Everyone needs help at some point in life. But as humans, we sometimes have difficulty asking for it or knowing where support is available. A special program at Hospice of Redmond focuses on helping aging seniors and people facing a life-threatening illness or disease. The program is called Transitions; sadly, many don’t know it exists. And while there are organizations that charge for Transitions services, at Hospice of Redmond, the program is free. 

The purpose of this month’s article is to help raise awareness about the Transitions program. Our goal is to provide information so more people can step forward and take advantage of the generosity, assistance, and support available through Transitions. To achieve this, we sat down with Transitions Coordinator Kayla Bucholz.

What is Transitions Care?

Transitions is a non-medical program designed to support a person through the mental, physical, and emotional changes that may accompany a life-limiting illness. It is available to aging seniors and people with a life expectancy of six months through three or more years.

Most people start their Transitions journey through a referral. But a referral is not required. One just has to call Hospice of Redmond to get the process started. 

“Nine times out of ten, I get a call from a panicked family member,” said Kayla. 

While Alzheimer’s and Dementia are the most common referrals the program receives, they also get calls from adults who recognize that their aging parent(s) are struggling and don’t know what to do. 

“Sometimes the adult kids come up to visit their parents and notice little things that didn’t use to be an issue, like not being able to do the laundry or noticing that the yard is overgrown, said Kayla.”

Who Qualifies for Transitions?

A common misconception is that one must have a disease to qualify for Transitions. Kayla says each case is based on a person’s needs and budget. She matches available resources to the individual. As mentioned earlier, the service of coordinating support is free. However, sometimes people need to hire a landscaper, house cleaner, or home health aide. 

But that’s another thing that Kayla helps with – helping find money so her clients can get the support they need. 

“A lot of people think they cannot afford long-term care, so they don’t get help,” said Kayla. “But this isn’t true, and solutions are available to provide the necessary care.”

Kayla works with her clients to identify creative ways to fund the needs of the individual. This may include helping with the necessary documentation to get Medicaid involved or helping with asset allocation. 

Transitions isn’t Hospice.

Watching a parent age or a person with a terminal illness decline is painful. The critical conversations that surround these scenarios are often avoided due to discomfort. 

“The people who have heard of Transitions often think it is a program under the Hospice umbrella,” said Kayla. “It isn’t hospice.”

As mentioned earlier, Transitions is a free non-medical program that is designed to provide support to a person that is struggling. On the other hand, hospice is a paid-for medical program available to people with a life-limiting illness with a prognosis of fewer than six months to live. 

Transitions Services

The most common needs Kayla sees in people who qualify for the Transitions program include:

  • Caregiver Resources. This may include private care, home health referrals, meals on wheels, etc.
  • Support Groups.  This service matches clients to local support groups so they can interact with people going through the same thing (i.e., Alzheimer’s Association)
  • Anticipatory Grief Support – This includes resources for family members grieving before the passing of a loved one (i.e., Soup and Support, Bereavement).
  • Companionship. Through a team of volunteers, they provide much-needed support and connection to people who are isolated at home or can’t drive.
  • End-of-life planning. A critical part of the Transitions program is outlining how a person wants their end-of-life journey to go. This may include the development of an Advance Directive or providing a referral to an attorney for the creation of a Last Will and Testament. 

The Transitions program exemplifies generosity and support. Unlike Hospice, a doctor’s order or referral isn’t needed. If you know someone struggling, please reach out.