On Monday, April 9th at the Meredith Community Center, residents from the Greater Lakes Region had the pleasure of hearing Carolyn Crosby, MD and hospice medical director of Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice speak about Palliative Care and Hospice. This presentation preceded National Healthcare Decision Day on April 16th with the intent of helping people be better prepared to complete their Advanced Care Directives, or at least to start the conversation with their families. The idea was to inform people about the difference between Palliative Care and Hospice Care as well as some important decisions families and patients need to make when receiving these different types of care. In order to be an advocate for yourself or a family member and get the care you want, you have to understand what options are available. Dr. Crosby eloquently explained the options for end of life care and the care of someone with a chronic illness through stories of the patients she has cared for over the years. Although the topic of the evening was not one that most people feel at ease discussing the attendees expressed gratitude that such important information was shared. If you have not planned for your Healthcare future start the process now. Give your family the gift of knowing how you wish to be cared for at a time when you may no longer be able to tell them.
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.
This summer’s Alton Centennial Rotary Paint a Butterfly Contest/ Fundraiser is in full swing! All proceeds from this Contest/Fundraiser will benefit Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice. Purchase your butterfly by Monday, August 7th at the Profile Bank on Main Street in Alton, NH (a personal entry is $25 and an entry with a sponsor is $75). Butterflies should be treated with a coat or two of latex paint or Gesso for the best results. Once treated paint or adorn your butterfly in your own unique way (gluing, and/or attaching items such as plastic flowers, beads, sparkles, metals, glass ceramics, cloth and more is acceptable and you may do so beyond the outside dimensions of the butterfly). All entries must be returned to the Alton Profile Bank by Monday, August 14th. The culmination of this contest/fundraiser will be on August 19th at the Butterflies in the Park Bash from 12 -3 pm at B&M Railroad Park in Alton. All of the butterflies will be judged and awards will be given. Cake & Ice cream will be served as well. You can pick up your butterfly after the event at 3:30 pm, or let them know when you arrive for the event that they can auction it off to benefit the Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice.
Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice is proud to announce Hospice Director and Chief Clinical Nurse, Jennifer Legassie (formerly Laramie) has been appointed to sit on the Board of Director’s for the New Hampshire Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. The NHHPCO is a charitable, non-profit organization with a mission to help the people in New Hampshire have access to excellent care that is valuable and meaningful to them when facing life-threatening conditions. This is accomplished through: education of healthcare professionals and caregivers; raising public awareness and expectations for quality hospice and palliative care; providing meaningful networking opportunities for the members; as well as, engaging other organizations around the state to participate in their vision and mission.
Legassie has been with Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice for 12 years and sits on the New Hampshire Board of Nursing. Legassie has made Hospice and Palliative Care her passion and when asked about this new role, Legassie stated she is “looking forward to expanding her role on a state level in order to further the mission of quality end-of-life care for all who so greatly need Hospice”. Legassie’s new position on the board will be further testament to the commitment she has for a hospice patients’ quality of life, dignity and respect.
Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice is a proud member of the We Honor Veterans (WHV) Program. In collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, our hospice team is working hard to improve care available to dying Veterans and their family caregivers.
Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice has achieved its level four recognition as a WHV partner. This is the highest recognition possible. Countless hours of education to the community, as well as staff, on the various needs and concerns of veterans at the end of their lives has been done and is an ongoing mission.
Attendance by our Veteran Volunteers and staff at veteran events throughout the communities we serve is pivotal in continuing this mission of recognizing those veterans in need of specialized care and their caregivers in need of special support.
Our veteran hospice patients receive a personalized certificate and pin along with a unique red, white and blue handcrafted blanket to recognize their service to our country. Each presentation is done by a veteran volunteer within the same military branch the patient belongs to. Another important goal of the We Honor Veterans Program is to assist veterans in understanding and gaining access to valuable resources through the VA system.
Over the past year, we have been able to erect a flag pole at the Laconia branch location to truly celebrate and recognize our country and those who have and are serving in our armed forces.
Starting in November each year, a celebration in Wolfeboro and Laconia occurs that is titled the Tree of Heroes. The WHV team decorates trees in red, white and blue and leave ornaments for loved ones to write the names of their military heroes on to be hung on the tree. It has become a much loved event at both locations.
At Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice, quality end of life care for our veterans is not only a mission but a passion and we will continue to strive to serve this patient population with honor, respect, dignity and quality. They deserve nothing less.
Jennifer Legassie, RN, Hospice Director, Chief Clinical Nurse
Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice
This years Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice Home & Garden Tour on Wednesday, July 12th from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM showcases 4 homes from very different era’s. The farmhouse built during the time of the Revolutionary War dates 250 years earlier than the exquisite lake home just completed. In addition to these two homes, you will also visit two homes built in the 1950’s. One is a charming country cape and the other the lakeside home of a master builder and his artist wife. All the homes are either located in Wolfeboro or Tuftonboro. Tickets for this popular event are $40 and are available at Black’s Gift and Paper Store in Wolfeboro and at the Hospice offices in both Wolfeboro
and Laconia. While purchasing your tour ticket, consider purchasing an additional luncheon ticket for $15. This year’s luncheon will be held at O Bistro at The Inn on Main from 11:30 to 1:30. Luncheon tickets must be purchased in advance. There will also be a Dine Around Raffle. Purchase raffle tickets the day of the event or Saturday mornings at Harvest Market in Wolfeboro and you could win a gift card to various local restaurants. Come enjoy a summer day appreciating the architecture and unique qualities of these beautiful homes, meander through their gardens and enjoy a view of the lake and you will be supporting your community hospice as well.
The We Honor Veteran’s team at Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice recently joined with the Taylor Community to honor those residents that served our country. Veterans from all branches of the United States military were represented. The Hospice Acapella Group, Tides of Harmony sang three wonderful military style songs while Chaplain, John Davies led the group in a prayer. Hospice Director and Chief Clinical Nurse, Jennifer Legassie announced the names of those selfless residents while they were presented with certificates honoring them for their service. A salute from one veteran to another solidified the respect and importance of this special event. Many of the residents also shared stories from their times of service which filled the room with powerful emotions of pride and gratefulness. To learn more about our We Honor Veteran’s Program tune in to our blog on July 3rd or the Meredith Bay Colony Club sponsored weekly radio show ‘Aging well’ on WEZS 1350AM.