Rock Hill SC Agape Hospice Keeps Dream Alive

In Uncategorized on July 9, 2010 at 2:51 am

 In a small, dingy, subsidized apartment Ben Jacobs, an eighty year old man sat in a worn recliner. It took so much effort for him to stand and move from his chair that it was easier for him to sit and stare at the blank wall. The days passed slowly, with little or no human contact. Ben could feel himself getting weaker as day turned to night and back to day. He would drift in and out of sleep and dream of youthful days spent running through peach groves. It was hard for him to believe that he had once moved with so much energy and freedom. He had never had much in his life, and had less now. Any hope for a better future had long ago left his consciousness. Ben knew that he would probably die alone in his room.

Sometimes in life a crisis can be a catalyst for good. Ben’s declining condition caused him to be admitted to the local Rock Hill hospital in March of 2010. After observations and tests, the hospital quickly determined there was nothing they could do for him. Ben was discharged to Agapé Senior’s rehabilitation and nursing facility.

Twenty-five years earlier a Methodist minister was leading a small church near Smoaks, South Carolina. The pastor tried to help one elderly couple deal with the husband’s growing dementia condition. The sub-standard care that the husband received for his misunderstood condition made an impression on the young pastor. The pastor asked himself the question “Is there a better way?”

Today that minister, Scott Middleton, is the CEO of one of South Carolina’s largest providers of senior care services in the state. The philosophy of looking for better ways to serve the senior population is vital part of the Agapé Senior culture.

Ben was about to experience how that simple philosophy would change the course of his remaining life. Ben’s condition was diagnosed as terminal, and he was placed in Agapé Hospice of Rock Hill. After two weeks, Ben had regained enough strength to return home. The hospice diagnosis meant that a hospice nurse could visit Ben three days a week.

Ben’s Agapé Hospice nurse started making her visits immediately after he was discharged. The nurse was appalled by the condition of Ben’s roach-infested apartment, and wondered if there was anything that could be done to improve his situation.

The strength of the continuum of care model that Agapé Senior uses throughout the state allows for open lines of communication between each provider associated with the patient. The hospice nurse saw Ben’s situation and automatically started asking the question “Is there a better way?” She talked with several colleagues as well as the nursing home administrator, the assisted living administrator, and the Agapé Hospice social workers.

Two weeks later the answer came while attending a seminar on VA benefits. The nurse was listening to the presenter speak about the different ways that veterans could qualify for assistance. Suddenly she realized that she might have the solution for Ben. She recalled a story that Ben had shared with her on one of her visits.  The story involved a combat situation that Ben had experienced when he was in his twenties.

Excited and full of hope, the nurse took the new information and started making inquiries. On her next visit with Ben, she questioned him thoroughly about his service in the military. Ben was fuzzy on the exact years, but it was pretty apparent that he had seen combat in World War ll. The nurse was able to get the precise information from the veteran affairs office later that week.

The news was fantastic! Ben qualified for an Aid and Attendance benefit that would allow him to move out of his dreadful apartment and into Agapé Senior’s brand new assisted living facility. Ben now lives in a clean and comfortable room. Ben enjoys three meals a day in a beautiful dining room, where he has the opportunity to socialize with the other residents and staff.

Ben’s terminal diagnosis has not changed, but his outlook for the remainder of his life has drastically improved. The dedicated staff at Agapé Senior of Rock Hill was inspired to go the extra mile because of the dream of a minister who asked the question “Is there a better way?”

Joe Nester


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