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Nickie VanMeter ’14 promotes caregiver training program for Hospice & Palliative Care of Chenango County

By Upstate Institute on July 8, 2013
Nickie VanMeter with supervisor Kendall Drexler at Hospice and Palliative Care of Chenango County

Nickie VanMeter with supervisor Kendall Drexler at Hospice and Palliative Care of Chenango County

An often under-appreciated segment of our health care system are those organizations supporting patients and their loved ones during the last phases of life.  Hospice & Palliative Care of Chenango County is a relatively small non-profit health care agency that serves the area south of Hamilton, NY from offices in Norwich, NY.   As an Upstate Institute Summer Field School fellow working directly with the organization, Nickie VanMeter ’14 is creating promotional materials for a free program – Caregiver School.  “My project is to help the hospice launch these programs by creating promotional materials, doing community outreach to publicize the program, and helping with research and preparation for the sessions of Caregiver school.”

Caregiver School has gotten underway during Nickie’s summer fellowship, so she has the opportunity to track the experience of participants to improve both the program, and marketing to the region. ”We’ve already had one session of Caregiver School. It had a modest attendance and was successful but we will continue to use opportunities to learn how to better market and conduct the program.”

In addition, Nickie is assessing other materials used by the organization, and developing new approaches relative to the use of online tools for her community partner. “I am working with Hospice on marketing their other programs by creating promotional materials, doing research on how they can market hospice and to whom, and by helping maintain the hospice’s online and social media presence. My days are very free flowing. I get a list of tasks to complete every week but then am expected to manage my own time. I work in the office every day. Additionally I attend relevant meetings such as programs meetings, staff meetings, and marketing meetings. I also go out into the community to do outreach.”

Learning about the role of palliative care organizations in the health care system is also a key outcome for Nickie. “I have learned a lot about hospice and palliative care as well as about the challenges of caregiving. I have gained experience doing research on caregiving and hospice topics and on marketing techniques. The most important contribution I can make to the organization is to provide a fresh perspective on the marketing and other needs of the organization. Although I am not a trained nurse or social worker my experience and skills allow me to quickly learn about the hospice industry and figure out ways in which the hospice can better market its services.”

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