Providing patient-centered care to the seriously ill and their families with excellence and compassion; engaging in community partnerships, education and counseling; offering opportunities to staff, volunteers and donors to enrich lives through their gifts.
Be the leader in delivering comforting care at the right time to the seriously ill.
CompassionExcellenceTeamworkRespect & DignityDiversityIntegrityInnovationSustainability
In the late 70’s, health professionals and civic activists across the country began clamoring for a new approach to end-of-life care – one in which terminally ill patients were treated in their own homes, with dignity, and with their family members close-by. A group in Lexington saw the need for this same approach in Central Kentucky and in 1978 established - Community Hospice of Lexington. The first patient – Gladys Dotson – was admitted in March and in that year the program served 12 patients.
As Hospice continued to grow, what began as a volunteer driven organization blossomed into an agency serving 8 Central Kentucky Counties. In 1992, the staff had grown to more than 80 and in that year provided care to over 900 patients. During its first 15 years, Hospice focused primarily on offering home care for terminally ill adults. Gradually, it became clear that patients and their loved ones had additional needs that Hospice could meet. Over the ensuing decade, Hospice would enhance the grief and loss program by serving the diverse needs of patients, families and anyone in the community who had experienced the loss of a loved one whether a Hospice patient or not. In 1999, Palliative Care of the Bluegrass was established providing symptom-directed, patient-centered, life-affirming care of those living with progressive life-threatening illnesses
As the 21st century approached, Hospice expanded to 23 Central, Southeastern and Northern Kentucky counties. A new Grief and Loss facility was completed and Extra Care, a private duty care service, was established. In 2008, nine more southeastern Kentucky counties were added to the program making the service area 32 counties strong. The Greg and Noreen Wells Hospice Care Center, our first free-standing inpatient facility opened in Hazard. Our newest program KATS (Kentucky Appalachian Transition Services) was established in 2013 and helps those who leave the hospital go home safely. Today, Hospice of the Bluegrass employs more than 500 staff members and touches the lives of over 12,000 people a year.
Our newest program, KATS (Kentucky Appalachian Transition Services) which is a demonstration project funded by Medicare, was extended services at Baptist Health Corbin, University of Kentucky Gill Heart Institute and Good Samaritan Hospital. The Transitions program provided care for 4,306 patients in 2015. Extra Care Private Duty provided took care of 92 clients. The program received approval in 2015 to establish an education program to train certified nursing assistants – the Extra Care Nurse Aide Training Center opened in March of 2016.
Last year, Baptist Health Lexington and the Palliative Care Center joined forces to provide palliative options to Baptist Health patients. The Palliative Care Center of the Bluegrass served over 3,200 patients in 2015. Last year, Hospice of the Bluegrass cared for more than 5,000 dying patients and their families. Because of our mission-based and innovative approaches, our organization received one National and two State awards for improving the quality of life of those living with serious illness.
The primary concerns for Hospice of the Bluegrass are obtainingresources to support unfunded programs such as bereavement (for adults and children); to support pediatric palliative and hospice care; to bolster the patient expense fund and to maintain a sustainable source of funding for unreimbursed care. Those donating to Hospice of the Bluegrass are invited to specify gifts for these worthwhile and necessary programs. For example, a sixweek Bereavement group for eight participants is $1500. A day of pediatric care is $200 and a weekend at a grief camp for a child is $175. The patient expense fund covers emergencies patients and families face when an extended illness has caused financial hardship. These emergencies include, but are not limited to,paying for rent and/or utility bills, food, providing safety items such as smoke alarms and bedding. The necessity for unreimbursed care has increased during the past two years and it is a hallmark of HOB's mission to serve every patient, no matter the ability to pay.
As I reflect on my first year at Hospice of the Bluegrass, I am inspired by the tremendous support we receive from our community. For many years, I had heard about this program – providing great care, offering innovative services and winning awards. Now that I have had the opportunity to work side by side with our amazing staff, Board of Directors and volunteers as well as getting to know the communities we serve, I know why.
