Christine (Chris) Knutson, RN, MSN, has been appointed Hospice of the North Coast (HNC) Director of Community Education and Outreach. Knutson, a skilled health and wellness professional with more than 40 years of nursing experience, including 20 years in the fields of long-term care, palliative and hospice services, originally joined HNC in April 2010 as Clinical Educator and Community Liaison.
In this newly created position, Knutson oversees the community liaisons and HNC’s Pathways Program, designed for support and education for people with serious and life-limiting illnesses. She is responsible for the development and implementation of a synergistic community education program to promote informed decision-making for long-term care planning. She oversees individual and group programs designed to educate people about the importance of advanced care planning with choices on palliative care and end-of-life treatment options.
Knutson, a passionate proponent of advanced care planning, believes that one of the most powerful tools now available is the California Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) paradigm. A highly regarded POLST trainer, advocate and activist, Knutson explains, “POLST complements and strengthens the traditional Advanced Directive; it clearly defines and documents end-of-life decisions, ensuring that treatment options are clearly communicated and the patient’s treatment wishes are honored. The POLST resources are key elements in HNC’s pioneering Pathways Program. Our mission is to put clients and their families in charge of health care decisions.”
Executive Director Nerice Kaufman states, “Chris Knutson’s impressive array of skills and background in the field make her a perfect fit for our community-based hospice’s focus on serving clients with compassion and individualized care. Chris offers a rare combination of organizational experience coupled with an intense focus on individuals facing terminal illnesses. As a client-centric nonprofit, Hospice of the North Coast is well-positioned to move vigorously into expanded community outreach. We want to educate individuals and our community about the choices they have as they approach the end of- life. We hope that people seek us out and ask for us by name.”
Nonprofit was established in 1980 to fill the need for comprehensive, compassionate hospice care in North County San Diego. Since its inception, it has grown in services, staff and clients. It currently provides a full spectrum of programs to terminally ill clients and their families, including anticipatory and post-death bereavement support, as well as a Pathways Program for those with a declining chronic disease. To fulfill its mission of maintaining dignity, comfort and highest quality of life for those it serves, regardless of ability to pay, HNC hosts fundraising events, operates a family support camp and resale shop, and maintains a cadre of volunteers.