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The organization I volunteered with was Capital Caring. I chose this organization because it helps individuals, mainly elderly individuals, by providing companion to those who need it. Helping people out is what I enjoy doing and Capital Caring gave me that opportunity. Capital Caring first started helping out the community in 1977 in Washington D.C. and was founded by Dr. Josefina Magno. Dr. Magno founded Capital Caring because she understood that people living with serious illnesses needed substantial and sustained care. Capital Caring started out as a small team in a single office in a church. Capital Caring is a non profit organization. It relies on Medicare Part A, Medicaid and other insurances to operate. Capital Caring doesn’t just provide Companion Care, it also provides Palliative and Hospice care and Counseling. The Hospice Care focuses more on medical, emotional and spiritual support of the patient’s life. Palliative Care focuses more on patient and family-centered care that optimizes the patient’s quality of life by anticipating, preventing and treating their suffering. At Capital Caring, they provide Bereavement which is what they call Counseling. They provide Grief Counseling to anyone in the community that has experienced the death of a loved one. The services that they offer can be found anywhere the patients call home, whether that is at home, in nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities, or even places like shelters or prison. Capital Caring is run by the help of many people. They have individuals who have some type of degree including Physicians, Medical Directors, Nurse Practitioners, Case Managers, Pharmacist, and Art/Music Therapist. They also have volunteers that can help patients at Capital Caring in some way. Volunteers are allowed to help out in Hospice and Palliative Care but are unable to do certain jobs like the professionals at Capital Caring. In all the locations that are part of Capital Caring, there are about 800 staff members and 1,400 volunteers. Since Capital Caring first started serving the community in 1977 they have grown over the years. Over the years they have been able to expand their facilities to seven cities in Virginia, one city in Maryland and the District of Columbia, and they still hope to expand it more in the near future. They also have increased the number of Impatient Centers around the district to four. Each day they help about 1,200 patients, which continues to increase each year. Capital Caring is nationally recognized leader in Hospice Care and among the 10th largest Hospice care organization in the area. Overall Capital Caring has been growing and continues to grow over the years.
A big issue that Capital Caring stated several times is Patient Confidentiality. When I had to fill out the papers that were needed to be a volunteer, a lot of papers were about patient confidentiality. While volunteering at Capital Caring, I would get the patient’s medical record number and some basic information about each patient I saw each day. This is why Capital Caring has all of their volunteers sign a lot of papers on medical confidentiality of all the patients so that their information won’t be given to anyone else. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act known as HIPAA is what keeps patient’s health information protected. HIPPA was created to help employees between jobs to improve their portability and accountability of health insurance coverage. HIPAA was signed into law by Bill Clinton on August 21, 1996. On April 14, 2003, the Department of Health and Human Services created the Privacy Rule. The Privacy Rule helps to allow the use and disclosure of identifiable health information and maintaining the integrity of private data. When the Privacy Rule was created it allowed new rights that patients didn’t have before. For instance, patient’s have the right to obtain a hard copy of their health records, the right to amend healthcare records to correct errors, and the right to prevent details of pateint’s treatments from being disclosed to other health insurers. Two years after the Privacy Rule was created, the Security Rule was introduced. The Security Rule ensures the confidentiality, integrity and availability of electronic health information that is protected. In order to keep health information protected, the Security Rule has to have administrative, technical and physical safeguards implemented. In 2006 the Department of Health and Human Services also created the Enforcement Rule that gives them the authority to fine covered entities that are found to not be following the Privacy and Security Rules. It also gives them the right to pursue criminal charges for serious violations of HIPAA Rules. In 2009 the HITECH Act was signed into law to introduce the new requirements for electronic health records and so that health providers would start using the electronic health records more. With the creation of the HITECH Act, it lead to the creation of the Breach Notification Rule. This rule requires that if there is a breach of patient health information then it must be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services and that if the patients information was exposed or compromised then they must notify within 60 days. In 2013, the newest addition to HIPAA was added, the Omnibus Final Rule. The Omnibus Final Rule was signed into law to help change many gaps in the original laws of HIPAA. For Instance, all the rules that are under HIPAA were changed in some way to make it clear for those who had doubts on who HIPAA applied to. Over the centuries it’s been harder to maintain confidentiality because now it is not just your primary physician seeing your health information, it’s also the physicians nurses, pharmacists and other hospital employees.
