"Hospice in America," by Dr. Josefina Magno, Founder, Capital Caring
"Good Mourning: A Resource for Healing," by Robin McMahon and Kathleen Persson
"Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy, "by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
"The Sun Still Rises" by Shawn Doyle
"When a Man Faces Grief: 12 Ideas for Helping Him Heal from Loss," by James E. Miller and Thomas R. Golden
“What a privilege it is to help patients and their loved ones to be more at peace with themselves, and improve care and the quality of life during the time they have left." — Joyce Montgomery, a Capital Caring counselor
Anyone who needs help can access Capital Caring's care navigation, palliative care (pain and symptom management) counseling, and hospice services, regardless of their ability to pay. Capital Caring helps patients and loved ones make the most of every moment together by offering coordinated care, comfort, and dignity to those living with serious illness.
See www.Capitalcaring.org or call 1-800-869-2136.
Most have considerable familiarity with day care for children; shelter for the homeless; disability help organizations, and other social service organizations serving the community. On the other hand, how many are aware of an organization dedicated to providing health care for dying or seriously ill patients? Or grief counseling for families and friends who have a seriously ill family member or friend, or who have lost a family member or friend?
Capital Caring is a hospice care or end-of-life care nonprofit organization for a patient and counseling for family and friends of a dead or dying person.
Despite its size — annually serving 12,000 hospice care patients and grief counseling for patients, family and friends — Capital Caring is not nearly as well known as other social service organizations within the Washington metro community. Last year Capital Caring served 7,000 hospice patients and completed 5,300 grief counseling sessions with family or friends, and 60 pediatric patients.
Capital Caring operates as a licensed hospice and grief counseling service for most of the Washington metro area, south to Richmond and to the North Carolina border. The organization has been providing compassionate professional, health care services for 40 years.
With a staff of 750, it includes critical care interdisciplinary teams made up of a doctor, nurse, social worker, rehab specialist, and volunteers. After the doctor certifies that the patient is eligible for hospice care, the team conducts an evaluation of what the patient needs and wants to make her or his life as comfortable as possible. This includes helping the patient navigate through what they would like to happen and how the Capital Caring team can make the patient's final days or weeks as comfortable as possible.
Capital Caring consists of 10 regional offices that ensure that the hospice care team is local and personal in nature. Its approach and philosophy is that hospice care should be administered in the home whenever possible, and involve the patient's family, friends, unless circumstances and the patient's condition do not permit it. In that case Capital Caring has three in-patient hospital care units for those patients.
JOYCE MONTGOMERY, a Capital Caring counselor who has worked 13 years performing hospice care services, described what she does: “I help improve the care of someone suffering from a life threatening illness by helping the patient be where they want to be in their home surrounded if possible by their loved ones. I help the patient and family to make the most of their situation, whatever that may be.”
She has a Master’s degree in clinical social work and is licensed to perform clinical social work.
"My own personal experience with death inspired me to help others focus in their final stages of life, and to be present at a time to honor the patients' wishes in their final days," Montgomery said. “Being a hospice caregiver allows you to be present at a sacred time of their life. I help a patient to deal with the reality of their final days of life in the best possible way. To help them prepare to die, and to find out what matters most to them and help them come up with their own solutions. What a privilege it is to help patients and their loved ones to be more at peace with themselves, and improve care and the quality of life during the time they have left."
Montgomery quoted the following passages from her resource literature which she uses when working with patients and families: "Life is a constant sunrise which death cannot interrupt, anymore than night can swallow up the sun” and “Nothing dies; death and birth are a threshold crossing; back and forth as it were through a veil."
Chesley Simpson, a grief and bereavement counselor for Capital Caring for 3 years, described her role: “To help clients discover their inner strengths. I do this by offering a safe space to talk about their loved one, help them work through their tangled web of emotions and incorporate successful coping strategies in their daily lives. Every grief journey is different and I am humbled to walk this path towards resiliency with my clients.”
Simpson has a Masters degree in clinical social work and is licensed to perform clinical social work.
"Capital Caring provides dedicated grief and bereavement counselors in each of the local neighborhoods where we are present. In addition, Capital Caring offers a variety of bereavement services, individual counseling, group sessions as well as a variety of workshops. We realize that everyone grieves differently and therefore offer a host of programs,” Simpson said.
CAPITAL CARING provides for end-of-life hospice care reimbursed by Medicare, or Medicaid. Capital Caring donates the cost of care through its private fundraising efforts where the patient or family has no insurance. Last year, Capital Caring raised $8 million for those services not reimbursable.
This year Capital Caring is celebrating its 40th anniversary. It will be hosting its annual fundraising gala: "Passion for Caring" on Nov. 11 at the MGM Grand National Harbor Resort in Maryland. Its website, www.Capitalcaring.org, will provide the background information about the gala.
In addition to the patient services it performs, Capital Caring conducts educational seminars and workshops.
Capital Caring began its existence in 1977, coinciding with the acceptance of the concept of hospice care in the U.S. Its leader and founding member was a physician, Dr. Josefina Magno, who wrote and published a book entitled "Hospice in America." Beginning in 1976 she promoted and cared for terminally ill patients and counseled families in Northern Virginia who were facing end-of-life issues before the concept of hospice care was widely accepted and approved for reimbursement by the federal government. Her initial hospice planning meetings were a makeshift office operating out of the back of her car.