30 July 2019

When Jack Dowty’s health declined after a fall, he and his wife Merrilee knew he would never fully recover. They turned to Brookdale Hospice of Portland, Ore., for care and support.

“I miss him terribly, but he was 92, he would have hated lingering,” said Merrilee. “I knew we were in good hands when one of the hospice volunteers shared that she recently lost her husband, too.”

Jack was one of Brookdale Hospice of Portland’s first patients. The agency opened in January and, after several months of preparation and standard oversight from the state, received approval to start serving its first patient pro bono in April, and was approved for billing in July. That’s record time for a hospice agency.

“Typically, this process takes about a year,” said Jana Richmond, director of Brookdale Hospice of Portland. “I credit my strong team with our early success. Because of their talent and dedication, we successfully opened within six months, are operating with a full book of patients and achieved Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP) certification.”

Brookdale Hospice provides compassionate care and support to people at the end of life and to their loved ones, no matter where they call home. Associates provide on-call support, clinical and skilled nursing care, spiritual and emotional counseling, and, unlike most other area providers, music therapy.

“Music therapy is a powerful instrument for people at the end of life,” said Richmond. “Musical notes and rhythm address physical, emotional, cognitive and social realms. It’s really moving and unlike anything I’ve ever seen in hospice.”

Hospice care continues after a patient’s death. Bereavement care, including counseling and chaplain services, are offered to loved ones for 13 months, which covers every first holiday and anniversary. It’s that level of support that Merrilee appreciates the most.

“Everyone I spoke with at Brookdale Hospice made it clear that they weren’t here just for Jack, they were here for me, too. I know I have someone to call if I need help,” said Merrilee.

With this advancement in hospice offerings, Brookdale Senior Living now provides a full continuum of care to greater Portland. In addition to Brookdale Hospice, the senior living provider offers Home Health services and there are 35 senior living locations across the area providing independent living, assisted living, memory care and/or skilled nursing, as services vary by community.

Brookdale Hospice of Portland serves Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Polk and Yamhill counties. The agency provides care anywhere a patient lives; they do not have to be a Brookdale resident to receive services. The agency office is located at 29757 SW Boones Ferry Road, Wilsonville, OR 97070. The phone number is (503) 570-9766.

“I firmly believe that everyone deserves the chance to die with the comfort of hospice. Death is never easy, but with quality hospice care and support, it can be a deeply meaningful experience, not just for the patient, but for their family and friends as well,” said Richmond.

Brookdale has 21 hospice locations across the country and plans to open a location in Sacramento, Calif., later this year.

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