Hospice care has been around since the 11th century, but its modern conception didn’t take shape until 1967. It was during the interim that the concept of hospice evolved and expanded dramatically, often facing resistance and skepticism in the process.
In its early days, hospice typically referred to a place of hospitality for the ill, wounded, and dying, as well as travelers and pilgrims. Dame Cicely Saunders, below, is credited with developing the modern principles of hospice care throughout the 1950s.
Born in 1918, Saunders was a British nurse who experienced chronic health problems herself. This, combined with a special bond she developed with a dying Polish refugee, inspired her to become a hospice activist and eventually the mother of modern hospice care. The man, 40-year-old David Tasma, left her £500 in his will to follow her passion. Saunders’ philosophy was based on managing the “total pain” of the patient, meaning psychological, spiritual, and physical needs. She also introduced the idea of taking into account the needs of the patient’s family.
Saunders refined her philosophy throughout the 1950s while volunteering at a hospice facility and attending medical school. In 1967, she established St. Christopher’s Hospice in south London, the first model of modern hospice care.
Saunders, as well as leaders who came before and after her, faced resistance from a number of directions. Cultural taboos surrounding the open discussion of death and terminal illness were strong; fellow doctors felt uncomfortable implementing new, unfamiliar medical techniques; and many patients and their families found it hard to accept the transition from seeking cures to seeking comfort.
Nonetheless, Saunders’ approach saw great success. It was adopted in care facilities all over the world, from the U.S. to Zimbabwe to Switzerland. She paved the way for the 1982 creation of the Medicare Hospice Benefit, which was solidified in 1993 when President Bill Clinton declared hospice a guaranteed and essential component of health care.
Biblical traditions align with many of Saunders’ principles. In John’s Gospel, Jesus illustrates the connection between the spiritual and the physical. In his day, sickness was regarded as a manifestation of spiritual ailment. Jesus believed that by resolving one’s sins and leading a virtuous life, sickness could be healed. Today, with massive advancements in medicine and technology, it’s widely understood that sin doesn’t “cause” illness; but the principle of mind-body connection that Jesus spoke of has proven to be very real. That’s why at HealthKeeperz, we focus our hospice services on managing every aspect of a patient’s physical and spiritual needs.
In addition, the timeless story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) has long served as an example for Christians to follow in caring for the poor, sick, and suffering.
“Now which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” The answer came, "He who treated him with compassion."
Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same."
HealthKeeperz’ hospice care practices are rooted in both the wisdom of Cicely Saunders and the teachings of Christ. We invite you to read more about what kind of care we provide here. And if you’re currently seeking relief for a terminally ill loved one, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 800-309-3784. It’s not an easy conversation to have, but in the long run it will bring enormous comfort to you and your family.
For nearly two years now, HealthKeeperz has publicly proclaimed that we exist for God’s glory in the care of all people. In fact, It’s our mission.
We have made banners that can be seen by all at the main entrance of our offices, and we’ve redesigned our marketing brochures so that our mission is at the forefront. And most, if not all, staff meetings are intentionally shaped by our mission, vision, and values statements. As a result, I think it is safe to say that the vast majority of employees at HealthKeeperz know what we are about.
After all this time and so many conversations about our mission and how it translates to everyday life, we can easily, while enjoying the successes of caring for people, forget how these successes happen and how they are sustained. The mission of HealthKeeperz is not original to us. It’s been God’s mission all along for us, and He has made it happen for many years! It’s just that, as of 2017, we have intentionally sought to get in step with what He has been doing all along and what He plans to do in the future.
So where do we go from here? We maintain the course by abiding or continuing in God’s love. What does that mean for us?
In the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus instructs His disciples in how they are to maintain the course He has set for them and those who will become His disciples through their teaching. To illustrate this concept, Jesus uses familiar imagery, that of a farmer preparing his grapevine for fruitfulness. Allow me to summarize the instruction of our Lord.
