March 11, 2014

Local man shares hospice experiences in video

Norman Briggs' story captured by PBS interactive producer Josh Clement

PLATTSBURGH — Josh Clement knew about the services provided by High Peaks Hospice & Palliative Care long before the group approached him about doing a promotional video.

The interactive producer at Mountain Lake PBS had witnessed the support the organization had given his late stepmother, Susan Corneau Clement, and her family during her final days.

“I already felt that these were good people and would be happy to help them in some unique way,” Clement said.

However, rather than simply creating an infomercial for High Peaks Hospice, the producer, who creates videos for the PBS web series “Borderless North,” preferred to tell the story of someone who was a recipient of the organization’s care.

“I didn’t know if this meant I would potentially be shooting video of somebody dying,” Clement said.

After all, he noted, “the reality of hospice is it is an organization that is there to help you out in your end of life.”


However, High Peaks, which is based in Saranac Lake, was able to connect Clement with someone who had received its services in the past and lived to speak about it.

“Adirondack Man on Life Journey and Special Connection to High Peaks Hospice” tells the story of 97-year-old Norman Briggs of Jay, whose doctors recommended he seek hospice care due to his heart and kidney problems.

His view of the organization was that it was for people who are bedridden and about to die, he said in the video, but “I didn’t feel that I was bedridden, and I wasn’t anxious to die.”

Still, Briggs turned to High Peaks, an organization that prides itself in offering compassionate care to individuals and families dealing with terminal illness, and was supported by a team comprising a doctor, social worker, chaplain and nurses.

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