Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare has expanded its bereavement programming beyond patient families and into the larger community. The Pathways of Hope program was recently introduced to the hospice’s service regions and surrounding areas, extending grief support and additional services to anyone experiencing loss.
Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare is an affiliate of Ohio’s Hospice, a regional partnership of nine non-profit hospice provider members, in addition to other joint ventures and community organizations. Providing grief support since 1982, Pathways of Hope will stretch the potential reach for Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare further into the community at large. The hospice’s new program offers grief workshops, groups and counseling to the region’s families — regardless of whether a lost loved one was a patient.
“While Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare has been offering grief support services since its founding in 1982, the Ohio’s Hospice Pathways of Hope program will enable our bereavement counseling professionals at Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare to collaborate with their colleagues throughout Ohio’s Hospice, bringing additional knowledge, information and a standard of care to the communities served by Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare,” Amy Wagner, president of Ohio’s Hospice, told Hospice News. “We also introduced Pathways of Hope to the central Ohio communities served by Hospice of Central Ohio, another one of our affiliates. As Hospice of Central Ohio has grown through the years, it has continued to provide grief support to families and loved ones. All grief support services are free, regardless of whether an individual has been served by Hospice of Central Ohio. Through Pathways of Hope, we are better able to support the ever-growing needs of those we are privileged to serve.”
With these moves, the Pathways of Hope program is available from all Ohio’s Hospice affiliates, including Community Care Hospice, Hospice of Central Ohio, Ohio’s Community Mercy Hospice, Ohio’s Hospice at United Church Homes, Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare, Ohio’s Hospice Loving Care, Ohio’s Hospice of Butler & Warren Counties, Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, Ohio’s Hospice of Fayette County and Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County.
Pathways of Hope offers support groups to anyone in the community coping with loss. The bereavement program offers spring and fall memorial services, monthly grief workshops, an adult grief group, a grief camp for kids, and school group and individual bereavement services.
The hospice also maintains partnerships with local community health agencies, providing training for pre-school administrators and staff on grief and loss among children, as well as grief education training, workshops and individual bereavement counseling for extended care facilities, local businesses, schools and faith communities.
Demand for services related to end-of-life care has been mounting in Ohio, with the state ranking sixth in the United States for hospice utilization among Medicare decedents at 56.7% in 2018, according to the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). Utah topped the list with a rate of 60.5%. Regional partnerships such as Ohio’s Hospice help non-profit organizations to compete with for-profit entities that have dominated the hospice market over the past decade.
Many hospices nationwide have opened up bereavement services to anyone in need, whether or not they are a family member of a deceased patient. Among these are Chesapeake Life Center in Maryland, Hospice Austin in Texas, and Walla Walla Community Hospice in Washington state.
Some providers have redesigned grief support programming during the COVID-19 pandemic to continue reaching those suffering from loss as many say goodbye to loved ones virtually in isolation. The pandemic has not only impacted the grieving process for these families, but also providers in their ability to sustain resource availability amid an economic downfall.
“Implementing the Pathways of Hope program at Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare was part of our long-term plan to provide additional grief support and bereavement services to the communities served by Ohio’s Hospice affiliates,” Wagner said. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pathways of Hope grief counseling staff at all of our affiliates continue to provide grief support and bereavement services in a variety of safe and approachable ways for patients, families and community members. Because of COVID-19, we are now offering our services both virtually and in person.“