SARASOTA COUNTY: Families seeking hospice services in Sarasota County have a new option, with the opening of Continuum Care of Sarasota after receiving initial approval for their state certificate approximately two years ago.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to offer options,” said Casey Cuthbert-Allman, executive director of Sarasota’s Continuum Care, noting that the nonprofit organization received Sarasota’s first new hospice license. in more than four decades. “We are thrilled to be part of the healthcare community here. We look forward to collaborating with the people here.”
Continuum Hospice & Palliative Care was first presented in the service of Sarasota County in October 2019.
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“We are working for possible sources of referral and looking to make known who we are and what we offer,” Cuthbert-Allman said.
“We hope that there will be people who stick with what they know and that there may be other people who want to give our program a chance,” he added later.
Continuum Care Health originally opened in California and expanded to include a total of eight states. About a year ago, it divested operations in four of those states: California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
It maintained operations in New Jersey, Virginia, Ohio, the state of Washington and Florida, where it at the moment operates in the county of Broward.
Programs with pre-divestment applications, including the new Sarasota program, retain the Continuum brand, while new ones, such as the license currently granted by AHCA for Manatee County, run under the Affinity Health Management brand.
Earlier this month, AHCA granted licenses for Continuum to operate in Miami-Dade County and for Affinity to operate in Manatee as Affinity Care of Manatee.
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But while Sarasota’s Continuum Care was able to see its first patient later this month or in July, the other two programs are currently within the 21-day review period, with these certificates potentially open to challenge.
In addition to traditional hospice services, Continuum Care offers specialized programs such as music therapy, equine therapy and virtual reality.
“These are the things that we are very excited to bring to market,” Cuthbert-Allman said.
Samuel Stern, CEO of both companies, noted that Continuum also offers palliative programs that are not normally offered by traditional hospice services.
“In fact, we have a very unique palliative program that is a kind of prehospice,” Stern said. “And one of the areas where end-of-life care is lacking is end-of-life care where the patient still can’t qualify for hospice or not.” however, be mentally prepared for a hospice.
“However, these are the people who really need care and don’t get it because they use the medical emergency as a primary care doctor and it costs the system enormously.”
Although the offices are located in Suite 202, 5589 Marquesas Circle, Sarasota, all hospice care will be provided in patient homes or long-term care facilities.
Continuum Care already has licensed music therapists on its staff and is negotiating with a therapy barn for the equine program, but Cuthbert-Allman is especially excited about the virtual reality therapy program.
He noted that when patients have the opportunity to go anywhere through virtual reality, the number one place they want to go is “home”.
“We can take them to the street in front of the house, they can go to the neighbor’s house, in the backyard,” Cuthbert-Allman said. “We had an Air Force pilot: we were able to put him back in the cockpit through virtual reality.
“It’s important that at this stage of their illness they can do this kind of life review.”
Both virtual reality and music therapy, he said, can allow adult children to connect with parents who may not remember them easily without indications that trigger long-term memories.
“It’s very important that we have good results for both patients and their loved ones,” Cuthbert-Allman said. “Hospice is not just about what kind of pills they will take, but it’s really about taking care of the whole mind, body and spirit.”
Are you interested?
• For more information, visit http://www.continuumflorida.com/ or call Casey Cuthbert-Allman at 941-477-9991.
Earle Kimel mainly covers southern Sarasota County by Herald-Tribune and can be reached at [email protected] Support local journalism with a digital subscription to the Herald-Tribune.