Duke HomeCare & Hospice

By | December 12, 2016
Diana Mitchell

Diana Mitchell

At the Apex Senior Health Fair this year we met Diana Mitchell, MSW, from Duke Health. Diana is the Program Manager for Business Development for Duke Homecare & Hospice. She got her start in the industry in a round about way. She moved to New Orleans to start college after her father died suddenly in 1988. But her first attempt at college did not work out and she ended up talking a job providing health care for a millionaire. In this role, she learned a lot about the health care industry and particularly about how difficult it can be to understand the services available for people nearing end of life. She developed a passion for the subject and ended up going back to school to earn a masters degree in social work, hospice and bereavement. Having learned this the hard way, it became her passion to help others navigate these complex systems so they can get the best care possible. Now she trains other people about these services and particularly about the services that Duke Homecare & Hospice provides for a living. Duke takes care of people regardless of their ability to pay. “Someone you know may need us one day” she said.  Duke Homecare & Hospice provides a wide array of programs such as the following:
Home Health Services: This is paid 100% by insurance but requires a doctors prescription to qualify. This is different from “Home Care” which is something that patients pay for on their own. This service includes such things as Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and special programs like Telemonitoring, for example.
A Bridge Program for people with a life expectancy less than one year. This provides assistance for things like chronic pain and is managed in home or at clinics.
Hospice program. This is a program that the Apex Lions have donated to in the past. It can be administered in home or assisted living centers or even homeless shelters. To qualify for hospice there need to be two doctors who agree that life expectancy is 6 months or less. Although this is done at end of life, it can be a positive experience for everyone involved. It helps people to feel grateful about a life well lived and assists loved ones with coping with the loss as well. Sometimes people do get better and “graduate” from hospice, too. During hospice a nurse, a social worker and a chaplain are sent. Sometimes it is good to be able to talk to a chaplain that a person does not know so they can relieve themselves of worries that they may not be comfortable telling someone that they do know. There are also many volunteers who offer help doing things like reading, singing and writing cards for the patient. Hospice helps people walk through the journey. After passing the bereavement center provides support for the family with individual or group counseling for as long as 13 months.
Duke Homecare & Hospice also has many more programs which can be seen at their web site.
Diana loves her job because she enjoys taking care of people when they need help and she understands how difficult it can be to find get help at this stage of life. If you (or someone you know) is in need of services such as these, contact Diane Mitchell at diana.mitchell@duke.edu