Dr. Aagii visit to Montana
April 2016 Dr. Altankhuya (Aagii for short) visited Bozeman, MT. He is now the director of Grace Hospice, which is a Global Ministries project located in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. For years churches in Yellowstone Conference helped support missionary Helen Sheperd, who founded Grace Hospice.
Dr. Aagii was here for five weeks in order to experience “hospice American style". He was hired directly out of medical school and replaced Helen Sheperd when she retired from Grace Hospice and GBGM. Most of his time was spent in Bozeman, but he also spent an afternoon in Billings with Riverstone 24 hour hospice.
These opportunities were provided as a way of encouraging Aagii in his new position as Grace Hospice home care director, as well as challenging him with some new ideas to help in the development of the Mongolia hospice. Dr. Aagii had some interesting observations regarding the differences between hospice in Mongolia and Montana:
- In Mongolia each of the three doctors makes home visits with a professional nurse, but in Montana the doctor rarely sees patients in the home, which is mainly to evaluate them for continued services under their insurance plan. Another time the doctors in the U.S. visit is to give “bad news” to patients and/or family.
- In Mongolia the patients are in their home and the family is caring for them with support of the hospice team. He estimated that 95% of patients are cancer patients. In Montana most of the patients are in a care facility and the patients are older and most have a diagnosis of dementia.
- In Mongolia the life style is more difficult. The diet is not balanced and the quality of food is not regulated. There is only a small amount of vegetables included and almost no fruit; they don’t get enough exercise, alcohol abuse is a major problem; and in Ulaanbaatar the smog is very bad due to people using coal for heating and cooking.
Grace Hospice, which is now eleven years old, is one of four hospices in this city of 1 million people. It has 40-50 patients and all their care is free. Families are asked to make a donation, but it is not required to receive care, but patients must buy their own medicines.
The work of Grace Hospice is totally dependent on donations from The United Methodist Church. Their budget for three doctors, three nurses, and one spiritual care person is $60,000. The office for Grace Hospice is located in Chingeltei UMC.
Dr. Aggie likes to study and is now finishing his Masters degree in Palliative/Hospice Care.
To learn more about Global Ministries mission work in Mongolia go to: