Benefield serves medically fragile people in Sisters
Last updated 3/14/2023 at Noon
For a position that requires compassion, empathy, and a deep desire to be of assistance, Partners In Care has the perfect person offering their Transitions program here in Sisters.
Within five minutes of meeting Bethany Benefield, her passion for her work with medically fragile individuals is unmistakable. Her eyes light up as she talks about those who are benefitting from the assistance offered through Transitions in Sisters, Bend, Redmond, La Pine and south county, Sunriver, Prineville, and Madras. Benefield and four other Transitions staff serve about 400 clients throughout the tri-county area. Benefield is the transition coordinator lead for the entire program, overseeing the program and troubleshooting as needed, in addition to her 20-25 Sisters clients.
Benefield and her husband met at Belmont College in Tennessee, where she received her degree in social entrepreneurship with plans to pursue a master’s in social work. Her husband worked for Gibson Guitars after college.
Upon moving across the country to Bend, where her husband went to work for Breedlove Guitar, Benefield began working in the referral office at Partners, and then moved to community outreach. Six years ago, she was asked to join the Transitions program and realized she had found what she loves and is meant to do. This is in addition to being a mom to two young children.
Plans for the master’s degree were shelved, and instead she earned her certification from the Oregon Health Authority as a Community Health Worker (CHW) after taking coursework at Central Oregon Community College. She is also a certified Oregon Health Plan registrar, helping many of her clients apply for Medicaid and the Oregon Health Plan.
Benefield’s work with her clients is supplemented by Partners volunteers, who are assigned to check in with and visit clients in their homes. She can also enlist the Partners Palliative Care department when medical questions need to be addressed. Clients can connect through telehealth calls, in the clinic, or whatever way suits their situation. Partners also offers home health services.
Transitions clients come to the program through referrals from their doctors (although referrals aren’t required), family, and friends, and by contacting Partners themselves. The entire program and all services are free of charge.
Benefield explained the value of Transitions this way:
“As we age and health changes, it can be difficult and intimidating when trying to figure out what makes sense. It doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to be alone with those changes. With help from Transitions, I can help someone decide what the next step should be and what can wait. I can provide answers. Call me. If I don’t have the answer, I’ll find out for you.”
The Transitions coordinators are comfortable having meaningful conversations about difficult topics like worsening health and aging conditions necessitating possible moves, securing in-home care, making appropriate decisions about end-of-life care, and helping the client and their family address these and other issues.
A typical Transitions case might involve an older parent who lives alone and an adult child who notices changes in the parent’s health, abilities to care for themselves, mental lapses, increasing falls, or just subtle changes that impact the parent’s ability to continue living alone.
Benefield can come to the home, assess the situation for what may be needed. That may be just a one-time visit to help answer questions and provide possible referrals to a variety of agencies and services. For someone who has never experienced this type of situation, it can feel daunting to identify needed services and then locate the appropriate resources, such as Meals on Wheels, Project Independence, in-home care, transportation, etc.
For others, enrolling in Transitions may be appropriate so they can receive ongoing support as their health condition and/or living situation change. Clients can smoothly move from the free non-medical Transitions program to full hospice care with Partners when the time comes.
Benefield also keeps an eye out for robo calls, in-home sales, and marketing mail making sham offerings that can bilk seniors out of money. She provides another set of eyes to help keep people safe in their homes, whether that home is a house, apartment, assisted living facility, or a nursing home.
Benefield’s contributions to her clients are appreciated by those at Partners.
Director of Business Development, Lisa Hurley, told The Nugget, “I have really enjoyed watching Bethany grow in her various roles at Partners In Care.
After starting in the referral services department, she moved into the Community Relations Coordinator position.
In this position, she was an ambassador and educator, helping others learn about how Partners In Care can support patients and families.
Her passion and dedication to helping others in a more direct way, led to her joining the Transitions team and she recently became the lead for the group of Transitions Coordinators.
She has provided support and resources to so many who have needed help and guidance.
We all feel so lucky to have such a compassionate and caring person on our team.”
If you or someone you know could benefit from Benefield’s services, contact Partners at 541-382-5882.