Hospice reaches out to Hispanics

As he labored in a Hood River Valley cherry orchard, Antar Pinto knew there was someplace else he needed to be.

That was at home, caring for his 84-year-old grandmother, who was losing her long struggle with congestive heart failure.

The immigrant family had been amazed to learn about hospice care. It wasn’t something they were familiar with.

But the Hispanic outreach program of Providence Hospice of the Gorge had led them to understand, and to trust, that care providers could come into the home and help them take good care of their grandmother.


Now that outreach program is getting national attention.

In 2006, Providence Hospice of the Gorge began an innovative Hispanic/

Latino outreach program that will be featured at the annual National Palliative Care Congress this June in Anaheim, Calif.

The program provides palliative care and end-of-life education to the Latino community using bilingual staff, community health workers for end-of-life care outreach and education to increase access to hospice services.

More than 25 percent of Hood River residents are Spanish-speaking Latinos, many with active spiritual lives. Increasingly, ill or frail elders move in with their families for care and support. Palliative care and hospice are not familiar to many of these families. Some fear that the services are expensive or unavailable to them. Others have cultural or language concerns.

Since the program began, the community health workers have made referrals and provided information about existing resources. They have also created and deployed innovative education methods in churches and health fairs.

In five years, Providence Hospice of the Gorge has provided palliative and end-of-life care to 17 new Latino families, including Antar Pinto’s family.

Community health workers, called “Promotores de salud,” are central to the work.

Two of the Promotores, Evaristo Romero and Gerardo Lugo, along with coordinator Lorena Sprager will share their experience and discuss program expansions into providing palliative and end-of-life care sooner and coordinating with more partners. Providence Hospice of the Gorge was selected to present at the national conference in recognition of its innovation and quality outcomes.

“This program helps everyone in our community to understand and benefit from our very best care — especially the programs designed to maximize quality of life and address the suffering that comes with illness,” said Mark Thomas, director of mission integration at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital.


Providence Hospice of the Gorge has cared for patients in the Columbia River Gorge for more than 30 years and has offices located in Hood River and The Dalles.

— Christina Vanderwerf, Providence

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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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