• November is National Hospice month
By Christina Whiting
Hospice of Homer is a nonprofit organization unique from most other hospice organizations. Rather than relying on medical staff to provide medical services to the community, Hospice of Homer utilizes trained volunteers to provide non-medical services to area residents. Hospice of Homer offers end-of-life support for caregivers, and neighbor-helping-neighbor support to community members who are frail and isolated.
Hospice of Homer started in 1985 after community member Jean Hatfield experienced the caring support of a hospice program in another state and wanted to bring the same care to Homer. She formed a committee of community members with experience in caring for terminally ill loved ones, and these founders envisioned a personal program of neighbors helping neighbors.
Today, Hospice lives out that vision, offering a program of non-medical support that focuses on the needs of those facing life-threatening illnesses or those in the transition of dying. Needs addressed include physical, psychological, social, spiritual and emotional. Hospice also supports caregivers.
Hospice of Homer’s programs include end-of-life care, caregiver support, volunteer visitors and phone friends, medical equipment loan program, support groups, a lending library, bereavement services, referrals and information pamphlets. Trained volunteers provide direct-care services within the community.
Hospice of Homer relies on community involvement and support. A Board of Directors oversees management of the organization and the volunteers are dedicated and passionate community members from all walks of life. Volunteers are always needed and can support the programs as direct-care volunteers, volunteer visitor and/or phone friends, office support, laborers, chefs, gardeners, assistance with fundraising efforts and by serving on the Board.
Darlene Hilderbrand is the executive director of Hospice of Homer. She believes that knowing we will die can teach us how to live.
Sandy Miller is the Hospice services coordinator. Her passion is bringing the best of health, comfort and freedom of choice to people wanting to stay in their homes when life is most fragile. Both women are passionate about end-of-life care.
Hospice of Homer provides a full range of services to the southern Kenai Peninsula, from Ninilchik to Homer, as well as providing limited services to areas across the Bay, including Seldovia, Halibut Cove, Nanwalek and Port Graham.
Individual donors provide two-thirds of Hospice’s funding. Consider donating with a one-time donation, as a monthly donor or by becoming a member. Donations in memory of a loved one are also accepted, as well as gifts through Pick.Click.Give, $-A-Day sponsors, giving through the workplace and bequests.
During National Hospice Month, Hospice of Homer is providing outreach to the community in the following ways:
On Thursday, Nov. 7, join “A Conversation: Holidays and Grief.” This discussion takes place from 6-7:30pm, in conjunction with Seldovia Village Tribe’s Thriving Thursday series. It is held at the SVT Wellness Center. The prospect of facing the holidays without a loved one may cause anxiety and even dread. Talking about this and learning ideas from others may be of help.
On Saturday, Nov. 9, Hospice holds it sixth-annual “Preparing for the Holidays Dinner and Auction” at Alice’s Champagne Palace. The evening includes a four-course dinner, wine, champagne and a silent auction to include art, products and services donated by local artists and businesses.
Items include jewelry, art, paintings, gift certificates for bear-viewing, an Italian home cooking lesson and more. Tickets are $50, with only 100 available at the Hospice Office and the Homer Bookstore.
Sunday, Nov. 17, a “Community Remembrance Gathering” to remember loved ones will be held from 2-3 p.m. at the SVT Wellness Center. These gatherings can be helpful and healing by remembering departed loved ones, speaking their names aloud and remembering their wisdom.
Additionally, volunteer training takes place annually in October for both end-of-life and volunteer visitor/direct-care volunteers. Volunteer training is a personal journey of information about caring for the frail and isolated, as well as those at the end stage of their life.
Things to know about Hospice:
1. All services are free of charge.
2. Services are available to the frail and isolated, as well as to those who are experiencing end-stage illness or are in the transition process of dying.
3. There is no time limit to services being provided.
4. The focus is on caring and quality of life, not curing.
5. Bereavement services are available.
6. Medical equipment is available free-of-charge to all community members
For more information about Hospice of Homer, call the office at 235-6899, email email@example.com, visit the website www.hospiceofhomer.org or stop by the office at 910 East End Road, Suite 2.
Office hours are Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to noon and by appointment.
Comments are closed