Charitable Care Program Fills the Gaps for Patients in Need
The recent experience of a hospice patient illustrates the vital role that the Charitable Care program plays in communities throughout San Bernardino and Riverside counties. A 69-year-old low-income hospice patient nearing the end of his life was recently discharged from the hospital to his home without any family to care for him. His assigned VNA hospice social worker was shocked to learn that not only was he living alone in isolation, but he had no food in the home.
Charitable Care Moves Quickly to Solve Problems Immediately
Through the Charitable Care program, VNA hospice staff immediately requested funds for groceries to address his urgent lack of nutrition. Furthermore, because of his poor health and inability to drive and shop for himself, his VNA social worker personally shopped for the groceries. She was able fill his freezer with microwavable meals and other foods to meet his dietary needs. In addition, VNA provided several weeks of free in-home private duty care to ensure that his basic health needs were met, that he was safe, and that he had companionship.
As a Medi-Cal patient, VNA hospice staff had difficulty finding a skilled nursing facility that would admit him. At some facilities, there were as many as 65 patients already in line for a bed. His doctor even tried personally to find a facility for him, but to no avail. Finally, after calling more than 25 facilities, VNA hospice staff found one that was willing to take this patient. However, he was nearly declined there, too, because his Medi-Cal coverage did not start on the day that the bed became available, but the next day instead. Again, using Charitable Care funds, VNA was able to cover that expense and secure the bed right away until his Medi-Cal coverage began.
Buddy the Chihuahua Joins the VNA Family
Demonstrating the extraordinary spirit of compassion that is characteristic of VNA staff, a VNA hospice manager even took in the patient’s pet Chihuahua to ensure that it would be cared for by her family. Her young daughter, in particular, was thrilled to provide Buddy with a loving home. Buddy’s new family took him to visit with the patient at the facility two days before he passed away. At that time, the patient was doing well, talking, and joking and very delighted to see his beloved dog. While they were there, the patient told the hospice manager’s daughter that he was happy. He could tell that she and Buddy had a good bond! Our hospice manager is very grateful that she was able to give the patient comfort to know his dog was in good hands. It felt to her like the patient could let go once he knew that Buddy was ok. Buddy is now enjoying a new life with his VNA family.
Unfortunately, in today’s shifting healthcare climate, cases like this are all too common. This is our new reality. This is why VNA’s Charitable Care Program is an essential safety net for the most vulnerable people in our communities.