This New Year’s Resolution is a Loving Gift to Your Family

Here’s a great New Year’s Resolution to consider – make 2018 the year you complete Advance Directives.

Only about one-third of Americans have Advance Directives in place to help guide their loved ones and physicians on their personal preferences for end-of-life care. Who should make these decisions if you are unable to do so? Do you want it to be someone who knows and cares for you? If so, you need to take steps to ensure that is what happens. The completion of Advance Directives is critical to enabling you to be in control of your healthcare treatment when you are facing a life-limiting illness.

You can find Advance Directive forms and information here that will enable you to guarantee this New Year’s resolution is successfully achieved. It will be a much-appreciated gift to your loved ones and a guarantee of peace of mind for yourself.

How to Help Someone Who is Grieving During the Holidays


The holiday season with traditions, celebrations and gatherings with family and friends is a landscape of painful landmines for those struggling with the death of a loved one. Supporting someone who is grieving during the holidays can be the most important gift you give this holiday season. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization offers ten suggestions for how you can really support someone who is experiencing grief.

1. Support their choice in how to handle the holidays. Some wish to follow traditions; others choose to avoid customs of the past and do something new. Let them know that whatever they choose is “right” for them.

2. Help with decorating or holiday baking, which can be overwhelming for someone who is grieving.

3. Help with holiday shopping. Share catalogs or online shopping sites that may be helpful.

4. Invite them  to join you and your family during the holidays as your guest for a religious service or a holiday meal.

5. Invite them to volunteer with you during the holidays. Doing something for someone else, such as helping at a food pantry or other charity, may help someone who is grieving feel better about the holidays.

6. Donate a gift or money in memory of the person’s loved one. Remind the person that his or her loved one is not forgotten.

7. Don’t expect someone to be “over it, ” and ready to move on.  What’s most important is to give the person hope that, eventually, he or she will enjoy the holidays again.

8. Be a good listener. Active listening is important to helping someone cope with grief and loss.

9. Remind them you are thinking of them and the loved one who died. Visits, cards and phone calls speak volumes about how much you care.

10. Remember them after the holidays. Sometimes the post-holiday period can prove to be even more difficult. Checking in after the holidays to see how the person is doing is also important.

If you or someone you know could benefit from grief counseling, please contact Maria Johnson at 740- 788- 1474 or

Ways to Celebrate the Life of a Loved One this Holiday Season

The holiday season can be challenging to those who are grieving the loss of someone close.   Holiday rituals and traditions are important symbols of security and family bonds. Because of this, holidays can be both a reminder of the loss of a loved one, as well as a reminder of special, pleasant memories shared with that person.

For those who are grieving, painful feelings during the holidays are normal. Rather than place unrealistic expectations on themselves to do things the way they always have, grievers should lower expectations for themselves. While it may feel insincere if you try to force feelings of happiness and joy, do allow yourself to have fun. Loss teaches us more than anything about the preciousness of life and not to take it for granted.

We can also allow the holidays to be opportunities for memory, legacy, honor, connection, and healing. Expressing feelings and revisiting memories can be part of the healing process. Some suggestions for honoring lost loved ones might include:

  • Draw pictures or make cards of favorite holiday memories with the deceased.
  • Create a special ornament to hang on the tree or doorway.
  • Write a holiday letter to the deceased and place it in a special place either wrapped as a present under the tree or tied with a bow and placed next to their picture.
  • Place a picture of the deceased at the dinner table with a candle so they are part of the holiday feast.
  • Cook a favorite dish or dessert the deceased especially enjoyed.
  • Honor your loved one by making a toast, creating a memory area in your home, or hanging a holiday stocking filled with notes of special memories.
  • Look at photo albums and share memories.
  • Donate to a special charity in your loved one’s name.
  • Create a “gratitude bowl.” Family members can write holiday memories for which they will always be thankful about their loved one on colorful slips of paper. Share them out loud during a special time during the holidays.

These activities are powerful and healing because they allow mourning while at the same time giving permission to enjoy the holidays.

If you or someone you know could benefit from grief counseling from our professionals, please contact Maria Johnson at 740- 788- 1474 or

Join the Hospice of Central Ohio Mission as a Volunteer!

Hospice of Central Ohio serves our patients and families through the combined efforts of paid (employee) and unpaid (volunteer) staff members.  In the true spirit of the word “team,” all staff members share the privilege and responsibility of supporting people who are in the dying process as well as their family members and caregivers.

The paid and volunteer staff dynamic is one of mutual respect and collaboration, centered on the end-of-life wishes and needs of our patients and their families.   From patient care to office support and special projects, volunteers provide an essential perspective that makes our mission come to life. Across all lines of service, volunteers and employees work together to ensure that we are providing the best care possible to the people we serve every day.

Please take a moment to review the New Volunteer Training series schedule below. To begin the application process, simply fill out the online application form or contact Volunteer Services at 740-788-1404 to learn more.


We invite you to consider joining our vibrant, compassionate team in a role that best fits your skills and interests!


Attendance is required at all four sessions prior to volunteer placement. Unless otherwise noted, training sessions meet from 6:00 to 8:30 pm. This schedule is subject to change.

Please note: an application to volunteer is required prior to attending.

