Our Services: Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley
Our focus at Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley is to provide services to residents of St. Lawrence County that bring comfort, peace, and dignity to patients, and their families. To this end, we have a team of compassionate professionals who make home visits to assist you in the care of your loved one.
Do not let concern about finances keep you from this vital support! Payment for hospice care is covered almost entirely by Medicare and frequently covered by private insurance. With generous donations from the community, we are also able to provide services to those who are not Medicare eligible. No one will be denied care because of inability to pay.
Payment for palliative care is on a sliding scale based on the patient's ability to pay. Click here for more information about palliative care.
At Hospice, we provide assistance to the patient and to the family members. Families who come to us for hospice care receive services customized to their needs. These services can include:
- Home visits several times a week
- Management of pain and other difficult symptoms
- 24-hour assistance and advice
- Help with bathing and grooming
- Emotional and spiritual support
- Patient and caregiver education
- Coordination of multiple services
- Help for family caregivers
Home visits several times a week
Whether the person you care for lives at home or in an assisted living or nursing home facility, members of our staff come to the bedside several times a week. A nurse may visit to check on the patient's condition, answer questions, and recommend changes in medication, diet, equipment, or supplies. Depending on the needs of the patient or family, other visitors may include nurse aides, a social worker, a nondenominational chaplain, and/or a physical or occupational therapist. These professionals offer important advice and support to family and friends who are delivering day-to-day care. We even have specially trained volunteers who can stay and visit with the patient so family caregivers can take a much-needed break.(Return to top)
Management of pain and other difficult symptoms
Our staff at Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley are trained in "palliative care," a branch of medicine that focuses specifically on easing pain and discomfort. The definition of "pain" is very broad in palliative medicine and includes physical, emotional, and spiritual distress. As a result, our team is holistic in its approach. For instance, sometimes the best remedy is medication, and so we will ask the doctor for a prescription. But sometimes the problem can best be fixed by changing sleeping position, modifying diet, or simply talking through an emotional issue and gaining clarity on a difficult family concern. Some treatments for symptom relief involve surgery or radiation. Others require special equipment such as oxygen for shortness of breath, or a hospital bed or wheelchair to reduce the likelihood of falls or the chance of injuring a caregiving family member.(Return to top)
24-hour assistance and advice
Our patients and their caregivers are free to call the office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have professionals available to answer your questions. No waiting until the morning, with your loved one in pain. You call and we respond. If it's something we can help with over the phone, great! If not, our staff will come to your home to check the patient, offer recommendations, and make sure you are comfortable with the treatments being suggested.(Return to top)
Help with bathing and grooming
Everyone feels better after a bath. Shampooed hair that is nicely styled or a good shave can do wonders for self-esteem! Seriously ill individuals, however, are often unable to bathe or groom themselves. Family members may try to help, but assisting another person in and out of the tub, or into the shower, can be physically demanding. The floors are slippery, surfaces are hard, and bathrooms are typically cramped with very little room for moving around. More injuries occur in the bathroom than in any other room of the house. And the injury can be with the caregiver as much as with the patient! Even giving a sponge bath to a person in bed can be difficult. Family members are not trained in methods for safely moving weights of 100 pounds or more. It is not uncommon for them to end up with a painful back injury as a result of trying to lift or move a loved one.
Our nurse aides, however, are professionals who have learned safety techniques to protect their patients and themselves from injury. Having one of our aides come to your home two or three times a week to help with bathing and grooming relieves your family of worry and risk. Patients receive the benefits of getting clean, while elderly spouses, in particular, are able to conserve their energy.
At Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley, we know there are many things that only family members can provide. By letting our staff help with tasks such as bathing and grooming, you are free to more easily give the love and affection that your loved one needs at this time.
Emotional and spiritual support
Serious illness brings up many difficult questions and feelings. As we face the possibility of dying, we all have fears, worries, and concerns. At Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley, our staff has received special training to help people address these issues. We even have social workers, counselors and nondenominational chaplains who can meet with you, the patient, or even with the entire family, to help everyone come to a better understanding of the situation and determine how to meet each others' needs with grace and love.(Return to top)
Patient and caregiver education
With all the rush and commotion in the doctor's office, it's not always easy to remember everything you've been told (or even what you wanted to ask!). Our nurses are available to answer your questions. In the comfort of your home, our staff can explain the disease and the medical issues that surround it. They understand the day-to-day impact of living with your loved one's condition: the symptoms, the side effects of treatment, the likely progression of the illness. We're there to help in any way we can. Even in the context of an incurable condition, just knowing what to expect helps many patients and families relax and feel less anxious about the process.(Return to top)
Coordination of multiple services
Pharmacies, doctors, physical therapists, equipment suppliers ... it can be mind boggling to juggle all the different services and providers your loved one may need to stay comfortable. Part of our hospice care involves coordinating these many services so you can concentrate on your loved one's daily needs and do not need to worry about paperwork, shopping for providers, arranging for physician orders, etc.(Return to top)
Help for family caregivers
At Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley, family members are part of the caregiving team and part of the unit of care. We know that your loved one would not be as comfortable if it were not for your participation. You make a valuable contribution. But you also are undergoing a very stressful and difficult time.
Our goal is to support you, emotionally and physically, so that your health is not also compromised. We suggest treatments for the patient based not only on what he or she needs, but also on the needs and capabilities of family members. Our social workers, counselors and chaplains are available to help you as you process the powerful issues that often arise when a loved one is seriously ill. We have volunteers who can come to the home for a few hours and visit with the patient so you can get out and have some time to yourself (a requirement if you are going to keep up your own strength!). And for those patients on Medicare, we can often arrange for your loved one to stay a few days in a nursing home so you or an elderly spouse can rest and build up your reserves.
Finally, at such time that your loved one dies, we also offer grief support through counseling, educational materials, support groups and volunteer bereavement assistance.
As you can see, the care provided by Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley is designed to meet the needs of the patient as well as his or her family members. You can also learn more about hospice from our Hospice Care page.
If you think your family might benefit from the support of our hospice team, please give us a call at 315-265-3105. We would be honored to serve you.
"The hospice nurse came to our home to check on Dad twice a week. She even helped with medications and supplies to keep him comfortable. Those visits really boosted his spirits."
"When Mama was in pain, the folks at hospice were wonderful. They treated her pain AND her anxiety. They saw her as a whole person."
"Simply knowing what to expect can do a lot to ease your mind. The nurse came to our house and was able to answer all our questions. That made a big the difference."
"Sometimes you just need someone who understands these issues. The chaplain would come and listen to grandmother talk. She never pushed her religion. Her presence helped grandmother come to peace."