Care Dimensions: Partnership Thrives on Compassion, Support

Voices of Care

Partnership Thrives on Compassion, Support

Posted on September 22, 2020 by Lisa Conti

Cataldo Ambulance representatives promoted the SmartCare partnership with Care Dimensions at the 2019 Walk for Hospice.

Dinah Olanoff and Christian Hassel of Cataldo Ambulance share an appreciation for hospice – and Care Dimensions in particular – but for different reasons.

Olanoff, who joined Cataldo in the summer of 2019 as senior director of strategy and innovation, appreciates the support Care Dimensions provided when her longtime partner was receiving hospice. Hassel, an account manager for Cataldo, has been with the company for 14 years and became a hospice supporter after helping develop a corporate partnership with Care Dimensions. 

Olanoff and Hassel share some insight on the importance of the relationship between Cataldo Ambulance and Care Dimensions, and their roles with the annual Walk for Hospice.

Care Dimensions was ‘incredibly supportive’

When her partner, Bob, developed stage 4 lung cancer in 2018, Olanoff left her job to become his full-time caregiver at home. She says the resources and support that Care Dimensions provided during the last four months of Bob’s life made all the difference.

“Care Dimensions did everything they could to make the situation manageable,” recalls Olanoff. “They were incredibly supportive and ensured we had everything we needed. There were lots of supplies, but the nurse kept them all organized and even helped us manage the oxygen so Bob could enjoy some short rides before he became homebound. Later, when he needed a hospital bed at home, the transition was seamless. I can’t imagine not having that kind of support.”

Olanoff notes the emotional support she received was equally important.

“As Bob’s condition worsened, the nurse came more frequently. She saw the changes in Bob every time, and at the end of her visit, I would walk her outside and we would talk. She was very realistic about Bob’s condition, but also very compassionate. It was like having my own personal support health care person who could tell me what I should anticipate. She responded to my needs and it was comforting to talk to her.”

A partnership based on compassion

Before Cataldo and Care Dimensions began to explore opportunities to work together to help hospice patients and their families, Christian Hassel hadn’t had much exposure to hospice. After working with Care Dimensions leadership and supporting a developing partnership with Cataldo’s SmartCare mobile integrated health care service, he became a believer in hospice.

“The passion for and knowledge about hospice was inspiring,” Hassel says. “It got me hooked on Care Dimensions’ mission. A clearer understanding of what hospice patients and their families are faced with every day drives us all to ensure the patient experience is as supportive as possible.”

Launched in 2018, the Cataldo/Care Dimensions partnership includes SmartCare paramedics, who have extensive training in the care of hospice patients. SmartCare provides in-home, after hours support to help reduce worsening symptoms, caregiver anxiety and unnecessary ambulance trips to the emergency room. The SmartCare team is in constant contact with Care Dimensions’ triage nurses and provides comfort and support to both patient and caregiver.

“A hospice situation often presents a last-minute, after hours need. SmartCare has been able to offer Care Dimensions patients support whenever it is needed, allowing for a better patient and caregiver experience,” Hassel says. To date, the SmartCare partnership has significantly reduced the number of hospice patients who are admitted to the hospital.

To underscore the importance of the hospice relationship, Cataldo includes a hospice education segment in its orientation for new hires. “We want to be sure when a crew member encounters a hospice patient and their family, they have a better understanding of what they may be going through,” Hassel adds. 

In 2019, Hassel joined the Walk for Hospice Leadership Committee and helped plan the event. “Having the opportunity to be involved with Care Dimensions and support what they do was a no brainer for me,” he says. On Walk Day, he, Olanoff, and other Cataldo staff set up a sponsor’s tent in the Walk Village and greeted hundreds of people walking in memory of loved ones. “It was very powerful. I remember leaving the Walk feeling very glad that we had been a part of it.”

Hassel is serving on the Leadership Committee for this year’s virtual Walk and is already looking forward to next year when he says he wants to form a team that will ‘give other teams a run for their money.’

“I’m grateful for our partnership with Care Dimensions,” he says. “I look forward to continuing to grow and strengthen the relationship.”


Learn more about the Care Dimensions Walk for Hospice.

About the author
Lisa Conti is Senior Marketing Communications Specialist for Care Dimensions and manages its Voices of Care blog.

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Since 1978, Care Dimensions has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As the non-profit leader in advanced illness care, we offer services in more than 95 communities in Eastern Massachusetts.