Planning ahead - Advance Directives

Planning for a future in which you may not be able to make your own decisions is frightening and hard to face.

UHR AD 2 main.jpgBut having a plan in place not only ensures that you are, in fact, in control of your healthcare decisions, but also that your family has your guidance and is relieved of the stress of making some of the most difficult decisions.

These planning tools and documents are known as advance directives, a legal document written in advance of incapacitating illness that allows individuals to state their preferences about medical care.

The most common advance directives are a health care proxy and a living will. Other types of directives are an organ donor designation and a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order.

UHR AD 1 main.jpgAnd while you may not want to think about possible bad times ahead when you are feeling happy and healthy, that is the best time to tackle your advance directives.

You can also designate someone to make health care decisions for you when the time comes that you are unable to make them for yourself. The best advice is to select someone as a proxy/agent who you trust and who you believe will respect your right to get the kind of care you would want. If you have indicated that you would like to be an organ donor, for example, your family or health care proxy/agent must give their permission in order for the donation to take place.

Signing your advance directives

When finalizing and signing your advance directives, a lawyer is not necessary but it can be helpful. If you have hired an attorney to complete your will or to do other estate planning, you may also want them to help you complete your advance directives. A lawyer can draft a personalized document that reflects your particular wishes and is compliant with the laws of your state.

In New York State, these documents do not need to be notarized but they do need to be witnessed by two individuals over the age of 18. These witnesses cannot be your healthcare proxy/agent or the alternate.

Updating your advance directives

Most advance directives do not need to be renewed (except do-not-resuscitate or orders and physicians are usually aware of the state law governing these orders). Review your documents regularly to make sure that they still reflect your wishes. You can update your documents at any time by filling out new forms.

You can revoke your advance directives orally or in writing. In NYS, if you named your spouse as your health care proxy/agent and you get divorced, then that designation is automatically null and void unless you specify otherwise.

Storing your advance directives

You should keep the original document and provide copies to your health care proxy/agent (as well as the alternate if one was named), the hospital (each time you are admitted), immediate family members and your lawyer if you have one.

But you may also wish to have them on record where they are safe and easily accessible by you and by your healthcare providers.

United Hospice of Rockland, Inc., offers a free, secure, website that enable your documents to be safely stored and accessed by health professionals when they are needed. It is called 

To record your advance directives, you can print a copy of the enrollment form and sign it. Mail the enrollment form with copies (NOT the originals) of your advance directives to:

c/o United Hospice of Rockland, Inc.

11 Stokum Lane

New City, NY 10956

We will scan and upload the documents to the website. We will mail back all of your documents with three ID cards on which is written your name and the password that has been assigned. One card is designed for you to carry in you wallet. Make it the first thing that someone sees if they open your wallet. One copy is for your health care agent and one copy is for your physician.

If you have questions about advance directives or Assuring Your Wishes, please call us at 845.634.4974. A member of the staff of United Hospice of Rockland will be happy to answer your questions and/or provide whatever assistance you may need.

To help you through the process, we have outlined below important information, PDF forms and instructions on completing advance directives in New York State.

New Year resolutions made meaningful by life lessons

When a person is coping with the illness or death of a loved one, the “fresh start” of the New Year can seem meaningless, or even cruel.

But there are lessons to be learned from even the hardest of times, and the New Year is a chance to reflect on what the previous year has taught us and to plan how we can use that knowledge to better our lives going forward.UHR main 010719.jpg

Here are a few resolutions caregivers and families can make to make the hardships of the last year meaningful.

Take care of yourself. Your health is important not just for you, but also for the people who love you. Make the resolution to keep up with your check-ups and screenings and to take time to nurture your good health.

Be present. Too often we are worried about the present or caught up in regretting the past. Coping with the loss of a loved one brings into focus that our time is short and we should make an effort to savor every second. Plan instead of worry; learn instead of regret.

Forgive and make amends. There are times with it’s perfectly acceptable to cut a toxic person out of your life. But more often than not we fall out over petty grievances, misunderstandings and things that are said or done in the heat of the moment that we later regret. If you are on the outs with a family member, friend or neighbor, reach out to them and relieve yourself of that nagging burden.

Follow your passion. Is there something you love that fills you with joy? Do it. Share it. Make time for it. Even if it’s just a few minutes a day or an hour a week, exploring something that inspires you will nurture and strengthen your spirit and let you better deal with all the uninspiring tasks we all face every day.

Let go.  Let go of stuff, of bad memories, of doing things one way because that’s how you have always done them. Create uncluttered space in your home and your mind so you can spend the next year filling yourself with new optimism and good memories.

If you or someone you love is having difficulty coping with grief, United Hospice of Rockland can help. We offer many different options for grief support and can help those who have experienced loss find a bright, guiding light at the end of the tunnel.

For more information, visit

Caregiver Resolutions for 2019

UHR resolutions main.jpgIt’s easy to get so caught up in the fun (and stress) of the holidays that caregivers can forget that a new year is just around the corner!

But 2019 is knocking on the door, so take this time to set yourself up for a less stressful and more peaceful new year.

Here are a few things caregivers can do now to make the coming year a little easier. If you are supporting a primary caregiver, take the initiative to help them achieve these goals.

Get organized – Getting started with organization seems like a big time waster. Who has time to write everything down and file things or put stuff away where it needs to be? But once you get in the habit, it saves time every day to know what you’re doing, where to go and how to find the things you need. Write down every scheduled appointment; set up regular times for other people to help; organize paperwork and designate an easy-access space for medical and other supplies.

Say "No" in ’19  – You are busy, exhausted and drained. You don’t need to volunteer, take on extra work or do favors for people right now. Practice saying, “I wish I could, but this isn’t a good time” or just plain, “No.”
Be happy – You may not feel as though you are in a happy place. But now is the time to snatch every bit of happiness wherever you can find it. Make memories laughing, having fun, sharing experiences. You may feel like slumping on the couch all day (and some days that’s more than OK), but allow yourself to feel joy without feeling guilty.

Ask for and accept help –Too often our first reaction to offers of help is, “That’s OK, I can manage!” But a support team, whether friends, family or hospice, will free you to make the most of your time with your loved one. Have a list of tasks ready when someone volunteers.

Take care of yourself – Respite is critical to being a good caregiver. Schedule the time and support you need to take a little time off for self-care – both physical and mental. Take a nap, see a movie or meet a friend for coffee. Consider making a support group or counseling a part of your healthier routine.

Focus on what’s important - If you can accept help, reorganize, take a break and just say “no,” you’ll have the time and energy for what’s most important: Quality time with your loved one.


Tips to Help You Cope with the Holidays

There are as many different ways to grieve and cope with loss as there are people in the world. But during the first holiday season after the death of a loved one, you can feel particularly alone in your sadness as everyone, and everything around you becomes merry and bright.

United Hospice of Rockland specializes in bereavement support and can offer you help during the holiday season. Our Hope & Healing Program is staffed by specially trained counselors, clinical social workers and volunteers who have a unique expertise in all aspects of bereavement. Our bereavement support team can help you navigate the grieving process, even during the holidays.

Pet therapy at Healing Hearts.jpgOur Healing Hearts program offers bereavement support to children ages 4 to 18 and their surviving parent or guardian who have lost a loved one. The joy of the holidays can be especially confusing to children who are still feeling a profound sense of loss and even anger. Healing Hearts is founded on the belief that every child deserves the opportunity to grieve in a supportive and understanding environment.

Here are some ideas that can help you cope with your loss and celebrate in a way that feels most appropriate and comfortable to you.

Allow for Rest: The holidays can be physically and emotionally draining whether or not you have lost a loved one recently. Grief is also tiring. Naps, walks, quiet times and other forms of relaxation, even for a short period, can be revitalizing. Children benefit from rest during their bereavement, especially during holidays or other special days.

47575181_10151034652149997_5933641441346584576_n(1).jpgAccept Your Limitations: Grief can be all-consuming. Holidays place additional stress and demands on our lives. You may not be able to do all the things you’ve done in the past. Lower your expectations and allow yourself time and space to grieve. When you simplify your holiday, you also reduce stress for you and your family.

Ask for Help If You Need It: Often friends and family are looking for ways to be helpful to you during the hard times. The more specific you can be (shopping, cleaning, cooking, baking, etc.) the more likely it will be that they help out. You may have people in mind. Ask them. They will probably be glad to lend a hand. If you want to continue certain traditions, but feel you can’t do it alone, involve others.

Plan Ahead: Use the Checklist as a planning tool. Determine the extent to which you would like to celebrate the holidays and what assistance you need. Share your thoughts with your family, especially your children. Together you can plan for the holidays in a way that is consistent with your needs and circumstances.

Acknowledge the life of the person who died: For many, connecting with loved ones during the holidays is what they yearn, but do not know how. Friends and family may have ideas of how to bring that individual's particular spirit to the holiday. Favorite ways of including a loved one in a holiday are: to toast their loved one and share stories about them, contribute to a local charity in their memory or develop a new tradition that somehow incorporates a core piece of their identity.

Healing Hearts, UHR’s Family Bereavement Program is based on the work of the Dougy Center. The above suggestions are based on materials on the Dougy Center website.

For more information about our bereavement services call 845-634-4974 or contact us at


Coping tips: First holiday without a loved one

The first holiday season after losing a loved one can be difficult and confusing.

Should you at least try to be "joyful"? Is it normal for grief to feel entirely fresh again? Is it OK to step away from traditions that are too painful to remember? How much can you talk to family and friends about loss without feeling like you're a downer?

The key thing to remember is that you are on your own timeline for grieving, and you can grieve in whatever way is best for you.

  • UHR first holiday after death main.jpgKeeping up with family traditions can be a great way for everyone to share their stories and grieve together as you remember years past. If those memories feel too painful this year, it’s OK to skip the tradition. Or to find a new tradition that works with your family as it is now.
  • Donate to your loved one's favorite charity or nonprofit in their honor.
  • Don’t be afraid to step away for time alone if you need it.
  • Remember that others are grieving, too, in their own way. Try not to be frustrated with those who seem “too happy” or who need to withdraw to cope.
  • Set aside a special time for remembrance. There is a lot of pressure during the holidays to be happy. Designating time for sadness and grief can be healthy for everyone who is missing your loved one.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for support. Whether it’s from family, friends or a professional counselor, talking through your feelings at the holidays will let you know that you are not alone, and whatever you are feeling is OK.
  • Frame some holiday photos of seasons past to display during holiday festivities. It will help you remember happier times, and make it feel as though your loved one is still a part of your celebrations.
  • Cut back on stress. Figure out what’s most important to you and put other obligations aside this year.
  • Help make sure that younger children have the opportunity to talk about their feelings, too. Let them know it’s OK to be happy during the holidays even if a part of them is still sad.