In the same way that a farmer prunes his grapevine to encourage new growth and increased fruitfulness, so, too, does God prune or bring about changes in our lives so that we are fruitful in accordance with His plan for us. Changes that promote increase are not always pleasant but are still necessary and beneficial. For Jesus’s disciples, the Father’s pruning was crucial.
In the text, there is present another necessity. “The branches must remain connected to the vine.” The disciples are the branches, and if they are going to continue Christ’s work of transforming the world around them, then they will need to continue being nurtured by Him, since He is the vine. They will need the spiritual life-blood of Jesus flowing in them and working through them if they are to yield the desired fruit of God and yield that fruit in abundance.
Yes, the farmer doesn’t just want grapes; he wants an abundance of grapes! God not only desires good for you and me, He also wants good for everyone, and He intends to use you and me to do it. That’s amazing! Frail, fickle people like us, thanks to our Lord, have a role to play in the grandest story ever written. That should get us out of bed in the morning!
As our moment together closes, allow me to encourage you to continue in God’s love through an abiding relationship with Jesus. And as you experience the life of Christ working in you, others will experience the love of Christ through you.
Soli Deo Gloria (For the glory of God alone),
At HealthKeeperz, we employ highly skilled healthcare professionals to manage every aspect of medical care, from skilled nursing to hospice. But one aspect of care that isn’t talked about nearly as much – despite being equally important – is spiritual and emotional care. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at how HealthKeeperz benefits mind, body, and soul.
Our organizational mission is “caring for all for the glory of God,” and it guides all of our healthcare providers as they interact with patients. HealthKeeperz is a family business and we treat our patients like family. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a team of care providers that is so compassionate, caring, selfless, and humble.
Research shows that the effects of having this warm, friendly presence in the home are extremely beneficial. Studies have found that:
After reading these statistics, you can understand the power of the mind-body connection, and the tangible benefits of having an in-home companion. This is of particular importance with older folks. For one thing, losing friends and family is a sad but natural part of getting older – people move away, pass away, and start families of their own. Secondly, many people reflect more often on life and death at this age. Some seniors handle it beautifully, while others may experience feelings of fear, apprehension, and uncertainty. HealthKeeperz’ care providers respect the challenges unique to this stage of life and are well-equipped to provide companionship through it all.
A helping hand to reach the remote for you, a conversation about the grandkids, a hug at the end of the day. All of these actions are small yet impactful. For many of our patients, they make just as much of a difference as a physical therapy session or post-op care. They help transform the arduous process of receiving healthcare into an exercise in friendship.
Barnabas, a disciple of Jesus Christ, serves as a role model for HealthKeeperz’ style of care. In Hebrew, the meaning of the name Barnabas is “son of consolation” or “son of comfort.” That’s exactly what we strive to do – provide comfort, consolation, and companionship to our patients. We are humbled to serve each and every one of them, and we hope that you’ll consider us for care of your loved one in the future. Please contact HealthKeeperz at 800-309-3784 to start the conversation.
For many people, “home health” conjures images of a single aide helping with routine tasks like cooking, cleaning, and medications – a far cry from the holistic, fully-integrated reality of what’s on offer at HealthKeeperz.
The truth is, home healthcare today is extremely sophisticated and capable of providing much the same treatment and care as a physician’s office or assisted living facility. At HealthKeeperz, we employ a number of highly qualified, licensed healthcare professionals who work as a team and alongside your doctor to meet healthcare needs.
As you can probably surmise, HealthKeeperz’ staff does a lot more than checking vital signs and administering medications. To illustrate what a modern, integrative home health program from HealthKeeperz looks like, let’s meet a sample patient – “Brett,” a loving grandfather, 71 years of age, who recently suffered a stroke.
Home Health. The first part of Brett’s care focuses on helping him become as active and healthy as possible. With the help of an in-home occupational therapist, he re-learns old skills that the stroke affected, like brushing teeth and washing dishes. A speech therapist helps him regain and retain his language abilities, while a skilled nurse trained in post-stroke care looks after his brain health. Brett developed some muscle pain in his leg following the stroke, so a HealthKeeperz orthopedic specialist calls Brett’s regular physician to discuss treatment.
