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Our History

Heartlinks Hospice & Palliative Care (formerly known as Lower Valley Hospice) was founded in 1978 with the assistance of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, MD – a true pioneer in the humane treatment of the terminally ill. Heartlinks provides a wide spectrum of compassionate services to help families cope with illness while remaining in their own home, wherever that may be.

A group of caring professionals and neighbors came together in 1976 to create Lower Valley Hospice. Their perseverance and commitment to care for those in the community facing a life-threatening illness made Lower Valley Hospice one of the first hospices in the United States. In 1983, Lower Valley Hospice became one of the first Medicare-certified hospices in the State of Washington.

Heartlinks Hospice & Palliative Care is licensed to serve Benton County and Yakima County. Our staff and volunteers live and work in the Tri-Cities, Yakima, and throughout the Lower Yakima Valley. Heartlinks provides compassionate and comprehensive medical and emotional care for children and adults who are facing life-threatening illnesses.

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At Heartlinks, we treat for “total pain”

Total pain is often experienced by an individual facing terminal illness. Questions about the progression of their disease may cause anxiety, the reality of being separated from family members may bring on sadness, questions about existence beyond death may offer worry, and anger over an unresponsive bureaucratic pain coupled with physical pain creates this “total pain” scenario. At Heartlinks, we practice a team approach that brings together a trained, compassionate group of professional caregivers to help manage and mitigate “total pain”.

By taking seriously the nine kinds of pain, our caregivers can treat the “whole person”.

Nine Kinds of Pain

When you are working with a Hospice or Palliative Care patient, we find it important to acknowledge that there are nine kinds of pain. When you hear the word “pain”, there is a tendency to associate pain as physical. At Heartlinks, our clinical staff is trained to see pain as more than just physical.

#1

Physical Pain

Physical pains are associated with discomfort, distress, agony, or simply not feeling well. Physical pain drives individuals to seek medical treatment, and is usually a symptom of an underlying injury or disease.

#2

Intellectual Pain

Intellectual pains involved mental anguish, stress, and worry. Often in Hospice, we serve people whose memory functions have begun to deteriorate. Those with Alzheimer’s/dementia may have a great deal of intellectual pain in the early and middle stage of the disease when there is knowledge of the loss and anticipation that the memory may worsen.

#3

Emotional Pain

Emotional pain is often unearthed through talking, crying, shouting, sighing, or doing something active. Emotional pain is a spontaneous inner reaction to something we are thinking about or experiencing.

#4

Social or Interpersonal Pain

Social or interpersonal pain comes from damaged relationships or a lack of supportive social system. Throughout a life, families will experience strain or undergo changes that may lead to disappointment or separation.

#5

Spiritual Pain

Treating spiritual pain helps deal with general questions to which a specific religion may have their own set of specific answers and rituals. Rituals have a way of helping to feel connected, by whatever means is comfortable for you.

#6

Financial Pain

Financial pain is a reality many families experience daily. This is a pain that often people keep personal. Financial pain may limit access to basic needs such as food, housing, water, safety, and healthcare.

#7

Bureaucratic Pain

Bureaucratic pain is a frustration or helplessness that comes with living in a complex society where resources are sometimes buried beneath “red tape”. Dealing with this may lead to a sense of resentment or resignation. When one loses the ability to stand in lines, wait on the phones, etc. they need someone to be an advocate on their behalf.

#8

Cultural Pain

Cultural pain offers us the opportunity to honor what an individual may find very important to them whether one chooses to talk about their culture, heritage, or experiences. Every day, we can learn things about a culture and a person that will help us to better the care we provide.

#9

Legal Pain

Legal pain can address a variety of situations that a patient or family member may be involved with. Whether a patient is incarcerated, has a criminal background, or experiencing legal entanglement, they will still receive the best treatment we have to offer.

The mission of Heartlinks Hospice & Palliative Care is to enrich the quality of life for individuals and their families in need of comprehensive end-of-life care.