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Salute to Home Care Nurses

In conjunction with National Home Care and Hospice Month in November, the following home care and hospice providers would like to recognize the following nurses for their dedication and commitment.

Melissa Jamison, RN
Admissions Nurse – VITAS® Healthcare in Pittsburgh

Melissa Jamison’s heart led her to VITAS® Healthcare six years ago, after working 14 years as a patient care technician and RN at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. During nursing school, a dying patient’s family was so impressed by her compassion that they encouraged her to specialize in end-of-life care—an idea “I always kept in my heart,” she says.

As a VITAS admissions nurse, Melissa is the first person to meet with hospice patients and their families, helping them understand hospice as a gift of time: time to spend with family and friends, time to manage symptoms and ease pain, time to pursue quality of life at the end of life. Her compassion is deepened, she says, because her father is enrolled in hospice.

“I can understand people and what they’re going through because I’m in the middle of it myself, going through the exact same things they’re going through. I think I have even more insight into what hospice care really means,” she says.

“Sometimes, patients come to VITAS not having had someone who answered their questions or took the time to explain what’s going on, what will happen next. I can tell them that VITAS is here to help them through whatever lies ahead. And I’m lucky to have an incredible team of doctors, nurses, aides, social workers, chaplains and managers to help me every day.”


Cassie Alderson, RN
Gallagher Hospice

Cassie Alderson is a Hospice RN Case Manager for Gallagher Hospice. She brings her clinical nursing skills to the patients and families at end of life to provide comfort and dignity during their final months. This is what Cassie says about being a hospice nurse …

“I love being a hospice nurse because I can provide comfort and dignity to patients, while helping to bring confidence and closure to families that their loved one will die peacefully. I can help patients and families realize that death does not have to be painful or scary, and it is okay to talk about it.

I love being a hospice nurse because I allow patients to have quality of life through symptom management, which allows them to spend meaningful time with the ones they love most before they leave us.”


Gwen Rishel, RN
Senior LIFE

Gwen Rishel has always had a helping heart. She has served the country in the US Army Reserves as an MP, has a degree in nursing, and has served seniors in nursing homes and home health settings.

Gwen eventually landed at Senior LIFE Uniontown where she has served as a nurse for seven years. Senior LIFE is a Medicare and Medicaid approved long-term care program that provides complete medical care and supportive services at no cost to eligible seniors so that they can remain living in their home.

One of Gwen’s favorite memories as a nurse is the help she provided to Carolynn, a Senior LIFE member since 2011. “Before enrolling with us, Carolynn was unable to keep up with medical costs,” said Gwen. “As a member of the program, Carolynn’s medical and supportive services are covered at no cost to her! Her healthcare is managed and tailored to her needs, and, she continues to live at home! The LIFE Program was the right fit for her.”

What’s Gwen’s favorite thing about working at Senior LIFE? “At the end of the day, I know I made someone’s life better.”

In recognition of National Home Care and Hospice Month, Senior LIFE would like to extend a special thank you to all the nurses and care providers like Gwen!

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