Health Care Decisions

Stuart Hamilton, Robin Gunderson and Abby Leonard

Stuart Hamilton, Robin Gunderson and Abby Leonard

Press Release
On Tuesday April 23rd a group of interested community members gathered at the Sudbury Senior Center to hear from a panel of Parmenter representatives about Advanced Care Planning. The panel was introduced by Phyllis Schilp, Parmenters’ Board of Health Nurse for the town of Sudbury. President of the Parmenter Foundation Board and estate planning attorney Stuart Hamilton, of Sudbury, shared an overview of the Massachusetts law, in particular the importance of naming a health care agent, and an alternate, through a Health Care Proxy. In Massachusetts, residents can choose a Health Care Agent to speak for them should there ever be a time when they are unable to make decisions or communicate their wishes for care. Hamilton shared, “You never want to surprise someone that you’ve named them as your health care agent, so be sure to let them know and share your wishes for care.”
Robin Gunderson, the Parmenter Foundation’s Advance Care Planning Facilitator and Instructor spoke about the benefits of planning ahead, presented an overview of Parmenter’s new initiative and shared the Five Wishes document, a tool for thinking about, writing down and sharing wishes for care. “Five Wishes” includes: My Wish for: The Person I want to Make Care Decision for Me When I Can’t, The Kind of Medical Treatment I Want or Don’t Want, How Comfortable I Want to Be, How I Want People to Treat Me, What I Want My Loved Ones to Know.
Gunderson described Advance Care Planning as a process and encouraged participants to gain an understanding of care options, take time for quiet reflection, engage in intimate conversations, and then make choices about the type of care they would want or wish not to receive. Referencing research through the Respecting Choices advance care planning program at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center of La Crosse, WI, Gunderson stated that when the advance care planning process is undertaken and results in a written plan, one that is shared with loved ones and healthcare providers, choices for care are more likely to be honored, stress is reduced and, ultimately, health care is delivered more effectively.
Abby Leonard, RN and Parmenter’s Hospice Manager spoke about the unique care Hospice provides to patients and their families in their home, in facilities, or at the Parlin House, Parmenter’s hospice residence located in Wayland. Leonard also spoke about Parmenter’s bereavement services for adults, teens and children, all of which are offered without charge to participants. Parmenter has recently partnered with the Moyer Foundation to offer a summer camp for children and youth. The camp is made possible through the community support of volunteers and financial gifts. Learn more about how to help at
The panel presentation concluded with a question and answer period. “These conversations can be difficult to start, but when they are undertaken, often people are eager to learn more because they want to have a voice in their health care,” said Cindy Mayher, Executive Director of the Parmenter Foundation. The “Five Wishes” documents are available at no charge at Parmenter’s office at 266 Cochituate Road, Wayland or at the Parmenter Foundation office located at 400 Boston Post Road, Sudbury.
Documents may be completed at no cost, or residents may want to consult with an attorney. Parmenter does not provide legal advice.
Parmenter Community Health Care, an independent, non-profit health care agency providing visiting nurse services, rehabilitation care, palliative care, hospice care and community services for the Metrowest area.


Yoga of Compassion

The staff of Parmenter Home Health and Hospice is pleased to announce a new addition to the Parmenter bereavement program, Yoga of Compassion. Yoga of Compassion is designed to promote healing after the loss of someone close. As you explore ways to bring compassion, kindness and nurturing to yourself within the yoga practice, you can also learn to carry them with you “off the mat.” With a selection of breaths, meditation and poses you are taught to release the grief and other emotions held in the body and to quiet the mind. The yoga poses will be comfortable and appropriate for beginners but those with experience are also welcome. Please bring a yoga mat each week. The program is held on six Mondays beginning May 13th, no class on May 27th and classes end on June 24th. The programs begin at 4:30 p.m. ending at 5:45 p.m. These programs are located at the Parmenter offices at 266 Cochituate Road, Wayland MA. Registration is required. Please contact Shari Solomon at 781-454-7960 or to register or for more information. Parmenter is the local nonprofit home health care, hospice, and private hospice residence provider offering these bereavement programs free of charge.

Bereavement Support for Adults, Teens, and Children

When the Unthinkable Happens: Bereavement Support for Adults, Teenagers and Children
There are no magic words to soften the blows when a family member is dealing with a life-threatening illness or when there is the unexpected loss of a parent or sibling. When the unthinkable happens in a family, the adults are thrown into unfamiliar territory and often feel ill-equipped to provide the needed assurance and support to their children. Both children and teens can feel frightened, anxious and isolated. HEART play is a free program provided by Parmenter that uses the expressive arts to help children and teens through these difficult times. With guidance and support, young people have the opportunity to document their fears and losses through visual expression, movement, music, writing or storytelling. The creative process, the sharing among children and the artwork all invite a new understanding about life and death and opens the door to healing. Workshops on each day are scheduled by participant age. More information is available by calling Jennifer Wiles at 508-358-3000,ext 244 and by looking at the Parmenter website,

Parmenter will be offering a 7 week Adult Bereavement Support Group. The aim of this bereavement group is to provide a safe place for you to talk about your loss with others who are also grieving, and hopefully to provide you support in the process of healing. This group will be meeting times are from 6:00p.m. until 7:30p.m., on Wednesdays beginning Sept 11th through Oct. 30th. If you would be interested in attending this group, please call Andrea at 508-358-3000 x249 to register.

