How to Talk With Your Doc

Written by Karen Fowler

Recently, a very good friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer. During the Covid -19 restrictions, communication with her medical team became even more of a challenge. From testing delays to video-chats, it seemed more difficult for everyone to be on the same page. And it felt like she was the only person worried about how long everything was taking. She sometimes felt more confused when she was able to talk to her doctors, than when she began the conversation. But here’s the thing – it is HER RIGHT to understand! And, if you are in a similar situation – it is yours too:

“… the patient has the right and is encouraged to obtain from physicians and other direct caregivers relevant, current and understandable information concerning diagnosis, treatment and prognosis… to discuss and request information related to specific procedures and/or treatments, the risks involved, the possible length of recuperation, and the medically reasonable alternatives and their accompanying risks and benefits,… [and] to make decisions about the plan of care prior to and during the course of treatment.”

Good healthcare begins with good communication – as challenging as that may be in today’s world. Here are some helpful suggestions:

  1. Make a list of your concerns – write them down so you can stay focused. Track symptoms or other concerns.  And… this is important – be thorough and honest; the details are critical.
  2. Speak up. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s perfectly ok to ask for clarification in simpler terms or to ask them to explain it again… Repeat the information back to your doctor – a technique called teach-back, which lets your doctor know if you really understand.
  3. It is so easy to get rattled! Take some deep breaths and focus on what the doctor is saying. Consider having someone with you for support, or to catch things that might otherwise be missed. If your doctor is restricting others from attending visits, ask them if having your support person on speakerphone is possible during the appointment.
  4. Don’t minimize the symptoms or situation. Remarks like “it’s just a little cough” or “my mother being up all night really isn’t a problem,” might lead your doctor to the same conclusion. Accurate information leads to accurate diagnosis and solutions.


Please know, if you are facing serious medical decisions, we at Home Hospice and Home Nursing have dedicated medical professionals available to help you navigate that journey. Immediate help is available – either by phone (432) 580-9990 or visit us on-line at Sometimes it helps just to know what questions to ask. We’re honored to be here.

You cannot pour from an empty cup

If you are a caregiver, this COVID-19 pandemic may have you feeling like your cup has been turned upside down. Perhaps you are working from home, maybe even teaching and caring for your children at the same time. And it’s all happening under one roof. Where do you find respite?

Sometimes we are so concerned with taking care of the needs of others that we are too busy and distracted to notice the toll it takes on our own lives… our health, even our relationships. If you are not careful, this chronic stress can eventually lead to burnout.

Some signs and symptoms of burnout from caregiving include:

  • You feel exhausted, and you do not feel better after sleeping
  • You are constantly getting sick (ex. colds)
  • You have headaches and other physical complaints
  • You don’t have enough time to take care of yourself, nor do you feel like it
  • You feel depressed

Professional caregiver support groups suggest you follow some rules for yourself:

  • Set boundaries – you have to respect your time and priorities.
  • Exercise for an endorphin boost.
  • Remember to breathe… tension and anxiety may cause shallow breathing… close your eyes, attempt to quiet your mind and focus on breathing properly.
  • Take a break, even if it’s for five minutes. Your mind and body need a rest.
  • Step away from your mobile/electronic devices, especially before bedtime.
  • Seek support from family and friends.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers terrific on-line information on caregiver burnout during the COVID-19 crisis:

Non-professional caregivers typically get little support, caring is a 24/7 role with no time-out, no week-end, no clocking off at 5pm. You need room for recuperation.

Home Hospice and Home Nursing offer great resources and information to help you on this journey – whether your loved one is navigating through life-limiting illness, or recuperation from injury or hospitalization. Help is one phone call away. Please contact us at (432) 580-9990, or visit us on-line at

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:11 NIV – Article written by Skip Hedgpeth

On Christmas Eve in 1972, I received a special gift. It was a handmade patchwork quilt made by my sweet grandmother, “Nanny.” It was no ordinary quilt. It was made with bright colored patches and each stitch was sewn with love. In the middle of the quilt, in big handwork stitches, Nanny wrote, “Christmas 1972, To Skipper, Always Remember, Nanny.”