Hospice of the Bluegrass offers comprehensive services for the seriously ill in 32 Kentucky counties. The Hospice program provides specialized care for patients in the last phase of life. Care is delivered by a team of highly trained medical professionals who support the patient and family. Extra Care Private Duty provides quality healthcare/supportive services for clients in all settings 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.
The Palliative Care Center is designed to complement life-prolonging and curative treatments in the hospital by providing pain and symptom control, family support and coordination among doctors. Our newest program KATS (Kentucky Appalachian Transition Services), a demonstration project funded by Medicare, helps patients manage their health needs after a stay in the hospital with a goal to help those at-risk of re-hospitalization.
I am proud of the role the agency has in end-of-life education. Not only to the community, but the universities where we train medical fellows, residents and medical students, and future nurses, social workers, chaplains and other professionals.
Our many donors and volunteers are incredible. Their support insures patients not only receive excellent care, but special needs are met that fall outside government and private insurance funding. The unfunded programs of Hospice – bereavement,pediatric care and the patient expense fund (providing every day essentials to enhance quality of life) rely on donor support to better serve our communities. Likewise our dedicated volunteers add greatly to the lives of patients and families. Did you know over 6% of staff time is contributed by volunteers? That is incredible generosity from our community.
I am grateful to lead admission driven, legacy hospice supported by compassionate staff, over 500volunteers, a committed Board and engaged community. Together, we are meeting current community needs while also preparing for future end-of-life and healthcare needs. Thank you for taking the time to learn about Hospice of the Bluegrass. I encourage you to share your knowledge with others, especially those who are seriously ill. We want to help.
As Board Chair, I am awed by the quality care provided every day to the more than 650 seriously ill patients and their families served in 32 central, southeastern and northern Kentucky counties. The staff and volunteers do an amazing job providing this much needed service to more than 5,000 people throughout the year.
Hospice of the Bluegrass patients and their families receive a variety of services specific to them with symptom management as a key component. We recently received a letter from a grateful family and I wanted to share their kind words. “The staff was so kind and caring not only for my mother but also for our family. I will always be grateful for the support you gave us during this difficult time. Thank you for being there when we needed it most.”
I am privileged to be involved with this organization. Care of the seriously ill, their families and the bereaved are always in the forefront. The support received from the communities we serve comes in the form of donations and volunteers. Both of these components are equally essential as Hospice of the Bluegrass continues its important work.
In addition to providing expert medical care to patients, HOB also provides community services, including education on topics such as care of the seriously ill, end-of-life care, bereavement needs and caregiver needs to professionals, patients and families, institutions of higher learning and community groups. Counseling is offered to bereaved and others in crisis. Since Hospice of the Bluegrass strives to involve the community in our efforts to meet our mission, volunteer and donor opportunities are available to assist the agency.
We are one of the Nation’s legacy hospices and are respected nationally as a leading provider of hospice care. For the past 12 years we have served as a national training site for palliative care. Most recently, we continue our tradition of national leadership through 3 demonstration project awards from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Center, testing new models of care.
Hospice of the Bluegrass offers a variety of services to the seriously ill in the communities of 32 central, southeastern and northern Kentucky counties. Hospice care is the largest of the services offered and is very comprehensive. Nurses, physicians, social workers, chaplains, bereavement counselors, certified nursing aides, and volunteers provide supportive care to dying patients and education and support to their families. Pharmacy and home medical equipment is supplied. Services are available 24/7/365 in the home, nursing facility, hospice care centers and contracted hospitals.
HOB manages the Palliative Care Consult service for six hospitals in Lexington and one in Corbin, Ky. Collaborative teams of hospice employed medical practitioners and hospital staff focus on symptom management and goals of care for hospitalized patients. Palliative services are also available to Central Kentucky nursing facility residents. Extra Care Private Duty is available to the entire service area. This specialized program offers 24-hour care, 7 days a week in the home, nursing home, or assisted living facility. Short term transitions services are offered to Medicare and insurance patients at risk for re-hospitalization. Long term Case management interventions are offered for those at the greatest risk. Bereavement services are available for loved ones following the death of a patient in hospice and palliative care services as well as the community.
