New Braunfels, TX: CEO Deb Houser of Hope Hospice, marking the non-profit organization’s approaching 30th anniversary, announced at a recent gathering of physicians and healthcare executives several new initiatives and the addition of new staff members.
Hope Hospice officially presented the Kinder Hope program to the healthcare community last night. Kinder Hope expands Hope’s current pediatric hospice services to also include perinatal hospice care. Perinatal hospice, which serves infants from 20 weeks gestation to 20 weeks post-partum, is for expectant parents who, sadly, know even before birth that their infant is likely facing a limited life expectancy. Hope Hospice is one of only three hospices and six other agencies in the state of Texas to provide such unique, sensitive and important care before, during and after such a tragic loss.
Hope Hospice sent key staff to receive additional training in the fall of 2012 and the program’s first newborn was delivered at Central Texas Medical Center welcomed into the world on December 31, 2012. Kayleigh Hope Cowan** was held and loved by her parents and family for four days before she died peacefully, surrounded by those she loved. Her parents, Dan and Jodie Cowan, spoke at last night’s event. Mr. Dan Cowan expressed his family’s gratitude to the physicians, nurses and other staff from CTMC, Dell Children’s Hospital and Hope Hospice who were involved in caring for Kayleigh and supporting her family. Dr. Elaine Gwosdz-Gilman, Chief Medical Officer for Hope Hospice, said, “Families facing a serious condition for their unborn child will often have many individuals and agencies involved: obstetricians, perinatologists, labor and delivery staff and other experts. The Kinder Hope program not only offers invaluable emotional support, but it helps to coordinate the care of all these unique providers, making this journey a little easier for the family. Our team really knits together these individual teams and helps all of them prepare for the baby and to celebrate his or her life.”
Hope Hospice is partnering with Oasis Acres in LaVernia to provide equine therapy to youth impacted by the death of a loved one. Oasis Acres is a non-profit agency providing an equine assisted therapy program for middle and high school at-risk youth. Counselors trained in equine therapy and in grief therapy use horses’ sensitivity to non-verbal communication to facilitate healing through the grief process with a focus on seven core skills: respect, responsibility, relationship skills, boundaries, empathy, choices and consequences. This program is slated for summer 2014 and currently seeking funding.
Additionally, pet therapy, using trained comfort dogs, will be expanded from their current use in Hope’s Camp HavenHeart and Family Night support groups to also include their use in hospice patient companionship. Sherry Lindsey and her five certified therapy Shelties have been volunteering in the Children’s Grief Program since 2005. The addition of Oscar and Curby will enable Hope’s patients who would like a visit from a four-legged friend to also have that joy and comfort.
Bereavement Companionship is a new program currently in the pilot phase. It is a free service for those individuals who no longer need formal counseling after the death of a loved one, but want to remain connected with Hope Hospice and want to continue to have visitors from Hope. The program is staffed by trained volunteers and overseen by Jane Marie Young, Director of Psycho-social Services. Clients most likely to need this program are those who have experienced the death of a spouse and find themselves in a changing financial and social environment. The loss they’ve experienced often results in needing to learn to cook for one, to deal with finances alone and other major life adjustments. Companionship support is ideal for these individuals who would like a listening ear but do not need professional counseling.
Deb Houser named Adrienne Ruggles, RN, BSN, as Director of Patient Care Services in July of this year. Ruggles has been with Hope Hospice since 2011 and has worked in the field of hospice care since 2009. Of Ruggles’ leadership skills, Houser says, “Two years ago, Adrienne brought to Hope her passion for caring for patients in their last months of life. In that time, she has proven her effectiveness in program and staff development.”
Ruggles has recently expanded the Hope Hospice Patient Care Team to include four Clinical Leaders, 12 Registered Nurses, 6 Licensed Vocational Nurses and 18 Certified Nursing Assistants. This expansion is part of an ongoing effort to continue to invest in the quality of patient care Hope Hospice provides. Specifically, the increased number of Certified Nursing Assistants enables Hope’s patients to receive more frequent and longer personal assistance and homemaking services, greatly adding to the comfort of the patients and support to their caregivers. Sharon Legg**, daughter-in-law of a current Hope Hospice patient, has said of the care team, “I asked for Hope with Dad because we’d used you years ago with my aunt and I thought [the care] was really good. What we’re getting now, though, is so much better. These aides come every day and are so cheerful. They know Dad and are the highlight of his day.”