The quilt was lovely. I still have it today. What I cherish most, though, are my Nanny’s words and the knowledge that she made it with love and gave it especially “To Me!”

On that first Christmas Day in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to a baby boy. No birth is ordinary. This one, however, was extraordinary! Mary’s baby boy was the long awaited Savior, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Lord. Now, as if that is not special enough, this story gets even better. Jesus was born into the family of Mary and Joseph: however, the stunning announcement of the angels reveals that the infant Savior is a gift of God and is given “To You.”

“To You.” These two little words are the true miracle of Christmas! God loves you so much that He sent His Son to you. You have a personal Savior. He is yours and you are His. He is with you right now. He has promised that He will never leave you.

2020 has been a rough year for many. I hope 2021 is better for us all. But, whatever comes your way in the new year, Always Remember you have been given a special gift. He was made by God and announced by Angels, but, He was given, “To You.” He knows you. He loves you. You are never alone.

Merry Christmas!
Skip Hedgpeth, Chaplain

Hope for the Holidays

Under “normal” circumstances, the holiday season can be stressful. When you add grief to the holidays, it can definitely feel like an overwhelming time of year.

If you are grieving a loved one during this season, there may be ways you can try to lighten the normal stressors of the season. If you usually mail 50 Christmas cards, skip the cards, or send some to a select few. If decorating every room of your house is something you normally do, maybe this year put a wreath on the front door and decorate a simple tree. If you usually spend a lot of time shopping for gifts, maybe gift cards or even a thoughtful note will suffice this year. Hopefully you have people in your life who will understand that you may need to do things a little differently this year.

Finding ways to honor your loved one can bring some peace to the holiday season. For example, you might find a way to incorporate your loved one in your holiday decorating. Maybe you can find an ornament that reminds you of them. Did your beloved sister enjoy raising chickens? What about adding a chicken ornament to your tree and it might make you think of your sister each time you walk past. If your dad loved to play golf, maybe you could add a golf ornament to your tree this year in memory of something he loved to do. Lighting a candle in memory of your loved one or playing their favorite game together as a family are also ways to find some joy when you are grieving. Sometimes looking at pictures of past holidays spent with them can be comforting.


Please remember that Home Hospice also offers monthly drop-in groups and individual grief counseling sessions. Individual sessions are offered virtually and in-person. It does not matter how long ago your loved one died or if your loved one was cared for by Home Hospice – we offer grief support to everyone in our communities.

Home Hospice is locally owned

Thousands of Permian Basin residents are impacted by home care and hospice workers throughout the year. During the month of November, Home Hospice strives to increase awareness, and to honor those who make a remarkable difference as caregivers in our communities.

Home Hospice began serving the Permian Basin as a ministry more than 25 years ago, and that continues to be our focus – it’s not about the bottom line. We offer care beyond what is mandated. In fact, your hopes and goals help us to determine your plan of care.


Why does this make a difference? Our dedicated teams of local professionals live right alongside the families they serve. Our owners are working owners, involved in the day to day operations of the agency. Our doctors and nurses are connected to this medical community – the facilities, other doctors and support staff, including those with whom you may already have established relationships. Our goal is to work together – with your best interests at heart. Our social workers and chaplains are connected to community resources, and to local churches. And decisions regarding your care are made directly, in the timeliest manner possible.

“There is no waiting for hours or days to reach a decision on issues that may impact a patient or their family in their greatest time of need,” says Robin Floyd, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, ACHPN – Home Hospice’s Family Nurse Practitoner/Advanced Certified Hospice & Palliative Nurse.

The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) reports not only that hospice is the preferred choice for most patients with terminal illness, but that it also offers the greatest cost savings. Medicare pays nearly $2,000 per day for a typical hospital stay and $450 per day for a typical nursing home stay. Meanwhile, hospice costs about $100 per day, and helps so many patients remain independent at home, surrounded by the people and things they love. Home Hospice patients will never see a bill, regardless of their funding sources. Non-essential procedures and treatments are reduced, focusing on comfort instead of cure.