United Hospice of Rockland has resources available during the holidays for families who have lost loved ones, either in the past year or at any time. We have bereavement services available for spouses, adults who have lost their parents, children coping with loss and other opportunities to share your grief and get the support you need. Our Hope & Healing Program at the Provident Bank Hope & Healing Center is one of the only places where you will find specially trained counselors, clinical social workers and volunteers who have unique expertise in all aspects of grief. Our bereavement support team can help you navigate the grieving process and accommodate to your new normal.

We also invite you to remember loved ones with stars on our Tree of Life.

However you choose to manage or experience your grief during the holiday season, remember that you have people who care about you and support you. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Share what you can, do what you can and let a little light shine through.


Gifts for those in Hospice Care

What is meaningful to them?

Hospice patients and their families know what is most important in life: Family, laughter, togetherness and memories.

UHR xmas 113018.jpgSo rather than caving in to holiday impulse shopping, think about what would bring real joy to your loved one in hospice.

Here are some gifts that we’ve seen our United Hospice of Rockland patients truly love over the years.

Memories – Whether your family’s images are trapped in new technology, like your phone, or obsolete tech, like VHS tapes, they are inaccessible to a loved one in hospice. Have home movies transferred to DVD. Print out photos and create an album. Take time to watch, look and share memories.

Experiences – Tickets to a play or a concert, gift cards for a movie date (with popcorn) or passes for a festival or other event are a wonderful gift for hospice patients who are still up for a day or night out. UHR hanukkah 113018.jpg

Comfort – Soft blankets, scented candles, a down pillow, fuzzy socks, white noise machine – put together a comfort kit for cozy relaxation and sleep.

Time – It can be hard to slow down for even a minute during the holidays, but your time is the most precious gift you can give to someone in hospice.  Whether you can carve out an afternoon, schedule a few shorter visits or take a whole day, your love and support will be treasured.

Dreams – What is something they have always wanted? Go get it. No matter how impractical or frivolous it may seem, do it. Create a “WOW!” moment. Maybe they want a giant TV, a ruby ring, a spa day or a teddy bear that takes up half the room. Make it happen. (Don’t max out your credit card or spend recklessly. With a little creativity and teamwork there are usually ways to make a wish come true without breaking the bank.)

Whatever it is, a gift that is meaningful to you and your loved one and comes from the heart will always be the best gift of all.

Thankful for every moment…

United Hospice of Rockland wishes you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving to remember.

UHR tgiving 18.jpg


Celebrating each day: Making the most of the holiday season with a loved one in hospice care

The holidays are filled with memories of times past and creating memories for the future.

And it never seems as important as when you are spending what may be the last holiday season with a loved one in hospice care.

UHR holiday memories main.jpgThere will be grief and tears, but it's also a time to celebrate the years you have had together. The most important way to spend the holidays is time with each other, making everyone feel loved and making memories everyone can share during the holiday seasons to come.

Pare down activities to what’s truly important. Hospice patients may have the willingness to participate in every event, but may not have the energy, strength or mobility to make it happen. Ask your loved one which traditions are most important to them and adapt activities to their needs. A midnight mass can become a reading and prayers at home. A holiday outing to a live performance can become a day of favorite movies curled up on the couch or in bed. A traditional trek to visit relatives can become a planned video chat session.

UHR holiday memories 2 main.jpgManage Expectations. It’s important from the beginning to accept that the holidays may not be the typical whirlwind of activity. Hospice patients may be fatigued, unable to cope with large gatherings or unable to go out for holiday events. Plan by their comfort level. If you have family visiting from out of town, it can also be vital that they understand these limitations and are prepared to see your loved one and accept their current state of health.

Record your memories. Create a holiday scrapbook with photos and memoribilia from family and friends and leave a few pages at the end for a record of this year's celebrations. This project can bring everyone together and offers a focused opportunity to share stories. The book then becomes its own holiday tradition and offers solace during the next holiday season as you reflect on the happiest times of your lives.

Comfort from the kitchen. The holidays and food go hand in hand, but many hospice patients are limited in what they can eat or have even lost their appetite. With considerations for dietary restrictions, prepare a few holiday favorites for your loved one in hospice care. Even if they can’t eat a heaping plate full, they may enjoy a bite or two, or just the smell and sight of traditional foods and family recipes.

Celebrate the season. For many, the holiday season is a time to reconnect with and celebrate their faith and to find comfort in their beliefs. Plan to attend religious services, if possible, or to incorporate spiritual activities into your home festivities.

Take a break, caregivers. It's easy during the holidays to get caught up in the many parties, shopping, concerts, and events the season has to offer. Give yourself permission to take a step back from every invitation and instead focus on yourself and your family. Choose events that are most important to you, relax and enjoy yourself, but don’t feel pressured to keep up your typical holiday pace.

Call UHR for help. We're here for you and your family throughout the holiday season, whether you need respite care or emotional support. Call us any time at 845-634-4974.


UHR Veterans Day 2018.jpg

We Honor Veterans at UHR

United Hospice of Rockland honors our veterans, their families and their sacrifice every day as a We Honor Veterans Hospice Partner. Hospice-Veteran Partnerships (HVP) is a national program that fosters collaboration between VA facilities, community hospices, State Hospice Organizations and others working together to ensure that excellent care at the end of life is available for our Veterans and their families.

Our mission for our Veterans includes:

  • Thanking Veterans for their service to our country.
  • Pairing Volunteers and caregivers with Veteran patients.
  • Showing appreciation for the families of Veterans.
  • Giving Veterans an opportunity to tell their stories.
  • Respecting Veterans’ service, their feelings, and any suggestions they might offer.
  • Always be sincere, caring, compassionate and ready and able to listen to what a Veteran or his or her family member has to share about the situation they are dealing with.
  • Being supportive and non-judgmental and always validate their feelings and concerns.

Our veterans deserve the best in compassionate care. We work with them, on their terms, to make every day meaningful.

To learn more about the HVP program , contact Carol Galione, UHR Volunteer Program Coordinator at or visit

Tips for a healthier winter season

UHR winter main.jpgWinter means sniffles and coughs and even flu for many of us, but if your health is already compromised even winter’s routine illnesses can cause dangerous complications.

Plus, winter means snow, ice, storms, holiday feasting and even the seasonal blues. We have to worry about keeping warm, eating right, exercising when we can and playing it safe.

Step one for a healthier winter is flu vaccinations. It's important to get vaccinated early, so your immune system has time to build up before peak flu season arrives just after the holidays. Older adults and anyone with a compromised immune system are at higher risk. Some people are unable to be vaccinated for health reasons, making it all the more important for everyone to step up and get the shot for everyone’s protection.

Another essential step in winter prep is checking carbon monoxide/smoke detectors to make sure they are working and have fresh batteries. Many types of heat, including fireplaces, natural gas, space heaters and kerosene heaters can cause not only fires when left unattended but also carbon monoxide poisoning Check out your chimneys and make sure fire extinguishers are up to date and easily accessible.

Before the storm season begins, stock up on necessities. A well-stocked pantry and extra medical supplies can give you peace of mind when the snow starts drifting. Also prepare for power outages with flashlights, batteries and non-perishable foods. Set up a network of places you can stay if you need electricity for heat or medical equipment.

If you or your loved one are having a more difficult time retaining body heat, it’s important to winterize homes to prevent drafts (and to cut down on high heating bills). Check the weather stripping around doors and windows, use curtains to keep out the cold and if there are bare wood, tile or concrete floors in the home, consider adding area rugs to block out the cold from the slab or crawlspace. Make sure to tape down the edges to prevent tripping! Keep plenty of cuddly throws around so you can snuggle up anywhere in the house.

If you have your doctor’s okay to exercise, brave the cold for a little fresh air and sunshine. Don't overdo it! You may become tired more quickly in the cold, so start slowly. Dress in warm layers and wear a hat to retain body heat. And don't forget sunscreen and sunglasses to protect you from sun and glare. Getting outside can boost your mood and a little sunshine can help generate some Vitamin D, which can become low during the winter months spent indoors.

You and your loved ones may already be dealing with sadness, grief or depression. If your symptoms seem to worsen as the days grow shorter, talk to your healthcare provider about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Try to spend time in natural light, outdoors or by letting natural daylight into the home for a few hours each day. Your doctor may suggest light therapy, which uses a full-spectrum light to mimic longer daylight hours.

Holidays treats, a lack of seasonal produce and the urge to eat comfort food during the dark days of winter, it can be hard to maintain a healthy diet.  During the winter months, it can be more challenging to maintain a healthy diet. Frozen fruits and veggies have been shown to have more nutrients than fresh in many cases! Look for lower fat and salt versions of favorite comfort foods and holiday favorites. Boost your immune system with daily vitamins, especially Vitamin C, and eating foods rich in zinc, such as fish, poultry and eggs.

And, of course, don’t forget to winterize your car. Have the battery, oil, antifreeze, tires, and windshield wipers checked before winter weather arrives. Pack a survival kit in the back in case you get stuck or stranded. Your emergency kit should include a first aid kit; non-perishable snacks that are safe if frozen, such as granola bars; blankets; extra clothes; chemically activated hand warmers; jumper cables and a powerful flashlight that can be used as a signal. Keeping a bag of kitty litter in the trunk to add traction to icy surfaces has helped many motorists out of slippery situations.

If you have any physical or mental health concerns, United Hospice of Rockland is here to help. Call us at 845.634.4974 or email and we’ll be available to answer your questions.


Planning for memorials

UHR funeral planning 101218.jpgWhen a loved one is terminally ill, the end is always looming, but difficult to think about.

While it’s painful to think about their death, it’s important to talk about arrangements for a funeral or memorial service and what your loved one would like you to do with their body.  Getting plans made and out of the way will let you focus on quality time with your loved one and relieve some of the stress on caregivers and families when the loved one is gone.

Although you can’t arrange everything in advance, there are several tasks you can complete.

Medical/Legal Issues: Make sure your loved one has advanced directives in place to guarantee that their wishes regarding their end-of-life care will be carried out. The documents will provide instructions as to whether they want heroic measures taken to extend their life, whether they want a Do Not Resuscitate order and other issues.
Advance directives include:

Obituary: Working with your loved one to write their obituary can be an opportunity to talk about the important dates and details of their lives, the places they've lived and the people and things they love. Some people like to have a very straightforward obituary, while others take the opportunity to offer smiles and laughter to their surviving friends and family. Your loved one should be given a chance to set the tone and content of this important remembrance.

