New Hampshire Charitable Foundation Awards Grant for North Country Advance Care Planning Program
The Northern Tri-County ACP Group L-R, Front Row: Mary Francis Drake (from Pemi-Baker Community Health) Julie Lanoie Nancy Devine L-R, Back Row: Marianne Jackson Sue Ruka Sandy Ruka Ashlee Chaine Marissa Rexford (North Country Home Health & Hospice Agency) Mike Counter (North Country Home Health & Hospice Agency
April 24, 2018
Visiting Nurse Home Care & Hospice of Carroll County & Western Maine Among Supported Organizations
NORTH CONWAY, NH -- Have you had the conversation? It’s a question that is often asked too late, if at all. The conversation in question centers around Advance Care Planning. Healthcare providers, especially home care and hospice organizations, too often see the aftermath when individuals fail to tell their families their preferences for care before a healthcare crisis strikes. When individuals have to make critical health decisions in a crisis, they often are overwhelmed and may make choices that might not reflect the wishes of their loved one. In order to spread the word about the importance of Advance Care Planning in northern New Hampshire,Visiting Nurse Home Care & Hospice of Carroll County (VNHCHCC) collaborated with three other home care and hospice agencies to submit a grant application to New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. The organizations received $25,000 to further develop and implement a collaborative program in Carroll, Grafton and Coos Counties to promote coordinated advance care planning, education and implementation.
While the grant was submitted by VNHCHCC, it’s actually a partnership of three Home Care and Hospice agencies - VNHCHC (for Carroll County), Pemi Baker Community Health (representing Grafton County) and North Country Home Health & Hospice Agency (in Coos County). Thanks to the grant, the three were able to establish a dedicated position called the Northern Tri-County ACP Liaison. The position allows for the sharing of best practices regarding community advance care planning by creating a central web based clearinghouse and a personal facilitator for these North Country agencies.
Ashlee Chaine was recently hired as the ACP facilitator and she is already making a difference, having helped coordinate the April 16th Healthcare Decisions Day, which saw employers and healthcare organizations throughout the three counties display information on Advance Care Planning. Previously Chaine was a patient navigator and case manager at Memorial Hospital in North Conway. Her work there often focused on Memorial’s Family Birthing Center patients. She sees parallels between that work and advance care planning. Chaine shared, “Just as we plan for the birth of a baby, you need a plan for life’s last chapters.Documenting wishes about end of life leads to care and support consistent with your core values. It’s creating an environment of choice in which personal wishes are known, honored and respected.” While Chaine lives in the Mount Washington Valley, her work is representing the Tri-County area.
VNHCHC Executive Director Sandy Ruka said shared resources, such as Chaine’s position, will further their ability to break down silos and avoid duplicating efforts among the three organizations. “We’re sharing resources so that we can provide better and more consistent education to our patients, community and providers with the ultimate goal of improved end of life care. By consolidating, we become more solid and unifying. The three of us realized if we don’t put resources into it, it won’t happen. We are so grateful to the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation for making this possible for our communities.”
Ruka also reinforced the great need for these services, “New Hampshire’s population is aging rapidly. While anyone at any age can face a medical crisis, research has demonstrated discrepancies in care for those with advanced illness. Carroll and Coos Counties are the poorest and oldest with the lowest utilization of hospice services in the state. Our ultimate goal is to enhance the lives of individuals in our community.”
For more information, go to www.vnhch.org or call 603-356-7006.