And, Home Hospice offers community-wide bereavement support. If you or someone you love is struggling through the grief process, we have monthly support meetings, and opportunities for one-on-one counsel. You are not alone.

If you are facing serious illness, we would be honored to listen, offer choices, answer any questions, and to help you find the best solutions. Home Hospice is proud to serve 18 counties with offices in Odessa, Midland, Andrews and Big Spring. Please visit us online at or contact us at (432)580-9990 to speak with someone immediately.

— Picture on top, from left to right:

Tami Orren: Alternate Program Administrator/Director of Long Term Care Development.
Robin Floyd: DNP, RN, FNP-BC, ACHPN, Nurse Practitioner/Alternate Director of Clinical Services.
Amy Drumm: SPHR, CEO-Program Administrator/Governing Body Chairman.

Spotlight Employee – Beverly Grant

Q. How long have you been a part of the Home Hospice/Nursing family?
A.  41/2 years.

Q. What role do have in enriching the lives of our patients/families?
A. I am a Big Spring’s volunteer coordinator, my role consists of visiting patients and working with volunteers to send patients birthday cards & seasonal cards, and offering families support, friendship and communication.

Q. If you are having a bad day, what do you do to make it better?
A. Think how lucky I am to have everything I need; home, family, job, faith.

Q. What is a food you’d NEVER eat again?
A. Sushi

Q. Describe your perfect vacation.
A. A cabin by the lake, no tv, a good book and blanket. Rocking chair and soft rain.

Q. What is the first thing you think of when you get up in the morning?
A. God blessed me with another day of life.

Q. What song best describes your life?
A. I am Woman

Q. If your pet could talk, what 3 questions would you want the answers to?
A. Why do you bark so much?
Why do you try and get out of the yard?
Do you love the grand kids playing with you?

Q. Would you rather have a PAUSE button or REWIND?
A. Rewind – I could make changes that way.

Q. What is your secret to a good life?
A. Be happy, think of others first, always smile. Try to help the homeless.

Spotlight Employee – Debbie Harris

Q. How long have you been a part of the Home Hospice/Nursing family?
A. I have been with Home Hospice for 17 years.

Q. What role do have in enriching the lives of our patients/families?
A. My role is many lol; RN, BSN, Director of Clinical Services, PCC, Director of Quality Improvement & Compliance, and Alt Disaster Coordinator.

Q. If you are having a bad day, what do you do to make it better?
A. When I am having a bad day I do several things with the first being I pray, the second I think of all our patients that are ill, I think of my family (both hospice and home), and finally I think of how truly blessed I am.

Q. What is a food you’d NEVER eat again?
A. I will never, ever in a million years eat calamari again.

Q. Describe your perfect vacation.
A. Anywhere where it is cool.

Q. What is the first thing you think of when you get up in the morning?
A. To be sure and think before I respond.

Q. What song best describes your life?
A. Jesus Take the Wheel.

Q. If your pet could talk, what 3 questions would you want the answers to?
A. What did you do today?
Do you ever just look at people and think WOW?
Do you like living here?

Q. Would you rather have a PAUSE button or REWIND?
A. Oh my that is a hard question. But if I had to pick one it would be rewind.

Q. What is your secret to a good life?
A. That is a really easy question – I consider God and Jesus my best friends, I love them more than life, and I talk to them all the time. I sometimes think people probably think I am crazy when they see me driving down the road and I am just talking away.

A Kaleidoscope of Hope

By Karen Fowler

August 21st is National Senior Citizens Day… a day to honor and remember those who have contributed so much to our lives, our communities and this country.  President Ronald Reagan proclaimed this holiday in 1988, to raise awareness about issues that affect senior citizens and their quality of life.

My grandparents were first generation immigrants to North America, their histories would read better than any Hollywood blockbuster. So many of their stories have been left untold, being pieced together during conversations with remaining ancestors. It has taken decades to gather a complete picture, and has inspired decades of fascination with the stories of others.  That is why working in the home health / hospice field of care is so close to my heart.