Home Medical Equipment. The second part of Brett’s healthcare program is geared toward independence and dignity. When he’s having trouble getting around, HealthKeeperz’ home medical equipment division delivers a wheelchair, and later a walker, as he regains some of his strength and balance. Brett’s primary care doctor recommends a CPAP machine to help with his sleep apnea. HealthKeeperz delivers one promptly, allowing him to get a good night’s rest and speed up his recovery. Incontinence is a frequent problem among some older folks, but Brett doesn’t have to think twice about it thanks to HealthKeeperz’ convenient delivery of incontinence supplies.
Case Management. Brett relies largely on Medicaid to pay for home healthcare, which is part of why he chose HealthKeeperz. As an authorized provider of North Carolina’s Community Alternatives Program (CAP), HealthKeeperz is a way for Brett to avoid hospitalization or placement in a nursing home. Instead, he can receive all the care he needs within the comfort of home – which means more time with the grandkids.
Every day, HealthKeeperz has the honor of caring for hundreds of patients just like Brett across rural NC. Our licensed care professionals love to see the difference they make together in a single patient’s life. While Brett’s story isn’t unique, we know that yours is – and that’s why we’ll work with your doctor to create a customized healthcare program just for you. Contact HealthKeeperz at 800-309-3784 to begin the conversation.
Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
Historically, America’s rural population has been underserved, neglected, and sometimes ignored by healthcare services. As many of our readers will know all too well, medical centers tend to cluster around high-population areas like cities and suburbs, leaving rural folks with few – or no – options. The results of this over time are staggering. Rural populations have suffered from:
These effects are felt even harder within minority communities. In addition, the rural South leads in mortality rates for nearly all of the top ten causes of death today.
While this paints a bleak picture of rural healthcare, the good news is that there are organizations like HealthKeeperz that are working tirelessly to change things. In fact, rural healthcare access – while still not good enough – is improving faster than ever.
But why does HealthKeeperz focus so much of its energy on caring for the rural population? For one, because many of the people within our organization are rural folks. Therefore, we know firsthand how much this group contributes to the greater good. Beyond our healthcare professionals, there are countless other ways that rural people serve. They are our farmers, our entrepreneurs, and sometimes both. They are our carpenters, plumbers, contractors, and teachers. They are smart and hard-working people who help us in a multitude of ways – so perhaps a more apt question would be, why don’t more medical services focus their energy on the rural population? This population certainly deserves just as much medical care as those in our towns and cities.
Secondly, HealthKeeperz focuses on serving rural populations because they need us most. Historical inequalities have led to “healthcare deserts” where the average person is hard-pressed to find a doctor and may have to drive several hours to the closest specialist. While we obviously care just as much about the well-being of city folks, there are already numerous healthcare facilities providing them with care. We are more focused on helping areas that lack these resources.
Our mission, “caring for all people for the glory of God,” guides us in all we do. It motivates us to step up and meet the needs of our society’s most underserved populations. HealthKeeperz has seen what happens when rural folks don’t get adequate healthcare, including long travel times, preventable deaths, and trauma. Accessing healthcare should be an easy and comfortable process, not one that disrupts your everyday life and causes you stress. At HealthKeeperz, we’re committed to turning this dream of convenient rural healthcare into a reality.
At HealthKeeperz, we provide a variety of health services right in your home. Central to our model of providing elite care at the same level you’ll find in leading hospitals, nursing homes, and other clinical facilities is our delivery of skilled nursing services through highly qualified professionals. In celebration of our nursing team for National Nurses Week, we are showcasing skilled nursing at HealthKeeperz.
Let’s take a look at what skilled nursing can do for you, right in your home.
The first step is to create a proactive health plan tailored to your individual needs as a patient. Our skilled nurses take a patient-centered approach to your care. What are you looking to get out of it? Are you seeking to prolong your life, or to maximize quality of life in the time you have left? Or are you just looking to recover from an illness or injury as quickly as possible? Whatever your individual needs may be, our skilled nurses will work with you to deliver the best possible care.
