SOUTH ABINGTON TWP. — Clarks Summit resident Ann Bost, RN said people often mistake her line of work as a “depressing” career.
But to the clinical director of the new Allied Services Integrated Health System Hospice program, it isn’t like that at all. Rather, one word she uses to describe her job is “fulfilling.”
“It’s a very rewarding experience to work with hospice patients and their families,” she said. “It’s enabling those patients to die with dignity, comfort. Usually you get to know your patients well and you get to know your families well. And it’s an honor, really, to have worked with all the patients that I’ve worked with.”
Bost said she entered the field in 1989, just three years after the Medicare hospice benefit was enacted. She joined the staff at Allied Services in August, and the program officially opened in November, when it gained its Medicare certification.
The new program will kick off its community involvement with a free presentation, titled, “Are You Ready? Small Talk About Important Decisions,” scheduled for 7 p.m. March 30 in the Resident Dining Room at Allied Services Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center, 303 Smallacombe Drive, Scranton. The keynote speaker for the event is Allied Services Hospice Medical Director Dr. Dipti Pancholy.
Bost recommends the presentation to healthcare professionals as well as families who are “going through the stress of making end of life decisions or will have to face them in the future.”
She said the most common misconceptions about hospice care she has encountered during her 27 years working in the field is the belief that a hospice referral signifies imminent death for the patient. She explained that isn’t necessarily – and shouldn’t be – the case.
“Most people out in the community think that you refer someone to hospice, or you bring someone to hospice, when they are actively dying,” she said. “And the ideal situation is to get them before they reach that stage. It’s a lot easier for the family and it’s a lot easier on hospice. It helps getting to know the patients, getting to know the families. A lot of times we get very late referrals, the patient dies within two days and you really don’t feel like you’ve done a great job, because everything has happened so quickly.”
She added when patients enter hospice care in the earlier stages of an illness, not only does their quality of life improve, but many times their lives extend longer than expected by their initial prognosis.
The Allied Services Integrated Health System Hospice program offers four types of care: routine, home, inpatient and respite. More information about each can be found online at alliedserviceshospice.org.
According to Bost, the new program was in the making for more than a year before it opened and was the logical “next step” for the organization to take with the services it provides.
“I really feel that they (Allied Services Integrated Health System) have been a successful operation in the community…They have a very good reputation. They’ve had a home health agency for many years,” she said, stressing that although the hospice program is just starting out, the organization’s experience and reputation in the community precedes it.
“It’s nice to be a part of that,” she said.
Seating is limited at the free event and reservations can be made by calling 570-341-4654.
Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal.