March is National Social Work Month and an important time to recognize and express appreciation for the social workers who are central to our Quality of Life Teams.
Hospice of Central Ohio social workers help patients and families address the practical and emotional issues that come with serious illness.
- They help families connect with valuable community resources, including meals on wheels, in-home caregiver support and financial assistance.
- They educate and inform family caregivers so they feel confident in caring for their loved one.
- They help patient and family openly discuss their fears and concerns.
- They help smooth the way when patients need to transition from one living environment to another.
- They serve as advocates for patients, helping to identify and plan so patients can achieve their end-of-life goals.
- They assist with completing advance directives and funeral planning.
- They help assure that children receive the services and support they need when facing the loss of a loved one.
Social workers bring knowledge and expertise in working with ethnic, cultural, and economic diversity. They are familiar with navigating the complexities of health care systems. They understand bereavement and are focused on enhancing quality of life and well-being for patients and families.
While accomplishing all these things, social workers also provide emotional support and understanding as families face the most difficult challenge of saying goodbye.
We are grateful for the role our social workers play in providing superior care and superior services in the communities where we have the privilege of serving.
Hospice of Central Ohio wants to expand pet therapy programs for patients and families and is seeking more animal owners who are interested in becoming pet therapy companions.
Pets have a long-standing history of providing companionship and unconditional love for humans in their lives, creating a powerful bond. Studies have shown that interaction with pets can reduce stress and anxiety, lift spirits and decrease feelings of isolation. The resulting health benefits include reduced blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health and the release of endorphins that have a calming effect. Interaction with animals can also encourage communication and socialization.
Liz Adamshick, Manager of Volunteer Services at Hospice of Central Ohio, says such responses make pet therapy a wonderful addition to patient care. “We require animals to be trained and certified in order to see patients who request a pet therapy companion visit,” she explains. “We have had wonderful feedback on the impact interactions with animals have with our patients and families.”
To find out more about pet therapy and how you can become a part of this important service for patients and families please contact volunteer services at Hospice of Central Ohio, 740.788.1404 or email@example.com.
It is one of the beautiful compensations in life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Bob Allen shares this quote as he talks about his involvement with the Veteran outreach and the American Pride program. “That kind of reciprocity is always there,” he says of his experience in interacting with Veterans.
A Veteran of the Vietnam War, Bob was looking for something to do after his retirement in 2013. “My wife got me involved in the fledgling Veterans program at Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County where she worked,” Bob recalls. It was a turning point for him. Bob discovered a passion for connecting with other Veterans. Bob then joined the American Pride effort of Hospice of Central Ohio after relocating to the Newark area. He continues all of his outreach activities and actively recruits other Veterans for involvement in the American Pride effort. “Most of us are more mature and retired,” Bob says. “We need more younger Veterans and more females – more good people who want to serve a higher cause and give of themselves.”
The American Pride program helps Veterans receive all the benefits they've earned and provides support for the unique end of life experience of Veterans. Especially important are American Pride volunteers who serve as companions to fellow Veterans. Their common experience provides a valuable starting point for sharing and support. Veterans of all eras make valuable contributions by talking with fellow servicemen and women. Bob says it is cathartic to speak with other Veterans about their shared experience. “The more you talk openly and candidly about these experiences, the more meaningful they become,” Bob observes.
Bob feels his participation in the American Pride program helps address two major experiences of Veterans facing end-of-life. “The two things that seem to really deteriorate for Veterans at the end-of-life are dignity and respect,” says Bob. “As their physical needs increase, they experience a loss of dignity. Many of them are also fearful that they do not have a right to respect because of things they may have done during their military service. They may never be able to speak of this to their family, but they can share their concerns with other Veterans. We offer no judgment and can talk about these issues to help restore the respect they deserve.”
Asked about an experience in his American Pride interactions that particularly touched him, Bob answered without hesitation. “We regularly visit the hospice wing at the VA Medical Center to visit and honor veterans. On one visit we encountered a gentleman who was disabled and mostly unresponsive. We pinned and honored him as we always do. As leave, we always offer a personal salute. He tried to salute us in return, as best he could. The staff told us it was the first time he had moved since he’d become a patient with them.”
To become involved with the American Pride program at Hospice of Central Ohio, please contact Volunteer Services at 740.788.1404 or volunteerservices@HospiceOfCentralOhio.org.
The news cycle is full of warnings about the flu and recommendations to protect yourself by being immunized. It is especially important for those caring for loved ones with chronic illnesses to avoid the flu virus. Caregivers may themselves experience compromised immune systems due to lack of rest and stress. If they contract the flu, they may not be able to care for their loved one or will risk exposing them to the virus.
Flu vaccine is an important first line protection. However, hygiene is also a critical preventative. Frequent and thorough handwashing is essential to preventing illness. Avoid kissing, handshakes and sharing drinks or food with those who are infected. Also avoid touching surfaces including sinks, countertops and doorknobs that may have been contaminated by someone with the virus. Utensils, dishes, clothing, towels and other items may also be contaminated and can indirectly spread infection.
Caregivers are their loved ones should be attuned to flu symptoms that indicate emergency medical care may be needed. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the following symptoms merit emergency attention:
- Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
- Severe vomiting
- Pain or pressure in chest or abdomen
- High fever that persists for more than three days
- Flu symptoms that improve but then return with severe cough and fever
Hospice care can provide respite care for patients if a caregiver is ill and unable to provide care for their loved one. It is one of the important ways hospice care helps support caregivers while also caring for patients. For additional information about caregiver support and hospice services click here.
Kudos to Hospice of Central Ohio volunteer Marilyn Dresser (pictured, center) who was recently honored with the Hospice Caregiver Award by Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Service. The awards are designed to recognize hospice caregivers who provide patients and families with wonderful care and compassion.
Those nominating Marilyn for the honor cited her fifteen years of service as a caregiver, her decade of leadership in organizing the annual camp HOCO Kid’s Grief Camp and dedication to the hospice mission. The nomination notes that “Marilyn knows no bounds, demonstrating energy, caring compassion, enthusiasm for every day she is alive. Mentor, guide, friend, companion…she walks her walk every day. Marilyn LIVES the Hospice ofCentral Ohio motto ‘caring for one person every day all the time.’”
We are grateful for Marilyn’s support and value her many contributions to the Hospice of Central Ohio mission.
Congratulations to Hospice of Central Ohio Volunteer Services Coordinator Liz Adamshick who was recently honored as the 2017 Outstanding Caregiver Partner by Schoedinger Funeral & Cremation Services in their annual Hospice Caregiver Award ceremony.
"Liz works tirelessly to gives her volunteers everything they need to be successful working with hospice patients and families," says Julie Olds, Director of Community Relations and Education with Schoedinger. "She believes strongly in continuing growth through educational and learning opportunities not just for her volunteers, but for all staff as well."
Liz worked with Schoedinger in the development of Volunteer Universities, offering inspiring guest speakers and educational break-out sessions for hospice staff, volunteers and the community.
"Liz nourishes the partnership between Hospice of Central Ohio and its business partners in the community," notes Olds. "For these reasons and many more, we recognize Liz Adamshick as this year's Outstanding Caregiving Partner."
Annual award recipients are selected from those who are awarded monthly recognition in the awards program. Hospice of Central Ohio nominees for January 18 recognition include Newark Home Team Leader Sue Grube and social workers Kelly Stansell and Ruth Robson. Also nominated are volunteer coordinator Pam Scanlon and extended hours RN Michelle Roberts.
Liz and these new nominees join an impressive cast of previous Hospice of Central Ohio nominees and recipients of honors in the Schoedinger hospice awards program. The first recipient of the Hospice Caregiver of the Year award was Hospice of Central Ohio social worker Charla Sedziol. Chaplain Mark Pierce has also been honored as Hospice Caregiver of the Month, and nominees have included ICC Team volunteer Kathy McMillen, patient care specialist Vandana Patel, patient companion volunteers Marilyn Dresser and Bernadette Tippie.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com
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!
2018 VOLUNTEER TRAINING SCHEDULE
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 contact Volunteer Services with questions or for updates:
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