According to Director of Clinical Services Amanda Sampson, skilled nursing in the home is a big job no matter the goals, but Healthkeeperz nurses are up to the task. “The team at HealthKeeperz really stresses confidence, both for the nurse and the patient,” she explained. “We help our staff build confidence through ongoing education, training, and coaching. When you’re confident in your skills, that brings more confidence to your patients and their caregivers.”
Let’s say you are recovering from an illness. Our skilled nurses will help you manage and administer medications; care for yourself with bathing and hygiene assistance; monitor blood pressure, pulse and respiration; and assess your condition at each visit, keeping you informed about your own health and risk of hospitalization.
Another key to success for Sampson is caregiver support. “When a patient has caregiver support, it helps them become more comfortable with the care we are providing in the home,” she said. “Having a support system is key, and sometimes we have to help them identify a neighbor, minister, or someone besides family members. They may have always been independent, not used to asking anyone for help.”
Many of our patients suffer from ongoing health issues and require the care and assistance of skilled nursing but not necessarily any treatment. For those patients, we offer a wide range of services – from fall prevention to orthopedic care to COPD management. Basically, we can help with almost anything you can think of that will help you live a happy and fulfilling life even with enduring health concerns.
Sampson noted that one of the greatest strengths of HealthKeeperz nurses is their versatility: “We take care of all manner of conditions. We help elderly patients achieve a better quality fo life, and we even work with families with babies on their growth and development—and we work with all kinds of people in-between, with wound care, IV medications, and much more. It takes special people to be able to pivot among all the types of cases our nurses see on a weekly basis.”
Hospice care is another area where we apply the expertise of skilled nurses. We understand that hospice care is not one-size-fits-all, and we’re committed to creating the end-of-life experience that makes you happiest. For instance, maybe you need help administering medications that provide pain relief – or maybe you just need someone to help you wash up so that you can feel fresh and pampered as you catch up and reminisce with friends and family. Either way, our skilled nurses have you covered.
For our home health and hospice nurses, Sampson sees the HealthKeeperz difference as sustaining them in what can often be difficult work. “I’ve been here for 18 years, spending six years providing direct patient care and spending the last 12 in a supervisory capacity,” she said. “Our mission, caring for all for the glory of God, is evident in everything we do. Our weekly meetings in home health and daily calls in hospice give our teams not only the chance to discuss their patients, but also each other. We share our praises and our concerns and really try to care for each other in the process. We pray for each other and make sure, even if it’s just a phone call or text, to look out for each other during the week.”
Just as important as the company’s culture, Sampson noted, is its enduring commitment to improvement: “I’ve seen us evolve a lot in the time I’ve been here. There’s been a huge commitment to quality and improving patient outcomes. We’ve seen the rewards of these commitments with our recent rating as a four-star agency by CMS. We are proud of what we’ve achieved, and our people want to keep getting better.”
No matter the type of care you require, rest assured that it will be administered with the utmost care and compassion in the comfort of your own home. Our mission—caring for all for the glory of God—is something we take seriously and to heart each day, and it’s this missional approach that sets HealthKeeperz skilled nurses apart. We are honored to serve each and every one of our patients, and we hope that you’ll choose us for all your skilled nursing needs. Please contact HealthKeeperz at 800-309-3784 to get started.
The mission of HealthKeeperz is, "Caring for all people for the glory of God." And as is the case for the success of any mission, there must be a plan for how it will be accomplished. At HealthKeeperz, that's where our "Vision statement" comes into play. It reads this way:
“HealthKeeperz will be a community of caregivers who deliver value as measured by:
In the few moments that I have with you this month, and in a few following months, I want us to consider how the Bible shapes these four ideas. So, for now, let’s focus on the concept of "Wise Stewardship."
In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis writes, "Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service, you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already."
This notion that God owns it all does not originate with Lewis. Psalm 24:1 says, "The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live it." (NIV) With this being true, where does this leave us? We are stewards. Just as in the beginning when Adam was placed in a garden that was not his and instructed to care for it that the garden might flourish, we too have been placed in a spot on the earth and at a time in history that we might do the works of God as His managers.
