Tag Archives: Grief

“Words From Your Community Hospice Director”


Every day I see family members of our hospice patients go through various stages of grieving. The stages of grief that family members endure are filled with tears, anger and emptiness and their grief tugs at my heart strings every time. As a hospice nurse, it is important that I provide not just the necessary medical care; but that I support the emotional needs of the family by listening to them,  providing empathy and guiding them through this process.

Recently, I lost my Grandmother. She was a tough, feisty woman with end stage Alzheimer’s dementia. Her disease process was slow. It took 15 years for her to succumb to this horrible disease and be at peace. After her death, I realized several things. This wasn’t the first time I had lost her; the disease had taken her from me many years ago. And, I was experiencing the tears, anger and emptiness like many of the family members of patients I had supported. I realized that what I needed most was someone who could give me undying support; someone to console me. It was the empathetic hearts, kind souls and vast knowledge of my Grandmother’s Hospice team that helped me navigate the grieving process. They helped me through the rollercoaster ride of emotions I was feeling and showed me that there was a way to feel happy and at peace after my Grandmother’s passing. Because the comfort and support I received was coming from this hospice team that had cared for and knew my grandmother it somehow connected me to her in a stronger way. My own experience has now shown me that what my hospice team at the Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice does every day is priceless. They are an amazing group of caregivers.

I wish that everyone who loses a loved one could have such a dynamic support team surrounding them, lifting them up and sharing memories that help to guide them past sadness and into a place of peace.


Lakes Region Homecare & Hospice

Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice Tree of Memories Celebration of Life to Be Held December 10th

Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice Tree of Memories Celebration of Life to Be Held December 10th. Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice will hold its 20th annual Tree of Memories Celebration on Saturday, December 10th at five locations throughout the Lakes Region. The ceremony provides an opportunity for people to remember the lives of family, friends and neighbors in a serene setting as they honor a life well lived or a life missed.  Everyone is welcome to attend. All ceremonies begin at 11:00 am and will be held in Alton at the Alton Town Hall, Wolfeboro at the Huggins Hospital Medical Arts Building, the Wakefield Town Hall, the Main Street Building in Ossipee and Moulton Farm in Meredith.


Tree of Memories at Moulton Farm in Meredith

Twenty years ago, long time Hospice supporters Bob and Shirley Richardson were introduced to a similar event on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.  The event was such a great experience they decided to start what we now know as our Tree of Memories that would benefit Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice.  The event was quickly adopted and has grown to include the five different locations throughout the Lakes Region. A dove was selected as a symbol of serenity, peace and tranquility and a touching ceremony was created involving the lighting of a tree, music, prayers of remembrance, the reading of names and the placing of doves on the tree.

Over 500 doves are requested each year to support the Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice. While the ceremonies all take place on one day, the doves remain on the trees throughout the month of December for all to see. Proceeds from the Tree of Memories are used to improve the quality of life for people living in Belknap and Southern Carroll County who are served by Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice

. The hospice philosophy recognizes that the dying process is part of the normal process of living and focuses on enhancing the quality of remaining life. To purchase a dove in the name of a loved one or friend, contact the Hospice office at 603-569-2729. In order to ensure that your dove will be ready for the ceremony, please do so by December 5th.

Guess Who Was Born in 1918?

Physical Therapy, Home, Laconia, Meredith, Glford

Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice will be entering it’s Centennial Year!!!  Please join us for our Centennial Celebration and 2016 Annual Meeting on September 28th at The Inn at Mill Falls Church Landing, Meredith, NH.  Cocktails and hors d’oeurves starting at 5:00pm, Welcoming remarks and A Year in Review at 5:45 then a presentation by Professor Molly Girard Dorsey of the University of New Hampshire, followed by a Buffet Dinner.

RSVP is required.  Please inform Brian Winslow at 603-524-8444 or you may register online by clicking here before September 21st.

Professor Dorsey will help us look back on the last 100 years with her presentation titled, “Major Events in Medicine and their Relationship with Community Healthcare.”  Molly Girard Dorsey is an associate professor of History and core faculty member in Justice Studies at the University of New Hampshire.  She teaches classes on the history of medicine, legal history, and war & society.  She has published a book on chemical warfare in World War I and is working on a project on the integration of civilian professionals, including nurses and doctors, into the modern American military.

