Hospice is actually about life and helping dying persons to live as fully as they wish until their last moment of life rather than curing the patient’s disease.
There are ways to ease pain and make life better for people who are dying and for their loved ones who are caring for them. It is called Palliative Care. Palliative care means taking care of the whole person—body, mind, spirit—heart and soul– with the goal of alleviating symptoms when curative treatments are no longer working or the patient no longer desires to continue them. Palliative care treats pain and manages symptoms while allowing the patient to remain at home or in a facility– with comfort and dignity.
I was born and raised in Los Alamos. Knowing the community very well, I enjoy being a participant with the generation that is passing and recapturing the historical memories told by the elderly. I’ve been able to do this as the Hospice Medical Social Worker, Bereavement Counselor and Volunteer Coordinator with Los Alamos Visiting Nurses. It’s an honor to hear the patients stories from the past; their joys and regrets; their hope for the future of their loved ones. My heart has been given so much from our patients at a time when they are most vulnerable—they are still giving and receiving.
Hospice is a team approach which includes the Medical Director, Registered Nurses, Certified Home Health Aides, the Chaplain, the Music Therapist, Trained Volunteers, the Medical Social Worker/Bereavement Counselor and the Patient’s Primary Care Physician. Patients receive visits as needed and the Hospice team is available 24 hrs. a day/7 days a week for comfort and support. Our staff is able to respond locally with a deep knowledge base of the community resources for Los Alamos and Northern N.M. Most services and care are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies.
Taking care of our loved ones with the help of others is life-affirming with the goal of dying with dignity. Cultivating sensitive care with comfort is central to the palliative approach. Los Alamos Visiting Nurses, with strong roots in our community, continues after 41 years to ensure that the patients under our care are given this special kind of support.
We are only a phone call away. To learn more, visit www.lavns.com or call 505.662.2525.