Close to heaven
Humanity Hospice enriches life
by James Coburn
Keisha Jackson had been working in hospice for 15 years when she decided to fulfill a dream by opening a hospice with a more patient and family centered approach.
“It was a passion of mine,” said Jackson,” RN, CEO/administrator of Humanity Hospice, located in Oklahoma City. “I just can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Humanity Hospice saw its first patient in April of 2014. And Jackson said it’s an honor each time families chose Humanity Hospice to care for their loved one during their final days. They help families through that journey and provide care to the families following their loved one’s death.
Humanity Hospice offers skilled nursing, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, home health aide services, chaplain services, volunteers, social workers and pet therapy — all focused on patient centered activities, Jackson said.
Moluk Bavi has been doing hospice for nine years as a registered nurse. Her passion for working with the geriatric population became a passion when working in long-term settings. Today, Bavi serves as director of clinical services for Humanity Hospice.
“By the end of the day, I really enjoy what I accomplish,” Bavi said. “Even if it’s five minutes in their life, that five minutes counts so much.”
Being there means offering palliative care during a patient’s journey. The entire team joins together in helping the families with a kind approach centering on mind, body and spirit.
“Our goal is family and patient centered. It’s not corporation,” Bavi said. “If it’s a corporation I will leave.”
Quality time is given day one, Bavi said. Patients are cared for by nurse aides who need not be rushed to see another patient as if they were in a hospital setting, Bavi said. Hospice care can be rendered wherever the patient resides, whether it be at home, a nursing home, assisted living, among other settings.
“We have a social worker to be an advocate for the patient and offering resources for the family,” Bavi said. “All of us do the leg work for the family. Then they can share more quality time for their loved one. They don’t have to worry about, ‘What am I going to do about a funeral home or when Medicaid is going to qualify.”’
Bavi said the chaplain offers both spiritual and emotional support. Ninety percent of the time, the chaplain serves as an understanding voice who listens to the patients’ and family members concerns as somebody to talk to, Bavi said.
“Most of our patients, if they’re able to carry on a conversation, they want to talk about their life,” Bavi said. “They have their good days and also share their bad moments. They want somebody there to listen to them.”
One of Kirk Tarver’s duties as director of operations is to recruit and hire qualified staff, he said. One quality that he looks for is a candidate who has had previous hospice experience. Serving others in hospice is not for everybody, he said. The work availability is 24/7.
“I feel that we have got the right team in place,” Tarver said. “They all have compassion. That’s something you just don’t teach somebody. It has to come from the heart. I didn’t chose hospice when I started. It chose me.”
“It was all due to a hospice experience that I had personally in my life,” Tarver said. “And I thought, ‘Wow.’ When it was all said and done I wanted to be part of that. I’m 50, and it gave me my purpose in life. It brings joy to my heart.”
Tarver said it’s not easy being with a patient taking their last breath, but Tarver said it’s the closest he can get to heaven when God welcomes a dying patient home.
Jackson has served in many other areas of nursing such as pediatrics that was more focused on the disease process so that she could get the patient’s health better, she said. Now she’s focused on the patient and their relationships.
“We treat them like a person vs. a number, a dollar or an illness,” she said of following each patient all the way through their journey.
She believes every patient qualifying for hospice service should be allowed those services regardless of age or their ability to pay. When working in NICU, Humanity has now helped 169 patients since it opened.
“Being a hospice nurse is very enriching,” Bavi said. “By the end of the day, I know I have given it all I’ve got and they’ve got all they want. The service you provide to the community will take you to the next level by saying, ‘It was a good day today.’”