Joy Jones retiring from hospice service she started

November 17, 2016 GMT

Joy Jones has two good reasons to celebrate today.

It’s her birthday, and the founding director of Community Hospice Care, now Heyman Hospice Care, will be celebrated at a retirement reception this afternoon at 2:30 in the Floyd Medical Center cafeteria.

Jones, the daughter of Dr. C.J. and Barbara Wyatt, and granddaughter of Dr. James Collip, who pioneered the purification of insulin for human use, has been closely associated with healthcare all of her life. She said the influence her mother and father had on her was profound.

She founded the agency that is now Heyman Hospice Care back in 1990.

"I was just blessed to have the opportunity to do it," Jones said. "I started out doing everything, from bathing patients to writing out the bills."

Jones said she has primarily been an administrator for the past 10-15 years and is looking forward to doing some nursing after her retirement that would allow more direct care for patients. "That will make my circle complete," Jones said.

When she started the program 26 years ago, it was the only hospice program in the Rome area. Dr. Buford Harbin said today there are close to 20 hospice agencies serving the community, indicative of the need for compassionate end-of-life care for the aging population across the region.

Jones functioned with a staff of eight when she started the program. Today it’s up to 50.

Harbin said that dementia patients make up a growing share of the caseload. Jones said cancer patients make up about 40 percent of the caseload.

Most hospice patients are treated in a home setting, nursing home or assisted living care setting.

"We’re still mostly a homed-based system," Jones said.

Casey Blankenship, previously with Pruitt Health Care, has come on board to assume Jones’ role in the future.