Funeral: One of the first decisions is determining the body disposition you and your loved one prefer, whether it’s a traditional burial, natural or "green" burial, cremation or another option. Discuss music, what religious or other readings they would like, photos they would like to use, pallbearers, and flowers and if they would like to suggest charitable donations in their memory. Visit the funeral home and make all the needed arrangements so all you will need to do is call and everything will be set into motion with minimal stress.

If you’re planning to have a traditional burial, have the information about the selected burial plot on hand, or choose a site and purchase a plot. If the person will be cremated, discuss with them what should be done with their cremains to be placed or spread.

Memorial Service: A memorial service is a more informal opportunity for people to offer condolences and share their memories. Many people prefer that the memorial service be a celebration of their life. If you decide to have a memorial service or event separate from the funeral, it can be held within days of the funeral if you would like to enable traveling family to attend, or weeks or months after the funeral. Although it's less formal, it's still important to plan a venue, catering, music and other details. Your loved one may even want to make a video that you can share at the event.

Making final arrangements while your loved one is living may seem grim, but it is a chance for them to have a say in how they will be finally remembered. Although it will be difficult, it can become a chance to learn more about them and share their memories as you talk about their history and the things that have been most precious to them throughout their lives.

If you are struggling to cope with a loved one’s terminal illness or death, United Hospice of Rockland can help. Our Hope & Healing Program is one of the only places where you will find specially trained counselors, clinical social workers and volunteers who have a unique expertise in all aspects of bereavement. Our bereavement support team can help you navigate the grieving process and acclimate to your new normal.

Learn more at

Planning for your pet

UHR plan for pet dog main.jpgFew things in this world bring us as much comfort and happiness as our pets, especially as we age or go through illness or other difficult times in our lives.

Unfortunately, many pets are left homeless and without hope after the death of their owners. Rescues are full of animals, especially senior animals, who are left behind after an owner's death. And every year between 5 and 7 million animals are taken to animal shelters when their owners die, and most of them never find another home.
If you or a loved one has a pet that will need to be rehomed in the event of a death, there are a few simple steps that can help ensure the pet’s care and wellbeing.

It's never safe to assume that friends or family will immediately be able to take on the responsibility of a pet. Following a death, tensions and emotions run high, and a pet can get caught up in conflict or lost in the shuffle. A plan can ensure a smooth and immediate transition to a new, loving home.

One of the first steps you can take is to talk to family and friends and make arrangements to rehome the pet. If the pet owner has a terminal illness, they have time to introduce the pet to its new owners and home to make the transition less stressful for the pet and the new family. It is essential to choose someone who will have the resources to provide the pet with the care it needs throughout its lifetime.

UHR plan for pet cat main.jpgPut together information about your pet for their new family, including their health records, food preferences, favorite toys, sleeping and bathroom habits and any other information that would be important such as if the pet is aggressive toward other animals or is afraid of thunder or fireworks.

Once you have found a home for the pet, formalize any agreements rather than relying on informal or verbal commitments. You can also set aside a fund separate in your will that is designated to covering a pet’s expenses.
Up to a quarter of pet owners specify care and funding for their pets in their wills, but in some cases dealing with the transfer of pets and funds can delay the administration of a will as a whole.

There are forms available online to help you establish and legally formalize a care plan for your or a loved one’s pet. The ASPCA offers information and forms for pet care planning in its Pet Trust Primer.


Advance Directives: Getting started

UHR Adv dir main.jpgAdvance Directives are legal documents that ensure your health care wishes are followed if illness or an accident renders you unable to make decisions for yourself.

Advance directives not only protect your wishes, they can also help ease the strain on families by relieving the burden on decision-making during a stressful time.

Advance directives consist of four types:

  • A Health Care Proxy (or health care power of attorney) appoints a person you trust as your health care agent. They are then authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf. Download a New York State Health Care Proxy form.
  • A Living Will gives directions concerning medical treatments at the end of life. For more information, download Advance Directives: Making your Wishes Known and Honored from the New York State Office of the Attorney General.
  • A Do Not Resuscitate Order (also known as a DNR) directs health care professionals and emergency medical personnel NOT to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the event that your heart or breathing stop.  Hospitals have DNR forms available, or you can download a DNR form from the New York State Health Department.
  • An Organ Donor Designation is an opportunity to register as an organ donor and designate what you are willing to donate. Make sure your family or health care proxy are aware of and will agree to your wishes. To learn more about organ donation, visit

But advance directives are not only for the ill or elderly. In case of an accident or sudden, unexpected health emergency, it's essential to have the directives in place to make sure decisions about your care are made according to your wishes.

The staff at United Hospice of Rockland can offer assistance, but if you have questions or concerns, please consult your attorney.

Learn more at  


National Grandparents Day: Helping younger children bond with older loved ones

UHR grand day main.jpgThis Sunday, September 9, is National Grandparents Day.

Grandparents Day is always celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day and is an opportunity to recognize all that our grandparents (and our children’s grandparents) have done for us throughout our lives.

Many of us are coping with grandparents who have slowed down, need ongoing medical care and are even facing the end of life.

For younger children, these might be grandparents or great-grandparents who may be limited in what they can do by age, illness and mobility issues. And it may be difficult for them to find a way to connect.

But sometimes the simplest things are the best way to spend time together. Think back on your own life and the moments that made you feel close to those you love. Were you hang gliding in the Grand Canyon? Or were you sitting together talking, sharing thoughts and stories?

Grandparents and grandchildren share a special bond. Whenever possible, take a step back and let them have their own time together.

Is the grandparent the queen of Hearts, or a cribbage master? Time to hand down that knowledge. Grandparents with mobility issues may be up tabletop games. A deck of cards offers possibilities for all ages. Or, find age-appropriate board games or puzzles several generations can enjoy together.

Grandparents who aren’t up for cards or games may enjoy reading with grandchildren. Find out if the grandparent has a favorite book from childhood they would like to share and then track down a copy. Kids and grandparents can take turns reading to each other.

Many classic TV series and movies are readily available on streaming services or DVD. Sharing a favorite series or film can be a way to make memories without a grandparent getting overexerted.

For younger children, coloring and simple craft projects can be fun activities that leave the grandparents with a souvenir for their refrigerator door.

If you ask a grandparent, they’ll tell you the most important thing is spending time with family. So forget waiting in long lines at a restaurant or wrangling everyone into a family convoy for some grand adventure. Focus on togetherness, communication and fun.


Bucket list: Discover what’s important to you

UHR bucket main 2.jpgWhat’s on your “bucket list”? Visiting the Eiffel Tower? Meeting a favorite performer? Attending the Super Bowl?

Many of us, at any age and at any state of health, daydream about all the big things we want to do before we die. But a terminal illness makes you rethink your priorities in life.

Revisit your bucket list. While you may not be able to do everything (and few of us do),  it’s a good tool for helping you focus on what you want to do and how to spend your time in your final months.

The first step is committing to writing everything down so you can look at the logistics. Write down every idea, no matter how impossible it may seem. You can always go back and edit once you’ve exhausted your well of wishes. A bucket list doesn’t have to be all new adventures; it’s also an opportunity to revisit the things in life that were most loved.

UHR bucket main 1.jpgStart planning as soon as possible. As time goes on, physically exerting activities and travel may become more complicated. Travel is a favorite bucket list item, but the window of possibility may be limited, especially if the desired destination means traveling by air. Travel requires planning and effort but can be an excellent way for families to get away from the everyday stress of dealing with illness and have more relaxed quality time.

Sit down and describe your perfect day – Where you would go, what you would do, what you would eat? Who is there with you? Maybe you want to ride a gondola through Venice, but you may discover the perfect day is a much simpler affair spent with family and friends at a place that holds special memories.

Make a list of favorites: favorite movie, favorite meal, favorite animal, favorite band, sport, celebrity, etc. This can be a great jumping off point for developing a list of goals that will take varying amounts of planning, effort and sheer luck to accomplish.

If you have big ideas, it never hurts to ask! Depending on the requests, hospice and other organizations may be able to help you set up a more elaborate bucket list activity.

Giving back can be a rewarding way to feel as though life has had meaning and contributed to the world. Organizing an online fundraiser or raising money for a favorite cause can be a very soothing and satisfying way to spend time at the end of life.

Work with your doctor and hospice team to best reach goals in a safe and timely way.


Who pays for Hospice?

UHR pay for hospice main.jpgOne reason people hesitate to call hospice, even when they are eligible for services, is misinformation and understanding about who pays for hospice services and how those expenses are paid.

We hope no family has to suffer unnecessarily because they think they cannot afford hospice. Here's a summary of how hospice is paid.

Who covers hospice costs?

Hospice is covered by Medicare and by Medicaid in New York State, by the Veterans Administration and most private health insurance policies. To be sure of your coverage, hospice will check with your health insurance provider and inform you of any charges. (Please note: Medicare does not cover the room and board charge associated with the Joe Raso Hospice Residence.)

If Medicare or any other health insurance will not cover the patient, will hospice still provide care?

The first thing hospice will do is assist the family in finding out whether the patient is eligible for any coverage of which they may not be aware. Barring this, care is provided regardless of the family's ability to pay. Hospice will help you with a financial assessment to determine any benefits for which you qualify and any fees that may have to be paid out of pocket.

What benefits cover hospice?

Currently, most hospice patients have their costs covered by Medicare, through the Medicare Hospice Benefit. Medicaid also pays for hospice care in most states. People are eligible for Medicaid when their income and assets are low. Medicaid benefits are very similar to the Medicare Hospice Benefits.

Are there hospice benefits for veterans?

The Veteran's Health Administration covers hospice care.  The Veteran’s Health Administration provides benefits that are very similar to the Medicare Hospice Benefits.

What about private insurance for hospice care?

Many private insurance companies provide some coverage options for hospice care. Check with your insurer to learn more about your hospice coverage and qualifications. Private insurers may have different eligibility requirements.

I don't have insurance, and I don't think I'm eligible for hospice benefit programs. What should I do?

For individuals who do not have insurance and can't afford hospice services, a hospice may provide care either free or on a sliding scale. This financial assistance is provided through donations, gifts, grants or other community sources. United Hospice of Rockland can help you determine if you are eligible for free or reduced cost care.
How do I know if I qualify for hospice benefits?

A patient's eligibility for hospice benefits may vary depending on who is covering the cost of care.
Most hospice care in the U.S. is covered by the Medicare Hospice Benefit, which requires:

  • Patients have been diagnosed with a terminal illness
  • Patients are 65 years or older
  • Doctor and a hospice medical director certify that the patient has less than six months to live

Many other hospice benefit programs follow these same guidelines set by Medicare.

