Hospice Pulls the Community Together
She called the Hospice Caring office in tears. Her doctor said three to six months. This was the beginning of an almost year-long relationship with Diane (not her real name), a young mother of two and wife to a man who had just recently found work again after having lost his job six months earlier in one of those all-too-common layoff situations.
Diane wanted to continue curative care in the hope that something would stop the breast cancer, or at the very least give her more time with her children. Would Hospice Caring help?
Diane had called the right place. Hospice Caring Inc. is a non-medical, all-volunteer hospice, licensed by the State of Maryland. It provides specially trained volunteers who offer respite care and emotional and practical support to seriously ill patients, many just like Diane who want to continue curative care. Hospice Caring’s services are free of charge.
After Diane’s call, Hospice Caring went into action. Because Diane’s children were young, she was concerned about their time at home after school and before her husband got home from his downtown location. Hospice Caring provided volunteers after school to help with homework and setting the table for the family’s nightly dinner together.
Since Diane could no longer drive herself to appointments, Hospice Caring provided transportation assistance too. It enlisted the aid of the many friends and family who wanted to help but just didn’t know what to do. Within a week or two, the loving support of friends, family and Hospice Caring had settled into a smooth routine working to ensure that Diane had just as much support as she and her family needed.
Diane felt comfortable because she didn’t have to ask for ‘favors’ every day, family and friends were relieved to be able to be of service, and Hospice Caring just did what it does every day. A program Hospice Caring put into place came from one of its partner organizations, Food and Friends, a Washington, D.C., organization that provides free meals and/or groceries to patients with AIDS or other life-challenging illness. Food and Friends provided three meals a day to the family of four, delivered daily by their volunteers, which were free of charge. The meals, prepared from fresh ingredients, zing with good nutrition.
It truly does take a community. When Diane died, Food and Friends volunteers took a sympathy basket to the family and continued providing meals for two weeks. Hospice Caring provided bereavement support for all members of the family through peer support groups for Diane’s husband the Good Grief Club and Camp Caring for Diane’s two children.
The children’s volunteers continued to stay in touch with decreasing frequency, so their leaving would not create another precipitous loss for this already grieving family. Hospice Caring Inc. and the community-together they can make a difference.