Rotary hears of services offered at Charity Hospice

STEUBENVILLE – Charity Hospice was discussed during Friday’s city Rotary meeting at the city YWCA.

Cathy Cich, founder and chief innovation officer, told Rotary the non-profit health provider, founded in 2004, in Wintersville’s function was to help those in the final stages of their lives.

“It’s for those with a life expectancy of six months or less,” said Cich, adding the hospice lately has been seeing many residents coming to the facility “late in the game. Half my life has been in hospice. There’s nothing I’d rather do. Hospice isn’t really about death – it’s about life.”

Cich said she enjoyed hospice care, and “It’s a critical time in life. They say if you want to learn about life, work with the dying.”

Many people and even some physicians are reluctant to turn their loved ones over to a hospice because it implies their lives are over, said Cich. She added it’s usually very difficult to take some one dying in their home.

“I don’t know how people do it by themselves,” said Cich, who used her mother’s death as an example. “Hospice care makes this journey much easier.”

Cich also said those in a hospice are allowed to be mobile, if they are able.

“They can be out and about – they don’t have to be homebound,” she said.

Hospice care sometimes includes letting the disease progress on its own, depending on the wishes of the patient and family. She said the hospice has been working with local hospitals to attempt to get some into hospice care rather than staying in the hospital.

“With hospice services (patients) can stay out of the hospital,” said Cich.

Hospice services also are paid for by Medicare, so “families aren’t getting a lot of bills.”

Hospice care also involves pain management, while Medicare pays for hospice care on a day-to-day basis, said Cich.

“A lot of people are in pain because they can’t afford their pain medication,” said Cich, adding Medicare pays for all medications, medical supplies, wheelchairs, walkers and any other medical devices a patient may require.

“We also have volunteers,” she said, adding the hospice also provides bereavement care for the families of someone who has died for up to 13 months.

“Our area is huge for cancer,” said Cich, adding other diseases are a by product of the aging process. “But we’re also seeing a lot of young people dying of disease.”

Cich said the hospice’s annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser is set for 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. May 18 at the Triumph of the Cross auditorium.