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RN Inspired to Make Career Change After Seeing the Impact of Hospice Firsthand 

Behind the Scenes with Andy Binder, Hospice RN Case Manager 

Hospice care is available wherever someone calls home, including the long-term care facility where Andy Binder, RN, once worked.

“I saw the difference when hospice came into the nursing home and how those patients were more comfortable at the end of life. That got me interested in a career in hospice,” said Andy.

He joined VNA Care’s hospice team as an RN case manager. The work has been so rewarding that he’s dedicated the past 21 years to this important nursing specialty.

VNA Care’s hospice nurses work as part of an interdisciplinary team that also includes physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers, spiritual counselors, bereavement counselors, trained volunteers, and hospice aides. They care for people in their own homes and VNA Care’s Rose Monahan Hospice Homes as well as providing an extra level of care and support at assisted living, skilled nursing, and other facilities.

Andy often finds himself dispelling myths about hospice care. “It’s not just for the last days of life. The basic criteria is that the patient has a terminal illness and six months of less to live if the disease takes its projected course,” said Andy. “I’ve occasionally had hospice patients on caseload for a year or more. Everyone has their own timeline.”

By choosing hospice when life can be measured in months instead of days, Andy said he and his colleagues have time to create a bond with patients and loved ones and better help them prepare for their loss. He shared, “Our focus is on keeping patients comfortable and maximizing their quality of life as much as we can for the time that they have left.”

People often know little about the dying process, so Andy spends time educating both patients and families about what to expect as the disease progresses — knowledge that “helps set their minds at ease as we walk with them through this very difficult time.”

He knows families’ last months together can be a time to create memories that are cherished long after a loved one passes. He and his colleagues have arranged for patients to attend grandchildren’s graduations and other family celebrations, mark milestone birthdays, and much more. Andy added, “Those occasions are really important and special.”

Learn more about the ways VNA Care’s hospice team promote patients’ dignity and support families at the end of life.

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