Everything Elderly - Arbor Hospice, Older Adult Recovery Center at the Chelsea Community Hospital
Senior Helpers hosts a 30-minute weekly radio program called Everything Elderly. We cover topics related to seniors, with a focus on health. The program airs on 1290 AM WLBY, every Saturday morning at 8:30. On this weekend’s program, we were most pleased to welcome Gloria Brooks with Arbor Hospice, and Martin Hoekstra with the Chelsea Community Hospital.
Photo by Sheila Doeden
Gloria Brooks is the President and CEO of Arbor Hospice, an independent non-profit hospice provider. The organization provides end of life and grief support services, for patients and families. The focus is to provide comfort and assurance at end of life, to provide nurturing support to the families, and to ensure the community knows how to access hospice services. Gloria has been in her position about three years, and works with the employees to ensure a high standard of care, and with the community to educate and promote hospice care. Arbor Hospice has its own in-patient facility in Ann Arbor on Oak Valley Drive. The organization employs about 220 employees.
Hospice services generally begin with a patient family liaison going to meet with the family, wherever the family is located, to address all questions and concerns. Most of services are covered by Medicare and/or Medicaid. For most patients, there is no cost. If families are utilizing the in-patient facility, the room and board charges are not covered by Medicare. About 10% of Arbor Hospice patients stay at their facility, the balance stay in their own homes or at another care facility.
Gloria provided very useful explanations about hospice care, and how it’s under-utilized. While hospice is a six-month benefit, the median length of stay at Arbor Hospice is only two weeks. Nationally, only 40% of people eligible for hospice care actually receive hospice care. Families should try to plan ahead, and not wait until a crisis to utilize hospice care. For certain medical conditions patients live 30 days longer when on hospice care. Their pain and symptoms are under better control, and their quality of life improves. The bottom-line is hospice care provides an improved end of life experience for the patient and family, and the patient may even live longer.
Arbor Hospice needs to raise funds on a continual basis. Payments do not cover all of their provided care. Their cost to provide services exceeds their reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid by about $750,000 to $1 million each year.
If you would like to contact Gloria Brooks or Arbor Hospice, you may call their access center (24/7) at 800-997-9266, or visit their website at arborhospice.org. To listen to the full 12-minute discussion, click on this audio file Everything Elderly Gloria Brooks 0306.mp3.
Martin Hoekstra is the manager of the Older Adult Recovery Center at the Chelsea Community Hospital. This program is an intensive out-patient substance abuse recovery program for people that have problems with addictive pills and alcohol. Martin is a licensed social worker and has a masters degree in social work. He works with a psychiatrist and another therapist, and he clearly keeps very busy running the center. He is continuously working to improve the program.
Photo by Sheila Doeden
Martin really enjoys seeing the huge amount of positive change in his clients. The center works with each adult to develop a good recovery plan. Their services are covered by Medicare and/or by most insurances.
The program utilizes a significant number of peer counselors. These are specially trained volunteers. They are graduates of the center that have years of post-program sobriety. Martin referred to these volunteers as the backbone of the recovery program.
Martin provided excellent advice to families. Older adults may have more shame and they may be very hesitant to seek treatment. Common warning signs of addiction include depression, withdrawn behavior, and defensiveness. As older adults are less likely to ask for help, it’s important that family members encourage their troubled loved ones to seek assistance. Importantly, since these are older adults some families may think the problem is dementia, when it may actually be an alcohol addiction issue.
Martin strongly suggested that clients with alcohol addiction utilize Alcoholics Anonymous. Families of those with addiction are encouraged to utilize Al-Anon, the family support group.
If you would like to get in touch with Martin Hoekstra or the Older Adult Recovery Program, please call 734-475-4029, or go to the website sjmercyhealth.org and click on the Chelsea Community Hospital. To listen to the full 12-minute discussion, click on this audio file Everything Elderly Martin Hoekstra 0306.mp3.