Lifeguard Home Health, a family owned and operated company which offers home health support, has expanded into end-of-life care through a new organization, Lifeguard Hospice Care.
"Because of our success in our Home Health company that started in 2008, we have decided to expand to reach out to the people that we can serve in the midst of the final stage of their lives," says Editha Mallari, president. "Our guideline in our hospice company is fulfilling life's journey with dignity and comfort."
Hospice care is generally recommended by doctors when a patient's passing is anticipated during the subsequent six months. Rather than the typical goal of amelioration of negative health conditions, hospice care's aim is typically limited to relief from physical pain, as well as providing psychological and spiritual comfort to both the patient and interested family members. These services, including medications and medical equipment, are typically covered by Medicare and Medicaid, although Lifeguard Hospice offers its services to anyone, regardless of insurance coverage or financial capability.
Mallari started Lifeguard Home Health in 2008, after becoming dissatisfied with the levels of commitment and compassion displayed by those caring for her terminally ill sister. "The nurses that came in would only say hello from the foot of the bed. They wouldn't get close or give my sister a soothing touch. Even though she was very ill, they did not try to make her feel better," she says. "My vision of Lifeguard Home Health was guided by my experiences with my sisters, who showed me that patients should be treated fairly and given a compassionate helping hand."
Lifeguard Hospice Care follows that same philosophy. "This company was formed out of our commitment to excellent care," she says. "What is unique about Lifeguard Hospice is the heart - we are not a big company but we treat everybody that is involved with our company as family. Taking care of each patient is our number one concern and our clinicians are dedicated to providing them with that. We give personalized care. We take a holistic approach and talk not only to the patient but also to the family."
The partnership between the two companies pays off in other ways as well. "People are recognizing the value of continuity of care. When people are with Lifeguard Home Health and then want to enter hospice, when they are diagnosed as in their last six months, they are requesting the same clinicians," says Mallari. "They are comfortable with our clinicians on the Home Health side, they are at ease with them, so we don't need to introduce a new person at that stage."
Another advantage offered by Lifeguard Hospice is that the service is flexible enough to be offered at a variety of locations. "Anybody that has a hospice need, we can see them wherever they are," Mallari says. "A patient could be in a skilled nursing facility and we could be seeing them for hospice care, or they could be in an assisted living facility or even their own home."
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