On February 18, 2023, the Carter Center announced that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is using in home hospice for his end-of-life care. This news raises questions for many Americans on a topic that people don’t often think about until it’s too late: What is hospice care? How does it differ from palliative care? What is the difference between hospice agencies? What organization in the community delivers the highest quality of professional, compassionate care? Among one of the most important healthcare decisions is which provider to work with when you or a loved one is diagnosed with an advanced or terminal illness, and who will support you and your family with the most tailored care for your specific situation.
For over 40 years, Partners In Care has been providing individualized post-acute and end-of-life care throughout Central Oregon. We are unique among hospice, home health, and palliative care organizations, operating as an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit managed by executives and medical professionals who live in Central Oregon. We are also guided by a board of directors with strong connections in the community, and decisions are made locally by leadership our employees interact with daily. Partners In Care is rooted in the local community and has a long history of providing compassionate, professional care for our neighbors.
Nonprofit vs for-profit, why does it matter?
In 2019, national data showed that across the nation about 71% of hospices were operating as for-profit, 26% were classified nonprofit, and 3% were government owned. In Central Oregon, hospices are equally split, with three community-based nonprofits and three for-profit, corporate-owned organizations.
While “not-for-profit” or “for-profit” are only tax status designations by the IRS, they do represent real world differences that are important to know when making critical healthcare decisions. Nonprofit hospice organizations, like Partners In Care, direct proceeds to services that further enhance care for chronically or terminally ill patients and their families. This means all financial decisions are made and measured by the need to deliver the highest quality and most extensive patient and family care possible — not made for the bottom line or shareholders. Our mission centers around focusing on patient satisfaction, and we measure success by making lasting, positive contributions in our communities.
The Partners In Care Difference
Partners In Care has served communities across Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson counties since 1979, when Central Oregon looked much different than today. In that same year, a group of volunteers created their own model of care for people who were terminally ill, based on the hospice philosophy of care that had been adopted in the United States just years earlier. The organization evolved into what we now know as Partners In Care. With a team of hospice and palliative care physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, social workers, chaplains, nursing assistants, therapists, grief counselors, administrative and support staff, Partners In Care is now the largest and leading provider of hospice, home health and palliative care in the region. Our mobile workforce of over 200 employees serves patients and their families in a 10,000-square mile area, from Madras to Prineville, Sisters to La Pine and Christmas Valley. Around 150 local volunteers support fundraising, community resource coordination, and patient and family interaction.
Partners In Care has evolved and grown much like hospice has but still operates as a community-based organization, with service and stewardship at its roots. As the name Partners In Care suggests, our multi-disciplinary team not only serves patients and families but is also a valuable partner with other community resources and organizations, coordinating care, providing educational offerings, and meeting a broad spectrum of needs for many population segments.
Partners In Care also offers physical, emotional, and spiritual supportive care services to both patients and families, wherever they call home. Transitions is a no-cost, non-clinical case management program for medically fragile individuals with a life-limiting illness, including those who may not qualify for home health or hospice care. Skilled professionals provide home health services for patients who are homebound and need short-term medical support and assistance with a serious illness, injury, or recovery from surgery. Palliative care offers specialized medical care for people with a serious illness, helping them enjoy a better quality of life. Our palliative care providers focus on relieving symptoms related to a patient’s illness or side effects from treatments and help people make decisions about their healthcare options.
Hospice is a philosophy of care that treats the person rather than the disease and focuses on affirming life. This care is delivered wherever the patient calls home and at our Hospice House, the centerpiece of Partners In Care. Our new Hospice House, which opened in 2022, doubled the capacity for patients needing skilled care from six to 12 beds, offering both respite and inpatient hospice care. It is the only facility of its kind east of the Cascade mountains, and one of only three in the state of Oregon. Our grief support programs offer bereavement counseling, classes, and group gatherings for families during hospice care and after the death of a loved one. We also offer unique support for veterans, even if they are not fully funded by Medicare or insurance.
Partners In Care’s six lines of service are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, or community donations. Our services support value-based care, helping to reduce hospitalizations, unnecessary trips to the emergency department, and futile or unwanted medical treatments. We truly are “partners in care” as we partner with patients and their families to understand unique, personalized needs that dictate the care our team provides.
Recognized for excellent care
For the second year in a row, Partners In Care was recognized with five stars on the CAHPS (Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) Hospice Survey, which measures patient and family satisfaction with hospice care teams. This recognition places Partners In Care in the upper 5% of hospice programs in Oregon and 10% nationally. Star ratings are posted at Medicare’s Care Compare, which provides a single user-friendly interface that consumers can use to make informed healthcare decisions based on data such as cost, quality of care, volume of services, and caregiver feedback including the willingness to recommend a hospice. Of those families surveyed by Medicare, 94 percent would recommend Partners In Care hospice services to others seeking care, 10% higher than the national average.
When is the right time to learn about hospice?
While no one wants to think about themselves or their loved being diagnosed with a serious or terminal illness, it’s best to be prepared when it comes to planning for hospice or palliative care. The right time to learn about it is now. The team at Partners In Care is available to provide resources, education, and answer questions about all services offered. Contact us at at 541-382-5882 24 hours a day, seven days a week as you review your healthcare options to make the most informed decision for you or your loved one.
Partners In Care • 2075 NE Wyatt Ct., Bend