My Name Is... Amy Immel

Hospice hits close to home for Namaste Health nurse

Ryan Dunn
rdunn@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 3/30/21

About me I have been a nurse for 29 years, all primarily in the Denver area. I primarily did intensive care for 21 years at three different hospitals in the Denver area. I’ve been doing hospice …

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My Name Is... Amy Immel

Hospice hits close to home for Namaste Health nurse

Posted

About me

I have been a nurse for 29 years, all primarily in the Denver area. I primarily did intensive care for 21 years at three different hospitals in the Denver area. I’ve been doing hospice care for the past four years.

We moved to Arvada in 2001 when I had my first daughter. I fell in love with one of the neighborhoods. I have four daughters now and two stepdaughters that have all gone through Arvada schools and are active in the community.

My spouse passed away from a brain tumor almost nine years ago. When he passed, my daughters were 11, nine, four, and two. So as primarily a night shift ICU nurse, working nights with four little daughters at home became pretty difficult.

New start

I opened a fitness center in Arvada that I ran for about seven years. After I remarried, I started feeling like I could function again in the health care community. I choose to go into hospice because with my spouse passing on hospice, I felt I could offer empathy and education for what families are experiencing as they enter a very scary time of life.

I feel that providing hospice care has been some of the best nursing care I’ve done compared to hospitals because you are in the community with the patients or in their homes. You meet their families and you take care of them. Hospice can range from days to years, so I feel it’s been a really good place for me to land.

About hospice

The average hospice stay is around 20 to 28 days. I’ve been in hospice for four years now with Namaste Health and I’m fortunate that this is a really, really nice hospice company. A lot of times, there’s no more treatment that can be offered, so it’s more about adding to quality of life.

I have patients that just want to go home and be with family and be comfortable. Hospice care is actually quite — I don’t want to say aggressive because we’re not treating the disease anymore, but we are actively managing symptoms, so we are on call 24/7.

With patients and families, I always acknowledge that it’s hard, I’m happy to meet you, and I’m sorry that this is such a difficult time for you and acknowledge those emotions and feelings. I often share that I don’t remember signing consent for hospice when we signed my late husband on to hospice, just because there were so many hospital stays and different doctors, so when another person comes into your home for hospice and you know it’s the right thing to do but I don’t remember some of those initial days.

So, we are always very patient with lots of questions and we spend lots of time with families answering those questions on multiple visits because they just don’t always retain everything when they’re feeling that stress.

I feel really nice bonds with families of my patients because you’re communicating with them a lot. The daughter of a patient who recently passed and I get together for coffee every once in a while.

You definitely miss them after the patient passes. I do go through my own grieving here and there. The hardest patients initially for me were brain tumor patients, but I feel like that’s settled into a bit of a niche for me now.

When I went through it, I was very nurse-oriented since that’s my background, and it was hard to remember I’m still the wife. I tell families, “This is your mom still. Try to be the daughter, let us do some care.” We give them a break.

I do hospice and home care because I feel that it’s a way to continue to honor my husband’s memory and provide care for patients in the home. I know what they’re going through. Hospice is a beautiful experience and it really honors the person. And that person is going to always be in your heart forever.

If you have a suggestion for My Name Is... contact Ryan Dunn at rdunn@coloradocommunitymedia.com

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