Talbot Hospice, UM SRH Partner to Provide Inpatient Hospice Care

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University of Maryland Shore Regional Health and Talbot Hospice have established an agreement that enables inpatient hospice care to be provided at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton. The agreement, which went into effect in early November, enables Talbot Hospice to provide General Inpatient Care (GIP), which is one of the four levels of hospice care, to patients in the Easton hospital. GIP for symptom management is a valuable tool that allows hospice staff to provide clinical services in a hospital setting. It is intended for specific circumstances and for a short duration of time.

According to Vivian Dodge, executive director, Talbot Hospice, GIP care is appropriate when a hospice patient’s pain and other symptoms cannot be effectively managed in his or her home or other residential setting and a higher level of skilled nursing care is needed. In this case, the patient is transferred to UM Shore Medical Center at Easton but remains in the care plan directed by Talbot Hospice medical and nursing care providers. The hospice team continues to follow the patient and interact with the family, and is responsible for the professional management of the patient’s care.

Photo: Left to right: Talbot Hospice Executive Director Vivian Dodge, UM SRH Chief Medical Officer and VP Medical Affairs Dr. William Huffner, Talbot Hospice Medical Director and UM SRH Cancer Center Medical Director Dr. Mary DeShields, Talbot Hospice Clinical Director Molly Kirsch, 2 East Clinical Nurse Coordinator Mary Collins, 2 East Staff Nurse Dawn Ruby, UM SRH Director of Acute Care and Emergency Services Diane Walbridge. 

“We are excited to expand our current hospice services that are already provided in Talbot County,” says Dodge. “This collaborative endeavor allows us to provide more convenient access to those in need of end-of-life services by having these general inpatient hospice services available. Our goal is always to find innovative ways to ensure end-of-life care is available in a variety of modalities and settings, while meeting the ever changing needs of the community. Talbot Hospice is an incredible asset to our community and with our partnership with Shore Regional Health, we can serve a broader community more capably and maintain patients in their spheres of care.”

GIP care may also be provided for patients who already are in the hospital but need continued pain control and/or other symptom management that cannot be feasibly provided in the home setting. While remaining in the hospital, these patients are discharged from inpatient care provided by UM Shore Medical Center at Easton and admitted to hospice care directed by Talbot Hospice.

“For eligible patients with terminal conditions and complex medical needs, this new process for the provision of hospice GIP level care at Easton Hospital, ensures the  timely and smooth transition to hospice care,” says Lakshmi Vaidyanathan, medical director, UM Shore Regional Health’s Palliative Care Program.

According to Bill Roth, regional director of Care Transitions and Palliative Care for UM SRH, “Hospice providers play an essential role health care planning and delivery as well as education and support for patients and their loved ones. Talbot Hospice is a key partner with UM Shore Medical Center at Easton in ensuring that all patients have access to ‘the right care, at the right place at the right time’.”

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