In our staff series highlighting the roles of individuals at VNH we visited with Amy Kilgus, RN. Amy has been a nurse in Home Health at Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire for three years. She became a home health nurse because the direct care and support that is found in this kind of care are not easily found in other care facilities. A recent patient issue brought to light safety in the home and how the VNH staff supported to help the patient.

Tell us a little bit about your role as a RNCM Case Manager.

I am a Case Manager for the Ludlow Team, which is on the Orange team. In this role, I see patients daily for assessment and care after discharge from the hospital. I take care of patients’ wounds, act as an advocate for them with their physician if needed and monitor their plan of care.

How is does your team support you?

My team supports me in many ways.   The team assistants help with the scheduling and communication to parents, Medical Social Workers help in supporting the patient and family needs, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy help the patient improve their strength which leads to more independence for them and the Home Health Aides help the patient maintain their independence and comfort to stay in their home.

What does safety first mean to you?

I think safety first means ensuring that the patient and family are safe at all times. This means assessing the environment they are in and the care that is being provided.

Tell me about a time when you had a problem in the field and the support from staff enabled you to provide better care for the patient.

I’ve long felt a calling to serve people in a spiritual support/healing capacity, in a way that would build upon my personal spiritual journey that encompasses many faith paths and traditions. That led me to attend a two-year interfaith seminary program from which I graduated and was ordained as an interfaith minister in 2011. The following year I began volunteering as a chaplain at a local hospital in Vermont, which included ministering to people at the end of life. In 2013, my dear mother was admitted to hospice and I experienced firsthand the care and support given to dying patients and their families. With the support of the hospice team, my family and I were able to accompany mom at the end of her life journey with peace, dignity, and love. That experience of being on the receiving end of hospice, more than anything else, planted the seed in me to become a hospice chaplain.

Why do you enjoy working at VNH?

I enjoy working at VNH because of the care I can provide to the patients that I see in their homes. The team support that I experience at VNH in providing this care is very gratifying.

What is something about you people would be surprised to know?

I enjoy time with family whenever possible.