Hospice care plays an important role for so many families as they endure difficult times with loved ones, and now Delaware has a new, community-focused company to consider during those times. Having passed its state survey for licensure, Tranquility Hospice, located at 1949 W. Central Ave., opened for business in Delaware on May 18.
“We’re a very small group of owners with decades of experience in the hospice field,” said Adam Ralph, co-owner, marketing director, and community liaison for Tranquility. “We wanted to bring our various talents together and form the only free-standing hospice company in Delaware that’s not affiliated with another health care system.”
Ralph is of one of four partners who make up Tranquility’s ownership, along with his wife, Kate, Kevin Brooker, and Doug McKinney. The group of owners worked together previously in the industry, but after seeing the way the industry began to change, they elected to start down their own path in creating a company of their own.
“The main change that we were seeing in making that decision was that some of the hospice providers seem more focused on census and medicare profits, which overshadowed meeting the patient and the family’s needs,” Adam said.
Brooker, the administrator for Tranquility, added, “I have noticed that supporting the care providers — the case managers, spiritual care people, social workers, aids — all those involved with patient care, it seemed like they were lacking the support they needed to do their job and feel good about it.”
Kate, who serves as the director of clinical services and a registered nurse, said there are plenty of studies available that show a “high burnout” in the hospice care provider industry, underlining the importance of providing plentiful support to a staff. “As we’re starting our own company here, we’re very aware of that and have already started talking about how we can prevent that burnout in our team,” she said.
Among the support tools Kate mentioned was having flexible scheduling, an open-door policy, and early recognition of burnout signs. “We’ve all been in the field for a while and just being aware of when you see signs of burnout (is critical),” she said, adding that there is a built-in support system in the team to be utilized with social workers, chaplains, and support groups to aid the staff.
At its core, Tranquility provides the same service all hospice companies provide. Those services include skilled nursing services, hospice aid services, medical social work, spiritual care, bereavement care, and volunteer service if a family is interested. As for where those services are offered, Brooker said they will provide them “wherever our patient is,” whether that be at home, in an assisted-living facility, or elsewhere. Tranquility offers care to nine counties — Marion, Franklin, Union, Morrow, Knox, Hardin, Wyandot, Crawford, and Licking — in addition to Delaware County.
What Brooker feels sets Tranquility apart from other providers is its staff “going above and beyond the call of duty for our patients and families.”
“Having personal experience with all three of us having gone through experiences with hospice and our own close loved ones … taking that experience and sharing that with our caregivers and families, it’s going to be better for them in the long run,” Adam said. “We set no time limits on our staff when it comes to patient care and support. We want to be thorough in addressing all questions and concerns.”
Adam, emphasizing the importance of patients’ comfort as the top priority, went on to say Tranquility wants to ensure it has the best medical equipment at its disposal to be able to provide that max comfort.
As a local small business, Tranquility would like to hire locally as well. Adam said the very nature of hospice care and dealing with end-of-life scenarios makes staffing a challenge, and the pandemic has only served to heighten those challenges.
“What we’re looking for (in staff) is somebody who can handle working in hospice, and it is our ultimate goal to provide care to patients and their families like they are our very own family,” Adam said. “We want to make sure our patients are as comfortable as possible, but we also want to make sure the family feels like they are being cared for as well.”
Asked what led them to collectively want to enter the hospice industry, Kate said their personal experiences with hospice care played a significant role in their careers becoming more of a passion than simply work.
“It’s truly mission work, it’s not a job,” Adam added. “We love our families, and we love our patients.”
If a patient or family has no way of paying for hospice service, Brooker said Tranquility will be providing charity care. “We are not downed by their inability to pay,” he said. “If somebody is not able to pay — they don’t qualify for Medicare, don’t qualify for Medicaid, don’t qualify or have commercial insurance — we will still provide care to that individual, regardless of their ability to pay.”
Before Tranquility can receive accreditation, it must first demonstrate that it meets the national standard for hospice care per state and federal guidelines. To do so, Tranquility will be providing charity care for a minimum of five patients. For anyone interested in contacting Tranquility with questions or inquiries, there is a 24/7 care line monitored by a registered nurse that can be reached by calling 740-990-1013.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.