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April 4, 2017

Oswego County Health Department Celebrates Public Health Week April 3-9 -

Oswego County Health Department: Hospice

(Part 2 in a series of articles marking Public Health Week in Oswego County)

A strong public health system is essential to improving and protecting people's health. The role of public health may be most visible in the face of threats such as Zika or Ebola, but in reality, public health works to protect us every single day. Whether it's investigating food borne illness outbreaks, monitoring the quality of water, ensuring that all children have access to life-saving vaccines, or providing nursing care from infancy to end of life, public health protects the fundamental building blocks of healthy people and communities. That's why public health can't just suspend its everyday functions when an emergency such as Zika strikes. Public health must be able to maintain its core functions and support its ability to rapidly respond to serious disease threats and disasters. Today the Oswego County Health Department provides a look at Public Health Emergency Preparedness.

Oswego County Hospice provides comprehensive care and support to terminally ill individuals throughout Oswego County. This holistic program is family centered, and care is provided for physical, psychological, spiritual, and social concerns of patients and their families. The hospice program is primarily a service delivered in the home or in a contracted nursing home, by a team of Hospice professionals and volunteers.

"We are proud to be a local hospice, providing local care," said Judy Lester, Director of Patient Services for the Oswego County Health Department. "We have been providing care to our neighbors in Oswego County for more than 25 years."

Hospice services focus specifically on comfort, dignity, and control of distressing symptoms experienced by the patient and their family. Hospice provides palliative care, not curative treatment. This care provides relief from the physical pain the patient encounters and the emotional and spiritual pain the entire family experiences.

The Oswego County Health Department's Hospice team is a support network that provides a wide array of options for the terminally-ill patient and their family members:

"Camp Rainbow of Hope is a residential camp experience for children ages 8 to 12 who have experienced the loss of a loved one," said Vera Dunsmoor, Supervising Public Health Nurse for Hospice. "Children spend three days and two nights at Camp Hollis. Campers are teamed up with a teen 'big buddy' who assists the camper throughout the program to help process their experience."

Camp facilities include a full medical station, swimming pool and campfire circle. Nutritious, well-balanced meals are prepared on site and served in a spacious dining hall.

Camp Rainbow of Hope relies on both interactive and recreational activities to help children through the grieving process. These activities, along with a memorial service, help the camper to reflect and share memories of their loved one.

"The staff members at Oswego County Hospice are public servants and are honored to be involved in the lives of patients and families they serve at this delicate time," said Lester.

For information on Camp Rainbow of Hope call 315-343-5223 or visit http://friendsofhospice.org/.

For information on the Oswego County Health Department Hospice Program call 315-349-8259 or visit http://www.oswegocounty.com/health/hospice.html.


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