Blue Ridge Hospice has announced the launch of a 24/7/365 toll-free support line, at 1-833-898-0714 or 540-313-9230 local.
Healthcare providers, case managers, nursing home staff, patients, and patients’ caregivers or families may use the line to make referrals or get someone admitted when the time is right for hospice.
“A common misconception about Blue Ridge Hospice is that we only operate during regular doctor’s office business hours—that’s not true,” said Chief Business Development Officer Jason Parsons. “We are available around the clock, 365 days a year. Day or night, someone right here in the northern Shenandoah Valley—and not at a call center a thousand miles away—will answer your call and assist you if you pick up the phone and reach out.”
The support line is intended to get patients admitted to hospice sooner and faster. It’s also meant to convey and reinforce the message that anyone can refer a patient to hospice.
“Another common misconception about hospice is that a physician has to refer a patient to hospice,” said Clinical Manager of Admissions Nancy Morse. “Even medical professionals don’t always realize that literally anyone can refer someone to hospice. If you are thinking about us, call us. You don’t even have to be sure whether the patient or your loved one is eligible for hospice—we’ll help you sort that out. It’s our job.”
“Fact is that 39% of Blue Ridge Hospice’s patients are in our care for only seven days or fewer. Similarly, 61% of our patients receive care for 30 days or fewer. That is because patients don’t come to us soon enough,” said Chief Clinical Officer Jennifer Martin. “Someone with a terminal illness is eligible for the hospice benefit if their life expectancy is six months or less. There is so much we can do for our patients and families in those six months, but most often we aren’t brought in until the end.
“It just breaks my heart. We’d really like to see those numbers change,” Martin said. “The 24/7/365 Support Line should make it clear that we are here and we are ready to help.”
The support line rings into Blue Ridge Hospice’s admissions department or reaches on-call staff. Blue Ridge Hospice can admit patients anytime of day. The admission process generally takes about four hours, and the goal is to admit new patients who are eligible within 24 hours.
The hospice encourages people to consider their service if a patient’s or loved one’s health is declining, curative efforts have been exhausted, their pain is out of control, they are losing weight, and/or experiencing more frequent emergency room visits or hospitalizations.
“Don’t wait,” Morse said. “The sooner you reach out, the more we can do to help.”
Blue Ridge Hospice is a not-for-profit serious illness and end-of-life care provider in operation since 1981, serving the City of Winchester and Loudoun, Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, and Warren counties. More information is at brhospice.org, or call 540-313-9200.