CHRISTUS Hospice and Home Health offers the finest in home health and hospice services from an interdisciplinary team of health care professionals led by Executive Director D’Anna Perry.
By: Stephanie Kusy
Photos by: Paul Marshall
With compassion, respect and years of expertise, D’Anna Perry expressed that it is a privilege to offer home health and hospice care to residents of the Coastal Bend.
As the executive director of CHRISTUS Hospice and Home Health, Perry brings more than 15 years of expertise to the health care industry.
CHRISTUS Spohn HomeCare and CHRISTUS Spohn Hospice and Palliative Care are part of CHRISTUS Continuing Care, a division of one of the nation’s largest Catholic health systems. When it comes to hospice and home health, Perry wants patients to rely on CHRISTUS HomeCare and Hospice and her team to receive the best quality of care from her highly experienced staff.
This area of the health care industry is sometimes misunderstood by the general public. Home health uses a specially trained medical team and support staff that utilizes a holistic approach in providing care in the home or facility environment. Whether a patient is recovering from surgery or illness, or living with a chronic disease like diabetes, the HomeCare team can make hospital visits shorter and less frequent with home-based skilled nursing, rehabilitation and chronic disease management. CHRISTUS HomeCare works closely with physicians to coordinate all aspects of care, focusing on helping patients recover and regain independence.
“My goal is to provide the best quality of care for as many patients as possible,” Perry says. In 2014, the company received a Home Care Elite award for being one of the top-performing home health facilities in the nation. Perry’s visionary leadership is marked by compassion and integrity. In addition to her executive experience, she has a strong clinical background. She received her nursing degree from Del Mar College and earned certifications from the National Board of Hospice and Palliative Care in nursing, as well as administration.
While working as a registered nurse, Perry discovered her passion for bringing comfort, dignity and respect to patients needing end-of-life care. Now she and the CHRISTUS Hospice and Palliative Care team provide patient- and family-centered comfort care personalized for each individual in the face of a serious illness. As the only faith-based hospice in the community, Perry says hospice is not about giving up. Instead, their goal is to help patients maintain independence and live well despite a life-limiting illness.
Hospice also serves to help caregivers and loved ones during the journey of illness. Perry utilizes an interdisciplinary approach of nurse, physician, social worker, chaplain, nurse aide, bereavement and volunteer staff to provide support. According to Perry, “It’s not just patient care when it comes to hospice; it’s family care – the feelings you are having, the grief, the sorrow, the anger, all the things that go through your mind witnessing your loved one being sick or terminally ill. Yes, they are going through it, but you are going through it with all the stages of grieving, so that’s what makes the whole concept.”
Hospice is one of the most underutilized and misunderstood Medicare benefits even though it has a significant, positive impact on patients and their families. It is 100 percent covered by Medicare. In addition, most Medicaid and commercial insurance plans cover the service. Many people do not take advantage of this benefit because patients and families are unaware of the full spectrum of services hospice and palliative care offer.
“Every day, our focus is to provide education to the community,” Perry says. “Physicians, health care workers and community members are often uncertain about eligibility for these services and what they offer. Hospice is a misunderstood word that can create feelings of fear or anxiety. The use of hospice is increasing in the U.S. and in this community, but there’s still confusion regarding its role in patient and family care.”
Perry joined CHRISTUS HomeCare and Hospice just over two years ago when they served about five patients a day. Most of the community did not know the nonprofit existed any longer even though the company opened its doors more than 30 years ago. Perry has since revamped the entire program by hiring quality staff and improving their quality of care. Her team provides service to more than 70 hospice patients on any given day.
While the office appeared busy during the interview, staff constantly poked their heads in Perry’s office, enthusiastically sharing stories about their mild-mannered boss. They say her leadership is characterized by a passion for excellence and fairness in all she does, advocacy and ongoing education for herself, her staff and patients and their families. Her colleagues say she is as an advocate for patients, a positive role model and a mentor for other leaders.
“D’Anna Perry exemplifies excellence and integrity in all she does,” says Liz Boatright, account executive for HomeCare. “She’s just a great boss. I can’t imagine working for anybody else. I love her passion.”
When Perry takes off her scrubs, she enjoys fishing, kayaking and just about anything involving water. She and her husband of 16 years live in Flour Bluff. She says the most rewarding aspect of her career is seeing the difference she and her team make in patients’ lives.
“Whether it’s rehabilitating a patient in the home health side and getting them back to work to provide for their families or, on the hospice side, providing that psychosocial support, families are better able to deal with their loved one passing and having that experience,” she says. “We want to provide that piece so patients can pass away comfortably. It is incredibly amazing some of the things I’ve seen my staff do to guide patients and families through this journey.”
CHRISTUS HomeCare is located at 6200 Saratoga Blvd. in Building B, Ste. 104. Call 361-994-3450 to speak to a specialist or visit www.christushomecare.org for more information.