If you have any questions about hospice services or how you or a loved one are able to pay for hospice, please call United Hospice of Rockland and we will be happy to help you assess your needs and options. Contact us at 845.634.4974.



Being in the moment: When a loved one has dementia

UHR dementia reg.jpgWhen a loved one is at the end of life, it can be comforting to talk about their lifetime of memories and the times that you shared together.

When a loved one is at the end of life but also has dementia, caregivers can feel as though some of that comfort isn’t available to them. It can leave them at loose ends as to how to communicate with their loved one and how to spend that quality time together.

Start by managing your expectations for this journey. Your loved one may have hours of lucidity or long stretches of confusion. Both sides of the coin deserve understanding and attention.

Take the opportunity during lucid periods to talk about memories, look at old photographs, talk about their lives and tell them how much you love them.

When your loved one is having a lapse in memory or abilities, go with them. Be where they are in their mind. It may not seem like quality time, but any time you spend making someone happy and comfortable is quality time.

Since you may not know from visit to visit, day to day or even by the hour what to expect, it’s important to be flexible and patient. The plans you made for the day may not happen until tomorrow, or at all. Just sitting together outside, watching a favorite movie or listening to music can be enough for them to feel loved.

Often dementia patients can remember their early years better than more recent times, so it's an opportunity to hear about their first car, childhood pets, first job, their high school antics and other stories that have been stowed away during their adult years.

Talking to someone in the middle and late stages of dementia can be difficult, especially when you may feel desperate for a last chance to speak to each other and share your memories.

Here are some tips for making the most of your time together.

  • Ask yes or no questions.
  • Call the person by their name.
  • Reintroduce yourself whenever it’s necessary.
  • Limit distractions and create a calm environment for focus and engagement.
  • Speak slowly and in short, simple words and sentences.
  • Be patient when waiting for a response.
  • Don’t ask “do you remember?” It can make a dementia patient frustrated when they can’t deliver. Instead, share a story you remember and let them chime in, or show them a photograph and ask, “What is happening in this picture? It looks fun/interesting/important.”
  • Resist the urge to correct. They may get dates or names wrong, or misremember events entirely. Is it worth making them feel angry and insecure to correct them on details? No.
  • Don't take it personally if your loved one cannot remember you, your spouse, your children or some significant event. It’s a chance for you to talk about them all over again.
  • Often caregivers feel the need to make amends or work out past problems and get closure before their loved one passes. If your loved one has cognitive lapses, they may not remember the incidents you want to discuss or the people involved. At times they will not remember who you are. You may have to find that peace within yourself.

The trained staff at United Hospice of Rockland’s Hope & Healing Program at the Provident Bank Hope & Healing Center have helped many families care for and get through the loss of a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Our Bereavement Services offer a wide range of specialized options and are available to our hospice families.

Learn more at


Memories in their own voice: Taking an oral history

UHR family history blog.jpgToo many times we lose a loved one and realize the missed opportunity to learn more about them, our families and ourselves.

By recording an oral history, you can preserve memory’s in a person’s own words and own voice.

In many cases not only will you be recording history, but it’s also an opportunity to relive happy memories.

Photos are a great way to jog the memory and bring up stories that may otherwise never surface. If you have photos from their childhood, high school and college years, military service, wedding albums, etc., take time to go through them together. If they are not in albums or boxes, label them now with whom, where and when and organize them later.

Be prepared for stories and memories that aren’t happy, as well. They may be difficult to hear. It may be the first time your loved one has felt safe to talk about it. Listen with love and understanding.

It's essential to let stories unfold at their own pace. Interrupting may break your loved one's train of thought, and it could be challenging to get it back on track. If the story veers wildly in another direction, ask a simple question that can get you back to the original story.

Make notes as you talk to help you remember things you may want to ask about later. A person, place or event mentioned in passing may have a tale of its own.

Before you begin talking to your loved one, ask other family members if there is anything they would like to know more about. But don't use this as a time to bring up old grievances. If a family fight is pivotal to a story, it will come out. Oral history is not an opportunity to back a loved one into a corner.

Avoid yes-or-no questions. Instead ask very broad questions such as, “What’s your favorite childhood memory” or more specific but open-ended, leading questions such as, “Tell me about the first house you grew up in.”

The Oral History Center at the University of California offers these tips for conducting an interview:

  • An interview is not a dialogue. Ask the question, then let the subject speak.
  • Ask one brief question at a time. After it has been answered, you can follow up with more questions if needed.
  • Start with questions that are not controversial; save the delicate questions until everyone feels comfortable with the interview process.
  • Don't let periods of silence fluster you. Give your narrator time to think without prompting.
  • It is often hard to describe people. Ask about the person's appearance and a character description will likely follow.
  • Do not challenge accounts you think might be inaccurate. This is the story from their perspective and memory.
  • Don't switch the recorder off and on.
  • End the interview within a reasonable time. Plan for an hour and a half at a time, but accommodate your loved one's mood and energy levels.

You may not make any significant discoveries or rewrite local lore, but just the opportunity to really focus on the memories of a lifetime will make your loved one's oral history worthwhile.


Long-distance caregiving: Making it work

UHR long distance reg.jpgCaring for a loved one with a serious illness is stressful and heartbreaking.

The difficulties are compounded for family members who are far away but still want to be able to provide support.

Long-distance caregivers may be frustrated by their inability to participate fully in everyday care, and may also feel guilty about letting those responsibilities fall to others.

Let your loved one’s care team – nurse, social worker, hospice, spiritual counselors, etc. – know how and how often you would like to be updated. If family is keeping you up to date and you are in touch with your loved one, you may only need to speak to the care team once or twice a week, with updates increasing over time.

If you have family acting as the everyday, hands-on caregiver, respect the work that they are doing. If you disagree with a decision or course of action, approach it as a discussion rather than as a demand.

If you don’t have family who can care for your loved one, don’t be afraid to reach out to their friends and neighbors. Ask if they can check up on your loved one regularly and let you know if they have any concerns.

Keep in touch with your loved one by phone or by video chat so you can monitor their emotional wellbeing and health. It's important to get their perspective on their care, and it's important to let them know that you are only a phone call away, you love them, and they can count on your support.

Find ways that you can contribute from a distance. Are there tasks that can be accomplished over the phone or online? Are there additional services that you could hire to help out local family caregivers, such as housekeeping or meal service? Can you help arrange care to offer family caregivers some respite?

Perhaps the most challenging part of being a long distance caregiver is knowing that you will get the call telling you it’s time to say goodbye. Make preparations and be ready to travel when your loved one has taken a turn for the worse.

Having a loved one in hospice care is a difficult and emotional time, and can be frustrating for long-distance caregivers. Often the first thing that falls apart under stress is communication. However, it’s critical that you are open to discussion, willing to listen and work together with family, hospice and other members of the care team.


UHR is seeking Direct Care Volunteers

UHR seeking volunteers for our upcoming Fall Direct Care Training. The training begins in September and consists of three-hour classes that occur for six consecutive weeks. The Thursday dates are September 6, September 13, September 20, September 27, October 4, and October 11 from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm.

We often have requests for “specialty” volunteers at UHR. The number one need in 2018 is to increase the number of Direct Care Volunteers who can speak a second language, in particular: Spanish, Creole, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Yiddish.

United Hospice of Rockland is proudly recognized as a We Honor Veterans Hospice Partner, which shows our commitment to providing quality end-of-life care to meet Veteran’s needs. We are also looking to recruit veteran volunteers for our Veteran Peer Program, partnering veteran volunteers with veteran patients, and who might like to volunteer a few hours per week.

If you are interested in volunteering at United Hospice of Rockland, please complete an online application at opportunities; mail or drop it off to UHR, Attn: Carol Galione, 11 Stokum Lane, New City, NY 10956 or email


Youth for Hospice Members Needed for 2018-2019

UHR YFH 071918.jpgYouth for Hospice (YFH) is a volunteer group coordinated by local high school students whose mission is to help create fundraisers and support other programs to benefit United Hospice of Rockland.

There are currently six YFH HS chapters: Clarkstown North, Clarkstown South, Nanuet, Nyack, Pearl River, and Tappan Zee. In addition to individual chapter meetings, the entire Youth for Hospice meets once a month at the UHR office in New City to discuss fundraising events, to help at UHR special events and to volunteer in the office, all while earning community service hours.

All of us at United Hospice of Rockland are so grateful to have this energetic and committed group of high school students working with us, and we are always looking to recruit more YFH members!

For more information about Youth for Hospice or to become a member, please email Sarah Henry at or visit


Hospice: 11 Myths and Facts

UHR fishing main.jpgWhy do people put off calling Hospice – or refuse to call Hospice at all?

Because Hospice services are often misunderstood.

Here are some of the most common myths about Hospice services, and the facts that will give you an accurate picture of the compassionate services Hospice offers to improve the quality of life for patients and families.

  1. Myth: Hospice care is only for individuals who are very close to death.
    Fact: Early referral to Hospice enables individuals and families to receive the greatest benefit from our services and support. We can be of assistance to patients and families for many months before a patient’s death.
  2. Myth: Hospice patients must be homebound.
    Fact: Patients need not be homebound to receive services. Part of our mission is to help patients to be as active as possible.
  3. Myth: Receiving Hospice services means the patient no longer receives other treatments or therapies.
    Fact: We want every patient to have the treatments or therapies they need to be comfortable and improve their quality of life. Treatments or therapies may be administered to provide comfort care, such as physical therapy, massage therapy and music therapy are suggested to maximize functioning and quality of life.
  4. Myth: Hospice provides care only for patients.
    Fact: Hospice also offers support and services to each patient's family. Emotional and spiritual support, as well as caregiver education and volunteer services, are geared to meet the needs of caregivers and loved ones.
  5. Myth: Only senior citizens are eligible for Hospice services.
    Fact: Hospice care is available for patients of all ages and their families.
  6. Myth: Hospice only provides care for people diagnosed with cancer.
    Fact: Hospice provides care for seriously ill individuals and their loved ones regardless of diagnosis.
  7. Myth: Hospice patients give up treatment and care with their own physician.
    Fact: Hospice encourages patients’ physicians to follow the patient and participate in their care.
  8. Myth: Accepting Hospice care means you have given up and that all hope is lost.
    Fact: Hope for a cure is transformed to hope for comfort, acceptance and peace.
  9. Myth: Only for those with private insurance can receive Hospice services.
    Fact: Hospice serves everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. Hospice care is fully covered under Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans.
  10. Myth: Hospice patients must have a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order to receive services.
    Fact: Patients are not required to have a DNR order except at the Joe Raso Hospice Residence.
  11. Myth: Once someone is admitted into the Hospice program, they cannot leave.
    Fact: Individuals can choose to discontinue Hospice services at any time.

