Tasha Walsh, executive director of ConnectionsPlus Healthcare + Hospice, presented information at Lewis Gale Alleghany Regional Hospital on Wed., Jan. 11, about the merger of Rockbridge Area Hospice with Mountain Regional Hospice.
Clifton Forge Entrepreneur Glenn Perry, owner of Mountain Regional Hospice, was present to help celebrate the merger between 5-Star Medicare Rated Rockbridge Area Hospice and his business that did not have a broad enough customer base to be rated by Medicare.
By combining services to form ConnectionsPlus Healthcare + Hospice, the service area has been greatly expanded geographically.
Walsh showed a video that was produced by Rockbridge Area Hospice before the merger, and she provided the audience insight into the services that will now be offered over a wider geographical area made possible by the merger.
Walsh also introduced Janie Barnette from Clifton Forge who has agreed to become the first member of the board of directors from Alleghany County, and she noted that ConnectionsPlus Healthcare + Hospice will soon add more board members from Alleghany County.
Prior to showing the five-minute video, Walsh welcomed everyone and asked those in attendance to identify themselves one by one.
Following the self-introductions, she revealed that talks concerning the merger had taken place for several months in 2022 and explained that only 10 percent of all hospices in the U.S. receive a 5-Star Rating, the top rating from Medicare.
As for the care provided to those in need of their services in the past, Walsh remarked, “We have professionals plus empathy.”
She continued, “We’ve looked at our organizations for the past few months, and one thing I strongly believe in is understanding the communities we are serving.”
“The community is very important, and learning what others think is important,” Walsh observed.
She stressed that tapping into the resources available and using those resources to share with staff is paramount to success.
She said, “It takes heart to do this sort of work, and we have staff members with big hearts.”
The services that ConnectionsPlus Healthcare + Hospice will provide fall into three categories: integrated care for serious illnesses, home-based support for declining health and counseling for patients plus families.
Integrated care for serious illnesses includes home-focused treatment, resources, plus practical help for patients dealing with serious illness.
Home-based support for declining health includes comfort care from nurses, aides, plus social workers, chaplains and volunteers to help sustain quality of life.
Counseling for patients plus families provides professional grief counseling for patients and families plus community counseling.
At little or no cost, services will include professional healthcare at home, home delivery of meds plus supplies, patients plus family advocacy, liaison with doctors plus integrated care team and practical support from experienced volunteers.
Other services will include connections to resources, emotional plus spiritual care, veterans’ recognition and grief plus bereavement counseling.
Walsh stressed, “We want to bring quality of life to those who are nearing the end of their lives.”
She continued, “A person who receives hospice care lives longer than those who do not receive (hospice) care.”
Nationwide studies support Walsh’s conclusion about hospice care.
She concluded, “It’s not just about dying; it’s about helping people live as long as they can.”
Brochures featuring information about ConnectionsPlus were made available along with light refreshments. Under the section “Why being a nonprofit matters,” the following mission statement reads, “ConnectionsPlus is free to combine national-caliber professionalism with neighbor-helping-neighbor empathy. We can invest the time and resources to serve all the people who need us, regardless of insurance or financial status. And in carrying out the mission, we help them focus not on dying, but on living as well as possible for as long as possible.
The contact telephone number for the Lexington Non-profit Headquarters at 315 Myers St. is (540) 463-1848, and the Clifton Forge Regional Office telephone number is (540) 862-8820.