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Long-Term Care Administration students visit Hospice House

Students in Long-Term Care Administration, a healthcare administration course in WKU’s Department of Public Health, recently visited the Hospice House of Southern Kentucky, Inc., the second in a series of off-campus experiences scheduled for this semester.

Students in Long-Term Care Administration recently visited Hospice House as part of a series of off-campus experiences for the course.

Students in Long-Term Care Administration recently visited Hospice House in Bowling Green as part of a series of off-campus experiences for the course.

The class is one of five courses in the new Long-Term Care Administration Certificate Program in WKU’s College of Health and Human Services.

WKU graduate David Hall led a group of 20 students on a tour of Hospice House, educating them about care for individuals with a terminal diagnosis. As Assistant Clinical Director of Hospice House, Hall provided valuable and personal insight about the challenges and rewards of leadership positions in healthcare.

Hall advised students on the importance of balancing empathy and understanding of patient and family needs with sound financial and operational decisions to assure ongoing viability of an organization. The Hospice House in Bowling Green is one of only three in Kentucky, offering a state-of-the-art, 10-bed inpatient facility that has a chapel, private suites with patios, a family room for visitors and three adopted and adorable “resident” bunnies named Midnight, Oreo and Jerry.

Hall’s explanation of what “Hospice is not” was a powerful message for students. “Hospice care is not about death – it is about LIFE,” he said. “Hospice care is all about having the best final days that you can. It isn’t about death and dying here. It is about enjoying and celebrating your life and making dreams come true. That’s what we do at Hospice. We celebrate living.”

Instructor Melanie Eaton said off-campus experiences and guest speakers are a core component of the Long-Term Care Administration class.

“This class educates students about the long-term care continuum, but it also breaks down stereotypes about long-term care that are just no longer accurate,” Eaton said. “Often, students are pleasantly surprised by these off-campus experiences. We strive to help them realize that long-term care isn’t just nursing facilities but also includes a wide variety of other services such as home and community-based services, assisted living, hospice and an array of special care units for special populations like pediatrics, brain injury, etc. These students are trying to understand and determine where they want to be in the healthcare field – and it is overwhelming. By visiting these facilities and meeting their leaders, students get a better understanding of what we study in class, an opportunity to explore their own interests, broaden their horizons and network.”

With the aging of our population and advancements in medical care, the demand and opportunities for competent leaders in long-term care will continue to grow. The class has more off-campus experiences and guest speakers scheduled, giving students a variety of exposure to services and leaders across the long-term care continuum, Eaton said.

Contact: Melanie Eaton, (270) 745-5854 or melanie.eaton@wku.edu.

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