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The Spiritual Care That We Provide For Our Hospice Patients

Spiritual Care is not religious care. At Mountain Home Health we have a Spiritual Care Coordinator whose role is to coordinate visits from priests, deacons or ministers if the patients request it. Additionally, our Spiritual Care Coordinator (S.C.C.) has a degree in Hospice and Grief Counseling, is a member of the Spiritual Care Association and has decades of experience in non-medical End of Life care, so she also provides Spiritual Counseling if requested by patients or their loved ones.

The Spiritual Care Counselor (S.C.C.) does an initial assessment and if the patient agrees, spends time with them, offering a listening presence that invites patients to talk about what’s most important to them towards the end of life. Patients often identify elements of their lives that still provide comfort and identify their beliefs about death and/or the afterlife. Patients might address their concerns about dying, concerns about their loved one’s wellbeing or wishes for how the family will carry on when they themselves are no longer there.Patients typically talk about their life and in conversation with the S.C.C., might identify people they need to contact for forgiveness, closure or simply to express their appreciation for years of friendship and love.

Patients often review their life and values, celebrating the highs and acknowledging the lows, sharing stories of the losses they have experienced or regrets they might have, as well as talking about their accomplishments and revisiting situations that gave them the greatest joy or happiness. Encouraged by the comfort and safety that a skilled, experienced S.C.C. can provide, patients have the opportunity to identify the meaning in their lives and come to terms with life’s mystery.

In response to what is shared the Spiritual Care Coordinator might offer reflective listening, bring a prayer or poem to share, or take dictation and write cards […]

September 18th, 2017|Blog|

Employee Spotlight, Spring 2017

Meet Ruth Cordova, one of our most beloved staff members.
Ruth has been a CNA, or Home Health Aide, with Mountain Home Health Care for the last eight years. The care that Ruth performs for our clients is very important to her. While bathing clients, she checks for bruising, sores, and rashes, to make sure they are comfortable and safe. Her favorite part of working with MHHC are the many different kinds of people she gets to work with and learn from. […]

March 30th, 2017|Blog|

21st Annual Hospice Memorial Service

Mountain Home Health Care hosted its 21st Annual Hospice Memorial Service to celebrate life and cherish the memories of those we lost in 2016. […]

January 4th, 2017|Blog|

Employee Spotlight, Winter 2016

Team Member Spotlight:
Meet Yvette Trujillo our Community Outreach Coordinator.
Yvette works within the community to raise awareness of the services Mountain Home Health Care provides through education workshops and fundraising events. She also works with our grant writing teams and is coordinating our upcoming Job Fair on January 25th.

As a long-time Taoseño, Yvette really appreciates “the beauty of our mountains, lakes and rivers and most of all the night skies that light up with all those stars.” In her free time, Yvette likes to bake and cook, trying out new recipes. She also stays fit going to the gym, dancing to good music at live shows, and working in her yard.

December 16th, 2016|Blog|

Moments of Life

Here is a great website to learn more about what Hospice is and why it’s so meaningful and important. The “Moments of Life” program also brings together many personal testimonies of patients and family members of hospice and pallative care to help others understand how it can help them and their loved ones too. Click here to visit the website and learn more about Hospice and Palliative Care.

December 7th, 2015|Blog|

After The Cranberries And Pie, Take Time To Talk About Death

We hope everyone had a happy and safe Thanksgiving yesterday!! Today’s post comes from an NPR story featured today about the importance of talking to your elderly loved ones while they’re here for the Holidays about planning for the future.

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Two years ago my mom fell at home and ended up being admitted to the ICU with four broken ribs and internal injuries. She was lucky. After two weeks in the hospital and a few more in a rehab unit she was back home, using her new blue walker to get around.

I think of that each Thanksgiving as I make pies just the way she taught me, grateful that she’s still with us and that she’s told us how she wants to die

Before she was discharged, Mom signed a POLST form, short for a Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment. I’d heard of advance directives, which spell out the kind of medical care a person would want if they become too ill to communicate those wishes. But I’d never heard of POLST.

In Oregon, where my mother lives, it’s a one-page piece of pink paper that bluntly asks if you want to have CPR performed if your heart stops and you’re not breathing. Three other check boxes ask how much medical intervention you want: going to the hospital and an intensive care unit; perhaps the hospital but no ICU; or skip the hospital altogether. A third question asks if you want to be fed through a tube. That’s it.

Because it’s signed by a doctor or other provider, a POLST has teeth. It overrides the legal obligation of an EMT or a hospital to provide CPR and other emergency care that for old and sick people can lead to a long, miserable hospital stay.

“It’s not for healthy people,” says Dr. Susan Tolle, director […]

November 27th, 2015|Blog|

Never…

by Caregiver, Olga Sowchuk

The word ‘never,’ by definition, means in no way, not again, at no time, in no case. Never. Its a word that those of you who are brain injury survivors or caregivers of a brain injured loved one, have heard at some point. Was it in the beginning of this adventure, when your loved one lay in a coma and the doctors said he/she would never regain consciousness? Was it once your loved one entered therapy, and someone told you that he/she would never walk, talk, see, eat, feel, laugh? Was it further along when you were told that your loved one would never live at home, never be able to do anything on his or her own, or that things would never be the same?

