Margaretville Hospital now offering respite program for Hospice caregivers

Margaretville — Margaretville Hospital and Catskill Area Hospice are working in tandem to provide short-term accommodations for Hospice and Palliative care patients as a respite for caregivers.
Carol Bouton, case manager at Margaretville Hospital, said her facility has begun contracting with Catskill Area Hospice to provide care for their patients for short-term stays. The agreement allows the hospital to care for Hospice patients for up to five consecutive days as a means of allowing a relief period for caregivers.

“We’ve offered a respite program for quite a while, but we have just recently started working with Hospice,” Mrs. Bouton explained.

She noted that the key difference is that paying privately to utilize the program is quite expensive and not within the means of most people. With the new arrangement, the hospital bills Hospice and that organization is reimbursed through Medicare.
“The agreement really makes the program affordable. The feedback has been great — patients, families, Hospice and hospital staff are all pleased with the benefits,” Mrs. Bouton noted. “The utilization of the program is up considerably.”

She noted that Hospice approached the hospital about the possibility of entering into the agreement for providing respite care. Mrs. Bouton indicated that either a Hospice case manager or nurse calls the hospital when a family requires a recess from its caregiving duties. Dr. Paul Llobet, the hospital’s medical director, then writes the orders authorizing the arrangement.
Mrs. Bouton said that it’s common for caregivers to need time off from their duties to meet social or travel obligations or to simply achieve a mental break. The respite program offers caregivers some needed time off while providing the peace of mind that Hospice patients are receiving round-the-clock medical attention.

Multiple uses allowed
She said that although there’s a limit of five consecutive days for the program, it is allowable to utilize the respite program on multiple occasions.

Jodi Carson, RN, assists in overseeing the respite program and also cares for patients in Margaretville Hospital’s Swing Bed program. The latter is a post-acute care arrangement for patients who are not ready to be discharged, but are still in need of medical attention.

“We treat the Hospice patients like they are on an acute care floor,” she pointed out.
She noted that participants arrive with their own medications and the hospital staff takes care of administrating the medications, along with providing for any other patient needs.
For additional information about the Hospice and Palliative Care Program, please contact Mrs. Bouton at 845 586-2631, extension 3235.

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