I remember visiting with a young lady who had just turned 100… and had burned through three microwave ovens, because, “What’s the point if you can’t just heat everything? (Including Campbell’s Soup… in the can!) I am still humbled by one gentleman who drove home, from one of our butterfly release memorials, with a monarch attached to his lapel… eager to release it in his garden, celebrating the sixty plus years of love shared with his late wife. Then there was the 76 year old gentleman who continued to volunteer because, “When you stop learning, you die!”… And another who volunteered for the Red Cross during 9-11, comforting families.  The list goes on and on.

My heart is filled with respect, admiration and love for this remarkable generation. The memories offer a kaleidoscope of hope through the obstacles we face today. Imagine the value of spending true, quality time with your senior loved ones – short visits, or even a quick call to say hello! There’s never a bad to time to make our loved ones feel special – and sooooooo many benefits to reap!

Tina Almodova – Home Hospice Volunteer Coordinator

Home Care Solutions

I was a teacher for 29 years, it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.
After 29 years of teaching I never thought I’d be this happy again! I worked with Karen Carter for 13 years raising the butterflies for the annual butterfly releases. I admired her work, thoughtfulness, caring, and pride for Home Hospice. I started working there the day school let out in 2019.
It was a whole whirlwind of a first week. Everyone I met made me feel at home, as if I had been there for years. I had a new home. It didn’t take long to fall in love with each and every volunteer. They have the biggest, selfless hearts. It was so hard to believe they did this for free. The saying is, “Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless!”

Each volunteer brings a different type of caring and understanding to each patient.
Right now, during the CoVid19 crisis, we are doing phone calls. It doesn’t seem very important to get a phone call, but sometimes that’s the only amazing voice they will hear all week or month.

As a volunteer coordinator I have the responsibility of lots of paper work in the office.

I also have to meet each patient that chooses to have a volunteer so I can see which volunteer might be best for that patient. Once they are assigned a volunteer, I have to make sure they call or visit in a timely manner and make a good fit. We are also the hosts for a memorial in the fall for families of patients which have passed. Each family is given a special Christmas ornament for their tree as a keepsake. The butterfly release is the spring memorial. We have butterflies to release in memory of your loved ones which have passed. The entire community is invited. We have crafts and butterfly tattoos for the kids, cookies and lemonade.
We are also in charge of the Christmas teas. The teas are where we go to each nursing home in Odessa, and surrounding communities, and sing Christmas carols and serve hot peach tea and cookies. This always bring a smile to all the residents who attend. Each and every month our patients receive a handmade card the volunteers have decorated. In December our patients get a mini Christmas tree decorated by the volunteers.

We just want our patients to feel love, and like they are family. I am very proud to be a member of this organization. If you would like to volunteer please contact me at Home Hospice.

Spotlight Employee – Tina Almodova

Q. How long have you been a part of the Home Hospice/Nursing family?
A. I have been a part of the home hospice family for one year.

Q. What role do have in enriching the lives of our patients/families?
A. My role is the volunteer coordinator.

Q. If you are having a bad day, what do you do to make it better?
A. If I am ever having a bad day I can go up front and talk to Angela or Neidia and they will set me on the right path.

Q. What is a food you’d NEVER eat again?
A. I would not ever eat Chicken on the bone.

Q. Describe your perfect vacation.
A.My perfect vacation would be at the beach with my whole family

Q. What is the first thing you think of when you get up in the morning?
A. Every morning when I get up I thank God for another beautiful day.

Q. What song best describes your life?
A. The song that describes my life is “Carrying Your Love With Me” by George Strait

Q. If your pet could talk, what 3 questions would you want the answers to?
A.If my pet Leada could talk I would ask her:

a. Why do you love me?
b. What is your favorite spot in the house?
c. What would you like to eat?

Q. Would you rather have a PAUSE button or REWIND?
A. I do not want a pause button or a rewind button, I would be afraid it would change how everything turns out!

Q. What is your secret to a good life?
A. The secret to a good life is to laugh a lot and love a lot.