The event is sponsored by:

Hospice, Homecare, Physical Therapy, Laconia, Meredith, Center Harbor, Moultonborough Therapy, VNA, Hospice, Healthcare, Laconia, Wolfeboro, Wakfield

Things You Should Know About Lyme Disease and Other Tick-borne Diseases

New Hampshire (NH) continues to have one of the highest rates of Lyme disease in the nation, and about 60% of deer ticks sampled in NH are infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease (2014, Medscape).

Lakes Region, Visint Nurses, VNA, Central New Hampshire Hospice, Pediatrics

Credit Sara Plourde / NHPR

Additional preventative measures can include:


  • Avoid tick-infested areas when possible and stay on the path when hiking to avoid brush.
  • Wear light-colored clothing that covers arms and legs so ticks can be more easily seen.
  • Tuck pants into socks before going into wooded or grassy areas.
  • Apply insect repellent (20-30% DEET) to exposed skin. Other repellent options may be found here: Outdoor workers in NH are at particular risk of tickborne diseases and they should be reminded about methods of prevention.
  • Do daily tick checks to look for ticks on the body, especially warm places like behind the knees, the groin, and the back and neck.
  • Pets returning inside may also bring ticks with them. Performing tick checks and using tick preventatives on pets will minimize this occurrence.
  • Shower soon after returning indoors to wash off any unattached ticks and check clothes for any ticks that might have been carried inside. Placing clothes in the dryer on high heat for an hour effectively kills ticks. A recent study suggests that if clothing is not wet, shorter drying times (minimum of 6 minutes) may effectively kill ticks.
  • Remove ticks promptly using tweezers. Tick removal within 36 hours of attachment can prevent disease.
  • Monitor for signs and symptoms of tickborne diseases for 30 days after a tick bite. Patients should contact their healthcare provider if symptoms develop.


End-of-life planning is nothing to fear or avoid SANDERS BURSTEIN

Originally published in the July 20th edition of the Union Leader, Dr. Burstein was kind enough to give Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice permission to reprint the following article.

Gilford Lakes Region VNA Moultonborough

Dr. Sanders Burstein

My father died when he was 53 years old, nine days after becoming suddenly ill. That was 32 years ago, and the experience still haunts me. As a physician, I felt helpless in the face of a mysterious illness that was out of control, and I did not anticipate the events that subsequently led to his tragic demise. For months afterward, I questioned myself and the decisions our family made on his behalf as he slipped away from us; mostly I regret not having had the chance to talk with him more about the important things that matter between a father and a son. I learned that it is never too early to share feelings with loved ones and to plan for how we will care for each other when we rely on others to protect us, to assure the best care, and to protect us from needless suffering. Most people lose the ability to speak on their own behalf at some point during their life. Whereas 90 percent of people feel it is important to talk with their doctor about the kind of care they would want at the end of life, fewer than 10 percent actually have this conversation. While making health care decisions can be difficult in the best of circumstances, making decisions for others is more complicated.

Most people believe that their doctors and their family know what kind of care they would want, but studies show that doctors and family members are often uninformed and experience distress when decisions are needed. This distress can last for many months after the death of a loved one and is completely preventable with skilled advance care planning.

Advance care planning is simply planning in advance for the kind of care you would want. When done well, it gives you control over the kind of care you would receive and should be based on what matters most to you. Advance care planning can result in your creating an advance directive, in which you name an “agent” to speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself. It also allows you to document the types of health care you do and do not want, particularly if you experience what you consider to be a bad health outcome. The simple act of creating an advance directive can turn out to be an incredible gift for loved ones in the event of an accident or severe illness.

Despite recent gains in public awareness of the need for advance care planning, only 37 percent of New Hampshire residents have an advance directive. Even amongst those with an advance directive, there is no guarantee that decisions are known or that they will be honored. Advance directives are only as good as the process of advance care planning, and are best done when you understand your choices, reflect on lessons learned from life experiences, and discuss with your health care agent what in life matters most to you.

