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Price: Hospice assists families, patient at the end

Lane Price, physician and medical director of Albany Community Hospice, says her organization helps strengthen families in the time of need.

Lane Price, physician and medical director of Albany Community Hospice, says her organization helps strengthen families in the time of need.

ALBANY — Not only does the Exchange Club of Albany support groups that help victims of child abuse, it supports many other groups such as the Albany Community Hospice.

To hear President-elect Skip Nichols tell it, supporting the community is really supporting families, which is the heart of the club’s mission in eliminating child abuse.

“We fund a lot of charities to help the needs of the community,” Nichols said. “What we are actually doing is helping to strengthen the family.”

One of the gravest challenges facing a family is the loss of a loved one. Lane Mathis Price, a physician and the medical director of Albany Community Hospice, spoke to Exchangites Friday about the work of her organization.

Price said, “Hospice helps strengthen family as the family goes through a very sad, difficult and meaningful time.”

Hospice follows people who have been referred for care by their physician as they go through the normal trajectory of an illness such as cancer or other ills that end in death, Price said.

Usually a hospice patient has less than six months to live, she said.

Hospice is not merely a facility, Price said. It usually operates as a person’s home for their care and comfort. Registered nurses visit clients, home health care aides visit and counselors are also available.

Hospice is covered for everyone by a Medicare provision.

The hospice organization also holds fundraisers and has friends like the Exchangites contributing to its continuing mission.

“No one is ever turned away for lack of funds,” Price said.

Open for two years, Willson Hospice House in Albany offers three types of care. There is respite, where the patient is cared for at home by family and hospice caregivers come into the house to give the family a break.

Willson House also handles patients in times of crisis. When a patient cannot manage at home, perhaps because of extreme pain, the patient can enter the facility until the crisis passes.

Then there is the inevitable. When a hospice patient nears death and for whatever reason cannot be at home when the time comes, Willson House is available.

“We are an organization, a group of people whose goal is to help the patient as the end of life approaches,” Price said.