Never is a long, long time. When my domestic partner, Al Calabrese, had his head-on collision on August11, 1995, the ER doctor said hed never make it to the NICU. When he made it to the NICU, the trauma physician said hed never make it to tomorrow. When tomorrow came, he said over and over, that Al would never be anything more than a vegetable, lying in a bed hooked to a feeding tube. He knew this because he had seen a thousand―no 2,000―cases like Als . . . there was no hope. Well, to me, never meant only one thing: never blindly believe the doctors and never give up. I didnt and neither did Al.

He sustained severe brain damage. Although his brain never swelled, as is often the case, he was leaking brain fluid through his ears, so this wasnt a good sign, they said. He had brain stem damage, occipital lobe damage, a broken throat, collapsed lung, and other areas of brain damage that at the time I was […]

November 18th, 2015|Blog|

A Sweater Stitched with Memories

Crafted from fine cotton yarn, the black cardigan sweater became a staple in my spring wardrobe after my mother bought it for me 10 years ago. Rediscovering it in the back of my closet last week, I suddenly recalled a happier memory of Mom—a time when I wasn’t overwhelmed by what social workers describe as “caregiver burnout.” And then came an unexpected flood of tears.

It’s not like me to fall apart over a sweater while I’m reorganizing my closet for a new season. But then again, my mother hasn’t been herself for several seasons, either. Things began to unravel after my son left for college—just when my husband and I were starting to enjoy the freedom of our newly emptied nest.

First, we noticed Mom was showing up at family gatherings with burns and bruises she couldn’t explain. Then her friends would call to report that she’d forgotten to show up for club meetings and lunch dates. She’d drive herself to the ER during her panic attacks, which started occurring with alarming frequency. Not long afterward, her doctors told me to confiscate her car keys. Mom was 79 and had been widowed for 16 years when she was officially diagnosed with vascular dementia. She was also battling heart disease and severe hearing loss. As her only child, I was handed full responsibility of her medical care along with a checklist outlining her worrisome diagnosis.

At the time, Mom lived alone in a condo near my house. She refused to consider any type of senior housing, regardless of the fact that she’d been in and out of the hospital half a dozen times, and averaged 45 medical visits annually. But no matter how tactfully I approached the topic of assisted living—and offered to schedule tours of the best facilities—she’d look at me […]

November 17th, 2015|Blog|

My Last Gift…

Almost eight years ago, I was a divorced woman living in the house I had owned since 1989. However, I had become unemployed about 6 months before my husband left me. I was given alimony for eighteen months, was allowed to keep the house, for which we had already fallen behind in paying the mortgage, and my ex was given all of the bills we had. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with cancer, and all debts and obligations were then turned back to me. . . . In the time I was unemployed I was trying to get a business idea going—in upholstery. My husband had been instrumental in helping get business, but I still managed to bring in some of my own . . . just not enough to save my house, and it was foreclosed in February 2008, at which time my parents took me in and gave me a home to live in.

At that time, they were both in good health, but were still glad to have me here, as they were nearing their eighties and could use some help and other company around the house. Since I moved in here, my parents have been hospitalized several times—three for Mom, and my Dad, four. At this point, they are 82 and 87 respectively. Mom has Parkinson’s and Mild Cognitive Disorder, and takes meds for blood pressure, depression, bone density loss, etc., and at 5’6″ only weighs 87 pounds. Dad has mobility issues and hearing loss. He’s 87, so you know there is some memory loss for him as well, although not near the scope of Mom’s; just normal aging, and maybe a selective memory.

I am one of five adult children in our family, but the only one without a spouse. I have a son and daughter, and […]

November 16th, 2015|Blog|

Caring is a Team Effort

I’ve been a caregiver for my husband since about 2001 when he began having angina. My caregiving responsibilities have progressively increased and his health has progressively declined since he had triple heart bypass surgery in 2003. After the surgery, he had atrial fibrillation, which stayed. In addition to heart problems, he developed COPD from years of smoking. These are the biggies, but through the years there have been numerous diagnoses added from arthritis to gout and several hospital stays. He’s had several strokes as well.

Our marriage was one of those May-December marriages. My husband is 38 years older than I am. We’ve been married for 22 years and have one daughter together. Our daughter is now grown, but she was only eight years old when he had heart surgery. Trying to raise her and preserve some semblance of normalcy amidst a multitude of healthcare crises through the years was challenging. In her teen years, she helped with many caregiving responsibilities as we had limited outside support from friends or family.

Besides being a spouse and mother, I’m a nurse, so caregiving responsibilities have always naturally fallen to me in the family. I’ve mainly always worked in nursing less than part time, so I could be a family caregiver. In addition to being the primary caregiver for my spouse, I’ve done long distance caregiving for my mother and grandmother at times. I keep my eyes and ears open as there is always something new to learn on this caregiving journey and every time it seems I’ve got things figured out, something else seems to happen.

Last year after my husband fell and got a compound fracture, as well as his heart function had decreased (not related to the fall, just happened), we had to learn to be willing to accept outside help. […]

November 12th, 2015|Blog|