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Hospice works with families on personal level


Syringa Hospital Hospice staff includes (L-R) DeEtte Westover, RN, Tara Duclos, LSW. Cindy Higgins, LSW, Lina Sonnen, CNA, and Teresa York, RN.

Photo by Lorie Palmer
Syringa Hospital Hospice staff includes (L-R) DeEtte Westover, RN, Tara Duclos, LSW. Cindy Higgins, LSW, Lina Sonnen, CNA, and Teresa York, RN.



— “Hospice is not something I have to do – it’s something I get to do,” expressed DeEtte Westover, RN.

Westover is employed by Syringa Hospital and Syringa Hospital Hospice (SHH).

She, along with about eight other SHH employees and 30 volunteers, operate the area’s only hospice program.

“Hospice’s philosophy is one I really appreciate,” said LSW Cindy Higgins, who manages the program. She has worked with the program for the past 13 years.

“I love how it’s a model that offers a holistic care approach and allows people to remain at home with their families if it’s something they wish to do.”

SHH has a coverage area of a 45-minute driving radius from Grangeville. This may include the communities of Cottonwood, Craigmont, Grangeville, Harpster, Kamiah, Kooskia, Lucile, Nez Perce, Riggins, Stites, White Bird and Winchester.

“It does not matter where you see the doctor,” said Higgins.

LSW Tara Duclos has been employed by SHH for the past five years and said she finds the fact that “hospice is much more encompassing than simply a medical approach,” appealing.

“There are many facets through this end-of-life journey, and I have met many beautiful people and families along the way,” she said.

‘Just for the Hill of It’ bike challenge is June 3

WHITE BIRD – The Annual Syringa Hospital Hospice “Just For the Hill of It” Bike Challenge is set for this Saturday, June 3, 9 a.m., starting at Hammer Creek.

Register on-site that day starting at 8 a.m. for $30 per person. All proceeds benefit the hospice program.

The 13-mile challenge will end where the old and new White Bird grades meet (course marked) and will be followed by a picnic. Approximately 75 bicyclists usually participate.

SHH serves about 50 people each year. Higgins said Medicare, Medicaid and most insurances pay 100 percent of hospice costs. Donations are used for some costs not covered by insurance.

The two social workers explained that hospice’s purpose is to make life easier for patients and their families.

“What we do does not hasten or prolong a person’s life,” Higgins explained. “We are there as a support system.”

SHH has at its helm a medical director, currently Dr. Danny Griffis, and offers a variety of services including palliative care aimed at relieving pain and other symptoms, nursing care for medical needs, certified nursing assistant care for other medical and personal needs, social workers to help with emotional needs and finding resources, home health aides, physical therapists, spiritual consultants and bereavement services.

In addition, volunteers play a large part in hospice care, Higgins said.

“We have volunteers who have offered personal care, made meals, mowed lawns, given respite care, washed windows and much more,” she emphasized.

A volunteer training session is held once a year and new volunteers are always sought for a variety of different areas from clerical and special events assistance to home care and errand running.

A hospice patient does not have to be referred by a physician, and anyone with questions is invited to call SHH.

“All care is very individualized, depending on the patient and family,” Duclos said. “No care is the same, and a person can choose what services they want.”

Westover has had a personal experience with hospice that goes beyond her profession as a nurse.

“My dad was in hospice care and died three years ago, and my sister was also under hospice care and she died about a year and a half ago,” she said. “I do understand. It’s very personal to me.”

To reach Syringa Hospital Hospice call 983-8550. Donations can be sent to 607 West Main Street, Grangeville, ID 83530.



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