Maine has many healthcare challenges, but none more pressing than the increasing rate of aging baby boomers. As the grayest state in the nation, and a rural one at that, Maine healthcare providers are developing programs to help keep their patients with advanced health issues living comfortably at home.
VNA Home Health Hospice, a member organization of EMHS, will offer a palliative care program that provides specialized care to patients who are seriously ill with a life-limiting illness such as cancer, chronic heart failure, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, chronic lung disease, dementia, or stroke. Christine Turner, hospice director, VNA, explains, “Adding the palliative care service line allows us to reach patients earlier in their experience of illness and facilitates seamless transition when and if consideration of hospice care is appropriate.”
EMHS has selected Robin Hirsh-Wright, LCSW, to serve as director of VNA Palliative Care Services. Robin has 25 years of experience in working with people with serious illness in a variety of settings that include home health, hospice, geriatric care management, and palliative care both in the outpatient and hospital setting. Robin also has adjunct faculty experience in the Sociology and Social Work departments of USM and St. Joseph’s College. Currently, she also serves as vice president of the Maine Hospice Council Board of Directors.
“Good palliative care is about finding a way to walk beside someone living with a serious illness,” says Ms. Hirsh-Wright. “Our culture struggles to even talk about the concept that life doesn’t go on forever. Invariably, when supporting someone who is facing a serious illness the conversation becomes about what makes life worth living, rather than dying.”
To learn more about VNA’s Palliative Care Program call the VNA at 800-757-3326 or visit www.vnahomehealthhospice.org.