Most of us are aware of
hospice and perhaps a bit intimidated by the thought of needing hospice care someday.
A terminal diagnosis can thrust patients and their families into a new
reality of dependence: Families may find it challenging to provide continuous
care their loved one now requires. Further, some family members may live
out of state or live nearby but are unable to take time off from work
to provide needed care.
Caring House will welcome residents on hospice in the South Bay to help families during
this time of transition.
Caring House is a non-profit organization located in Torrance whose goal
is to provide a warm and comfortable home-away-from-home for persons at
the end of their lives, says Ed Long, volunteer and president of the organization.
Once open, it will be the first of its kind in the South Bay and in all
of Los Angeles County. Now, patients receiving hospice care will have
an alternative place for that care. Caring House staff and volunteers
will provide care and support around the clock.
Elder care advocates began planning Caring House more than a decade ago,
when they realized there was a need for this type of service in the South
Bay. In 2013, Long’s mother became terminally ill and asked to go
to an end-of-life home in her hometown of Syracuse, N.Y. Its peaceful
home environment and the caring staff skilled in end-of-life-care his
mom received there confirmed for Long the importance of opening Caring
House in the South Bay.
Caring House has six private bedrooms to accommodate six residents, with
common areas for families to rest, talk and receive support, plus a full
kitchen for meal preparation. Caring House is a home—not a medical
provider. Residents wishing to have hospice care will need to choose a
Medicare-certified hospice service. Each resident’s chosen hospice
team will visit them at Caring House to provide medical care, such as
pain management and other services. Caring House will have two trained
caregivers on duty 24/7 for six residents and support from an administrator
with a nursing and hospice background and other vetted staff and volunteers.
Medicare and Medi-Cal will not cover the cost of Caring House services.
“We will rely on receiving operating income from charges paid by
four residents at any given time, in addition to the generous donations
from citizens and community organizations,” says Long. “This
will enable us to take in two residents who cannot afford to pay, as Caring
House is a community-based and charitable project.”
Torrance Memorial Medical Center has already been a generous community
supporter of the organization. “The hospital has made monetary donations
and also lends additional support to the group by providing meeting rooms,
printing services and in an advisory capacity,” says Claire Coignard,
director of health education and
HealthLinks at Torrance Memorial. Coignard serves as a core volunteer of Caring House.
Amanda Goodrich, coordinator of
hospice volunteers at Torrance Memorial, also serves as a member of the core volunteers.
“When a patient is terminal, families are exhausted; hospice-centered
care can help support families as well as the patient at the end of life,” she says.
Mary Hersh, PhD, RN, director of
palliative care at Torrance Memorial, adds, “With all the complexities of today’s
modern world, the process of dying is a time to be respected. The holistic
needs of the patient and family are important and Caring House aligns
with the mission of Torrance Memorial—focused on meeting the needs
of the community.”
The Caring House mission is reflected in its motto: a loving home for the
last stage. Says Long, “Caring House is a home, not a facility.”