Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service Building ‘The Sanctuary’ and Moving to Canyon Road

Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service News

This week the Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service put down earnest money on a piece of property overlooking the canyon adjacent to Canyon Road.

The  nonprofit organization is on its way to achieving a goal it has been working toward for a number of years.

The Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service intends to build “The Sanctuary,” a small Hospice House where care can be provided for family respite, crisis management and end of life care.

The Sanctuary will provide additional services within the community and will partner with other local health care providers.

The facility will be available to those individuals with terminal diagnosis who are unable to remain at home, those whose families or caretakers are in need of respite care, or those who need additional end of life care.

“We feel very fortunate to be able to purchase this beautiful privately owned property,” said President John Hofmann of the Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service Board of Directors.

The project will provide a state of the art, esthetically pleasing facility with up to six bed units.

All policies and procedures will be developed following state and federal guidelines to ensure that the facility will be licensed and certified as an in-patient hospice unit with the ability to receive third party reimbursement.

The architectural plans include the administrative offices for both Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service Home Care and Hospice programs.

This will allow the organization to consolidate clinical and administrative services at one site for cost containment.

Demographically, Los Alamos and its surrounding area has the most rapidly aging population in the state.

Though not all patients choose in-patient hospice care, many do choose to stay at home.

Unfortunately, others have spent their final days in facilities outside of their communities.

Currently, there are few free standing Hospice in-patient facilities in the state, the closest being in Albuquerque.  The Sanctuary will allow these individuals to remain close to their homes and families.

The Sanctuary will be the only residential hospice setting currently available in Los Alamos, Santa Fe and the Espanola Valley area.

“We at the Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service look forward to having a hospice facility to provide end of life care that is currently unavailable in our communities,” said Executive Director Sarah Rochester of Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service.

Formed in 1973 in response to the needs of a young but rapidly aging community, the Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service is nearly 40 years old.

Originally serving Los Alamos County, the agency has become a vital and growing health care provider in northern New Mexico.

Organized as a non-profit agency (501(c)(3)), the Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service has been federally certified since its inception, state licensed from the initiation of licensing requirements and an active participant in requiring coverage of Home Health Services by private insurance companies.

Originally, the agency provided only the services of skilled nursing and physical therapy; however, by 1978 the services of occupational therapy and speech/language pathology were added, allowing those individuals served to receive full rehabilitation coverage.

As Home Care grew, so did the Visiting Nurses, becoming a member agency of the Los Alamos Area United Way. It was certified by many private insurance providers, became actively involved in legislative efforts to reduce medical costs, and actively participated on committees that advised both federal and state regulators.

With the addition of Medical Social Services and Home Health Aide Services in 1990, the Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service was able to offer a full range of services to the community it served.

In 1994, the Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service became a state licensed and federally certified hospice, completing its goal of becoming a fully reimbursed Health Care Agency in northern New Mexico.

As the organization grew, it became aware of the need to expand services into the Española area, offering both Home Care and Hospice Services to those individuals within a 30-mile radius of Española. This included the areas west to Truchas, north to Abiquiu and as far south as Cuyamungue.

Not only did this increase the service area, but it greatly diversified the clients, who now include residents of several area Pueblos and the mountain villages of northern New Mexico. This became the Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service Los Rios Branch Office.

The area served by the Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service and its branch office is now larger than the state of Massachusetts.

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