Back then, healthcare used to be delivered by a single individual but now it’s different. It’s different because healthcare isn’t provided by one single individual, it’s provided by many people. For example now patients are seen by a physician who is part of a team with hundreds of other people contributing to help that one physician provide healthcare for thousands of Americans. Sometimes there are people who can’t afford to pay for healthcare and they ask for economic assistance, which leads to third- party payers having to have access to the patient’s medical charts in order to help them pay for their healthcare. Another problem with confidentiality is what can and cannot be kept private. For instance, if a patient tells their doctor that they plan on committing suicide, then a doctor can share this information with the patients rekatives because it’s something serious. By telling their relatives the doctor can act upon this and help the patient out so it doesn’t happen.Doctors form professional relationships with their patients because they have to be able know their patients so they can be able to provide them healthcare.
At Capital Caring, volunteers could either do Companion Care, also known as patient works, or Administrative work. Both of these needs would require to see patients, but the main difference was that doing Companion Care would mean you would see a patient for as long as you wanted to and how many days a week you wanted to; with Administrative work, you would be seeing multiple patients for about 10 to 15 minutes just to check how they were doing. I wanted to do companion care because I would only be seeing the same patient that I got assigned to. This would help me bond more with whatever patient I got; but since being a volunteer requires a long process of not only paperwork but background screening, Tuberculosis (TB) screening training and more I wasn’t able to do much companion care because of the timeframe. I had to do both companion care and administrative work. Depending on the type of volunteering, it would depend on where you would be volunteering. For administrative work, I went to the main office where my supervisor, Roxana, was located and saw different patients there and for Companion Care I went to Birmingham Green in manassas. Since Capital Caring has different locations, you could choose which location you wanted to go to for volunteering, I chose the location in Manassas since it was closer. For the first time I volunteered, I went for four days and stayed for an hour each day; then I started going once a week for an hour. For the first patient I got assigned to I watched over her while her daughter went out to do some errands, played hymns and held her hand when she was awake. She mainly slept when I was there but when she was awake, would sometimes read her the bible.
I felt that I was suited to be a volunteer at Capital Caring because I was a very patient and caring person towards the patients I interacted with. This helped me make it easier to be the kind of volunteer that Capital Caring looks for. I also felt that I was able to fit in with my Supervisor, Roxana, because we both shared things in common and aside from being caring to patients we were both very nice people, so we were able to get along. Some personal skills I brought to Capital Caring when I volunteered were responsibility, being on time, and a good attitude. Being a volunteer means having a lot of responsibility for the hour that you’re with your patient. Being on time when you’re scheduled to volunteer is very important at Capital Caring because, if you’re late or don’t show up on the days you’re suppose to volunteer, it can cause the patient to think you don’t want to be there. This can cause them to feel different types of emotions. For instance they could Having a good attitude towards the patients you see can help so that you’re patients feel like you value them and the time you spend with them. What I wanted to accomplish from being a volunteer was seeing that my job as a volunteer was helpful to the patients I got assigned and it made a difference to them when I was there. For the first lady I got assigned to, I made a difference by her having someone caring for her until the end. As a volunteer my role helped benefit the community by giving them another volunteer that they look for. As I mentioned in my other paragraphs, Capital Caring is always looking for volunteers to help out the community by volunteering to take care of patients who don’t have a family member to look out for them 24/7. Based on my experience from volunteering, I learned with elderly people you have to be extra patient. Capital Caring says you have to be patient, but they don’t mention how patient you have to be.
By being a volunteer, I was able to learn how much patience was required. As I volunteered I had some patients that required more patience than others. Being a volunteer for Capital Caring has prepared me for my future academic career because, as I want to be a labor and delivery nurse, I need to learn how to be brave in front of people and not start crying because I feel bad for what the patients are going through. On the first day I volunteered I had no idea I would feel sad about seeing the first patient in the condition she was. My time volunteering was valuable to me because I learned so many things like how to massage an individual’s hand properly. Since I’m a very caring person, I felt upset seeing the patients in the conditions that they were but I had to be brave to not show them I was upset because that would cause them to be worried. I would say if you’re able to be very patient and care for people than I would encourage you to participate in being a volunteer for Capital Caring. Some advice I would give to seniors that choose to volunteer at Capital Caring is that you should try and start your process of becoming a volunteer as soon as you can because it’s a long process. It’s not just filling out paperwork, it includes having an interview with Roxana, having a background check, getting a Tuberculosis (TB) screening, getting trained and getting a badge to officially start volunteering. I do believe that Capital Caring’s mission of providing high quality of advance illness caring to patients and their families has been met and continues to be met because, from what I was able to see, they are always checking up on the patient’s and making sure that they have the best care. Whether that is in a nursing home, at the Capital Caring facilities or even their homes.
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