United Hospice of Rockland is always available to answer your questions about our programs and services. Contact us anytime at 845.634.4974 or email


UHR blog 062618.jpgCan you use Hospice in a nursing home?

Families who have a loved one in a nursing home may think that they don’t need or aren’t eligible for hospice services.

Not true.

United Hospice of Rockland (UHR) allows nursing home residents who are seriously ill to remain in a familiar and supportive environment while receiving relief from pain and other symptoms of their terminal illness. In coordination with the nursing home team, UHR provides the guidance and specialized care needed to help nursing home residents and their families achieve comfort and peace of mind.

Why use Hospice services when a loved one is in a nursing home?

When you work with Hospice, an interdisciplinary team of highly skilled healthcare professionals including physicians, nurses, social workers, spiritual caregivers, bereavement counselors, volunteers and other specialists provide needed services. Emotional support and guidance are also provided to the residents' family members.
UHR staff includes nurses and social workers certified in hospice and palliative care to help improve your loved one's quality of life. UHR offers flexible care for your loved one as their needs for symptom and pain management increase.

Area nursing homes cannot provide often cannot offer services above and beyond the basic level of care provided to their residents.

Residents entering UHR's hospice program remain under the care of the nursing home physician. UHR Nurses work in collaboration with nursing home staff to:

  • Direct and coordinate the plan of care for residents.
  • Answer questions and offer emotional support to residents and their families.
  • Assess residents and consult with physicians to ensure effective symptom and pain control.
  • Provide information and recommendations.

The UHR medical director is available for consultation and our Hospice caregivers are on call 24 hours day/7 days a week to address any patient needs or family concerns.

Learn more about services and eligibility at


Call Hospice early to receive the full benefits of care

UHR call hopsice early 1.jpgPeople put off calling Hospice for a variety of reasons, most of them based on false assumptions.

They think that Hospice means they are giving up. Not true.

They think that Hospice will lead to a faster death for their loved ones. Not true.

They don’t understand the full benefits of Hospice and when they are eligible for services. True.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed that calling hospice sooner leads to a longer, happier life for patients with terminal illness in most cases.

PeopUHR  call hospice early 2.jpgle who put off hospice care might spend months in and out of hospitals to treat symptoms of their illness such as pain, nausea, depression and difficulty breathing. Hospice care is specifically designed to help alleviate these types of symptoms for a better quality of life.  In fact, the study found that symptoms often were relieved only after Hospice care began. Patients and families had endured months of stress, pain and worry that could have been alleviated by Hospice.

People with a terminal illness should engage their family and physician early in a discussion about care goals, priorities and Hospice.

You can learn more about the study and the benefits of calling Hospice early in this article from Consumer Reports.

When is it the right time for Hospice? Learn more by reading our FAQs or call 845-634-4974.

Tell his stories: Remembering dad on Father's Day

Losing your father can feel like losing a big part of yourself.UHR Fathers Day.jpg

By exploring and recording his stories, you can keep his memory bright and share it with others who will find it comforting.

Write down his words of wisdom. Chances are your dad gave you a lot of advice throughout your life – some of which you only appreciated years after the fact. Make a list of his favorite sayings and the best advice he gave you so you can read it, remember and share it with those who might need a little guidance.

Record the less-than-wise as well. Was your dad the king of puns? Master of the overly long joke? Did he pepper his conversations with local colloquialisms and old family adages? Did he have a life motto? Did he gave you a nickname or always send you off to bed with the same goodnight? Write it all down.

Preserve his storytelling voice. You may have heard your dad's stories a thousand times, but as time goes on the details can slip away. Take the time to write down stories he told you from his childhood and growing up, favorite family anecdotes from your childhood, stories of successes and failures and all the things that made your dad who he was. It's a record you can pass on to family, friends and the next generation.

Spend time with your father's friends and family and hear their stories. Chances are, they are missing him, too. The stories of their shared history may reveal a side of your father that you didn’t know. Take the opportunity to learn something new about who your dad was as a friend, a cousin, a brother or a co-worker.

Research your family tree. More stories wait to be uncovered in your family history.  With so many events, photos, yearbooks, newspapers, audio, video and more archived online, some simple research can lead you to discover hidden treasures about your dad and the generations before that all led up to you being who you are.

Grieving is a healthy and normal response to any loss. It is essential to find the support that can give you the strength to live a healthy and full life while you work through your grief.

If you are having a difficult time coping with the death of your father, United Hospice of Rockland offers the Hope & Healing Program with specially trained counselors, clinical social workers and volunteers who have unique expertise in all aspects of grief. Our bereavement support team can help you navigate the grieving process and accommodate to your new normal.

Learn more at

Why you need a Health Care Proxy

UHR Health Care Proxy.jpgWhen you are unable to make your own health care decisions who will make them for you? Do they know what you want? Will they be able to make tough choices?

Advance directives makes your wishes known and allows you to make choices about your health care today for the future. Completing advance directives will assure that your wishes will be followed and that some of the stress of that decision-making will be relieved for your loved ones.

One of these directives is a Health Care Proxy, also known as a health care power of attorney. A Health Care Proxy names another person and an alternate to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself.

This document does not necessarily establish what type of treatment you may want to receive. You can limit and outline the decisions your Health Care Proxy is allowed to make for you.

Your Health Care Proxy will have copies of your advance directives, so they can execute your wishes as you have outlined in your directives.

If I have a general power of attorney, do I still need a health care proxy?

Yes. A general power of attorney can carry out legal or business affairs for you but can't make health care decisions on your behalf.Do I need a Health Care Proxy now?

The best time to write advance directives, including designating a Health Care Proxy, is while you're healthy. Here are the PDF forms and instructions on completing advance directives in New York State.

You should keep the original documents for your advance directives. Copies should be provided to your health care proxy/agent and alternate; the hospital each time you are admitted; immediate family members and your lawyer if you have one.

Storing your advance directives

United Hospice of Rockland, Inc., has a free, secure, website safely stores your documents and allowed them to be accessed by health professionals when needed. It is called  Print and sign a copy of the enrollment form and mail it along with copies (NOT originals) of your advance directives to:
c/o United Hospice of Rockland, Inc.
11 Stokum Lane
New City, NY 10956

We will scan and upload the documents to the website. We will mail back all of your documents with three ID cards: one for you, one for your health care proxy and one for your physician. The back of the care has instructions for retrieving your directives.

Contact United Hospice of Rockland at 845.634.4974 or if you would like further information or help with establishing a Health Care Proxy and establishing your advance directives.

We Honor Veterans at United Hospice of Rockland

UHR we honor veterans Memorial Day.jpgUnited Hospice of Rockland honors and remembers our veterans this Memorial Day and every day as a We Honor Veterans Hospice Partner Level One. Our veterans deserve the best in compassionate care that makes every day meaningful.

Hospice-Veteran Partnerships (HVP) is a national program that fosters collaboration between VA facilities, community hospices, State Hospice Organizations and others working together to ensure that excellent care at the end of life is available for our Veterans and their families.

Our mission for our Veterans includes:
•    Giving Veterans an opportunity to tell their stories.
•    Respecting Veterans’ service, their feelings, and any suggestions they might offer.
•    Thanking Veterans for their service to our country.
•    Pairing Volunteers and caregivers with Veteran patients.UHR We Honor Veterans Memorial Day 2018.jpg
•    Showing appreciation for the families of Veterans.
•    Always be sincere, caring, compassionate and ready and able to listen to what a Veteran or his or her family member has to share about the situation they are dealing with.
•    Being supportive and non-judgmental and always validate their feelings and concerns.
•    Being honest, sincere, caring and respectful.
•    It might take longer for some Veterans to trust you. Be patient and listen.
•    Expect the Veteran’s sharing to occur over time.

Our veterans deserve the best in compassionate care. We work with them, on their terms, to make every day meaningful.

Learn more about the HVP program and available resources at


When is it time to call Hospice?

UHR When should you call hospice.jpgWhen asked, most families wish they had called Hospice sooner. But how do you know when it is the right time?

It can be a difficult decision to make. People fear that calling Hospice is giving up, or will hurry their loved one’s death. Neither of these is true.

Hospice provides end-of-life care when you or your loved one is ready for it. We’re here to provide palliative comfort care, offer caregiver respite and make sure everyone has the quality time they need to make memories and prepare for the loss.

When it comes to the best time to call there are medical and emotional factors to consider, and each case is different.

But, in fact, you don’t have to be in immediate need of care to call United Hospice of Rockland. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a serious or life-limiting illness, we can help you create a plan for your future Hospice needs. When the time comes, you’ll know that Hospice is ready to step in to provide care, hope, comfort and improved quality of life.  

Medical Considerations
Your medical team can talk to you and your loved one about the current medical conditions, what they predict will come in the short-term, what they see long-term and what ongoing medical interventions may be required. Let your providers know you are interested in Hospice care and begin an honest discussion. This will open up treatment options as illness progresses.

No one symptom is a sign that it may be time to bring in Hospice care, but if you or your loved one are experiencing a cluster of symptoms, it could be time to start planning for Hospice care.

  • Physician prognosis of six months or less if the illness was to run its natural course
  • Significant, progressive weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Symptoms poorly responsive to treatment: pain, cough, nausea, vomiting, pain, diarrhea
  • Increase in pain and nausea
  • Increased breathing difficulties
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • There are no further curative treatments available

Emotional considerations
When a prognosis of six months or less to live has been made, a patient may choose to forgo painful treatment or extended hospitalizations aimed at extending life. They may instead focus on making the most of the time they have left through pain and symptom management. Hospice is here to make the patient and the family comfortable and to remove as much stress as possible. It’s also a time when the patient and the family can make their emotional and spiritual preparations for their eventual loss.

The expert staff at United Hospice of Rockland works with the patient’s medical team to manage pain, symptoms, therapies and other treatments as well as providing emotional, practical and spiritual support to families.
If you have questions, at any time, contact us at 845.634.4974 or use our inquiry form.


Bereavement Services at United Hospice of Rockland

mother-1327186_640.jpgGrieving is a healthy and normal response to the loss of a loved one, but that doesn’t mean you have to navigate the process alone. It’s important to find the support that can give you the strength to live a healthy and full life while you work through your grief.

