Monday, April 15, 2013



  “Hospice is not just about cancer. It’s a benefit that helps those with heart, lung and kidney disease, and those who have lost a significant amount of weight that is unexplained. Hospice is such an underused benefit that people simply haven’t taken advantage of in South Texas. We value and respect the diverse and rich culture and history in South Texas and are trying to educate people on the hospice model of care that brings families and communities together….” Janet Montagne, CEO, Rivercity Hospice
Mrs. Janet Montagne has provided care for decades to people in need throughout Texas and created hundreds of jobs.  Her company Rivercity Hospice came to South Texas over a year ago to provide the care that many in our community desperately need- particularly with chronic, debilitating and terminal illnesses. Often, because of a lack of resources, the seriously ill  must receive treatment away from their home, family, and in an unfamiliar environment.  They often unfortunately die in a nursing home or hospital unnecessarily and alone.
We interviewed Mrs. Janet Montagne, the CEO of Rivercity Hospice services covering half the counties in Texas, to learn more about hospice and to educate our readers:
What is Hospice?
Mrs. Janet Montagne:  “Hospice is a compassionate, patient-centered approach to medical care and support for people at the end of life and their families. It is care focused on maintaining dignity, increasing quality of life, and providing comfort, including pain and symptom control. Hospice recognizes that every person's experience will be different and the hospice team creates a plan of care according to the individual needs and wishes of each patient. Hospice staff members are available at all times, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is the mission of hospice staff to walk side-by-side with patients and offer support, not only for any physical symptoms, but for emotional and spiritual needs, as well. This support extends to family members, and hospice helps them cope with their own unique emotional and spiritual concerns.  Many people think that hospice means that you have given up or stopped fighting-this is not correct. Many people need the help, and the compassion and the services, when dealing with a severe illness that could potentially be terminal as assessed by  your physician and enhances the quality of your life in order to have control and dignity.  People with Alzheimers Disease, stroke, lung, kidney and heart problems all can benefit. ”

What Services are provided by Rivercity Hospice?
Ms. Janet Montagne:
“Rivercity Hospice treats the physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs of the patient and their family. Our family of healthcare providers, clergy and social workers provide and coordinate palliative services in the patient's home, wherever home may be. We extend our services into Assisted Living Facilities, Nursing Facilities and Residential Care homes as well as the patient's private home.  Our team at Rivercity Hospice will coordinate the care and treatment of the patient by providing nursing services, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and medical equipment necessary to meet the needs of the patient's terminal illness as ordered by the physician.  We are focused on managing the illness to ensure the patient is comfortable. This is accomplished by working closely with the family members and caregivers to ensure they have the resources and essential knowledge to meet the patient’s needs. We are available for you and your family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are committed to the patient and their family.”
This sounds expensive.  How do the poor, elderly, and even children and their families afford these extensive services?
Mrs. Janet Montagne: 
“Hospice care is a covered benefit under Medicare, most private insurance plans, HMOs and managed care organizations. Hospice is also available through Medicaid.  While each hospice has its own policies concerning payment for care, it is a founding principle of Rivercity Hospice to offer services based upon the patient's need.  For those with economic hardship and having difficulty obtaining services, Rivercity Hospice Foundation was created to address the needs of patients who have no resources available to them. The contributions received are earmarked for the communities from which they came. Each fundraiser ensures that we come closer to meeting the needs of another patient.  We are dedicated to the 106 counties in Texas that we service and want to do everything we can to deliver compassionate and dignified care.  We believe that all patients who are eligible for hospice, should receive hospice. After all, this is the time when quality of life matters most.”

What is Rivercity Hospice’s philosophy on care and what is your mission statement?
Mrs. Janet Montagne:
We believe that each patient's life experience is unique - many of the problems, coping strategies and emotions are not. Our specialized experience can help patients and their families accept the life limiting illness, and effectively address the frustrations and seek personal motivation, peace and comfort.  Our mission is to professionally managed Hospice care provides our patient with a comfortable, dignified and supportive experience. Utilizing continuity of care allows for an earlier hospital discharge and provides the patient an opportunity to live the rest of their life the way they choose .... at home with family and friends.
We believe in the basic right of all patients to competent nursing care. Much can be accomplished medically, physically, psychologically and socially to enable patients to lead a more comfortable and functional life. A hospice care plan is designed for each patient utilizing insight from the family, our nurses, hospice team and in conference with the physician.
What Makes Hospice Different?
Mrs. Janet Montagne:
“Hospice focuses on pain and symptom control that enable the patient to live as fully and comfortably as possible.  Hospice treats the person, not the disease.  The hospice interdisciplinary team cares for the medical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs of the patient and family. Hospice neither hastens nor postpones death: it affirms life and understands that dying is a natural part of the cycle of life.  Hospice care is provided at home, including nursing homes and assisted living residences - wherever home is.  For hospice patients and their families, help is just a phone call away, 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week.  Even after the death of the patient, hospice continues to care for the family by providing grief counseling.”
Are you reaching the Hispanic as well as as African American, White and Asian populations with hospice services here in South Texas?
Mrs. Montagne:  Absolutely.  One of the ways we are educating the public is through television, radio and social media in both English and Spanish. We’ve partnered with  Lopez Broadcasting to reach the Mexican American community as well as other cultures. We respect the Hispanic community and understand how important family and having that support is for all cultures.  We understand that people want and need care at home so their families can be close by. The emerging babyboomer population also will demand and expect care tailored to their needs.  This upcoming senior population will want the same care in their home as they can receive at a hospital. Times are changing and healthcare and Rivercity are responding to those expectations.  We are reaching out to the community door to door, and even provide our care to people in nursing homes. We also teach people that you can have home health and hospice at the same time. We encourage any groups whether they be seniors, church groups, hospitals or nursing homes and day care to give us a call and we will be glad to put on a learning seminar any time.  I am excited about employing bilingual healthcare providers and working with the community. We love the people of South Texas and after a year or more of hard work in this area have proven our commitment to being a business that can make a difference in the Coastal Bend area.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us and educate all of our readers, especially the Mexican American culture here in South Texas that may have had some preconceived notions about hospice care.
Mrs. Janet Montagne:
“I’d like to thank your publication for allowing me to provide some information to the community on how we are ready and able to help. It is a privilege to be in the Coastal Bend and help those who need it the most and help ease their pain and suffering through our team approach.”
How can people reach you if they have more questions?
Mrs. Janet Montagne:
“They can call any time to our agency at 361-882-5900, 24 hours per day or visit us at or email us at or visit us on Facebook/  Rivercity Hospice.”


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