Bristol Hospice in Merced provides for terminally ill

yamaro@mercedsunstar.comFebruary 19, 2013 

Wanda Harlan was prepared to deal with the loss of her mother.

She was with her mother, Rose Otto, when she died on Friday. The 77-year-old had been battling with breast cancer that spread to her lungs and bones.

Otto stopped receiving cancer treatments in December because her daughters knew her cancer was terminal and they wanted her to feel comfortable at home during her last few months of life.

"She never had liked doctors and medications," Harlan said. "We wanted to try to follow her wishes."

Otto was one of many patients that receive end-of-life care services from Bristol Hospice in Merced. Bristol provides pain and symptom management, counseling, supportive services, therapy and personal care for its clients, said Brenda Whitney, executive director.

The center, 374 E. Yosemite Ave., Suite 200, will celebrate its sixth anniversary with an open house today in an effort to answer questions from the public about its services.

The open house is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be a celebration at noon, at which Merced Mayor Stan Thurston and Bristol Hospice officials are scheduled to speak.

Bristol Hospice patients are terminally ill and typically expected to live about six months if their conditions continue to deteriorate, Whitney said. The center usually provides services to about 90 patients a month.

The center supplies medication and medical equipment such as hospital beds, and other services, Whitney said.

Hospice care helps reduce the stress on patients and those caring for them.

Harlan said Bristol employees weren't intrusive when they came into her home to provide services for her mother.

More importantly, they helped her prepare for the day when her mother died.

"People at Bristol were all very kind and reassuring that you are doing the right thing for your loved one," she said.

Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or

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