End of Life Care

End of life care can be a very emotional rollercoaster, for all those involved. Saying goodbye to a loved one can often be a very difficult road, especially when dealing with a terminal illness. Within our community in Schenectady, there are many end of life care resources worth looking into.  One of the biggest centers that specialize in palliative care is Saint Peters Health Partners, located in Albany, New York. Palliative care is something I didn’t know about before entering our unit on terminal illnesses and I think many other people also don’t know about these options as well. Palliative care is specialized medical care for those dealing with a serious, terminal illness.

In treatment, a patients healthcare team focuses on the following:

  • How to understand a person’s illness
  • How to assist family members and loved ones during such a difficult time
  • How to reduce stress and anxiety surrounding their diagnosis
  • How to manage pain and other uncomfortable symptoms

This type of treatment provides relief for many sufferers and gives them the hope they need to keep going. Below is a link to a video about palliative care and how it directly affects patients and their families, located on the Saint Peters Health Partners page. Neil Brown talks about his struggles with terminal illness and the positive effects palliative care has given him.

I found this video incredibly moving and it really shocked me how little was known about palliative care. Even Neil was close to giving up until he found out about this alternate method of care. I think it is incredibly important to spread information and awareness about these serious topics. This allows the people in need to not feel hopeless and know they have options even if it feels like they’re trapped by their diagnosis.

Saint Peters Health Partners has both inpatient and outpatient care plans, with specialized cancer and cardiac services.  For those who are concerned about money or don’t have insurance, Saint Peters Health Partners has this covered as well. AIM (Advanced Illness Management) provides support for families and patients struggling to afford medical insurance to cover the cost of home-based palliative care. The program includes a full time registered nurse and social worker with a combination of in home visits and phone calls with the goal of improving end of life care for those who cannot afford the proper treatment.

The photo above shows a doctor explaining to loved ones a planned care outline for their loved one struggling with a critical illness. Source: https://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Help-for-the-suffering-2210709.php

While palliative care is a great treatment option for some patients, hospice care is also available for those who would prefer it. The Community Hospice of Schenectady is an end of life care facility for those with 6 months or less to live. Their goal is to keep patients as comfortable as possible during their final time. Other hospice care options outside of Schenectady include The Community Hospice Inn and The Community Hospice of Amsterdam. Overall Schenectady and the surrounding area try to provide the best level of care in such unfortunate situations.

 

Sources

https://www.agingcare.com/local/search/hospice/schenectady%20ny

https://www.sphp.com/find-a-service-or-specialty/palliative-care/

 

Health Care Access

Local Healthcare Facilities for Owners

Within the the city of Schenectady and surrounding area there are dozens of healthcare facilities. Some local primary care options include Ellis Medicine Primary Care at Mohawk Harbor and Ellis Primary Care Nott Street. If there is an emergency, Ellis Hospital is located on Nott Street. They have some of the best doctors in the state of New York working together throughout this pandemic. Ellis hospital also provides a free shuttle to the hospital that stops at local homeless centers. This allows the citizens of Schenectady to get the proper medical care despite financial restraints. If someone is unable to pay for a health service they need, the Schenectady Family Health Center and Capital City Rescue Mission both offer free medical assistance.

Local Healthcare Facilities for Pets 

Within the local community of Schenectady there are thousands of animal lovers! Myself included! Schenectady offers many wonderful animal shelters and veterinary clinics alike. The Animal Protective Foundation and Mohawk Hudson Humane Society have many dogs who need homes and would make a great addition to any family! Hernas Veterinary Clinic, Union Street Veterinary Hospital and Sunnyside Veterinary Hospital are located right in Schenectady and provide excellent veterinary care to all types of pets!

 

Resources For Families Struggling to Afford a Pet

  • Another wonderful addition of Schenectady is the Pet Food Pantry, available through the Animal Protective Foundation. The Pet Food Pantry supplies donated dog and cat food along with cat liter to the families who struggle to take care of their pet. This allows low income families to afford food for their beloved pets. It also helps lessen the financial burden that ultimately leads many families to surrender their pet.
  • The Pet Fund provides financial assistance to pet owners who are unable to afford minor procedures.
  • The Guardian Domestic Violence Program is partnered with YWCA of Schenectady. They provide a safe home for the animals of both women and men who are in the process of leaving an abusive relationship. They will also provide the necessary medical necessities (spay, neuter and vaccinations) free of charge.
  • There are numerous rabies clinics throughout Schenectady and surrounding towns as well.

