Choosing a hospice provider

Choosing a hospice provider
Randy McKee

The Community Hospice team includes physicians and nurse practitioners who specialize in hospice and palliative care for anyone in the community. Truman house is the organization’s in-patient care facility.


Community Hospice serves the needs of 270 patients each day, and all of them had the power to choose.

“Many people don’t realize that choosing a hospice care provider is in fact just that, a choice,” said Norm Mast, president and CEO of the not-for-profit Community Hospice, with locations serving this community and surrounding counties. “The power to decide who provides hospice care is in the hands of the patient. A hospital or care facility may work with a particular provider, but, ultimately, it’s the patient who decides.”

And every day, people who have been diagnosed with a serious, life-limiting illness choose Community Hospice to provide services to themselves and their family.

“We’ve been here in the community for more than 30 years, and during that time we’ve gained the experience to become the provider of a higher quality of care,” Mast said. “But just because we’re the first choice when people consider hospice, it doesn’t mean we aren’t constantly looking for ways to improve and serve our patients and their families. We never stop trying to be better, and I think that shows.”

As a nonprofit hospice provider, Community Hospice keeps the needs of the community front and center, instead of the needs of shareholders. “All money that is donated and any profits made are put right back into the organization, which allows us to continually improve on what we do,” Mast said.

“Our team of nurses, physicians, social workers, hospice aides, chaplains and volunteers have extensive training in end-of-life care,” Mast said. “We also offer bereavement and grief counseling for families, and respite care at our location in New Philadelphia.”

Dr. Lori Kuehne, chief medical officer for Community Hospice, oversees a team of physicians and nurse practitioners who specialize in hospice and palliative care. They manage the day-to-day care of patients living at Community Hospice’s Truman House.

“Truman House is a 12-bed, inpatient facility where round-the-clock nursing care as well as respite care are provided. A typical stay is three to five days before the patient returns home,” Mast said.

The palliative care program comes into play when a person receives a terminal diagnosis but has more than six months to live. That person may need help with symptom management to find relief from pain and to live as comfortably as possible. Eventually that person will transition to hospice.

“Although we do offer in-patient services at Truman House, hospice can happen anywhere, whether at a person’s home or at another care facility,” Mast said. “We go to wherever the person’s home is. Our hospice house is available to help people get their symptoms under control, or for respite care, then the person typically goes back to his or her home. The goal is to make a person comfortable and at peace at home, wherever that may be, and we’re proud to be able to offer same-day admissions, even within an hour if needed.”

Typically, a doctor or medical provider refers a person to hospice, but people can elect to call Community Hospice on their own, too. “We make sure a person can navigate their end of life peacefully and without stress, without having to worry about who will be with them or there to help them at home,” Mast said.

And they don’t have to worry about payment, either. That’s another benefit the not-for-profit Community Hospice offers. While hospice is most often funded by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance, Community Hospice also receives generous donations, all of which go into a patient care fund. For those without a billable payment plan, the team provides care through its community care program. “We take care of people no matter what coverage they have or don’t have,” Mast said. “There is no red tape or checking with corporate. It’s about providing the care that’s needed. It’s just what we do.”

Community Hospice is located at 716 Commercial Avenue, SW, in New Philadelphia. The phone number is 330-343-7605. Hours are 24/7/365. Visit to learn more.

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