22 Sep

Medicare Health Plan Event

Nency Gonzalez from Rilynn Company, Inc. will be hosting an informational meeting on Medicare Health Plans and comparing the alternatives out there.

Although Medicare covers hospice most of the time, in certain situations it may be beneficial to have additional coverage.

Event Details:

Oct 7th and Oct 24th
Moonridge Executive Suites
42718 Moonridge Road
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315

For more information, please contact Nency Gonzalez at 951-251-0751 or at support@rilynn.biz


View the official flyer here.

10 Jun

Big Bear Threshold Choir

Music possesses a stirring power not expressed through anything else. At any stage of life, songs can encourage, rejuvenate, and bless the soul. The singers of the Threshold Choir in Big Bear recognize this power and gently share it among those at the threshold between life and the beyond.

Last week, the local choir visited Molly, a 105 year old elder and showered her with sweet song. Donabeth, the organizer of the local Threshold Choir, shared that Molly “supposedly couldn’t talk, but she opened her eyes and said ‘Thank you’ repeatedly. It was an amazing experience for all of us.”

Threshold Choir Big Bear

We are glad to be among a community that honors our elders and look forward to supporting the local Threshold Choir. For more information about the Threshold Choir, visit thresholdchoir.org. Contact Donabeth Houx for more information about being a part of our local choir (contact info to come).

24 Feb

Winter Returns

Spencer here – it has been a while and I thought I would share an update.

Winter in Big Bear February 2015

Winter returns! View from outside our office.

First off, winter is not over! We received about 8 inches around town! That being said, it’s a good thing we have access to DME supplies (Durable Medical Equipment, such as hospital beds, oxygen concentrators, etc)  in Big Bear, so we don’t need to grapple with deliveries from down the hill during winter conditions. Being the only local hospice provider, we’re still proud to be able to provide same-day admissions for anyone with an immediate need.



Bear Valley Hospice Office in Winter

Our office on the second floor, where we have our IDT meetings.

As we continue to grow in our second year of service, we’ve been having our regular interdisciplinary team (IDT) meetings. Over the course of these meetings, it has been great to better know our team and see habits and traditions develop. Our RN, for example, skis every morning of the week and gives us a snow report (I look forward to hearing how the fresh powder was today!).

Hopefully we’ll see some more snow before we shift gears into summer. Until then, enjoy the winter beauty! 🙂

28 Oct

Flu Vaccines & Hospice

As we pass through the colors of fall and dip into the chill of the forthcoming winter, it is also time to prepare for the flu season. There are plenty of great resources to learn about influenza in general that we recommend (the CDC, www.flu.gov), but here we’ll just review the basics and focus on what flu protection means for someone on hospice and their caregivers.

Note: Although vaccinations are an important part of preparing for flu season, simple and important habits like good handwashing and covering your mouth when coughing are equally significant!

Flu Basics:

The flu, or the influenza virus, is an infectious disease associated with a fever, runny/stuffy nose, coughs, sore throat, headaches and body aches, fatigue, and nausea. It is most often transmitted through sneezes and coughs and its peak season is typically December and January – so make sure to be careful at all those holiday parties! People most vulnerable to serious flu complications are those with weaker immune systems: the young and the elderly. Additionally, people with chronic health conditions such as any heart disease, lung disease, or asthma are subject to an additional risk for complications. As mentioned previously, hand-washing, coughing, and sneezing etiquette are important means of prevention, but it is also very important to consider receiving the flu vaccine.

Vaccination Basics:

  • How Often: Vaccinations are recommended every year.
  • When: The ideal time to get vaccinated is Oct/Nov, but it is still a good idea to receive vaccination as late as January. The peak of the season is typically December/January.
  • Who: Everyone above 6 months of age is recommended to receive the flu shot unless:
    • You have allergies to eggs or other elements on the vaccine.
    • You ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a severe and paralyzing illness).
    • You currently feel sick. Consult with your doctor, but it is a good idea to wait until your immune system is well before taking the vaccine.
  • Normal side effects: may include soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was administered; a low grade fever (below 101); and possibly aches.
  • Abnormal side effects: may include dizziness, a high fever, disorientation, difficulty breathing, or a rapid heartbeat. Contact your health provider if you experience any of these symptoms.

Types of Vaccinations

Nowadays, there are a number of different vaccinations, including a nasal spray vaccine. The spray vaccine is only recommended for people 9 to 49 years old, however. For adults 65 and older, there are two recommendations: the standard-dose trivalent shot and the high-dose trivalent shot. Because the immune response to the vaccine from older adults diminishes faster, it is thought that the high dose may provide better season-long protection from the illness. Ongoing research is attempting to verify this (as of 2014). Nevertheless, the CDC has not recommended a preference for either dose yet.

Flu Season & Hospice

For those involved with hospice care, the flu season is addressed with extraordinary care. The CDC provides a startling estimation that 90% of seasonal flu-related deaths occur in people 65 years and older. Thus, all appropriate precautions are taken to prevent becoming a part of this statistic.

The individual under hospice care should strongly consider receiving a vaccination if their immune system is not already under stress. Caregivers should be even more cautious, often encountering more exposure to sources of infection than the patient. In addition to a vaccination, caregivers should also emphasize prudence while out of the house, avoiding contact with sick individuals and always practicing good hand hygiene. Make sure visitors are healthy and practice the same standards of hygiene while visiting.

On our behalf, Bear Valley Hospice provides vaccinations to all staff and consistent training on infection control and hygienic techniques. If you have any questions, ask us! We also provide flu vaccinations to hospice patients as appropriate, but only with their permission.

The fall is a beautiful time, especially here in Big Bear, but it is also an important time to prepare for the flu season. Brush up on your knowledge about the flu and common sicknesses. Remember to practice good handwashing and overall hygiene. Consider receiving a flu vaccination. And always remember we’re here to answer any questions!

Take care and enjoy the coming holidays! 🙂

08 Aug

Licensed Received: Ready to Serve

Woohoo! We have our State License and are ready to serve! After a number of phone calls, emails, and moments of fingers being crossed, it is finally official:

With this document, we are now permitted to begin serving folks in the Big Bear area. If you know anyone entering the time of Hospice, we would love to serve them as caring and skilled neighbors and friends in Big Bear Valley.

17 Apr

Team Orientation

Tuesday night we had our first hospice team orientation! This was the first time everyone met – and goodness do we have a great team!

Orientation 041514 edit

During the round of introductions, each person also shared something that made them happy this past week. Stories of hikes, visiting the farmer’s market, and helping elementary students were some of the activities that our team really enjoyed.

The rest of orientation included a general discussion of the hospice philosophy, what hospice care looks like in practice, and an in-service on infection control. A few good jokes were included for good measure, including this comic:

i wanted to hear your heart

As the State gradually reviews our hospice license, know that we’re working hard in the meantime to be prepared to serve the community with excellence as soon as we can!

08 Apr

Progress with the State License

Last week we were able to contact the representatives reviewing our State License application and learned that our paperwork looked good! Next-up: an on-site visit to inspect our office and documents next month! Soon after, the observations from the visit are reviewed and we hope to begin serving patients as early as June or July. Stay posted!