A hallmark of our success is the strength of the partnerships in the communities that we serve. Through collaboration with hospitals, nursing facilities, physicians, other healthcare providers and community groups, we increase the access to hospice patients and the other services we offer to the chronically and seriously ill.
Our strategic approach includes:
1) Delivering high quality medical and hospice care;
2) Partnering with healthcare providers and community organizations;
3) Operating an efficient and financially sustainable business;
4) Employing and retaining highly skilled employees who are committed to our mission;
5) Providing new and innovative services to meet the healthcare needs of the residents of the communities that we serve.
Hospice of the Bluegrass has been providing quality care for the seriously ill and their loved ones in these communities for more than 38 years. An expert staff, including board certified physicians; nurses, social workers and aides certified in hospice and palliative care; senior leaders who serve in national advisory roles; a core of over 500 volunteers and an involved Board of Directors committed to the sustainability of the organization are our key strengths. Ethical and mission driven business practices ensure our financial stability. Strong community partnerships throughout the 32 county service area assist us with meeting the health, social and spiritual needs of our patients and families. Successful fundraising and stewardship of donor contributions to further our mission assure the organization’s sustainability and ability to care for patients regardless of their health insurance status or ability to pay for services. An administrative structure including finance, development, human resources, quality, compliance and information technology support the clinical and educational work outlined in the mission. Additionally, each year the organization participates in an external audit and industry benchmarking to assure exemplary business practices.
The organization has a variety of ways to track progress such as measuring the numbers of patients referred and admitted to each of the services, the number of volunteers and the amount of time they contribute, and the ratio of hospice patients to deaths measured in each county. Most importantly, patient/family satisfaction is measured and benchmarked against similar organizations. For organizational quality improvement clinical factors including measuring the ability to resolve symptoms (such as pain and shortness of breath) quickly, as well as adverse events for various parts of the program (i.e. falls, infections etc.). Development measures statistics around donors and dollars. Progress is also measured by retaining key partnerships and adding new partners in caring for this vulnerable population.
Hospice of the Bluegrass has a robust QAPI (Quality Assessment Performance Improvement) program that includes participation from the Board of Directors. Each year performance indicators as described above are established to monitor performance. When indicators require improvement, a performance improvement project is initiated utilizing the PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act) methodology for improvement.
Hospice of the Bluegrass has accomplished the development and implementation of an array of services for the seriously ill in our diverse service area. All services touched the lives of more than 5,000 families in a 10,000 mile service area that extends from the Ohio River to the heart of Appalachia. Yet to be accomplished is making sure that all the mountain communities are able to benefit from the same services as the urban and suburban areas. The organization is also challenged to meet patient needs as the health care system changes with new systems and potential partners emerging, declining reimbursement and increasing regulatory requirements. While the organization uses much more technology than at any other time in our history, determining how to better include technological solutions to assist in our work remains a seemingly ever changing goal.
Fowler has more than 30 years’ experience in health care and non-profit administration. Prior to coming to Hospice of the Bluegrass, Fowler was with Hope HealthcareServices, a provider of post-acute healthcare services, including hospice, palliative care, PACE, home health, private duty nursing, adult day health and long-term care diversion services in Southwest Florida. She served in several positions at Hope Healthcare including Chief of Hospice Services and Chief of Quality and Compliance. Fowler's background also includes hospital administration and leadership of a community-based arts organization.
Fowler grew up in the Philadelphia area and the rural Appalachia region of western Maryland. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University and a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles. She also obtained a Certificate in Gerontology while at Syracuse. Always active in her community, Fowler has been a board member, advisory board member and officer of numerous organizations including The Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce, Florida Gulf Coast University, The Sanibel School Fund, The Sanibel School Advisory Committee and Barrier Island Group for the Arts.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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