United Hospice of Rockland's Hope & Healing Program at the Provident Bank Hope & Healing Center specializes in bereavement support. This program, supported in part by The Jeffrey David Walerstein Foundation, offers a wide range of support services and help from specially trained counselors, clinical social workers and volunteers who have unique expertise in all aspects of bereavement.

How Bereavement Services can help
Grief can be overwhelming and isolating. Bereavement services can provide hope, a sense of community and a different perspective on how to cope with your loss.
Bereavement services can help you:

  • Accept your loss
  • Find comfort in positive memories
  • Identify situations that make coping more difficult
  • Create a strategy that will help you accomplish daily tasks
  • Offer a safe environment, either individually or with a group, to talk about your loss
  • Show you that what you are feeling is normal and that you are not alone
  • Share information and resources with others

One aspect people often don't consider is how sharing their story and their grief can help others. The sense that your experience is helping someone else cope with their loss can help you realize how far you have come and that there is value in what you have gone through.

Our Services
Individual Support Sessions – When a loss is new, it can be easier to talk about your feelings one-on-one rather than in a group setting. At UHR, specially trained bereavement counselors work with you in a quiet, secure environment to respect your privacy and your needs.
Bereavement Support Groups – Sharing your story can help you heal and help others who are on the same journey. UHR coordinates separate groups for those who have lost a parent or sibling, or a spouse or a child.

Child Loss Support Group – The death of a child is an almost unfathomable loss. This unique support group is available specifically for those who have experienced the death of a child within the past three years.

The Healing Hearts Program – Children experience loss differently than adults do.  Healing Hearts offers support for families with children, ages 4-18, who have lost a loved one. Families can work together, and children can work in groups with peers for age-appropriate support. Activities include art, play and music therapies. Parents (or guardians) receive support and practical guidance for helping children cope with loss. There is no charge for Healing Hearts program.

Crisis Intervention/Customized Bereavement Program - Our crisis intervention team will work with your school, business, congregation or community organization to develop a customized plan to meet your needs.

If you have lost a family member or friend under Hospice care, there is never a cost for any of our services.

Call the United Hospice of Rockland’s Hope & Healing Center at 845.634.4974 or email us at for more information or to make an appointment to speak with one of our staff.

For more information and resources visit Our Services - Bereavement Services.


Coping With Grief on Mother’s Day

mothers day roses.jpgFor people who have lost their mother, Mother’s Day can be painful or bittersweet.

No matter how you decide to spend your day, you may be overwhelmed with grief. You may cry. You may feel happy and then feel guilty about feeling happy. You should grieve on your own timeline and in your own way.

Here are some ideas to help you manage Mother’s Day and hopefully find some solace and joy in your mother’s memory.

Take time on Saturday to grieve. Find some alone time, cry, go through old photos or just curl up in bed. Then devote Sunday to celebrating of your mom's life, sharing memories and feeling the love and support of your family and friends.

Rather than trying to push feelings away, invite her memory into your day on your terms and consciously make your mom a part of your activities. Use her favorite flowers as a centerpiece, cook one of her specialties, watch a favorite movie. Controlling some of the triggers that may send you spiraling into grief can help you manage feelings in smaller doses.

Spend time with people who knew your mother and share your grief, whether that’s family or some of her closest friends.

Make new memories. Are you spending the day with your own children or grandchildren? Take the opportunity to build some great memories of the time they spend with you.
Remember her by giving back. Donate to a charity she supported in her memory or spend the day volunteering with an organization she loved.

Everyone experiences grief a different way but if you feel your grief is interfering with your daily activities or stopping you from enjoying your life, consider joining a support group. United Hospice of Rockland offers bereavement services and resources to the families of our patients and the community. You can learn more at

We at United Hospice of Rockland understand how difficult Mother's Day can be after losing a mother. We hope that you will follow your journey of grieving, on your own time, and spend your day doing what is best for your healing process.


National Nurses Week 2018: Thank you!

Thank you to our hospice nurses! This is National Nurses Week, a chance to honor nurses for the work they do and to show our appreciation.  Nurses-Week-2018-Logo.png

Hospice nurses not only take care of the medical needs of their patients, but they also offer care and support for families and loved ones during the most difficult times of their lives.

We thank our United Hospice of Rockland nurses, and all hospice nurses, for their skills, their care, their dedication to patients and families and their compassion. We truly appreciate and value the work you do every day.

12 questions to ask about your Hospice

UHR 12 questions.jpgHow do you know if Hospice care and your Hospice provider are right for you? Here are some questions to help identify factors that may be important to you and your family and how UHR can fulfill those needs.

1. Is the Hospice Medicare certified and state licensed? Most hospices are certified by Medicare and are therefore required to follow Medicare rules and regulations. This is important if you wish to receive hospice care as part of your Medicare/Medicaid coverage. United Hospice of Rockland is both Medicare and Medicaid eligible and is regulated by the Joint Commission.

2. When was the last time the hospice was surveyed by a State or Federal oversight agency? Ask when the last survey what the survey results were and if any deficiencies were noted and if so, have they been resolved? UHR is accredited by the Joint Commission, Federal approval for continued participation in the Medicare program and licensing by the New York Department of Health. The Joint Commission is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization's commitment to meeting hundreds of performance standards.

3. Does the hospice serve your area? If you live in Rockland County or lower Orange County, have a serious illness and are in agreement with the goal of comfort care, you may be eligible for hospice services from UHR. We are here to help you.

4. Does the hospice own or operate a care facility to provide home-like care in a hospice residence, hospital or nursing home? When families are no longer able to care for an ill loved one at home, the Joe Raso Hospice Residence (JRHR) provides a comforting, home-like atmosphere with unparalleled medical care. JRHR is one of only 11 hospice residences across New York State. In 2017, we cared for 316 patients and their families.

5. Are clinical staff (physicians, nurses, social workers) certified or credentialed in hospice and palliative care? UHR services are provided by an interdisciplinary team of highly skilled healthcare professionals including physicians, nurses, social workers, spiritual caregivers, volunteers bereavement counselors and other specialists as needed. All are trained to work with individuals with serious illness.

6. What services do hospice volunteers offer? Volunteers can provide a variety of services including friendly visits, running errands, personal care, etc. If you want a hospice volunteer, you just need to request it with your local hospice.

7. Will staff come to the home day or night if there is a crisis? Hospice staff are available by phone to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We have staff ready to attend to patient and family needs at any time.

8. Where does the hospice provide services? United Hospice of Rockland serves nursing home residents in their familiar and supportive environment while receiving palliative and other Hospice services. See a complete list of the facilities that work with UHR.

UHR is also able to provide hospice care at our local hospitals, assisted living facilities, group homes and at our Joe Raso Hospice Residence. Call 845-634-4974 for more information.

9. Does the hospice offer any specialized programs? UHR offers the HeartWise program for patients with advanced heart disease who need specialized, compassionate care. The goal of HeartWise is to manage patients' symptoms while focusing on increased quality of life and reducing unwanted hospital admissions. HeartWise provides support and education to family members. UHR also offers patients a wide range of therapies including occupational, physical, respiratory, speech, massage, music and pet.

10. How long has the hospice been operating in the community? For nearly 30 years, UHR has provided care and support to patients and families in Rockland and lower Orange Counties.

11. How many staff members are assigned to each Hospice patient? One of the first things the hospice team will do is to prepare an individualized care plan that will address the amount of caregiving needed in your situation. Hospice staff are always accessible to answer medical questions, provide support and assist with planning for additional care.

12. Does hospice provide any support to the family after the patient dies? UHR provides continuing contact and bereavement support for family members and friends through our Provident Bank Hope & Healing Center for up to 13 months following the death of a loved one. United Hospice of Rockland also provides bereavement groups and support for anyone in the community who has experienced the death of a loved one. Learn more about our Bereavement Services.


Celebrating our volunteersUH_VHOH_Artwork2.jpg

April is National Volunteer Month when organizations across the country recognize the countless hours and priceless talents that volunteers give every day.

At United Hospice of Rockland, we value our volunteers more than most. Many of our volunteers are here to help families through very difficult times and to serve as support for hospice caregivers.

It’s rewarding work, but work that takes dedication, understanding and a true desire to help people Our volunteers experience great joy and share grief with the families they serve, yet they come back even stronger to help the next person who will rely on that strength.

We thank all our volunteers, whether they are hands-on helpers every day, helping us fundraise through our events, keeping our offices and grounds organized and beautiful or supporting us behind the scenes. We truly could not do what we do and serve our communities without your skills and commitment.
Thank you from United Rockland of Hospice and from all the families you have helped along the way.

In 2017:
•    93 Direct Care Volunteers provided 5549 visit to patients & families, for a total of 6,083 hours.
•    336 Non-Direct Care Volunteers provided 4,561 hours.


National Healthcare Decisions Day

For most families, advance care planning is the last thing they want to think about. It can be difficult to consider the possibility of a loved one being critically ill or even injured in an accident.
But the truth is, for many families those possibilities will become realities at some point in their lives. Having advance care planning in place can ease some of the stress that comes with making difficult decisions about a loved one’s care.

National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. NHDD is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be.

A key goal of NHDD is to demystify healthcare decision-making and make the topic of advance care planning inescapable. Among other things, NHDD helps people understand that advance healthcare decision-making includes much more than living wills; it is a process that should focus first on conversation and choosing an agent.

The Federal Patient Self-Determination Act requires that all Medicare-participating healthcare facilities inquire about and provide information to patients on Advance Directives; it also requires these facilities to provide community education on Advance Directives. See 42 C.F.R. § 489.102. All healthcare facilities are required to:

  • Provide information about health care decision-making rights.
  • Ask all patients if they have an advance directive.
  • Educate their staff and community about advance directives.
  • Not discriminate against patients based on an advance directive status.

United Hospice of Rockland participates in NHDD to help individuals make their wishes known and to let families know that they will have guidance when making healthcare decisions.

“We have seen too many families struggling with healthcare decisions when they should be spending that time – and energy – with their loved ones,” said Donna Branca, director of marketing and public relations at United Hospice of Rockland. “Planning doesn’t mean you are anticipating that something bad will happen. It doesn’t mean you have given up. It’s the best way to be prepared, in a practical way, for what lies ahead.”

As the NHDD organizers put it: "It always seems too early, until it's too late."
Learn more at


Recent News

Why Charlene Bradin walks in UHR’s Walk to Remember

bella charlene walk.jpg“United Hospice of Rockland was there for my family and my mother Bella when we needed them most,” said Charlene Bradin. “We could not have gone through this alone, and if we did, it would have been so much more difficult.”

