SARANAC LAKE - The High Peaks Hospice & Palliative Care Inc. Board of Directors has appointed TylaAnn Burger as the organization's executive director.
"TylaAnn brings a broad array of experiences in hospice care, having been a hospice clinical director as well as having established a hospice and serving as its executive director," High Peaks Hospice board President Fred Oberst said in a press release. "She is also one of very few certified hospice and palliative care administrators in the United States. TylaAnn brings a wealth of knowledge about and a deep commitment to hospice, as well as compassion for our patients, staff and volunteers.
According to High Peaks Hospice, Burger found her calling in hospice care after a decade in intensive-care unit and emergency room work, when a hospice social worker told Burger that she was really a hospice nurse and should start doing that work. She took that advice and started as a staff nurse at Hospice of Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia. Over the next 20 years, she developed increasing expertise in both clinical and administrative roles. In addition to her rise from a supervisor to clinical director and then executive director, she has created specialty teams, taken a senior leadership role in a 42-bed inpatient "hospice" facility for persons with end-stage AIDS. She also founded a hospice designed to care for the underserved and disenfranchised communities of the inner city.
A strong belief in teaching and learning has led to work as an adjunct instructor at Widener University on Aging, Death and Dying and other end-of-life issues. In 2001 she authored the pain and symptom management chapter of a new textbook, "Nursing in End-of-Life Care." After 20 years in Philadelphia, she is returning home to New York state.
Hospice is designed to give supportive care to people in the final phase of a terminal illness and focus on comfort and quality of life, rather than cure. The goal is to enable patients to be comfortable and free of pain so they live each day as fully as possible. Pain and symptom management is a primary focus. Hospice programs generally are home-based, but they sometimes provide services away from home - in nursing homes, or within hospitals. The philosophy of hospice is to provide support for the patient's emotional, social and spiritual needs as well as medical symptoms as part of treating the whole person. Family and loved ones are also cared for during this time as well during their bereavement. Hospice services are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance providers; however High Peaks Hospice & Palliative Care serves all, regardless of their ability to pay.
The local organization recently celebrated its 25th anniversary of serving Franklin, Essex and Warren counties. For more information, call 518-891-0606 in Saranac Lake, 518-546-9850 in Port Henry or 518-743-1672 in Queensbury, or visit www.highpeakshospice.com.