by Sandra Lee Buxton
Avow Hospice has been a trusted provider of care and comfort in Naples since 1983. Some things are changing and new programs are being added, however their commitment to exceptional service is an unwavering constant. Dr Cynthia Nehrkorn assumed responsibility as Medical Director early this year, but this is not new territory for her. She joined the Avow team in 2003 and is extremely proud of the advocacy work that has been provided to the community. Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine Dr Nehrkorn enjoys teaching and offering guidance to staff, family members and patients. This busy mother of two feels that sharing and caring is not just what you do it represents who you are. She is committed to her patients and feels that being allowed to share space and time with families at a vulnerable time in their life is
sacred. Dr Nehrkorn values hearing the patient’s life story and providing an environment where respect, dignity and comfort is the standard. New programs and initiatives will unfold during this next year and she expresses excitement about meeting additional needs and reaching out to a new demographic.
Palliative Medicine: The primary purpose of this medical model is to offer modalities to alleviate discomfort thereby improving the quality of life. Individuals with chronic diseases (heart, lung, kidney or cancer) would benefit as physical as well as psychological pain is addressed. It is important that emotional support for both patient and family is provided and the patient may retain their private physician while utilizing this service.
Children’s Services: Children with a terminal illness require Pediatric Hospice Professionals but Avow recognizes that an entire family is in crisis. Support is available for the entire family and the child may benefit from music and massage therapies.
An RN is on call 24/7 to answer questions or concerns that the family may have. Avow is currently fundraising to expand pediatric palliative care. As with the adult program, this will be an interdisciplinary approach for children who do not need Hospice care but who are dealing with chronic or a serious illness.
Children’s Bereavement Services: This important program is designed for children between the age of 5-18 and focuses on support and companionship. It is important to acknowledge that children process and understand loss very differently than an adult. The loss may be due to death of a parent, family member or even a friend. Monthly support groups are held on the Avow campus which provides a safe nonjudgmental milieu to work through this painful and confusing experience Currently there is a plan to offer a day and overnight children’s grief support camp which may be initiated this summer.
The Naples community should look forward to an increase in educational presentations this year as Avow stresses that they are much more than terminal care. Support for children, adults and caregivers are available at no charge and the benefits are immediate and long lasting.
A few of the topics covered are understanding the disease process, how to offer physical care to a loved one, evaluating family dynamics and simply learning to cope. Dr Nehrkorn feels strongly that taking care of oneself enables an individual to better manage difficult situations.
The good news is that help is only a phone call away. If you or someone you know could use more information about these or other Avow programs/services then call 239.261.4404. Avow has solutions!