Charlene’s mother Bella passed away 11 years ago. She was so grateful for the care she received from hospice that she asked her family to continue to support UHR even after she was gone.

“So, in her memory and honor, we continue to support UHR anyway we can,” said Charlene. “We donate our time, money and volunteer as much as possible. We also have a fundraising team for the Walk, called Birchwood Center.”
“Please join us as we Walk on Sunday, April 15 in memory of my mother.”

Walk with Charlene to honor Bela or in memory of any loved one you have lost.

Register now at

Joe Raso Hospice Residence at United Hospice of Rockland

Hospice services are available in many settings – Home, hospital, nursing home, assisted living. But for people who don’t have the support they need in these environments United Hospice of Rockland welcomes them to make their home at the Joe Raso Hospice Residence (JRHR).

JRHR offers a residential hospice care environment, including:

  • Expert pain and symptom management
  • Nursing care
  • Assistance with the tasks of daily living (feeding, bathing, etc.)
  • Therapies (occupational, physical, respiratory, speech, massage, music and pet)
  • Volunteer companionship
  • Spiritual and psycho-social counseling for patients and their loved ones
  • Bereavement counseling and support groups for surviving family members

With 10,000-square-feet of living area situated on 11 beautiful acres amidst a peaceful setting of streams, woodlands, wildlife, and a pond, JRHR offers a tranquil setting for families to spend quality time with their loved ones, all while knowing expert care is available 24/7.
Other amenities at JRHR include:

  • Ten private, spacious suites offer space for visiting family members with convertible furniture for overnight stays.
  • Specially designed bathroom facilities include a special "wheel-in" bathtub, radiant heat and other similar amenities.
  • Flexible dining options are tailored to meet the special needs of residents.
  • Our "great room" is a cozy, comfortable space where residents and family members can gather to visit, read, sit by the fireplace or just view the courtyard.
  • Private areas are available for patients and families to visit, meet with a social worker, for contemplation or meditation.
  • Life-enhancing therapies, such as music, pet and massage are available.
  • Special outdoor spaces, including gardens, paths and a courtyard are designed to accommodate wheelchairs and beds.

Since 1988, United Hospice of Rockland has cared for thousands of our neighbors in Rockland and lower Orange Counties, providing the essential care and services that enable those who are seriously ill to remain in their own homes, and offering them comfort, dignity and control over the important decisions that impact their end-of-life care.

JRHR is located at 415 Buena Vista Road, New City, New York.

Please call us at 845-634-4974 to discuss your needs and to have someone answer any questions you may have.

Joe Raso Hospice Residence Virtual Tour from United Hospice of Rockland on Vimeo.


Register for the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium - June 11, 2018

End of Life Symposium_MN.jpgRegistration is now open for the June 2018 End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium! This continuing education program is presented by The Center for Education & Professional Development and United Hospice of Rockland.

The consortium is open to Registered Nurses, Nursing Faculty and other Allied Health Professionals. The program prepares nurses across healthcare settings to identify patients in need of hospice and palliative care and to enable nurses to provide primary palliative care to these patients. All attendees will be awarded 6.75 contact hours.

The event is June 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Montefiore Nyack, Cafeteria Conference Room, 160 North Midland Ave., Nyack, NY.

Registration is open until June 4.

Participants can register by email:

The End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) is an effort of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, offering courses for undergraduate faculty, clinical end-of-life care educators and other continuing education/staff development educators. This comprehensive, national education program is designed to improve end-of-life care by nurses, develop a core of expert nursing educators and to coordinate national nursing education efforts in end-of-life care.

Learn more at


Grief in a season of sunshine: Let spring soothe your spirit

crocus-2072395_640.jpgSpring can be a time for making a fresh start and celebrating life.

But for people who are grieving the loss of a loved one, the new growth and rebirth of the season can make their feelings stand out in sharp contrast.

The changing of the seasons can bring a flood of memories and overwhelming emotions, especially during the first year after a loss.

Look at the new life and optimism of spring as an opportunity to nurture yourself and look forward.

Get outside and soak up the springtime: As the weather warms, make a point of getting outside every day, whether you are taking a walk around the block, reading a book in the park or having coffee on the back patio. The first warm breezes of spring are soothing to the soul.

Immerse yourself in growth: Gardening offers the opportunity to help put new life and beauty into the world. Whether you have a vegetable plot or a few colorful flowering pots, tending plants offers the chance to experience the joy of caring for living things and watching them grow.

Capture time: When you feel like the world is moving and changing too quickly, photography can help you hit pause and stay in the moment. Spring is the perfect time to explore nature with a camera (or smartphone) in hand. Take the time to notice and preserve the tiny details of the life all around you.

Plan a trip: If you can get away for a week or even a weekend road trip, travel has a way of offering a new perspective. Go somewhere you’ve never been before, try new foods, take in new landscapes. Travel offers distraction, a chance to get away from the tangible daily reminders of loss and back get in touch with who you are beyond your grief.

Spring comes every year to remind us that life goes on, and it does, leaving us with the question of “how?”

Everyone has a different journey through grief. Let spring guide you down a new path and give you hope as you find your way.  


Why Work at Hospice?

Become part of an organization where you will make a real difference, every day!
United Hospice of Rockland, Inc. (UHR) is now hiring full-time RNs and Home Health Aides (HHAs) with sign-on bonuses for new hires:

  • $3,000 sign-on bonus for full-time RNsuhr careers.jpg
  • $1,000 sign on bonus for full-time HHAs

A career at UHR is an opportunity to be part of a compassionate, skilled and dedicated team in an environment defined by a commitment to quality, caring and respect. Together we work to provide the highest quality of care and comfort to patients and families facing terminal illness and bereavement.

UHR Benefits:

  • Health Insurance coverage is offered by Oxford Health to employees working more than 30 hours per week. Plans include Metro Silver, Metro Gold and Freedom Gold. UHR pays a portion of the cost for single, spousal, or family coverage.
  • Additional healthcare and dental benefits are offered by AFLAC, at the employee’s cost but as a pre-tax benefit.
  • A 401k with Fidelity is offered after one year of employment and 1,000 hours of work. Thereafter, 500 hours must be worked annually to maintain eligibility.
  • Profit Sharing is offered to 401k eligible employees after one year or 1,000 hours of work and subject to a six-year vesting schedule.
  • For professionally degreed and licensed positions, salary and wages are determined by years of full-time experience.

Learn more about career opportunities at UHR:


Join us Sunday, April 15 for the 9th Annual Walk to Remember

We invite individuals and families who have been touched by United Hospice of Rockland to come together on April 15 to remember our loved ones at the 9th Annual Walk to Remember.

In celebration of our 30th anniversary this year, we are looking for 30 Fundraising Teams to represent each one of the 30 years we have provided compassion, care and dignity to patients and their families in our community facing serious illnesses.

The Walk is held in conjunction with the Rockland Road Runners 29th Annual George Wodicka Hook Half Marathon and 5K Run, sponsored by the Family of Sheldon S. Goldstein in Gratitude to United Hospice of Rockland.
Registration starts at 7 a.m. and the walk kicks off at 8 a.m., rain or shine, at Rockland Lake State Park – North Parking Lot, Congers, NY. Please arrive early to register and to avoid parking fees.

To register for the Walk online, go to

To register for the Rockland Road Runners Hook Half Marathon/5K, visit

Special thanks to our Exclusive Sponsors to date: Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Cares – Walk Sponsor; The Family Of Sheldon S. Goldstein In Gratitude To United Hospice Of Rockland – Race Sponsor; Avanti - Walk Winning Team Cup Sponsor; Crystal Run Healthcare – Time Keeping Sponsor; Joseph W. Sorce Funeral Home – Bib Sponsor; Kohl Industrial Park – Award Sponsor; PDI - Starting Line Sponsor; Raselle & Eddie Fisher – Kids’ Fun Run Sponsor And Stop & Shop – Finish Line Sponsor.

If you are unable to attend but would like to donate, visit

Rachel Mann and Hilary Rosen will be walking to honor and remember their father, Phil Rosen.


Helping others grieve

Helping others grieve UHR.jpgIt’s hard to see a friend or someone we love going through the pain of a loved one’s death. Our first impulse may be to try to fix things, to return life to normal or to make that person happy again.

But grieving is a personal journey that is different for everyone. What most people need, especially in the first few weeks and months, is someone to listen and to know people are there to support them as they need it, on their own terms.

  • Don’t be afraid to reach out. If you are afraid to reach out because you don’t know what to say, keep your expressions of sympathy simple and offer to help any way you can.
  • Listen. Someone who is grieving often needs to let loose with their feelings, retell stories and talk through their thoughts. You don’t have to have answers – just sitting, listening and agreeing is enough.
  • Don’t put a timeline on their grief. Everyone needs to grieve and heal on their own schedule.
  • Take over some tasks that may otherwise fall through the cracks. Offer to cook, deliver food, care for pets, run errands or even field phone calls. Give them time to rest and reflect.
  • If the person who is grieving seems open and ready, share memories of the deceased.
  • Resist the urge to put a positive “spin” on the loss, such as, “They had a long life,” or “It’s all part of a bigger plan.”
  • Be there long term. Grieving doesn’t end after a few weeks, a few months or even a year. Check in regularly, invite your grieving loved one to lunch or coffee and be there to listen as time goes on.
  • Offer extra support during difficult days such as birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. The first year will be difficult as the person who is grieving goes through milestones without their loved one.

United Hospice of Rockland offers bereavement services for those who have experienced loss through our Hope & Healing Program at the Provident Bank Hope & Healing Center.

At UHR you will find specially trained counselors, clinical social workers and volunteers who have unique expertise in all aspects of bereavement. We offer individual and group support programs and our Healing Hearts Program for families with children, ages 4-18, who have lost a loved one.

Our Hope and Healing Program also offers a Child Loss Support Group specifically for those who have experienced the death of a child within the past three years. This 8-week program includes professional facilitation from trained Bereavement Counselors, education on grief and healing and a safe place to share your feelings and stories.

Our Crisis Intervention/Customized Bereavement Program team can work with your school, business, congregation or community organization to develop a customized plan to meet your group’s needs.

Services are free for those who have lost a family member or friend under Hospice care. Counseling services are available to the community with a fee for those who did not have a loved one in a hospice program.

Call the United Hospice of Rockland’s Hope & Healing Center at 845.634.4974 or email us at for more information or to make an appointment to speak with one of our staff.


Doris Ortiz is a valuable volunteer at United Hospice of Rockland.The value of UHR volunteers: Doris Ortiz

Doris Ortiz is a brand new Direct Care Volunteer at UHR who immediately put her special skills to work for a family who needed her help.

