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Dying at Home

VNH has been providing hospice care to people and their families in Vermont and New Hampshire since the 1970s. Our clinicians and caregivers provide care based on VNH’s mission – with a dedication to delivering outstanding hospice services that enrich the lives of the people we serve, regardless of the complexity of condition or ability to pay. As a non-profit agency, our motives are not driven by stockholders or dividends – our only goal is helping people.

Late last year, VNH received a grant from the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, which has afforded eight VNH nurses the opportunity to receive hospice certification. The certification provides nurses with specialized skills and training specific to the needs of hospice patients and their families.

“It was wonderful to have this opportunity,” says VNH RN Sharon Lykins-Brown, who attended the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) hospice certification conference in February 2015. “There were nurses, social workers and doctors from 20 countries and 48 states participating.” Lykins-Brown says she will continue to study and take the national exam in June to obtain her hospice certification.

VNH’s interdisciplinary team of hospice caregivers provides a full spectrum of services to patients and their families. When our patients need us, we are there to answer the call:

Nursing care • Physician care • Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy • 24-hour access to care • Medication management • Counseling for patient and family • Respite care • Home health aide services • Spiritual care • Bereavement support

“It’s the team that makes VNH Hospice very special,” Lykins Brown said. “We nurses meet every other week with a chaplain, a social worker, a medical director, and our volunteer coordinator. Each patient’s case is presented, and together we all have input into the family’s and patient’s needs.” Everyone comes together with the goal of helping to make the time more fulfilling for patients and families, she said.

For many years, “hospice” has meant “a place to die,” but the true philosophy of hospice and palliation is to provide holistic, specialized care for the dying – which can include medical care, pain management, symptom control, and grief support.  “People may think of hospice as the path to death,” said Lykins Brown, “but we really focus on helping patients reach their goals beyond the desire to die at home. One patient’s goal may be to get to his daughter’s graduation in the spring; for another, it’s to take the planned trip with family.”  

“I want to thank you, one and all, for the exceptional services you provided for my sister and our family during her long and valiant 15 years of fighting off cancer.  I met your nurses, Margaret and Gracia, during my sister’s last days and hours. Kindly thank them for me and our family. They provided extraordinary help with sincere compassion and comfort.  Thank you, thank you and thank you.” – Grateful Family

Words cannot express how grateful I am for all of your help.  I couldn’t have managed without it.  Jackie and Candy will forever be in my prayers.  They were fantastic.” – Grateful Patient