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Parish Nurses

Lyme’s Parish Nurse Program
A Close-to-Home, Safety Net for all Lyme residents
Lyme’s Parish Nurse Program (PNP) is the heart of the Lyme Congregational Church (LCC) Health Ministry.  Our PNP was established in 2007 following a long history of community nursing in Lyme and leads the congregation and the broader community in providing free care to Lyme residents.  Also, over time, the PNP has inspired and helped the growth of parish nursing throughout the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire.
Our PNP is first and foremost for all Lyme residents, and it’s FREE.  We provide a safety net to clients and their families in coordination with other town and healthcare resources.  And, where their healthcare is often complex and confusing, we work with them to connect the dots to understand their choices so that decisions are aligned with their goals and wishes.  All this is done while following privacy and confidentiality guidelines and laws. 
As of the 2019 LCC annual report, over 110 individuals were seen in over 700 visits - 82% of the clients were not affiliated with the church.  While our clients are for the most part elderly, we often see young families, too, who are facing significant and complicated medical challenges.  Our clients range from 0 to 104 years!
Our nurses’ impact is significant and achieved with the help of many in our community.  Our goal is overall improved quality of life for our clients.  Here are the benefits we are seeing! 
  • Reduced hospital readmissions due to coordination of care at home,
  • Increased safe aging in place, which reduces costs to the system and keeps clients closer to their family and friends,
  • Increased compliance with medications, diet and lifestyle choices that lead to prevention of readmissions and safety at home, too, and,
  • Increased peace of mind for the clients, their caregivers and family that someone is looking out for them in the confusing sea of options and emotions.
The kinds of things our nurses do include (see also the formal job description):    
  1. Understand your wishes:  Before anything happens, the nurses get to know you and your support network – what’s important to you, the client?  What are your concerns and questions?  What does quality of life look like to you? How much do you want to know?
  2. Provide advocacy:  Clients, weakened by their condition, are often not able to articulate their own needs or know the options available to them.
  3. Navigate the system:  Our nurses are familiar with many of the region’s doctors and practice groups, and they can navigate the system more efficiently.  And, knowing the clients as they do, they can ask the right questions to recommended strategy and options that are aligned with the client’s goals.
  4. Communicate directly with the client’s provider:  With the client’s permission for direct access, the nurses can zero in on the variety of options to recommend to the client.
  5. Execute the plan:  Once the client, and perhaps a family member invited by the client, has chosen a pathway, the parish nurses will take the role that the client chooses – everything from supporting their choices to executing the plan.
Day in and day out, our nurses might help a client or a family member like this.
  • Connect with the hospital’s discharge planner to be sure that the client has everything they need to recover in terms of equipment, medications, clear instructions, follow up, etc.
  • Meet with clients in advance of a doctor’s visit to be sure they have a list of questions and understand the purpose of the visit.
  • Then, meet after the visit to be sure that follow-up details and medication changes reflected in medication box are clear to client.
  • When a life-changing event occurs, help the client navigate based on their goals and Advanced Directives.
  • Locate and deliver medical equipment as indicated in the discharge plan or by the Physical Therapist/Occupational Therapist.  
  • Determine and arrange a social-service intervention when needed.  
  • Evaluate and arrange a professional review of the client’s at-home situation as requested.  
  • Support the client in navigating insurance issues that might be creating stress.
  • Make meaningful connections if the client seems to be struggling spiritually.
  • Help the individual find the right community resources to fix the phone line, connect with Life Line, mow the lawn or plow, for example.
  • Coordinate with Those Guys of Lyme if the client now needs a handicap ramp.
  • Make arrangements to get clients to CommunityCare of Lyme if they are homebound and need foot care.
  • Work with the Town Overseer or Pearl Dimick Fund to help a family receive heating-fuel assistance.
  • Respond to calls of concern from the FAST Squad, our pastors or community members, and then make assessments if desired by the client.
  • Offer to help clients anticipate the next step in their illness.
  • Arrange for soup or fresh Lyme-grown vegetables to be delivered by VeggiCare and SouperCare. These deliveries provide a personal contact and oft-needed nutrition.
  • Drop in randomly to see long-term clients even when they are stable.
  • Visit Lyme residents when they are in the hospital or long term care facility.
Our community partners include these, and new partners come along regularly!
  • Lyme Congregational Church Programs
    • Health Ministry
    • Women’s Fellowship
    • Care Deacons
    • Senior Lunch
    • Meals for Neighbors
    • SouperCare and VeggieCare
    • PNP Annual Flu Clinic
  • The Town of Lyme
    • Lyme Emergency Operation Center and COVID-19 Response Taskforce
    • Lyme Fire and FAST Squad
    • Lyme Police Department
  • CommunityCare of Lyme
    • Happy Feet Clinic
    • Lyme Food Pantry
  • Those Guys of Lyme
  • First Baptist Church of Lyme Center
  • Lyme Elementary School – Wellness Committee
  • The Lyme Library
    • Co-Sponsored Community Education Programs for all Upper Valley Communities
      • A Community Gathering:  Hope and Healing Following Suicide -10/2019
      • Eye Care America – 2/2020
      • COVID-19:  Practical Guidance for Summer – 6/2020
  • The Lion’s Club of Canaan and Orford, NH
  • Upper Valley Community Nurse Project (
  • DHMC and The Lyme Clinic, APD and the VA Hospital
  • Grafton County Senior Citizens Council Meals on Wheels
  • VNA and Hospice of VT and NH and Bayada Hospice
  • Good Neighbor Clinic and Red Logan Dental Clinic
  • NH Adult Protective Services
  • Aging Resource Center at Dartmouth College
  • Tri-State Collaborative on Aging
 Funding is greatly appreciated from:
  • The Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation
  • The Lyme Foundation
  • Lyme Congregational Church
  • The Town of Lyme
  • First Baptist Church of Lyme Center
  • LCC Women’s Fellowship
  • The Lyme Utility Club
  • Individuals – Friends and family of clients, plus those in Lyme who see how their neighbors benefit from this care. 
Lyme’s Parish Nurse is Kari Allen, RN, who is an experienced and skilled practitioner with extraordinary compassion. Kari is ably assisted by Teri Hontas, who handles much of the administration of the program, permitting Kari to focus on providing client care.  They extend helping hands, hearts, and skilled counsel in our congregation and the broader community.
Contact Kari or Teri by email or phone ( or 603-795-2850 ext. 3, which is confidential).  Messages and emails are returned by the next business day.  Please call 911 if you are experiencing a health emergency.