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Ministering to Community Health

  • Lyme Parish Nurse Ellen Thompson, left, chats with Barbara Sprague during the senior lunch at the Lyme Congregational Church in Lyme, N.H., on Dec. 7, 2017. The lunches are a good way for Thompson to check in with her clients. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Once a week, Colin Robinson has his blood pressure checked by Lyme Parish Nurse Sharon Morgan at the Lyme Congregational Church in Lyme, N.H., on Nov. 20, 2017. Ellen Thompson, left, records the results of the test. Thompson has been a parish nurse at the church since 2012. This was Morgan's first day on the job. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lyme Parish Nurse Ellen Thopmson, center, introduces Sharon Morgan, left, as the new parish nurse at the start of the Lyme Congregational Church senior lunch in Lyme, N.H., on Dec. 7, 2017. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Sharon Morgan, left and Ellen Thompson, right collect meals they will take to clients' homes after the senior lunch at the Lyme Congregational Church in Lyme on Dec. 7, 2017. Both are currently parish nurses at the church. Lorry Kenton, middle, was volunteering at the senior lunch. She was the first parish nurse at the church. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lyme Parish Nurse Ellen Thompson reacts when she spies a client's wife when making a home visit with her fellow nurse Sharon Morgan on Nov. 21, 2017 in Lyme, N.H. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Charley Muntz, left, and his wife Jill Muntz, right, are visited in their home by Lyme Parish Nurses Ellen Thompson and Sharon Morgan on Nov. 21, 2017. Charley Muntz is receiving hospice care at home after a diagnosis of brain cancer. Thompson has been visiting every 10 days since he has been home. This was Morgan's first day on the job. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Scarlett Dube, left, talks with Lyme Parish Nurse Sharon Morgane at her home on Dec. 7, 2017, in Lyme, N.H. Dube's great-granddaughter Diana Burns, 18 months plays at the table while the woman discuss how Dube has been feeling. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • At her home, Cynthia Bognolo says goodbye to Lyme Parish Nurses Sharon Morgan, middle, and Ellen Thompson on Dec. 7, 2017. Morgan has recently become one of the two nurses in the program. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



TEXT BY LIZ SAUCHELLI
Saturday, December 16, 2017

Lyme — “Rewarding” is one of the first words that comes to mind when Ellen Thompson thinks of her work as the Lyme parish nurse.

“What I’ve learned is that I’m really lucky and blessed to be living in a community that cares so much about each other,” Thompson said. “It’s a privilege to be invited into people’s homes to help them when they need a little help and support.”

“I sort of knew that, but I’ve been able to live that for the last 5½ years, and that’s been really nice and rewarding.”

Thompson, along with nurse Sharon Morgan, spends 30 hours a week assisting residents in a variety of ways, including answering questions about upcoming medical procedures, monitoring blood pressure, coping with a new diagnosis, making sure medications are being taken correctly and advising them on nutrition and exercise.

“People are a little bit more isolated at times,” Thompson said. “It becomes harder to get out and so it’s nice to have somebody come to your house and see you, check in on you and provide some of that socialization.”

Their work is part of the health ministry program of the Lyme Congregational Church. Last year, the nurses dealt with 92 people in more than 640 encounters, including phone, email and in-person visits.