You see, the idea of stewardship communicates an expectation of someone who is to manage the owners' possessions in a way that pleases them and advances their purposes. Then no wonder HealthKeeperz has said that part of our vision is that we would exercise wise stewardship! To accomplish God's purposes, we will need wisdom from above, heavenly wisdom.
Deuteronomy 8:17 warns of the temptation to think that “. . . my power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." But God in His grace reminds us in the next verse, to “. . . remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth." So then, the strength of body and keenness of mind that contributes to our success in the mission is given by God. And since this is true of our own personal abilities, that is, they belong to God, then it is certainly true of the other resources that we are afforded in the pursuit of His purposes. Our time, supplies, and skill belong to God.
Here's some good news lest we begin to view God as some possessive, demanding tyrant. Daily, He graciously pours out wisdom, strength, and resources so that we are amply supplied to not only fulfill the mission but flourish and be happy as we do it. Remember, we are created in His likeness, and when God looked over all that His wisdom, strength, and resources produced at the creation of the world, He smiled and said, "this is very good."
Stewardship is nothing to dread. It's what we were made for, and it's how we flourish. Amen.
Yours in Christ,
Chaplain James Chavis
The connection between mind and body is a powerful one. It requires us to look out not only for our physical health, but for our emotional and spiritual health as well. In order to live life as a healthy, fulfilled individual, we must look at our health inside and out.
This is of particular resonance during the final days of life. At this point, many patients experience a dramatic shift in perspective. They stop asking, “How much time do I have?” and begin to wonder, “How can I make the most of the time I have left?” That’s where HealthKeeperz focuses its hospice services. We take a holistic approach, providing physical, emotional, and spiritual care to the patient. This care includes:
Choosing from these services, HealthKeeperz works with the patient and his or her family to assemble the right hospice team. Our expert healthcare professionals help strike the balance between reducing pain, making the patient feel as comfortable as possible physically, and ensuring that his/her mind is at ease.
Skilled nursing refers to the type of care that can only be done by licensed, skilled nurses. HealthKeeperz’ team of highly qualified nursing professionals can assist with every healthcare need in the book, from wound dressings to fall prevention to monitoring vital signs. They are fully equipped to care for your every medical need within the home and to monitor your health status, even if it is changing rapidly. In-home aides complete the tasks that aren’t covered by skilled nursing, but still contribute to the patient’s overall health and well-being – like bathing, dressing, and meals.
Pastoral care means emotional and spiritual support in the midst of pain, loss, and anxiety. HealthKeeperz’ chaplains—trained pastoral care providers—are there to hold your hand every step of the way. Our team includes not only our own chaplains, but also some of the most compassionate volunteers you’ll ever meet. Pastoral care providers are trained to have a calm, comforting presence, which patients and their families find helpful during hard times.
Medical social workers assist patients and their families in dealing with the strains of healthcare. In a hospice situation, emotions tend to run high, and stress as well as family issues are common. Thus, it’s important to have a medical social worker on hand who can help navigate the situation in a way that’s helpful to everyone. Medical social workers act as a safety net for patients – someone they can always rely on to deal with the hardships of hospice care.
Choosing hospice care is a tough decision to make, but with HealthKeeperz’ team of experienced hospice providers, it can be an easy and comfortable experience for patient and family. Please contact us at 800-309-3784 to begin a conversation.
These days, it seems like nearly every industry goes through a period of change as things are digitized and made available on-demand. The latest industry to experience such a shift is one of the biggest and most important: healthcare. It is increasingly easy to seek medical advice, monitoring, and even treatment from your doctor in the comfort of your home using technology. Healthcare professionals have coined the term “telehealth” to refer to the administration of health services remotely via technology, such as the internet or a mobile device.
Telehealth currently has many applications and engineers are working on developing even more. For one, it makes life easier for patients living with chronic disease, who must check in often with a medical professional. Instead of making frequent trips to the doctor, these patients can now use their mobile phones to upload medication logs, dosage, blood sugar levels, and more. This allows patients more freedom to go about everyday life – in particular, those who live in rural or isolated areas. No more lengthy trips back-and-forth from the doctor.
