We Recognize Dr. Richard Castaldo and Dr. Anna Gavriluke on National Doctors' Day

   Monday, March 30 is National Doctors' Day and Niagara Hospice is proud to recognize and thank our medical director, Dr. Richard Castaldo, and assistant medical director, Dr. Anna Gavriluke, for their dedicated care and support of all patients and their families. 

Dr. Richard Castaldo:

Have you seen community awareness about the benefits of hospice care increase over the last year?

   We always seek to raise the awareness with doctors and families that they can call us earlier so we can care for patients longer. Anyone can make a referral to hospice. People don’t have to worry about the criteria, we will take care of evaluating the patient’s eligibility. Even if someone is not ready for hospice care, we will follow up with the family to track their condition.

   With the projected growth of dementia diagnoses expected to double in the next 20 years, it is important to assess other underlying conditions or diseases that can compound a person’s declining health, all of which can lead to hospice eligibility sooner.

   We specialize in late-stage illness care and provide the comfort and dignity to help improve a patient’s quality of life. Our other focus is decreasing the burden on families and caregivers and reducing the stress that occurs when going to the hospital. We want to provide the support and guidance to every patient’s loved ones so there is no regret.

How does the Niagara Hospice House general in-patient unit help manage symptoms and contribute to comfort?

   We want Niagara County families to realize that symptoms of disease can be managed by our clinical staff at the Niagara Hospice House general in-patient (GIP) unit. The sooner the symptoms can be stabilized, the better it is for the patient’s comfort when they are discharged home. With this symptom stabilization period of up to five days in our GIP unit, we can evaluate the patient while avoiding a trip to the emergency room.

What is a key message for Niagara County families who are considering hospice care for a loved one?

   I encourage any family member or caregiver to please call us as soon as possible at 716-439-4417 or 716-HOSPICE. You can also fill out a short referral form at NiagaraHospice.org. Our clinical staff can have the conversations with patients and loved ones, and then a nurse will visit for an initial assessment. We will do the work for you in determining eligibility.

Dr. Anna Gavriluke:

In your first year with Niagara Hospice, what kind of feedback have your received from families at the Niagara Hospice House?

Many families are surprised to see how comfortable Niagara Hospice House is and the level of exceptional care they receive. They say it has a very calming, tranquil atmosphere and a friendly, family-driven, patient-focused environment. They remark often how it doesn't feel like a traditional medical facility and the accommodations are extremely comfortable. Family members are impressed by the non-intrusive care we provide, but we are always there nearby. Our staff is always checking on each room, and if family members are present, they will only intervene if necessary to provide medications or reposition the patient.

What is unique about your staff at Niagara Hospice House?

I am very proud of all of the staff. Everyone is incredible. We have a team of dedicated and devoted people in every department that are united by the same goal of delivering the highest quality of care to every patient and every family member.

Are there ways in which families are surprised about the care available in the Hospice House general in-patient unit?

They are often surprised that their loved ones can go home once certain symptoms have been treated. We can address pain management and pressing issues and discharge them when their condition improves.

What would you say to families that are considering hospice care but have never had any experience with it previously?

I would assure them that their loved one will receive the best care possible while they will benefit from the maximum amount of quality time they wish to spend with the individual. Our staff will allow them to return to being the family member and they won't have the burden and labors of love that come with also being the devoted caregiver. We will take over all the caregiving duties from there. Families can choose hospice knowing that their loved one will receive the proper, best care possible with kindness and dignity. That is so important for each individual patient.




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