by Mary Finn, development coordinator
As a child, Kristi Youngs, BSN, RN, CHPN, knew that when she grew up she either wanted to be a nurse or a ballerina.
While she would have made a great ballerina – tall and graceful, with a sunny personality that belies a surprising competitive streak – ultimately, it was the prospect of connecting with people one on one that led her to the field of nursing.
“I realized that there’s a big part of me that really values relationships and taking care of people,” says Youngs.
Today, as clinical operations director for the Housecall Providers Hospice and Palliative Care programs, her focus on relationships serves as the foundation for her philosophy of care.
“To provide good care, especially good palliative care, you need to create relationships that are strong enough for patients to feel comfortable articulating what they want,” says Youngs. “Some people want aggressive treatment, others want comfort care. The care we provide should reflect whatever a patient and family feels is best for them.”
The benefits of hospice & palliative care are still inaccessible to many
It was during nursing school, while also caring for her grandmother in hospice, that she first truly connected with her passion for palliative and end-of-life care.
“Hospice is so different from other types of care. To be invited into someone’s life at such an intimate time is very special and shouldn’t be taken for granted,” says Youngs.
Because she believes so deeply in the value of this kind of relationship-based care, Youngs is passionate about extending this model and its many benefits to other individuals with serious health problems who often can’t access care.
“There are whole populations of people that aren’t being served, that don’t even understand what hospice and palliative care are, or that they’re a resource,” she explains “Most hospices or palliative care programs are not designed to serve a homeless population. Palliative care should be standard care for everyone, not just seniors, but everyone.”
Teamwork is the key to providing great care to more patients
Youngs’ voice becomes more forceful and enthusiastic as she shares her hopes for the future of the Housecall Providers Hospice and Palliative Care programs.
“I’m excited to figure out how we can provide this integrated continuum of care to more people and to more vulnerable populations,” says Youngs. “How can we maintain the quality of our care but serve more patients and give more families the opportunity to be supported in this way?”
The answer, of course, lies in forging strong relationships – this time within her own team.
“This work is hard. Whatever we do going forward, we need to be building a resilient workforce. We need to make sure we’re supporting our teams so they can do this work.”
Validating a reputation for excellence
For Youngs, joining the Housecall Providers team has been even better than expected.
“Everything I’d heard about Housecall Providers [in the past] has been totally validated – the amazing people, the programs, it has all been validated,” says Youngs. “Everyone here is truly devoted to the work we’re doing.”