Category Archives: Hospice & Home Care

Memorial seeks volunteers for hospice and palliative care programs

A geriatrician holds the hand of an elderly woman with arthritis.

It’s difficult living with a life-limiting illness. Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital’s hospice and palliative care programs provide services to people suffering a life-limiting illness and their families.

But these programs rely heavily on volunteers. Whether it’s a home hospice program or the Transitions palliative care program, volunteers provide vital services and information to families in need.

They may handle light meal preparation, housekeeping or medication delivery. They provide companionship – maybe helping to make a quilt, style someone’s hair or reading aloud.

Memorial is seeking people who may be interested in volunteering for its hospice and palliative care programs. Volunteers must meet certain requirements and complete several hours of specialized training.

For more information, call (509) 574-3655.

Generosity of Spirit Multiplied

Generosity of Spirit Multiplied
By Laurie Oswalt, M.Div.
Director of Spiritual Care at Memorial
I was in the basement of Memorial Hospital one morning, walking past an area where furniture waits to be repaired. I overheard one employee tell another about an extravagant wheelchair that had been donated by a family after their loved one had died, and the employee didn’t know what to do with it. In typical fashion, I interrupted the two employees, saying, “I know EXACTLY what to do with it!” I took it and put it in my office, then I contacted my friend, Ted Cowan from the Naches Lions Club and asked if he could use it. Could he ever!!
The Naches Lions Club has a program for receiving, and loaning out, medical equipment to patients in our area. The Lions Club has a barn in Naches where all of the equipment is stored—it’s an amazing space, where everything from canes to commodes to crutches, from wheelchairs to hospital beds, from lift chairs to bath chairs is housed. People are welcome to borrow equipment, at no cost. When the equipment is no longer needed, then the equipment is returned…often with more medical equipment that has accumulated in the family garage.
This program works for two reasons: it’s an inexpensive way to meet a need in our community, and equipment is borrowed and returned…and more is donated. If you have any medical equipment that you would like to offer to the Lions Club medical equipment program, please contact Ted Cowan of the Naches Lions Club: (509) 653-2486.
Now, what about that great wheelchair that was in my office? Well, apparently the people I explained the program to (the ones who gave me the wheelchair) thought it was such a great program that they decided to add to it; I left my office to go to a meeting, and by the time I got back, my extravagant wheelchair had multiplied to TWO wheelchairs!

Congratulations to the Treusdells, celebrating 70 years of marriage

Dale and Dorothy Treusdell celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on Monday, March 16, while receiving respite care at Cottage in the Meadow. Dale met Dorothy when he was home recovering from malaria – he served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II, including at Guadalcanal. They married on March 16, 1945 and have three children and four grandchildren.

Dale worked for several years for the U.S. Public Health Service, helping to establish guidelines for physicians assistant programs nationally and a hospice program for terminally ill seamen.  Dale and Dorothy lived in four different states and Washington, D.C., before settling in Yakima in 1979.

Dale says home hospice care and Cottage have made a huge difference in his quality of life. “Cottage turned out to be our home away from home.”

His son, Dennis, says “hospice is a blessing.”

Click here for more information on Cottage in the Meadow visit.

Anniversary Cake Anniversary 2

Hospice appreciated

Hospice appreciated – From the Yakima Herald
Elna Iseminger

To the editor — My husband recently passed away from Alzheimer’s disease. In September, he was referred to Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital’s Hospice team. I had no idea what to expect. Everyone was compassionate and worked hard to keep my husband comfortable in his final weeks and days.

I will be forever grateful for the care they provided that allowed me to keep him at home with me. Thanks so much.

Mariachi at Cottage

Apple Valley Dental 'OhanaJuan, a Cottage patient stated as his profession, “Mariachi Band member.” Apparently his gift of music and entertainment was passed on to his family. In celebration of him and his work, 40 plus family members gathered at the Cottage and listened to the next generation of Mariachi musicians. Children, friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, and siblings all gathered around their loved one in the Great Room at the Cottage in the Meadow to share their precious last moments with Juan.


Memorial Hospice: Caring for our veterans

Currently, Memorial Hospice cares for fifteen veterans. Staff delivered special service pins and “Welcome Home Vietnam”  pins yesterday to all of our veterans. Cali Hunn, a social worker, said her veteran was overwhelmed and thrilled. He pinned it on his pajamas and said “I’ve never seen anything like this – thank you so much – it means so much to me – I won’t ever take it off.”

Children’s Bereavement Workshop on Sept. 28

Do you know a child who is grieving the loss of a parent or other close loved one? Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital is offering a hands-on workshop to help guide children ages 4-17 and their parents or guardians through the grief associated with death.

Laurie Oswalt and Julie Cicero appeared on KIT 1280 on Sept. 9, 2014, to discuss the workshop.

