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Archive | July, 2015

Gardener Shares Love of Nature

Landscape staff at Ohio's Hospice of Dayton

Miriam Wolf is pictured on right with team members Rose Akerley and Noah Stomps

When she was 18 years old, Miriam Wolf fell in love – with a yellow pepper plant. It started her on a path that led to Hospice of Dayton.

Miriam graduated with an Associate degree in horticulture from Clark State University, is a Master Gardener and earned a certificate in Horticultural Therapy from the Horticulture Therapy Institute in Denver. She serves as the Maintenance Landscaper at the Hospice of Dayton campus, a role that has her overseeing gardens, trees and nature paths on the 17-acre grounds surrounding the Hospice House. Ask her about her favorite part of her work and she enthusiastically outlines the focus on making the environment natural and welcoming to all visitors. “We want the gardens to feel private but safe for everyone. We have such a wide variety of plants and flowers, and have added water features and seating areas to encourage enjoyment of the campus. We have edible gardens, scented gardens and the labyrinth, all places where people can find the peace and comfort of nature.“

It’s not only people who enjoy the gardens. “We feed the birds, the ducks, squirrels and chipmunks on our grounds, and encourage the deer who enjoy eating our hostas and fruit from our trees. “

Miriam is touched by the notes left in the journal at the solarium, where visitors are invited to take plant cuttings as memorials for loved ones in hospice care.  Called the “Love Story Garden,” Miriam is moved by the stories people share. “It’s inspiring to read what people write.   It’s important to me that we encourage people to connect with nature because it can be that source of inspiration and source of hope that people need.”

shade garden 2 reduced

rock garden

garden seat reduced

 Perennials2 reduced

Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton Tapped for Medicare Pilot Project

Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton has been approved, among the 4,000 plus-Medicare-certified hospice providers across the country, to participate in the new Medicare Care Choices Model. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to launch this “concurrent care” demonstration authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in January 2016.

Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, along with other hospices selected for the pilot, will provide palliative support services in the form of routine home care and in-home respite to patients with advanced cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure and HIV/AIDS who meet hospice eligibility requirements.  The patients will have the option to also receive services provided by their curative healthcare providers at the same time.  Hospices selected for the five-year demonstration will receive $400 per beneficiary per month (PBPM) to provide the palliative care services.

Hospices selected for the project must be Medicare-certified hospice and able to demonstrate experience providing care coordination and case management with a network of various types of healOhio's Hospice of Dayton Innovation in Hospice Carethcare providers, as well as shared decision-making to beneficiaries prior to electing the Medicare hospice benefit in conjunction with their referring providers and suppliers.

Currently, Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton provides concurrent care to hospice patients with chronic heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pulmonary hypertension. No other hospice provider in the Miami Valley provides comprehensive concurrent care services to their hospice patients. In addition to differentiating the organization from competitors in the market, the expanding concurrent care program is aligned with the mission to focus on inclusionary—rather than exclusionary—practices of patient access and delivery of superior end-of-life care.

According to Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton Vice President of Mission Support Kim Vesey, the Care Choice option will greatly benefit patients in our community that do not chose hospice. “Patients with a terminal diagnosis who wish to continue with aggressive treatments will have the option to do so. They will also receive the opportunity to benefit from the holistic, interdisciplinary care provided by the hospice team. Family caregivers will also have the support from the hospice team that is a hallmark of the hospice model of care. We believe that the Medicare Care Choices Model project will validate that patients who have access to hospice alongside curative care have better outcomes, higher family caregiver satisfaction, and benefit from the expertise of hospice earlier in their care.”

About Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton

Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton is a non-profit hospice provider and has served patients and families in the Miami Valley for over 35 years in their homes, extended care and assisted living facilities and the Hospice House located in Dayton.  Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton is a member of Ohio’s Hospice, a partnership of non-profit hospice and palliative care providers in Ohio committed to a shared vision of strengthening and preserving community based compassionate care for those with life-limiting illnesses.

Additional Background from CMS Announcement:

Many seniors, disabled Americans, and family members of individuals who suffer from life limiting illnesses must choose between the support services provided through hospice care or curative treatment. Fewer than half of eligible Medicare beneficiaries use hospice care and most only for a short period of time. Under current Medicare payment rules, individuals are not able to receive both palliative and curative treatment concurrently.

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the hospices that have been selected to participate in the Medicare Care Choices Model. The model provides Medicare beneficiaries who qualify for coverage under the Medicare hospice benefit and dually eligible beneficiaries who qualify for the Medicaid hospice benefit the option to elect to receive supportive care services typically provided by hospice while continuing to receive curative services.

