Gorge Hospice goes bilingual

Comfort comes in two languages, courtesy of Hospice of the Gorge.

Hospice now has three full-time employees who are fluent in Spanish, including two who are bicultural as well as bilingual.

They are nurse Josie Castenada, social worker Patrick Rawson, and office coordinator Ida Ontiveros. All three working out of The Dalles, though the agency also has an office in Hood River and serves Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam, Klickitat and Skamania counties.

The bilingual speakers will help the 15-year-old non-profit agency reach more people who can benefit from its services, according to Sharon Mulford, executive director of Hospice.

"We have so many Spanish-speaking citizens and several in Hospice who don't speak English," Mulford said. "Now, if we have a Spanish-speaking patient, they or their family can call the office and speak in Spanish."

Hospice provides medical, social and bereavement services to people who are terminally ill and to their families.

With the bilingual staff now available, once the client is connected with Hospice, all the caregivers could be Spanish-speaking.

"It will open up an opportunity to better serve the Hispanic community," Mulford said. "We identified a greater need. I am sure there are people who are needing our services but are not aware of them.

"I think we can be a real resource to them. We've had the need for it," she said. She calls Castenada, Ontiveros and Rawson "a whole team that would be available anywhere" in the agency's six-county service area.

"Frequently patients need equipment or medicine re-fills and they need someone to talk to about that," Mulford said. Ontiveros would field most of those calls and be able to immediately determine the clients' needs. The nurse, social worker and other staff work as a team to provide patient care. Sometimes the nurse and social worker will make a joint visit to assess how often the patient should be seen, and the extent of their needs.

Ontiveros was hired this summer. Casteneda joined Hospice last year and Rawson has been with the agency for about 10 years.

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Hospice Seeks Volunteers

Hospice is currently seeking volunteers to help with patient care, assisting patients and families with errands, housework or yardwork, delivering medical equipment to homes, office work, and more. Male volunteers, especially those who speak Spanish, are particularly needed.

Volunteers take a 20-hour training taught by experts in their fields. Attendees will learn valuable information on hospice philosophy, family dynamics, and the psycho-social aspects of dying, bereavement, and dealing with stress.

The next training will be Sept. 8, Sept. 22 and Oct. 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; the first and third sessions will be in The Dalles, the second in Hood River.

For information call Hospice in The Dalles at 296-3228, Hood River at 387-6449 or toll-free 1-800-955-3911, ext. 6449.

Hospice of the Gorge currently serves about 30 families; in 2000, it served a total of 62 families.

Hospice provides nurses and home health aides, homemakers, social workers, chaplains and volunteers. Director Sharon Mulford said Hospice never bills families for its services, regardless of whether or not they have Medicare, Medicaid, or other insurance provider. The program is supported by United Way, memorials and other donations, as well as insurance reimbursements.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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