The photo above shows the love shared between an owner and their pet. Credit of Chole Bennet

In my opinion, Schenectady does a great job of attempting to open resources up to pet owners as well. When speaking with a women who worked for the Animal Protective Foundation here in Schenectady, she told me about some of the struggles they’ve been facing recently. The Pet Food Pantry has had a dramatic decrease in donations and an increase in need recently. There are more and more people who have lost their jobs and are struggling to afford basic necessities right now due to COVID-19. The Pet Food Pantry has increased in need dramatically, however donations and volunteers are harder to receive due to the pandemic. We as a community must try and keep wonderful programs like this one on their feet! If you are able to afford dog or cat food, please consider donating! If you are looking to adopt contact The Animal Protective Foundation!

 

Sources

Help For Pet Owners

Myths and Misconceptions About the Homeless and Their Dogs

 

 

How COVID-19 is Effecting Animals

COVID-19 has impacted every single person living in the United States, whether that be everything from losing their job to losing a loved one. These were unprecedented times each community is still struggling to adapt to even seven months later. In Schenectady NY, many people are already living under the national average household income, so the pandemic has proven to be even harder to adapt with. It’s easy to forget a very large percentage of those affected by COVID-19, because they are extremely less likely to contract the virus. Although animals like cats and dogs have contracted the virus in the past, it was only a handful of cases and experts are positive pets are far safer than humans from this deathly virus. However, just because animals are less likely to directly contract the virus, doesn’t mean they aren’t just as affected by the repercussions and collateral damage. Many shelters in Schenectady and local areas have been hit harder than ever due to the pandemic and many are struggling to survive. Many families are not able to afford to keep a pet or get their pet proper veterinary care after losing their job due to the pandemic. They are then forced to surrender their pet to a local shelter, causing a build up of more and more animals in an already overcrowded and understaffed shelter. Another aspect that shelters have been affected by is a decrease in volunteer help. Most shelters rely heavily on the volunteers that come in and because most volunteers do not financially rely on their position at the shelter, they are much more resistant to come in and volunteer when there are such high risks for disease transmission. Shelter adoption rates have also dropped drastically, as many people are struggling to adapt as it is, they aren’t looking to make a change and adopt a new furry friend. Shelters are becoming more overcrowded and have less resources, including food, blankets and staff. This is an incredibly important issue that is currently being overlooked, but there are important measures being taken in attempts to help local shelters. 

Many states are working with local pet food banks to encourage donations and try and help alleviate the current stress on shelters. The Humane Society created a Covid-19 Relief Fund to help support local shelters, however there is still so much more we need to do to help. Anything from buying dog food to adopting a pet can help these shelters stay afloat during such hard times. We are a community and we have to come together during difficult times to help our local non profit businesses.

Animal control officer Cindy Bialobzeski pets a dog at the city animal shelter in this photo from Sept. 9. (Photograph by Patrick Dodson)

The Animal Protective Foundation (https://www.animalprotective.org/dev/) is located in Schenectady, New York and was hit especially hard by COVID-19. Due to social distancing regulations, they are unable to hold in person tours. This leads to an overall decrease in interest from the general public, as tours were a really great way to bring the community into the shelter and allow them to see first hand how many animals desperately needed their help. Heavy sanitation is also another costly additive the shelter is struggling to continue implementing, however they are aware it is incredibly important and necessary for public safety. This is putting a lot of strain on the shelter currently and they are in an incredibly hard position. Anything can help, we need to stand together and help the animals who are unable to help themselves.  

Here you can find a video by TODAY exploring the topic of fostering shelter pets during these hard times:

Sources

https://www.animalprotective.org/dev/

https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/coronavirus-covid-19-faq#address

Schenectady reopens animal shelter