“This model empowers clinicians, beneficiaries and their families with choices and is part of our broader efforts to transform our health care system into one that delivers better care, makes smarter payments, and puts patients in the center of their own care,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “We want to do what we can to help families find the care that is right for their loved one.”

Due to robust interest, CMS expanded the model from an originally anticipated 30 Medicare-certified hospices to over 140 Medicare-certified hospices and extended the duration of the model from 3 to 5 years. This is expected to enable as many as 150,000 eligible Medicare beneficiaries with advanced cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, and human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome who receive services from participating hospices to experience this new option and flexibility.

Under the model, participating hospices will provide services that are currently available under the Medicare hospice benefit for routine home care and respite levels of care, but cannot be separately billed under Medicare Parts A, B, and D. Services will be available around the clock, 365 calendar days per year, and CMS will pay a per beneficiary per month fee ranging from $200 to $400 to participating hospices when delivering these services under the model. Services will begin starting January 1, 2016 for the first phase of participating hospices and in January 2018 for the remaining participating hospices.

HHS’s plan to make this vision a reality is to pay providers for what works, unlock health care data, and find new ways to coordinate and integrate care to improve quality. With passage of the Affordable Care Act, we took one of the most important steps toward a more accessible and affordable health care system in almost 50 years. With the new tools provided under the law, we have an opportunity to seize this historic moment to transform our health care system into one that works for the American people.

For more information on the model, visit




Of B-17s and Blue Skies and Bucket Lists

IMG_0805“She was a Stradivarius of an airplane…”                   Colonel Robert Morgan, pilot of the Memphis Belle

The “Stradivarius” referred to is the Boeing B-17. The Colonel is not the only admirer of the B-17. Valentine Baab became a fan as a young airman stationed in Great Britain where the iconic World War II bombers had been based. At the age of 20, he was proud to serve as a firefighter at the same base that actor Jimmy Stewart had, and from which General Curtis LeMay had commanded the heroic B-17 unit critical to World War II success. Valentine became a life-long World War II buff.  He recently realized a life-long dream of flying in one of the heralded Flying Fortresses.

Valentine and his grandson, Craig, took to the skies as passengers on one of the few remaining B17s. Only thirteen of the planes remain airworthy, so the flight has historical significance as one of rare opportunity. The two built an incredible memory and shared it with nearly a dozen family members along to document the flight. The outing was a special one, but just one of many Valentine and his grandson have shared.


IMG_0804Valentine and Craig started a weekly ritual years ago of Wednesday breakfast together at Bob Evan’s Restaurant. The two are so close that when the opportunity to fly in a B17 was presented, Valentine knew immediately he wanted Craig along for the ride. Valentine’s love of adventure and travel has taken him to Germany, Russia and Isreal along with Great Britain. It was while on one of these trips he received the news by email that he had been diagnosed with cancer. The worst part, he says, was having to break the news to his wife, Elizabeth. While that was difficult, Valentine knew she would show strength, as he has always “surrounded himself with strong women and positive people by choice.”

Now in hospice care, Valentine is making every moment count with his family that includes four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren – one of them a grandson who recently soared the skies with the grandfather he adores in one more great adventure, making one more wonderful memory.

Music and Dementia

music therapy

Dementia slowly robs many abilities from those who have it. Their ability to understand and communicate is affected. Sometimes, they do not know what to do next so they do the same thing over and over. They often have trouble coping and they may become more fearful. They do not know how to calm themselves. These changes cause them to be more anxious. It is important to help them by keeping a steady routine. Keep things simple. Increase their rest periods. Appeal to their sense of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.

This guide explains some ways to use music when fears begin to take over.  Each person and each journey is unique. Caregivers can try many approaches to find what works best.


Music is right at your fingertips. Listening to familiar music can help someone with dementia feel more safe and calm. It can tap into memories and draw out pleasant emotions. Soothing music can slow heart and breathing rates.