After attending Direct Care Volunteer training sessions at United Hospice of Rockland, she was uniquely able to assist a Hospice family who primarily spoke Spanish. Fluent in Spanish and English, Doris became a tremendous support to this family and UHR.

In 2011, Doris retired after 34 years of public service, serving as Assistant District Manager and District Manager of Brooklyn Community Board 14 and on the Federal Government Selective Service System (Draft Board). 

In 2015, when she and her husband Victor moved to Rockland County, she was moved to volunteer in the human services field she loved. Her gut feeling told her to go to Hospice. She had recently lost her own wonderful mother and knew the challenges of being a caretaker. She thought that interacting with families that had a hospice relative would bring her some comfort and solace.
Working with that first family was comforting for Doris. She knew they valued her presence and was there to help them. She was also impressed with how the nurses, social worker, and all the Hospice staff were so responsive to the family's needs every day.

“For me, it was a bittersweet but enriching experience when the patient eventually passed,” Doris said. “However, it is rewarding for me to know that I can help other families in this situation, even if in a minimal way!”

“I am very grateful to have had this opportunity and look forward to a continued relationship with United Hospice of Rockland.”

Interested in volunteering?

UHR is currently seeking volunteers for our upcoming six-week spring Direct Care Training, Mondays from March 12 through April 16, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

UHR especially needs Direct Care Volunteers who, like Doris, can speak a second language, particularly Spanish, Creole, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Yiddish.

We also need volunteers who can assist with tasks such as office work, home repairs, haircuts, manicures, financial advice and more.

Are you a veteran? Volunteer with our Veteran-to-Veteran Volunteer Program which pairs Veteran volunteers with Hospice patients who are Veterans.

If you are interested in volunteering, please complete an online application at; mail or drop it off to UHR, Attn: Carol Galione, 11 Stokum Lane, New City, NY 10956 or email cgalione@

Learn more about Doris Ortiz and the many volunteer opportunities at United Hospice of Rockland in our Impact newsletter.


Valentine’s Day when your heart is broken

UHR hospice valentine candles.jpegUHR wishes everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day and we hope you are able to spend time with the people you love!

But we also know that for those who have lost a spouse or romantic partner, the first Valentine’s Day without them can be extremely difficult. Valentine’s Day focuses on the love and life uniquely shared between two people, and when one of them is gone, the other is left to cope, grieve and reassess their life.

And those emotions can be complicated. You may be lonely or angry. You may feel guilty about wanting a new relationship. You may be overwhelmed and saddened by special memories – or ready to look back at your shared history and smile. You may have regrets or be reminded of the dreams that were never fulfilled.

How can you get through a season of love that seems focused on your loss? There is no right way to grieve, but here are a few ideas for getting through February, even with a broken heart:

•    Don’t deny or put away your feelings for the comfort of others, especially on this holiday.  
•    Accept help and support from family and friends – but allow yourself privacy to grieve as well.
•    Spend time with family to celebrate the life and love you built together.
•    Take some time out to look at photos, watch a favorite movie, listen to “your” song or hit a favorite lunch spot to remember and honor your relationship.
•    Start a new tradition with single or widowed friends who likely view the holiday with a similar apprehension. Plan a dinner out, a day trip, a party at a home or just a long coffee date.

Your grief is your journey and you should do what feels right for you. However, if your grief is leaving you feeling isolated, chronically depressed and unable to get through daily life, there is help available.

The Hope & Healing Program at United Hospice of Rockland offers specially trained bereavement counselors, social workers and volunteers with expertise in all aspects of bereavement. Our support team can help you navigate the grieving process and help you adjust to your new normal with group and individual support opportunities.

For more information, visit


Hospice and Heart: February is American Heart Month

Each February since 1963, the celebration American Heart Month has reminded us of the importance of taking care of our hearts and has raised awareness about the risks of heart disease and stroke.

Hospice of Rockland Heart Month AHA.jpgAnd yet almost everyone has been touched by the tragedy of heart disease and stroke.

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remain the leading global cause of death with more than 17.9 million deaths each year. That number is expected to rise to more than 23.6 million by 2030.

It's also the number one cause of death in the United States. About 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of 1 death every 38 seconds.

HeartWise at United Hospice of Rockland

At United Hospice of Rockland (UHR), we recognize that people who have advanced heart disease need high-quality, specialized care that is compassionate and personalized. Our HeartWise program helps to manage patients’ symptoms while focusing on an increased quality of life and reducing unwanted hospital admissions.

HeartWise provides specialized and highly skilled care in patients’ homes, in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, group homes and the Joe Raso Hospice Residence. As a person's condition changes, we can help ease the transition from one setting to another.

What Hospice services are available through HeartWise?

  • Nurses, including 24-hour, on-call nursing care
  • Home Health Aides
  • Social Workers
  • Physician Care
  • Spiritual Support
  • Nutritionist
  • Therapies (physical, respiratory, occupational, speech, massage and music)
  • Volunteers
  • Medications
  • Medical Equipment and Supplies

HeartWise also provides support and education to the family members of those with heart disease and stroke.

When to Call:

  • Are heart medications no longer effectively managing your symptoms?
  • Do you have significant shortness of breath even while resting that impedes your ability to do the things you want and need to do?
  • Have you had repeated hospitalizations?
  • Do you have pain, anxiety, swelling, fatigue or insomnia?

If you or your loved one are experiencing any of these issues, HeartWise can help. UHR and we will contact your doctor and meet with you to determine the right time for services to begin. The sooner we become involved, the sooner we can help.

And if you have a family history of cardiovascular disease, it’s never too late to start taking better care of your heart. Even modest changes to your diet and lifestyle can improve your heart health and lower your risk of heart disease by as much as 80 percent.

Click here to learn more about our HeartWise program; call 845.634.4974 or

"Groundhog Day" lesson: Making each day matter, day after day

Groundhog - UHR - FB.jpgIn the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day,” Bill Murray’s character Phil Connors finds himself stuck in an endless loop of the same 24 hours, over and over again.

At first, he finds the repetitions unbearably monotonous, but he soon realizes that every day is a chance to learn something that will make the next day different, and better.

Caregivers can feel as though they are on that same treadmill with no way to get off. The tight schedule and stress of caregiving leave little time for a break in the routine. When one day blends into the next and you lose your perspective, it can be hard to find a way to get out of your own caregiving Groundhog Day.

So how can caregivers fight back against the daily grind and find their own happy ending?

Make each day matter – Don’t let the minutia of daily care overshadow what is truly important: spending quality time with your loved one.

Celebrate memories every day – Tell stories, look at photos, watch favorite movies together.

Be present in the moment – Pause each day and realize that these times will be tomorrow’s memories. Don’t let this time become a blur of errands and chores.

Have reasonable expectations – You can’t do everything and be all things to everyone. Focus on what you can prioritize today for yourself as well as others.

Find respite – “That all sounds great in theory,” you’re thinking, “but I’m exhausted, and there’s so much to do.” Ask for help. Recruit family members and friends to help with caregiving or to take over other responsibilities for you. And accept help when it is offered.

Unlike “Groundhog Day,” you only have this day once. Slow down and appreciate the time you have.


Advance Directives: Are your wishes in writing?

It can be difficult to think about planning for the end of life. There are a lot of decisions to be made, both legal and personal, and the fear that your wishes may not be executed if you should become debilitated.

An advance directive is a way you can make your wishes known and make choices about your health care today for the future. Completing advance directives will assure that your wishes will be followed and that some of the stress of that decision-making will be relieved for your loved ones.

Advance directives consist of four types (Health Care Proxy, Living Will, Do Not Resuscitate Order and Organ Donor Designation). Each enables you to convey your end-of-life wishes if you are unable to communicate.
United Hospice of Rockland, Inc. also recommends a free, secure website that safely stores your advance care documents and makes them accessible to health professionals when needed. For more details, visit

The website will allow you to review your documents on a regular basis to ensure they still reflect your wishes. You can update your documents at any time by filling out new forms and sending the updated forms to us. You can also revoke your advance directives if you have a change in life circumstances.

Contact United Hospice of Rockland at 845.634.4974 or if you would like further information or help with your advance directives.

Learn more about the practical and legal details of advance directives.

Resolutions for Caretakers

The last thing a caregiver needs is one more thing to think about, like making New Year’s resolutions.

But after the frantic pace of the holidays have passed it’s an excellent opportunity to set yourself up for a less stressful and more peaceful year.

Here are a few things caregivers can do now to make the coming year a little easier. If you are supporting a primary caregiver, take the initiative to help them achieve these goals.

Ask for and accept help – Have people offered to help you? Too often our first reaction is, “No, I can manage myself.” But a support team will free you to make the most of your time with your loved one. Have a list of tasks ready when someone volunteers.

Get organized – We can get so caught up in the daily grind that efficiency falls by the wayside. Write down every scheduled appointment; set up regular times for other people to help; organize paperwork and designate an easy-access space for medical and other supplies.

Take care of yourself – Schedule the time and support you need for respite and self-care. Take care of your physical and mental health. Take a nap, see a movie or meet a friend for coffee. Consider making a support group or counseling a part of your healthier routine.

Learn to say "No" – You are busy, exhausted and drained. You don’t need to volunteer, take on extra work or do favors for people right now. Practice saying, “I wish I could, but this isn’t a good time.”

Focus on what’s important - If you can accept help, reorganize, take a break and just say “no,” you’ll have the time and energy for what’s most important: Quality time with your loved one – time to sit and visit, look at photos and watch family movies. Don’t let time slip away because you are caught up in an endless to-do list.


United Hospice of Rockland Celebrates 30 Year Anniversary on January 4, 2018!

United Hospice of Rockland celebrates its 30 year anniversary of providing hospice care to the Rockland and lower Orange communities! We are very thankful that we have been able to provide superior end-of-life care to thousands of your loved ones, friends, neighbors, colleagues and patients. 

None of this could have happened without the support of our community. The members of our board of directors and the generosity of our countless donors have provided the necessary expertise to support and expand many of the hospice programs we provide to address the communities emerging needs, including the Joe Raso Hospice Residence that was built in 2012. If you have had a "hospice experience" than you can attest to the commitment, compassion and skill of the staff, who are the heart of hospice. We are fortunate to have had so many volunteers over the years, who continue to assist us in limitless ways.

We look forward to celebrating our anniversary with our Hospice friends and supporters all year long...stay tuned for more celebrations to come. 

Our Mission: Honoring Life, Giving Care, Bringing Comfort