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Written by Donna Morgan, CEO

'24

EMBRACING COMPASSION

The Vital Role of Independent Non-Profit Hospice Care Provided by Columbus Hospice of Georgia and Alabama

Our independent non-profit hospice stands out in the Chattahoochee Valley as a beacon of compassion and support for people facing life-limiting illnesses. Our work is driven by mission rather than profit, and Columbus Hospice of Georgia and Alabama fulfills a crucial role in enhancing the quality of life for patients and their families during the challenging end-of-life journey.  

Columbus Hospice is the original hospice in the Chattahoochee Valley, formed 45 years ago in 1979, and we have continued our non-profit tradition since that time, providing care to terminally ill persons, regardless of their ability to pay.  In fact, in 2023 Columbus Hospice provided almost $1.6 million in uncompensated care (to those without insurance, and those with insufficient insurance.) We meet these financial needs thanks to the support of compassionate and generous donors, for whom we are eternally grateful......

About Columbus Hospice

About Columbus Hospice

Trust is the most crucial aspect of any relationship,
whether with family, friends, or in business.

Trusting a team to care for someone you love while they navigate end-of-life is a deeper level of trust. This is one of the reasons we encourage our staff to be certified in the area of Hospice and Palliative Care. When you refer someone to us, we want you to trust that they will receive excellent care from experts in this field. 

Employees at Columbus Hospice who hold certifications in Hospice and Palliative Care:

Joyce Barron, RN, CHPN

Lynda Lowe, CNA, CHPNA

Jessy Vickery, RN, CHPN

Jeane Wacter, RN, MSN, FNPC, CHPN

Donna Morgan, CEO, RN, CHPN, CHPCA

Cathy Pearson, RN, CHPN

Lisa Morgan, RN, CHPN

Karen Anderson, RN, CHPN

Tammy Graves, RN, CHPN

Donna Downs, RN, CHPN

Wanda Geter, RN, CHPN

Patricia Mack, CNA, CHPNA

Karen Linn, CNA, CHPNA

Kristy Thorsen, RN, CHPN

Kelli Wright, RN, CHPN

Martha Barfield, RN, CHPN (In Memoriam)

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COMMUNITY CARE SINCE 1979

​The Columbus Hospice House is the original inpatient unit in the area.  While the main focus of the hospice program is to provide care to enable patients to spend their final days at home, sometimes needs cannot be met, and they may be admitted into the Columbus Hospice House. 

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

What is hospice care?

Hospice focuses on caring, not curing, and in most cases, care is provided in the patient’s home. Hospice care also is provided in freestanding hospice centers, hospitals, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities.  Hospice services are available to patients of any age, religion, race, or illness. Hospice care is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations.

How does hospice care work?

Typically, a family member serves as the primary caregiver and, when appropriate, helps make decisions for the terminally ill individual. The hospice staff members make regular visits to assess the patient and provide additional care or other services. The hospice team develops a care plan that meets each patient’s individual needs for pain management and symptom control. Support for family caregivers is also assessed throughout the care period. While the range of services provided will vary depending on each individual situation and the specific needs, hospice staff are available by phone 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Who makes up the hospice team?

The interdisciplinary team usually consists of:

  • The patient’s personal physician;

  • Hospice physician (or medical director);

  • Nurses;

  • Certified Nursing Assistants;

  • Social workers;

  • Spiritual care providers or other counselors;

  • Bereavement professionals;

  • Speech, physical, and other occupational therapists;

  • Trained volunteers.

What services are provided?

Among its primary responsibilities, the interdisciplinary hospice team:

  • Manages the patient’s pain and symptoms;

  • Assists the patient with the emotional and psychosocial, and spiritual aspects of dying;

  • Provides needed drugs, medical supplies, and equipment;

  • Coaches the family on how to care for the patient;

  • Delivers special services like physical therapy, speech therapy, and even music and art therapy;  

  • Short-term inpatient care is available when pain or symptoms become too difficult to manage at home or the caregiver needs respite time.

  • Bereavement care and counseling to surviving family and friends.

What role do volunteers play in hospice care?

Hospice provides trained volunteers to aid the family and patients. Most hospice volunteers are trained to relieve the primary caregivers, and do household chores. However, perhaps the most important task is their ability to be “good listeners.” Volunteers also support the work of the hospice program that might not involve patient or family interaction.

Who qualifies for hospice care?

Hospice care is for any person who has a life-threatening or terminal illness. Most reimbursement sources require a prognosis of six months or less if the illness runs its normal course. All hospices consider the patient and family together as the unit of care.

Who pays for hospice care? 

The Medicare hospice benefit covers most people receiving hospice care. This benefit covers virtually all aspects of hospice care with little out-of-pocket expense to the patient or family. As a result, the financial burdens usually associated with caring for a terminally ill patient are virtually nonexistent. In addition, most private health plans and Medicaid cover hospice services. Columbus Hospice is proud to be a nonprofit organization, and we accept eligible patients regardless of their ability to pay.

Where does hospice care take place?

The majority of hospice patients are cared for in their own homes or the homes of a loved one. Columbus Hospice of Georgia and Alabama has the area’s only inpatient facility. “Home” may also be broadly construed to include services provided in nursing homes, assisted living centers, hospitals…wherever the patient considers to be home.

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More questions? Call us at
706-569-7992

Affiliations

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With compassion and excellence, we enhance the quality of life for those living with serious illness.

2024 Board of Directors

Shari Evans

Chair

Dr. Tommy Stewart
Compliance Chair

Dr. Dick Nurnberg

Secretary

Bruce Bacon
Treasurer

Mike Hill

Personnel Chair

Terry Miller

Facilities Chair

Chris Peebles
Emeritus

Laura Toms

Jeff Mayhand

Lance Brooks

Sarah Lang

Matthew Owenby

Johnny Flakes III

Dr. Shabbir Motiwala

Ted Theus

Laura Hanley

Melba D. Spurlock

Michael Silverstein

William B. Cliatt

Teddy Price 

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