The HEART play Workshops and Adult Bereavement Support Groups will meet at the Parmenter Office, located at 266 Cochituate Road in Wayland. Parmenter Community Health Care is the local nonprofit hospice, visiting nurse and community services agency offering these programs free of charge to local communities. Parmenter has a long term commitment of providing support for families experiencing loss. In recognition of this commitment and the depth of our clinical skills, Parmenter has recently been awarded a grant from the Moyer Foundation to establish a Camp Erin-Boston in the summer of 2013. More details about this exciting and profoundly meaningful development are available at

PARMENTER PRESS RELEASE: A Bereavement Support Program For Children and Teens

The Parmenter HEART play sm program, is offering Summer and Fall Workshops for children and teens grieving the death of a relative or friend. HEART play sm, is a free support program of Parmenter, where participants can express feelings of grief in a nurturing environment and continue healing in their own unique ways.  With the guidance and support of an Expressive Arts Therapist/Licensed Mental Health Counselor specializing in bereavement, children and teens will use visual expression, music, movement, writing and story-telling to help give meaning to their experiences.  The opportunity to share with their peers in creative and sensitive ways will enable children and teens to build a deeper understanding about death and life. Several Summer and Fall Workshop dates are being offered.  They are the following-August 18, September 15, October 27, November 17, and  December 8.  On these dates Preschool-Kindergarten will meet from 9:00-9:45a.m., Grades 1-6 from 10:00-noon and Teens from 1:00-3:00p.m.  Early pre-registration is encouraged.  Acceptance into the group or wait-list status will be confirmed by phone the Monday prior to the Workshop. The HEART play SM  Workshops are held at the Parmenter Offices, located at 266 Cochituate Road (Route 27) in Wayland, MA.  These programs are offered FREE OF CHARGE by the generosity of financial support from grants and donations.  For information and to register, please call Jennifer Wiles, MA, LMHC, BC-DMT, HEART  playsm  Director at (508)358-3000, ext. 244 or email at This young people’s bereavement program, is offered as a community service of Parmenter Visiting Nurse & Hospice( Wayside Hospice).  Parmenter is your local, independent, nonprofit provider of quality care. Recognized as a HomeCare Elite AgencyTM  .

Upcoming Bereavement Support Group

When a life ends, the living are left to grieve. Bereavement support is a key component of Hospice care at Parmenter and one of the ways we offer compassionate help is through support groups. The adult bereavement support group is open to both Parmenter Hospice families and general members of the community who are grieving the loss of a close family member. It is led by a Bereavement Specialist and/or Licensed Mental Health Clinician. The next upcoming support group will begin Tuesday 9/18/12 and will run for 7 weeks, ending 10/30/12.  The time will be 7-8:30 PM and the group will be held at the Parmenter office at 266 Cochituate Road in Wayland. Upcoming support groups can be also be found on the Parmenter calendar at  Of course, this group is free of charge. Parmenter is the local nonprofit, independent provider of visiting nurse, rehabilitation therapies, palliative care, hospice care at home and in our private Parlin House Hospice Residence.

Fearing death, doing good

Researchers say that having to think about death can bring out the good in people. At the University of Missouri, Kenneth Vail reviewed experiments involving thinking about death, and assessments of how people who were not directly involved in catastrophes responded after learning about them. Vail says people commonly felt a need to reach out to others, and often did reach out. He describes some of those reactions: “Seeking comfort from loved ones, and striving to uphold important values that help restore the perception that the world is a predictable and benevolent place.” Vail says this includes wanting to be tolerant and compassionate. The study in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Daily HealthBeat Tip for U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services

Talking quality before the ICU

After long stays in intensive care, patients might not be able to return to the life they once had. But a study finds that family members who have to make decisions for the patient often hadn’t talked with the patient about these quality of life issues. Sara Douglas of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland saw that in an analysis of 116 family meetings.
Douglas says this discussion is not about ICU medical care – it’s about how the patient wants to live after the care:
“If we can have these discussions at a time when we are not ill – or at least not acutely ill – we’ll be able to afford our loved ones the gift of knowing our wishes.”
The study in the journal Critical Care Medicine was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Daily HealthBeat Tip for U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services