October 14, 2016
Moore Mission Moments - The Watershed Group


by Patti Moore


I was touring a hospice care center when the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies drew me to the kitchen, where I found a group of girls from the local high school. They told me that once a week they come to bake cookies for the families and patients in the care center. What a terrific way to enable young people to express their budding instincts to serve – and to create ardent ambassadors for hospice in the community.  


When I’m assessing a hospice program, one key measure of quality is the number of active volunteers and their level of involvement. How many volunteers do you have? What kind of things do the volunteers do for hospice? How long have they been volunteering? As we move forward in this new world of hospice and health care reform, volunteers are going to have an even greater impact on the lives of people who are facing serious illness and death.


What kind of person is likely to volunteer at a hospice? Most often, volunteers will be people who have had a positive hospice experience through the care given to a dying loved one, and who want to give back in a meaningful way. When their own acute grief has subsided, they can be very effective volunteers with patients and families going through similar situations. But don’t overlook younger people like those cookie bakers, who want to discover purposeful ways to serve others. Hospices offer a great opportunity for younger people to utilize their energy and enthusiasm in a mutually beneficial way.


Whether they’re visiting patients, doing office clerical work, working in fund raising, giving community presentations, counseling at kids’ camps, or leading choirs, volunteers are vital to comprehensive hospice patient care. Very often the simple act of sitting with the patient, so the caregiver can go to the bank or the hairdresser or grocery shop, is a tremendous gift. When family or friends visit patients, they themselves can be distraught and not able to give the support that the patient or family needs. It is the hospice volunteer who can provide that neighborly strength and caring.


Many hospices have volunteers called 11th hour or vigil volunteers. When someone enters the final stages of death, the family is likely to be exhausted and distressed. The 11th hour volunteers are on call to sit with those patients until the patient’s death. Another great volunteer opportunity is the Tuck-In program in which trained volunteers call patients at the weeks end to say, “I want to make sure everything is going well for you, and see if you need anything before the weekend. Do you have enough supplies and medications? Are you having any problems that we can tell the doctors or nurses about?” These friendly callers remind the patients and their families of the caring aspect of the hospice, and help reduce the number of calls over the weekends by being proactive instead of reactive. Patients’ and families’ needs are met before they have to ask.


Hospices are using volunteers to do creative things such as video life reviews, massage and Reiki, leading bereavement groups, Pet therapy, and much more. Teenage volunteers who have either experienced the death of a loved one or who just want to give back can be a great support to kids with parents or grandparents who are dying. Volunteers can be the greeters who give tours of your facility, or they can help in the kitchen. Some hospices engage with local garden clubs that provide flowers or create lovely settings outside patients’ windows. At our hospice in Gainesville Florida volunteers from the local koi club maintained our koi pond, and local artists and musicians provided performances and art exhibits.


Volunteers want to have a meaningful way to contribute and hospice is a remarkable place to achieve that. By giving them that opportunity we create a circle of generosity that benefits everyone it touches – and sends volunteers out into the community as informed, enthusiastic advocates eager to spread the word about the great things we’re doing.



Olivia Newton-John, Beth Nielsen Chapman & Amy Sky create “LIV ON” - a new album to aid and comfort those experiencing grief and loss.

Our own Dianne Gray who has been involved with grief recovery and end of life care for many years has collaborated with international superstar and multiple Grammy Award-winner Olivia Newton-John, Grammy nominee Beth Nielsen Chapman and SOCAN Award-winner Amy Sky to bring their vocal and songwriting talents to create “LIV ON,” a collaborative, newly recorded eleven-song collection intended for those who wish to transcend loss while walking a journey toward new-found meaning and hope. Enjoy samples and learn more here.click here


Whether or not the law should allow patients at the end of life the option of suicide is a thorny issue – and one that more states are choosing to put to the vote. One of the most emotionally charged issues on the ballot for Colorado's primary election is the medical aid in dying ballot initiative. If passed, Proposition 106 — the End-of-life Options Act — would allow adults with a terminal illness and a diagnosis of six months or fewer to live to self-administer life-ending medication.


Hey, Macarena! Okay, you need to see this right now: Heart-warming footage of patients in a hospice in Dublin breaking into an impromptu dance has gone viral after being viewed tens of thousands of times..


Gilchrist Hospice Care, the largest hospice organization in Maryland, just opened the doors to its latest expansion, which will abet its new Jewish Hospice Program. The new program has been brought to fruition with the aid of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore’s partnership, fundraising $4.2 million.


“The new space is simply stunning — with a cascading waterfall and sunlight streaming into the chapel,” said Gilchrist’s president, Catherine Y. Hamel, in a news release. “We know our Jewish families — and Gilchrist Center families of all faiths and beliefs — will find great comfort there. We are thrilled to be able to provide this beautiful space for our patients and families and so thankful to those who helped make this project a reality.”

I’m grateful to have made it through Hurricane Matthew with only minimal damage, and with everything that really matters – friends, family, and health – safe. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have not been so fortunate. Watching news footage of first responders in action reminds me yet again how much we count on the valor and goodness of these amazing people.  They are truly angels among us.
Trees were down all across our area

Pause, take a breath, smile and enjoy an evening at our RiverCove Retreat Center
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