Driven by the vision that everyone needs access to quality healthcare at the end of life, Hospice & Community Care (HCC) has remained focused on increasing access to hospice care, improving patient quality of life, and supporting patients and families on their journey throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. And thanks to a generous gift from The Herbert and Anna Lutz Foundation, HCC was able to virtually connect with patients and their families even when we couldn’t physically provide care in person.
The Lutz Foundation is a Chester, South Carolina family foundation established in 1993, which makes grants supporting Education, Community, Health, and Welfare. A long-time supporter of Hospice & Community Care, the mission of The Lutz Foundation is to reach as many lives and programs as possible with funds available. The Board also desires that Herbert and Anna Lutz’s legacy continue to enrich our community as they fulfill their commitment to “Caring and Contributing” to their neighbor’s needs. Foundation president Dewey Guyton, Vice-President and Treasurer Joan Guyton, and Board Member Shelia Bishop of the Lutz Foundation recently visited the Hospice & Community Care campus to see firsthand our virtual care services. They are pictured above with Hospice & Community Care CEO Jennifer Graham.
In response to the COVID-19 public health crisis that began last year, Hospice & Community Care recognized the need to quickly develop and implement a plan to ensure that access to hospice care continued despite the continued public health emergency. Due to the mandatory restrictions placed on skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and hospitals, many families could not visit their loved ones when COVID-19 hit our area. Patients and caregivers were also reluctant to allow staff into their homes due to fear of virus spread. These restrictions created challenges for serious and terminally ill patients and their ability to access care.
Thanks to the support of The Lutz Foundation, HCC deployed a strategy to improve our ability to activate care and increase access to the supportive care that Hospice & Community Care provides to our community. The Lutz Foundation grant allowed HCC to purchase necessary technology, training, and other equipment that enabled our care team to obtain virtual consent for care, utilize telehealth services, and connect patients and families separated during the pandemic. With these new resources and training, as shared by the HCC team during a recent CN2 segment (at mark 7:45), HCC has been able to continue providing medical care, support, and bereavement services to patients, families, and the community.
Before the onset of the COVID-19 health emergency, telehealth services were not permitted in hospice care. Responding to the need, the federal government granted a waiver that has been extended to at least the end of the year, and legislation has been proposed to make telehealth services a permanent adoption in the future. Hospice & Community Care CEO Jennifer Graham stated that “we fully expect that the new normal in healthcare will be driven by technology that meets the patient’s needs and maintains the high-quality care that our community has become accustomed to from our organization. Virtual technology helps us to avoid any compromise in the quality or effectiveness of patient care.”
As the area’s only independent, nonprofit, community-based hospice care organization operating our own stand-alone inpatient facility, the Wayne T. Patrick Hospice House, we are proud to provide care that always meets or exceeds the highest standards of excellence. This promise of care is only possible with the generous support of community partners like The Lutz Foundation. Whether in person or virtual, their investment in our care allows our team to foster and support a caring environment for each person’s final moments. Through responsible stewardship of our resources and dedicated support from our community, Hospice & Community Care can ensure the continuity of our programs and services for those in need.
We want to extend our appreciation for the Lutz Foundation’s support of our organization and our community.