatient hospice facility: The patient has acute care needs that cannot be met at home, such as adjustment to pain medications.
  • The patient and family have not invited hospice support for a chronic disease in its final stages. For example an individual has managed diabetes for years, but a sudden turn may find the patient hospitalized with an end-of-life condition. Patients and their families will be better served by a hospice facility in tune with family dynamics during these difficult times.
  • The family is in crisis and needs short-term assistance until a viable solution is found to care for their dying loved one.
  • The family is ready for a break - respite - from caring for a loved one.