Advance care planning is also only as good as a system that promotes good conversations, and that ultimately honors decisions that are well informed and based on personal goals and values. Even with the best of intentions, good doctors do not take the time needed to have these conversations with their patients. Simply filling out an advance directive form is inadequate and ineffective without a good conversation, which can be done by physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains or even volunteers who are trained in the skills of advance care planning. Medicare is now recognizing the value of a good conversation and has taken steps in the direction of promoting this important work. We have an obligation to make sure that these conversations are done well and that we honor our patient decisions.

Honoring Care Decisions, a new program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, is working with a team of physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, volunteers and community groups to improve this process. I encourage everyone to find someone who is willing and able to speak on your behalf for the time when you won’t be able to; it will happen, so please take the time to plan in advance. To start the conversation, check out http://theconversationproject.org/ or https://www.preparefor­yourcare.org/ or play the conversation game http://mygiftofgrace.com/.

Discuss what matters most to you with someone you trust, and share how you would want to be treated based on your own personal goals and values. It may be one of the most rewarding experiences you have; if not for yourself, do it for your loved ones.

Dr. Sanders Burstein is medical director of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Nashua and medical director of D-H’s Honoring Care Decisions initiative.

18th Annual Jewish Food Festival Sunday, July 12th, 11am – 2pm

Community Partner Temple B’nai Israel is hosting its 18th Annual Jewish Food Festival this weekend, Sunday, July 12th between 11am and 2pm.  If you are familiar with the event then you already know that this is one of the premier food events of the Lakes Region.  If you haven’t yet been able to attended this event then don’t let another year pass before you give it a try. There will be a huge array of authentic textures and tastes with homemade cheese blintzes, kugels, knishes (meat & potato), latkes (potato pancakes), sandwiches filled with choice of pastrami, brisket, corned beef or tongue, stuffed cabbage, herring salad, chopped liver, matzo ball soup, strudel, rugelach, and so much more!

Don’t miss it…my stomach is growling already.

Wolfeboro meredith moultonboro sandwich center harbor vna hospice

The Art of Last Things

Concord, VNA, Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice, Lakes RegionArts on the Edge Wolfeboro is pleased to present “The Art of Last Things: Conversations and Resources for Living and Dying Well.” This six-week-long exhibit and series of events, beginning May 1 with a public reception at 5 p.m., will highlight the unique fabric and thread compositions of internationally known artist Deidre Scherer. Her finely detailed work, in which she portrays a spectrum of human emotions, offers positive images of aging, death, and interpersonal relationships across cultures and generations.

A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Scherer has exhibited and lectured throughout the United States, as well as in Japan, England, and elsewhere globally. Her works can be found in private collections and museums across the country. She is well-known for her famous cover of the book When I am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple. A recipient of numerous awards and honors, she received the annual alumni award for artistic achievement from her alma mater in 2010, “for the innovative medium of textile art she has developed, and for her thought-provoking investigations of our society’s views of aging, reflections on life, death, family relationships and the welfare of future generations.” Scherer will offer her own reflections, including conversation with the audience, in a culminating talk at 7 p.m. on June 16.Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice, Lakes Region, Moultonboro, Center Harbor

The exhibit of Scherer’s work will be open daily, and will include docents who can help participants reflect on the fabric images and engage them, if they wish, in more personal conversations about “last things.” In addition, a weekly series of public presentations/conversations, offered by local professionals on Tuesdays at 4 p.m., will focus on practical matters that include legal and financial concerns, funerals and end-of-life rituals, medical and hospice care, and grief and bereavement. The exhibit and all events, which are free and open to the public, will take place at First Congregational Church, UCC, 115 South Main Street, Wolfeboro. Donations are welcome. For more information, including schedule for the exhibit and events, please call the church at 603-569-1555, or visit www.fccwolfeboro.org. Arts on the Edge Wolfeboro is a program of First Congregational Church, UCC, Wolfeboro. These events are co-sponsored by Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice. A generous grant from the New Hampshire Humanities Council supports the artist’s exhibit and talk.


Exhibit May 1 – June 16

Artist’s Talk June 16 at 7pm

Weekly Presentations:

May 12 & 19 Legal and Financial Planning

Susan John, Certified Financial Planner

Margaret Demos, Attorney

May 26 Funeral Planning

Brian Lord, Funeral Director

June 2 Advanced Care Planning

Jennifer Laramie, Hospice Director

Liz Testa, Social Worker

June 9 Grief and Bereavement Resources

James Miller, Bereavement Coordinator