Peace of Mind When Disaster Strikes
The Nakia Creek Fire ravaged Clark County’s Larch Mountain earlier this year, placing nearly 3,000 homes in immediate danger and drawing media attention worldwide. A wildfire so late in the season was unprecedented, especially one so severe. It was the absolute last thing hospice families in evacuation zones needed during a delicate period of life.
Workflow Manager Kathy Mauser, MS, RN, and the staff at Community Home Health & Hospice are well prepared for emergencies like these, and despite the chaos surrounding the situation, she and her team were able to quickly get Community’s patients to safety.
Kathy was first made aware of the fire’s threat to patients through a phone call from a colleague.
“I was immediately concerned about our patients and evacuating them safely,” she said. Kathy wasted no time in cross-referencing CRESA’s website and the Community database, noting six patients and caregivers were in evacuation zones. Fortunately, all but one had family in areas outside of danger who could offer shelter. The final patient was instead offered a room at the Elaine and Don Heimbigner Hospice Care Center in Vancouver for the few days it would take for volatile weather to pass and fire crews to get a better handle on the fire.
Typically, Community’s hospice care centers act as a valuable resource for hospice patients and caregivers who may need around-the-clock nursing when symptoms can’t be controlled at home. In this case, it acted as refuge for this patient when no other option was available. The centers are a home away from home — they come with comfortable suites with attached bathrooms, access to beautifully landscaped gardens, family and dining rooms, multi-faith chapels and private spaces to grieve. And while this is a no-cost benefit to hospice patients on Community’s service, it costs Community $1,100 per day per patient to offer it. This amounts to close to $700,000 a year.
The pandemic and resulting economic climate have presented new financial challenges, threatening free benefits like this. Without the Elaine and Don Heimbigner and Dr. Richard Nau Hospice Care Centers, Kathy’s patient and their family would have had to spend precious time and money finding shelter adequate to support the intensive caregiving hospice calls for.
This holiday season, please consider donating to Community or including us in your year-end tax planning so we can continue to provide peace of mind to these vulnerable families experiencing end of life. Thank you for your continued support, especially through challenging times.