JULY 23, 2014

Grants support Hospice of the Valley dementia care

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irene benedictPalliative Care for Dementia patient Irene Benedict (left) visits with her granddaughter Becky Brimhall-Lepire and social worker Bianca Martinez at her Scottsdale assisted living facility.

Hospice of the Valley was awarded a $200,000 grant this month from BHHS Legacy Foundation to develop and evaluate a program designed to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and their family caregivers.

The Palliative Care for Dementia program serves people with dementia at any stage and supports their caregivers.

Services include home visits from dementia educators; 24/7 phone access to a nurse or social worker; phone consultations with Gillian Hamilton, MD, VP/education and innovation for Hospice of the Valley; and respite time for family caregivers provided by trained volunteers.

Patients and families pay privately at the rate of $250 a month. The project also includes patients in Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS) health plans, which provide long-term care under the state’s AHCCCS program, Arizona’s alternative to Medicaid. The goal is to reduce hospitalizations and institutionalizations as well as improve quality of life.

Becky Brimhall-Lepire, whose grandmother Irene Benedict is a Palliative Care for Dementia patient, said her family is grateful for the extra layer of support from the physician and social worker. They also appreciate the added socialization a volunteer brings to Benedict at her Scottsdale assisted living facility. “It’s comforting to me and my whole family to be a part of a program like this,’’ she said.

Earlier this year, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust awarded a $285,000 grant to support the two-year program, bringing total grant funding to $485,000.

Hospice of the Valley is a not-for-profit provider of hospice and palliative care. For more information about Palliative Care for Dementia, call 602-636-6363.