Additionally, telehealth eliminates the need to travel to your doctor for minor concerns. Patients can use online videoconferencing to speak with a doctor or nurse practitioner about minor illnesses, prescription refills, or routine test results. This is great news for the folks who try to avoid the doctor’s office at all costs. Physicians can now monitor your health from a distance with a surprising degree of sophistication – measuring everything from your posture to tremors. Wearable devices, home monitoring systems, and mobile apps power much of the technology behind remote telehealth.
Finally, telehealth is an invaluable communication tool for healthcare professionals. Telehealth makes it possible for doctors anywhere to consult with one another virtually. Your physician could send your exam notes, test results, and X-rays to a specialist in seconds. Not only does this enhance the quality of your care, but also the convenience: Consulting a specialist online means less time spent there in person. Specialists can be few and far between, depending on where you live and your condition, making telehealth a big plus for many.
As far as it has come already, telehealth has a bright future – and patients and their doctors are only beginning to see how these technologies will shape up. Industry experts predict that even more specializations will soon be made available via telehealth, including neurology. There are already some telehealth providers who work remotely in the fields of stroke care and dermatology.
Experts also predict Medicare to expand telehealth reimbursement in coming years. There is already a list of telehealth services that Medicare will reimburse, and that list continues to grow each year. This is making it easier and easier to incorporate telehealth into your healthcare plan without breaking the bank.
Working with your physician, HealthKeeperz provides a range of healthcare services in the comfort of your own home. Our experienced team of healthcare professionals can reduce your need for in-person treatment as well as ease the burdens of daily life. Please contact us at 800-309-3784 to begin a conversation.
At HealthKeeperz, we serve our clients in a number of different ways depending on their individual goals, age, and state of illness/injury. Our home health professionals provide traditional healthcare services as well as palliative care and hospice. Understanding the difference between these types of care is important, both when making decisions about your own health and when making decisions on behalf of a loved one.
Traditional healthcare is what most people think of when they think “healthcare.” It includes the skilled nurses that help you recover from a serious fall, and the speech therapists who aid their patients in re-learning certain language abilities after a stroke. Following the customary disease-model of medical treatment, traditional healthcare encompasses everything from wound care, to physical therapy, to leading the patient toward a more active lifestyle.
Although palliative care and hospice may incorporate one or more of these elements, they are intended to achieve completely different goals for the patient.
Palliative care focuses on providing relief from the pain, stress, and symptoms of life-limiting illnesses. This type of care is frequently given to cancer patients or people with chronic illnesses like COPD and renal disease. First and foremost, palliative care strives to relieve suffering and improve quality of life.
Often, this means striking the right balance of medications; for example, many cancer patients feel a renewed sense of energy after finding the right regimen of anti-nausea medications and pain reducers. But it can also mean taking a holistic approach with the aid of a mental health professional, medical social worker, and/or chaplain. HealthKeeperz’ licensed home health specialists work in tandem with your doctor to bring happiness and comfort to your life in any stage of illness.
Patients and their families call on hospice care when curative treatments are no longer desired, and healthcare goals have shifted from quantity of days to quality of days. Hospice care provides immense spiritual comfort and companionship during the end-of-life period; thus, chaplains play a key role on the hospice team, often ministering tirelessly as the end approaches. HealthKeeperz’ professionals are highly trained in a number of areas related to hospice: skilled nursing, pastoral care, medical social work, and in-home aide care.
It’s not an easy decision to move into the hospice stage, but the vast majority of patients are surprised at the sense of freedom and peace that it brings to themselves and their families.
HealthKeeperz delivers a full range of services in tandem with traditional care, palliative care, and hospice. They are always delivered with warmth and compassion, providing comfort and spiritual support to the client. Working with your physician, HealthKeeperz can help you realize your healthcare goals in the comfort of your home. Please contact us at 800-309-3784 to begin a conversation.