Download Training Schedule

Please contact Volunteer Services with questions or for updates:

Telephone: 740.788.1404          



Location: 2269 Cherry Valley Rd., Newark, OH 43055

January 8, 9, 15 and 16

April 2, 3, 9 and 10

August 7, 9 14 and 16

October 15, 16, 22 and 23


Location: 1585 E Main Street, Lancaster, OH 43130

January 30, February 1, 6 and 8

May 8, 10, 15 and 17 from 5:30 to 8 pm

September 10, 11, 17 and 18 from 5:30 to 8 pm


Location: 805 Hillsdowne Rd. Suite A, Westerville, OH 43081

February 27, March 1, 6 and 8

June 4, 5, 11 and 12

November 5, 6, 12 and 13



Veterans Honored and Memorial Dedicated by Hospice of Central Ohio

Hospice of Central Ohio recently paid tribute to Veterans as part of the American Pride program at Licking Memorial Hospital.

The American Pride program is designed to honor and celebrate the service of Veterans. Commander Jim Watercutter and other members of the Veteran Alliance of Newark participated in the November event honoring staff members and volunteers who are also Veterans.


Hospice of Central Ohio President and CEO Kerry Hamilton, pictured left, officiated. The program recognized the service of staff and volunteers with the presentation of American Pride challenge coins.  Licking Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Office Robert Montagnese (right) was also honored for his service with an American Pride challenge coin presentation.

In addition to recognizing the service of Veterans, the event included the dedication of a "Missing Man" table display. The table serves as a ceremonial remembrance of comrades in arms who remain "missing." The symbolism of the table is multi-fold:

  • The tablecloth is white — symbolizing the purity of motives when a member of the armed services answers the call of duty.
  • The single red rose, displayed in a vase, is a reminder of the blood shed in sacrifice to preserve American freedom
  • The vase is tied with a yellow ribbon, signifying the continued determination to account for the missing.
  • A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers.
  • A slice of lemon on the plate reminds us of the bitter fate of those who remain unaccounted.
  • The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.
  • The glass is inverted to symbolize the inability of those missing to share a toast.
  • The chair is empty. The missing and fallen are unable to be present.

“Our American Pride program reflects our commitment to recognize not only the Veterans we serve through Hospice of Central Ohio, but every Veteran in our community," said Hamilton. “Honoring their service is in keeping with our mission and our commitment to this community.”

For information about American Pride or Veteran care at Hospice of Central Ohio, please call 740.788.1400.

#SuperiorCare Wherever You Call Home

Hospice is not a place, but a type of care. We provide comprehensive care wherever you call home. Services are provided at:

Hospice in the Home

A survey by the National Hospice Foundation found that Americans listed among their top 10 concerns (for a family member with a diagnosis of less than six months to live) "The patient's ability to be cared for and die in his/her own home or a family member's home."

Hospice of Central Ohio strives to care for patients in the setting of their choice. Hospice care support often can assist families and caregivers to keep patients at home.

Hospice in a Home-like Setting

Hospice of Central Ohio partners with all area nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Hospice considers the nursing home staff to be a part of the patient's family and, when appropriate, includes the staff in the circle of its care and concern.

Hospice does not replace nursing home care, but rather complements it by providing the same palliative services that our home patients receive.

Inpatient Care Center

Dedicated in 1997 and named for the founder of Hospice of Central Ohio, the Selma Markowitz Inpatient Care Center is located on the sixth floor of Licking Memorial Hospital. It is owned and operated by Hospice of Central Ohio. The newly refreshed 7 bed care center is designed for patients needing symptom management and provides:

• 24-hour care by trained hospice professional staff
• Private rooms that encourage visitation
• Accommodation for family overnight stays
• Whirlpool bath with lift
• Family kitchen
• Family living room
• Children's play area
• Quiet, homelike atmosphere

Click here to learn more about our services.

Volunteer Reflects on Her “Paycheck”

Liz Adamshick, Manager of Volunteer Services with Hospice of Central Ohio, invited volunteer team members to reflect on what their “paycheck” looks like in a recent issue of  the Volunteer News. “There are many motivators that compel a person to consider all the ways they can spend their free time,” Liz notes. “Our volunteer Deb Hamrick captured what motivates her, and in reading it, I hope others are inspired and find affirmation for all the reasons they volunteer and serve Hospice of Central Ohio."

With deep appreciation and her permission, we share Deb’s comments here:

I guess as we begin to slip past middle age and into our senior years, we begin to realize the inevitability of the sometimes unpleasant hand life deals us in later life.  We don wrinkles, gray hair or no hair, love handles, and less-than-perfect posture, where once our youthful façade once stood.  If these annoying traits are all we face we are fortunate, because so often the wrinkles and gray hair are accompanied by debilitating illness that affects our quality of life.  My paycheck as a Hospice of Central Ohio patient companion is the opportunity to attend the end of life seminar my patients offer me free of charge each time I visit.  I wonder how they do it, waking up in pain, perhaps never totally escaping it; not remembering that their loved one visits every evening or what they ate for breakfast; having to be assisted to do what were once the simplest of tasks.  What I continually remind myself is that their current state is not their whole person; they have a lifetime of experiences that got them to the place that they now find themselves.  Having the privilege of listening to their stories from over the years is my paycheck, a paycheck no amount of money can ever replace.