The workshop will provide an opportunity for children to express their feelings and thoughts through creative activities and meet others who have experienced a similar loss. While children are participating in activities to assist their recovery, parents and guardians will be involved in their own grief recovery program geared for adults.

Key points about grieving children:

  • Every kid grieves differently. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
  • Can be feelings of anger, sadness, worry, relief, fear or numbness.

How a child or teen grieves varies depending on a number of factors:

  • what social support systems are available – family or friends
  • the circumstances of the death – how, when and where the person died
  • the nature of the relationship with the person who died – harmonious or conflicted
  • the child or teen’s involvement in the dying process
  • previous experiences with death

This workshop is intended to help children and teens work through these feelings and safely share them in a safe environment. Activities include writing, drawing, team-building and art.

This workshop will be held:

Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014

11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Children’s Village, 3801 Kern Road, Yakima

Lunch will be provided for every family, and parents are encouraged to enjoy lunch with the children before the activities begin. This workshop is provided at no charge to participants.

For more information or to register, contact Denise Mitzel at 577-5062 or

Registrations will be accepted until Sept. 26, 2014.

For more information, visit


Grief recovery groups beginning this fall

Living with Loss—an 8-week discussion-based course working through the book Understanding Your Grief: Ten Essential Touchstones for Finding Hope and Healing Your Heart.
Cost is $20 for book/materials, payable on the first day of class
Tuesdays from 6 – 7 pm at the Harman Center
Beginning September 23
Contact Memorial Hospice at 574-3670 to register for this class

Grief Recovery Workshop—an 8-week course centered around personal discovery and homework-style exercises designed to help you focus on grief recovery. This class utilizes the book The Grief Recovery Handbook.
Cost is $20 for book/materials, payable on the first day of class
Thursdays from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm at Cottage in the Meadow
Beginning September 25
Contact Memorial Hospice at 574-3670 to register for this class

How to help a friend with cancer

Someone you care about is facing cancer, and you want—very much—to support your friend. But you don’t know what to say or do.

You’re hardly alone with how you feel.

For many of us, cancer is a frightening disease, and something frightening can make us feel uneasy. So if you feel uncomfortable reaching out, it might help to know that one of the most meaningful ways to offer support is to simply be available to listen. In fact, it’s even OK to say: “I don’t know what to say. But I care, and I’m sorry you’re going through this.”

And while there are no set rules for helping someone with cancer—different people may have different needs—there are some general do’s and don’ts.

Do: Don’t:
Become informed. As a first step, try to learn about your friend’s diagnosis—for instance, by finding out the basic details from a family member or mutual friend. It might be draining for your friend to repeat the same information to several people. Be afraid to talk about the illness. And if your friend feels anxious or sad, allow your friend to express these feelings.
Follow your friend’s cues. Your friend may feel relieved to talk openly about his or her illness. Or the opposite might be true. Your friend might need privacy. Respect your friend’s desires. Offer advice if not asked. Also, respect your friend’s treatment decisions, even if you disagree.
Try not to let cancer dominate your friendship. As much as possible, try to treat your friend as you always have. Talk to your friend about his or her interests that have nothing at all to do with cancer. Feel you have to respond. A caring listener may be the best medicine of all.
Offer to help in concrete ways. You might volunteer to cook dinner, pick up prescriptions or babysit if your friend has children. Make assumptions. Try not to tell your friend, “I know how you feel.” You really can’t, unless you’ve also faced cancer.

Sources: American Cancer Society; American Society of Clinical Oncology

For caregivers: 6 medication safety tips

As a caregiver, you have a lot of responsibilities—one of which may be helping your loved one manage medications. This can be a complex task, particularly if he or she takes multiple meds.

Here are six ways to help you keep things safe and simple:

1. Make a list of every medication your loved one takes. This includes prescription and non-prescription drugs, as well as nutritional supplements and vitamins. Give a copy to each health care provider that your loved one sees. And keep one with you in case of an emergency.

2. Ask a doctor or pharmacist to review that list at least once a year and look for possible drug interactions.

3. Be sure you know what each medication is for and how each one should be given. You might want to use a pill box organizer to help keep everything straight.

4. If a medication has to be injected or requires special preparation at home, be sure you learn the proper technique. Work with your loved one’s doctor or nurse until you’re comfortable doing it yourself.

5. Store medications together, if possible. That way, they’ll be easy to find in an emergency. Look for a cool, dry place out of reach of children. Medications that need to be chilled should have their own spot in the refrigerator.

6. Never share your loved one’s medicine with others. Properly discard any leftover or expired medicines. Ask a pharmacist for instructions if you don’t know how to do this.

Sources: Family Caregiver Alliance; U.S. Food and Drug Administration