C&C-USA Client Supportinfo@CompassionAndChoicesNJ.org
C&C-USA Client Support
What is the Client Support Program?
The program is an expanded version of End of Life Choices’ Caring Friends Program and Compassion in Dying’s Case Management Program. Volunteers and staff from both organizations designed the program, starting with the question: Why do people contact us and what do they need? Our staff counselors respond to everyone who calls with information, support, counsel and referral as needed. Services are provided without cost to anyone who contacts the organization, regardless of membership status.
How do people get help?
By calling the 800 number — 800-247-7421. A staff counselor will listen to their concerns and provide information and support. If the caller lives where we have trained volunteers they may be offered a volunteer who can work with them locally. If there is no volunteer in the immediate area, the counselor (or a volunteer) will work with the client by phone until such time as a visit is requested or recommended and a volunteer from a nearby area will be provided. All calls need to come through the 800 number first.
Who are our volunteers?
We have almost 150 volunteers in 27 states and in many communities around the country. Our volunteers come from all walks of life — many are retired health care providers — all have a passion to serve. Our volunteers serve within multidisciplinary teams which meet monthly — either in person (as in our Washington, Oregon, New York City and Maryland teams) or by conference call, as in our regional teams: Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, Arizona & Southern California. All our volunteers receive training and orientation before working with clients
Who will be served by the CS Program?
We offer support and counsel to anyone who contacts us — we do not distinguish people by their diagnosis. We make referrals to pain specialists, hospice programs, social service agencies, disease specific support groups and others. We assist people in completing their Advance Directives and in talking to their families, friends, and health care providers about their wishes. We advocate for people in nursing homes or who are receiving inadequate care.
For those qualified individuals not yet in the terminal phase of their illness we provide information about hastening death by stopping medical therapies (such as stopping dialysis or life-sustaining medications) and stopping eating and drinking. These options are the legal right of every mentally capable adult in the United States.
For those who are in the terminal phase of their illness (determined on a case-by-case basis, rather than being defined as within six months of death) and who are mentally capable, other options for hastening death will be discussed — such as the use of medications and inert gas. Two volunteers and/or staff may be present when a client hastens death unless requested otherwise by the client.
Why the name Client Support Program?
Staff, volunteers and board members agreed that we needed a new name for our new program. Our goal was to find a name that would make it clear what we offer to those who might contact us. We considered many names and combinations and feel that the term Client Support best describes what we do and is especially clear in its meaning.
What can you do to help?
Please refer anyone with questions to our 800 number — 800-247-7421. We are simply a phone call away.
This document was developed by Judith Schwarz , Patient Support Coordinator for Compassion & Choices of NY , an affiliate of C&C-USA, as well as Clinical Coordinator for the Northeast and the Washington DC/Capital area.