All posts by Amy Barger


Sharing the holidays with loved ones enables us to reconnect and renew relationships that may become remote due to distance, the demands of jobs, parenting responsibilities or a myriad of other reasons. As families gather for the holidays, it is a good time to involve everyone in the family in discussions about personal preferences for end-of-life. These talks are especially important if family elders are experiencing challenges from illness or chronic disease, but others should participate as well because the risk of accidents put people a risk regardless of age or health status. Set a goal of learning each other’s preferences so that they can be honored. These discussions can prevent family discord, reduce guilt and make decisions so much easier when someone is facing the loss of a loved one.

The conversation can start with Living Wills which enable people to spell out what kinds of interventions and treatments they do and do not want when confronting a life-limiting situation. For example, people can explore and express how they feel about receiving tube feedings or being kept on life-support. Family members may be surprised that not all relatives share the same attitudes regarding such options. How you choose to live until you die is as unique to each individual as a fingerprint. A tool to help you consider important questions is available here.

From that starting point, the discussion could move into designating someone who could make decisions for you if you are unable to voice those wishes for yourself. It becomes easier to choose an advocate to speak on your behalf when you have had the opportunity to discuss topics surrounding end-of-life in advance of serious illness. Understanding your goals, values, wishes and what you care most about in life is important when someone is expected to speak on your behalf during a medical crisis. The best person to speak for you may not be your spouse or adult child. It may be someone else who understands and is comfortable with making decisions in keeping with your wishes. Once an advocate has been selected, complete a durable power of attorney for healthcare form and schedule a discussion with your primary care physician to share this document with them. This information can then be stored as part of your medical record so those treating you will have access to the information when necessary.

A guide and the forms you will need to complete can be found here. 

If family members share this discussion together, regardless of age, it sets the stage for loving, respectful decision-making at a time when decisions become ever more difficult. The ability to enter a crisis with a clear understanding of what is most important to those you love empowers you to support them while feeling secure that you are doing what they want. The peace of mind that comes with that knowledge is priceless  – a true gift to those you love.

It was the fun-raiser we were hoping for! Thanks to everyone who came out to support our not-for-profit hospice mission at our Fun Pianos - Traveling Dueling Pianos Show by 176 Keys. With community support at events like Keys of Life, proceeds support our patients and families regardless of their ability to pay.

A special thanks to our generous event sponsors:

Presenting Sponsors
Kessler Sign Company
Matesich Distributing
The Granville Investment Group, LLC

Piano Sponsors
Licking Memorial Health Systems
The Hinderer Family
OptumCare

Supporting Sponsors
Tom and Beth Beattie
Bricker & Eckler LLP
COTC Central Ohio Technical College and Ohio State Newark
Galaxy Medical
Guanciale Group
Huntington Park
Andy and Kathy McMillen
Mr. Tool Belt LLC
P & F Bathworks
Park National Bank
Waste Away Systems

Patron Sponsors
Leslie Poole and Tom Barry
Bloomberg Eye Center
Handelman Law Office
Lisa McKivirgen
Mortellaro McDonald's
David and Cathy Stansbury
Russ and Beth Suskind
TrueCore Foundation
Valuecare Ambulance
Jeremy and Jill Young

See photos from our event below!

Grief can set in at the most inconvenient of times.

During a business meeting, all it took was one look at your coworker’s butterfly mug, and you’re remembering your mother giving you the nickname “Butterfly." You choke back tears, hoping no one notices.

You’re out with your family at the park and see the same pine tree that sheltered you with your father while reading together. The memory brings a wave of grief that immediately drains you.

Not everyone you know may understand these experiences. Thanks to digital podcasts, it’s easy to access conversations with others sharing grief situations similar to yours – from a comfortable distance.

Give a listen to these podcasts covering various grief topics:

What’s Your Grief

This podcast is produced by two mental health professionals who have both lost a parent. They cover a wide range of grief topics including loneliness in grief, parenting while grieving, going back to school after a death, and more. Find them all here.

Hospice of Central Ohio: Listen and Learn

Yes, we have a podcast! Our Listen and Learn podcast is volunteer-driven covering topics about end of life, spiritual care, grief, and more. One of our topics is supporting someone who is grieving. Find our podcast here..

NPR Stories About Grief

Did you know NPR has a website section called Stories About Grief? If you saw the viral video about the bond this 81-year-old man and young girl formed after his wife’s death, you’ll want to hear the podcast here.

Grief Dreams

Have you ever had dreams about a deceased loved one? You’re not alone. Grief Dreams Podcast talks about these dreams and other subjects tying into grief. Listen to their topics here.

Grief Out Loud

The Dougy Center’s Grief Out Loud podcast talks about grief stories and support surrounding children and families. Find out more here.

Are you ready to talk about your grief with our professionals? Contact our bereavement center by clicking here.

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.

 

 

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 mjohnson@hospiceofcentralohio.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 mjohnson@hospiceofcentralohio.org

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.