Continuum Care, Inc. (CCI), Hospice and Continuum Care Home Health, LLC (CCHH) of St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John, are Virgin Islands Companies and CCI is the first hospice in the US Virgin Islands. CCI is also the first Medicare certified hospice in the US Virgin Islands. We started on St. Croix in 2000, and expanded our services to St. Thomas and St. John in February 2004.
Our goal at CCI is to provide care to the terminally ill at home, in a supportive environment in which the patient is alert, free of pain, and, along with those that he or she has chosen, makes the decisions regarding care. We are dedicated to making their end-of-life as comfortable and dignified as possible. To date, we have provided end-of-life care to Virgin Islanders and their families, many of whom were able to return home from the mainland to be with their loved ones.
CCI employs over 65 Virgin Islanders; most in a licensed capacity, on all three islands. In addition to providing hospice care, CCI is also a licensed continuing education provider. We provide continuing education for VI health care professionals and are very active in providing health care education for the community.
The founder of CCI, Tracy Stewart Sanders, has been a registered nurse for more than 30 years. She received her Bachelors Degree in Nursing from Mt. St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles and her Masters Degree from UCLA as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. She is also the AARP Grief and Loss Coordinator for the Virgin Islands.
Ms. Sanders has extensive experience providing and supervising care in multiple settings including community health, hospital, home care and hospice care. For many years she was the Chief Operating Officer for the largest independent home care and hospice company in Georgia. Ms. Sanders and her husband, Dr. Herb Sanders, have resided in the Virgin Islands full-time since 1995.
Life is a continuum. How do we address the important end of life issues that we all face with family and loved ones? Death, like birth, is a natural life process that needs to be held as personal and special. The solution is hospice: compassionate, specialized, personalized care for the dying and their loved ones.
The dying person has many concerns and fears: suffering, pain, regression, loss of body and self-control, loss of family and friends and, for some, abandonment. Frustration caused by the inability to complete the simple tasks of life is common. Commonly expressed are fears of "becoming a burden," and of feeling guilt over the impact on their loved one's lives, particularly those involved in day-to-day caregiving. There is also a fear that the caregiver will "burn out," thus deserting the patient at the time of greatest need. There are fears of the unknown. One of the greatest concerns, and greatly affected by all of the above, is the fear of losing one's identity - the terror of "ceasing to be."
As a registered nurse of more than thirty years, I have learned that I am able to practice both the art of nursing and the science of nursing. Hospice is both high tech and high touch. In many ways, providing hospice care has become a ministry for us at Continuum Care.
Virgin Islanders and their families have entrusted their care to us at the most critical time of their lives. We pledge to be always worthy of that trust. In the pages that follow are the words from some of our families who have received our care and words from some of our care team that have been providing hospice care.
Tracy Stewart Sanders
President, Continuum Care, Inc.