Lisa Gladstone, RN, with over a decade of experience in the healthcare industry and management, has recently joined Hope Hospice as Director of Business Development. Lisa had the opportunity to build a team of marketing professionals to represent Hope Hospice in the nine counties Hope serves. Joining her team are Laura Williams, Holly Ennis and T.J. Brocker. Each is local to this area and has prior customer service experience in the healthcare industry. Bethany Valencia, RN, completes the Marketing Team as Community Education Consultant.
Kathleen Krueger, former Mayor Pro-tem of New Braunfels and wife of former Ambassador Bob Krueger, has accepted a position as Public Relations Coordinator, with an emphasis on fundraising, special events and media relations.
Next year will mark Hope Hospice’s 30th anniversary of providing care and comfort to Central Texans in their last months of life. Hope Hospice is partnering with Texas State University on a Service Learning Project that will chronicle the past 30 years of Hope.
Texas State University Provost, Gene Bourgeois, has welcomed Opal Umpierre, Hope Hospice Community Liaison, as a Visiting Faculty Fellow to work with students across nursing and social science majors to write a book about the history of Hope Hospice. Former and current volunteers, staff and Board of Directors will offer stories and experiences from working with Hope Hospice to chronicle how the organization has grown from a group of community volunteers, medical professionals and leaders in 1984 to a nine-county non-profit organization, serving over 600 patients a year.
Umpierre, who helped found Hope Hospice in 1984, will spend two semesters at Texas State guiding students through the project and orienting students to hospice care. She will also be lecturing on end of life care, ethical issues at end of life, aging and other hospice-related topics. Umpierre hopes to make an impacting difference in the lives of all those involved with the project by encouraging them to engage in open conversations with their loved ones about the care they would or would not want in their last months of life.
Thirtieth anniversary festivities continue for Hope Hospice beginning with the Hope Hospice Foundation’s third annual gala. As the thirtieth anniversary gemstone is a Pearl and the event will be held on Saturday, December 7, Pearl Harbor Day, the “Pearl Anniversary Gala” will be a 1940’s Officer’s Ball, kicking off a year-long celebration of providing our community with 30 years of Hope.
In anticipation of this milestone, physicians and healthcare professionals have expressed their thoughts and congratulations.
It is important to me that Hope Hospice is here for our community, especially who are less fortunate or have no insurance. It is the right thing to do. That is what good neighbors do—care for each other
William Reeves, MD
What I’m excited about is the bold future for Hope and Hope’s desire to expand to meet the growing needs of our community. Particularly as an organization like Resolute Health, who looks for partners that put the patient and the patient’s family at the center of all we do.
Tess Coody-Anders, CEO, Resolute Health
Hope Hospice may not be able to change the outcome, but they can certainly make the journey better.
Kathleen Rockwood, MD
EdenHill Communities and Hope Hospice have shared many similar common goals of serving New Braunfels and the surrounding communities throughout our histories. Both organizations have continued to evolve to meet the changing needs of our community and constantly look for ways to be the best providers of care and services. We value Hope Hospice and the care it provides and congratulate Hope as it moves forward.
Larry Dahl, CEO, EdenHill Communities
Hope Hospice has provided exemplary caring service to the New Braunfels community for the past thirty years. During this time, they’ve helped many individuals and families get through a very difficult stage of life.
Gary Bird, MD
Your staff has been so kind, compassionate and easy to work with when it comes to making sure our Residents and Patients are comfortable during a most difficult time. All of your staff should know they are greatly appreciated by our staff for the work that they provide. Not only are they ensuring our Residents and patients are comfortable, but they are concerned about family needs as well. Hope’s care is second to none! Additionally, I commend your organization for being a resource for children; I saw firsthand how your staff helped children say good bye to loved ones. The dogs do a lot for not only the kids, but us adults too.
William Pomeroy, Administrator, Kirkwood Manor
Hope Hospice has never let me down or my patients they are taking care of and I cannot say the same for all other hospice programs in this area. They have always been available and helpful in the comfort and care administered to patients and their families.
Martin Levett, MD, FACP
I have gotten to witness firsthand the loving care that Hope Hospice provides our residents and I feel very fortunate to have them so close by to call on when needed
Sharon Wild, Executive Director, Rio Terra Senior Living
The Hope Hospice team has always shown great compassion and dedication to the residents and families at Sundance Inn. We truly appreciate their continued support and love to our family.
Kelli Marx, Administrator, Sundance Inn
For more information about hospice care, accessing these and other programs or the Hope Hospice Foundation Pearl Anniversary Gala, please contact Hope Hospice at (830) 625-7500 or (800) 499-7501.
** Names used with family permission