It’s not easy living hours of twisty mountain highway from a supermarket.  It gets even harder when it’s not milk you need, but healthcare.

Woman at the gate

Woman at the gate, Photo by Justin Maxon

The economics of the American healthcare non-system demand that patients be close to providers. Home health, hospice and other home-based healthcare services can’t afford to send a practitioner an hour or more into the boonies to see only one or two patients.  This model doesn’t work for people who choose to live a life far from the maddening crowd.  When a person becomes homebound due to serious illness and they can’t manage that twisty road anymore, they are faced with the options of moving away from the soul connection they have with their home, community and support system, or suffering with symptoms that won’t get treated because there is no provider available to assess and help.

In our community, tucked up in the coastal mountains of Northern California, a few neighbors got together to form Two Rivers Community Care Group, a non-profit dedicated to assisting those who want to stay home through serious illness.  Without medical support, it has been a challenge. Imagine our delight when ResolutionCare, with its internet-based services, came along.  Suddenly, we had access to doctors and midlevel practitioners with expertise in symptom management who can help our friends, family and neighbors stay home through terminal illness.

Frances Hill (a composite of several people) was one of those neighbors.  A long-time community member, Frances wished to die at home looking out her window at the garden she’d loved and tended for 30 years.  Two Rivers Community Care Group was able to help her for many months, but when her symptoms became too onerous we were at a loss.  Luckily, ResolutionCare was available to lend support.  Dr. Sand visited Frances by video conference and was able to prescribe medications for her nausea and pain.  Her family was so grateful to finally see Frances able to relax and be comfortable.

Throughout the last months of Frances’s illness, ResolutionCare videoed in and provided astute assessment and treatment of her symptoms, along with emotional support for her grieving family. Even though Frances lived hours from nowhere, ResolutionCare made it possible for her to die in her own home, encircled by her friends and family, rather than in a nursing facility surrounded by unfamiliar sounds and the clinical touch of strangers.

ResolutionCare’s farsighted vision is transforming how advanced illness management is delivered to rural areas.  It was an honor to be able to share in the very special interactions between Frances and the ResolutionCare team.  Thanks, everyone.

Lauri, from Two Rivers Community Care Group.