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Norwich - Hospice Southeastern Connecticut announced Monday that it is changing its name to the Center for Hospice Care in Southeast Connecticut, and is also changing its message and its approach to talking about hospice services.
The nonprofit agency, established in 1985, is making the change to reflect the success it has experienced in providing palliative and hospice care to New London County residents facing serious illnesses and to send a new message about hospice care, the organization said in a news release.
"People think that hospice care is only for the very end of life," said Carol Mahier, president and chief executive officer of the center. "It isn't. Our services have evolved to include palliative care, counseling services, and many other programs that help both patients and their families before and after death. It's time for our identity to reflect that."
The name was chosen to communicate that the agency is a resource center for the entire community, the news release said. In addition to the care it provides for patients at home and in nursing and assisted living facilities, it has programs to support caregivers, bereavement programs for children and adults, and clinical education for medical professionals.
The center is an affiliate of Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London and The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich.
Mahier said the agency's new message - "Every moment matters" - is based on research that shows high satisfaction levels among patients and families who choose hospice care before the end stages of their illness.
"We want people to understand that hospice means much more than having two weeks to live," she said. "And it's not just for cancer patients. Research shows that when hospice and palliative care gets involved sooner, the quality of life improves for everyone - patients, caregivers and all family members."
The center also announced the addition of a new medical director. Dr. Michael Feltes, board certified in family practice, geriatrics and hospice and palliative care, will oversee patient care. Dr. Kandhasamy Jagathambal will continue as co-medical director.
Other changes for the agency include a new website, new communications materials, and preliminary planning for a hospice residence on their Norwich campus.
All patients and caregivers currently being served by the agency have been advised that there will be no interruption of service or staff availability.