  • Music Choices
    • Choose music that the listener prefers.
    • To help them when they do not know what to do next, play music that gets their attention.
    • To help them feel calm, play music with a steady beat (80-100 beats per minute).
    • Peaceful sounding instruments playing smooth melodies without dramatic changes work best.
  • Planat piano youth and age
    • You can use any source for music: recordings, digital devices or live music.
    • Prepare several musical choices so they are ready to use as soon as they are needed.
  • Observe
    • Watch for patterns of anxiety to see if you noticed events that cause it, or if it begins at a certain time of day. If you can, begin to use the music before the anxiety sets in. If there is too much anxiety, music alone may not be helpful.
  • Prepare
    • Reduce the noise of talking, TV, radio, alarms, telephones or moving around.
    • First, take care of any physical needs such as giving a snack, assisting to the bathroom, giving medicine.
    • Make the room comfortable. Dim the lighting. Adjust the loudness of the music for the listener.
  • Gain attention
    • First, choose a music activity they enjoy to catch their attention.
    • If the listener enjoys dancing, use safe and simple steps, swaying, clapping, or tapping surfaces to help them enjoy music more.
    • If they enjoy singing, start a sing-along of their favorite songs.
    • If they enjoy talking about music, listen to a favorite song with them. Then talk about their memories of that song.
    • You may need to keep the music activity to 10-15 minutes; the listener can become too tired or too excited.
  • Reduce the stress
    • Next, make the listener comfortable and play soothing music.
    • Coach them to relax by showing them deep, slow breathing. Allow time for them to mirror this breathing. This can reduce heart and breathing rates.
    • For best results, do not let music continue playing for more than 30 minutes at a time.
  • Observe and modify
    • Watch the effect the music has on the listener. If music causes anxiety, change songs, or stop listening to music altogether.
  • Mask
    • Noises can cause anxiety to start up again. There are recordings of nature sounds such as ocean waves, rainfalls, birds chirping. Some have music background and some do not. These can cover up noises at any time, day or night, so the listener is not affected by every sound around them. This can help them stay calm.


Contact us at 937-256-4490  |

10 Caregiver Support Tips

Caring for a loved one is rewarding and exhausting.  It is important that caregivers also take care of themselves.

The Caregiver Action NetworkHands that care offers these important tips for caregivers:

  • Seek support from other caregivers.  You are not alone!
  • Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
  • Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
  • Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
  • Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
  • Watch out for signs of depression and don’t delay in getting professional help when you need it.Taking care and resting
  • Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
  • Organize medical information so it’s up to date and easy to find.
  • Make sure legal documents are in order.
  • Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!

Learn how we support caregivers by clicking here.

Veterans Program Receives National Recognition

We Honor Veterans, a program of Hospice of Dayton and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, is being recognized by the American Society of Association Executives with a 2015 Summit Award.  The Summit Awards are ASAE’s highest honor for associations.  We Honor Veterans is a national campaign conducted in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs to engage and support community hospice providers such as Hospice of Dayton in understanding and addressing Veterans’ needs at the end of life.

Hospice of Dayton Serves as Mentor

Hospice of Dayton’s American Pride program has achieved Level 4 status as a We Honor Veterans Program.  Level 4 indicates the program has achieved the highest standards of care for Veterans with specialized programs and services. As Partner Level 4, Hospice of Dayton serves as a mentor for other community organizations pursuing advancement through the Partnership Levels.

Hospice of Dayton was involved with the NHPCO and the Department of Veteran Affairs with the launch of the We Honor Veterans program in 2010.  The goal is to address the growing need for veteran-centered care, especially as Veterans are aging and need access to palliative and hospice care.

We Honor Veterans Addresses Unique Needs

We Honor Veterans’ partners, including Hospice of Dayton, address the unique healthcare needs of Veterans, both physical and emotional, including the psychological toll of war and how it impacts their end-of-life journey.  Hospice of Dayton’s American PridPrinte program involves volunteers who have served their country and share a unique bond in honoring Hospice of Dayton patients who are veterans with special pinning and award ceremonies. American Pride services also assures access to all the benefits to which a veteran is eligible, provide spiritual support and address individual post-traumatic stress issues.

“Congratulations to NHPCO for helping to make the world a better place,” said Hugh “Mac” Cannon, MPA, CAE, Executive Director of ACEC of Metropolitan Washington, and 2015 chair of  ASAE’s Power of A Awards Judging Committee. “Their story exemplifies how associations make a difference every day – not just to the industry or profession they represent, but to society at large.”

The NHPCO is one of only six associations to receive the award this year. Part of ASAE’s Power of A program, the Summit Awards recognize the association community’s valuable  contributions on the local, national and global level. The awards reward outstanding efforts of associations to enrich lives, create a competitive workforce, prepare society for the future, drive innovation and make a better world.

Learn More About American Pride

Additional information about the American Pride program at Hospice of Dayton can be found by clicking here.