Evangelical Hospice has been providing end of life care since 1989 and will celebrate that 25- year milestone from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 18.
The event will be held in the Apple Conference Room of Evangelical Community Hospital and is open to the public and all Hospice friends and family who have been touched by Hospice through use of the service, volunteering, employment, support or interest.
Starting as an outgrowth of Evangelical Home Health, then president of the hospital, Michael Daniloff and the board of directors recognized the need in the area for specialty care.
Carole Fallon, the first hospice manager, based Evangelical Hospice on the British Model, emphasizing meeting the physical, social, and emotional needs of patients and families.
That model continues today with experienced registered nurses trained in hospice care delivering bedside assistance in the place that is most comfortable for the patient. This could be at home, in a nursing facility, or at the hospital.
More than 85 volunteers are trained and give their time to support Evangelical Hospice and the patients and families who put their trust in the program to help them journey through the patients last months of their lives. Approximately 30 of the those volunteers provide direct patient/family interaction doing whatever the patient and family needs including pet therapy visits, chore assistance, reading or playing music, and vigil support in the patient's final days. The other volunteers help in other ways including assisting with bereavement, fundraising, office work, and more.
Kathy Leitzel, of Winfield, is a 16-year volunteer of the program who began to volunteer. She became a volunteer and after using the program for her mother-in-law and mother.
"Hospice is a special program. We as volunteers help patients live each day the best they can. We listen, we talk, we comfort, but we receive so much more than we give," she said
Now under the leadership of Kay Holdren, director of Evangelical Hospice, who has been a member of the hospice team for the last 24 years, the program employs 17 individuals and includes a medical director, patient physician, registered nurses, a social worker, a chaplain, hospice aides, a dietitian, a pharmacist, physical, occupational, and speech therapists, and a volunteer liaison.
Care for those who have lost a loved one continues for the families. Evangelical Hospice provides counseling, bereavement support, and holds semi-annual support groups that include sessions on the normal grief process, depression and anger, guilt and forgiveness, letting go and saying goodbye, and taking care of yourself: new beginnings.
Evangelical Hospice is supported in large part through an endowment set up by Michael Daniloff, former President and CEO of Evangelical Community Hospital, upon his retirement. That endowment, along with individual donations to the program, goes toward direct patient care. The Don & Jane Glass endowment, started by their children, supports education and training for nurses and volunteers.
For more information on how to support Evangelical Hospice through donations, volunteering, or other support, call 570-522-2550.