GALLIPOLIS — Holzer Hospice recently celebrated its 25th anniversary of providing care to the communities it serves.
Hospice is a licensed, certified program that provides in-home along with contracted nursing home services to patients with life-limiting illnesses and families. The program officially began providing care to the southeastern Ohio region in 1994. Holzer Hospice provides services to the following counties in Ohio: Athens, Gallia, Jackson, Meigs, Vinton, and portions of Lawrence.
“We are proud to be able to offer this much-needed assistance for our patients and family members for over 25 years,” Vicki Nottingham, BSN, RN, CHPN, director of Hospice and Extra Care shared. “I want to thank the Hospice staff and Holzer Administration for the encouragement of our program throughout the years. We are grateful for all of the caregivers who have made an impact in the Holzer Hospice legacy.”
The current team at Holzer Hospice includes 15 staff members, made up of full-time nurses, social workers, nurse aides, department coordinators who assist with general office duties and bereavement services, billing specialist, and in-take coordinator. In addition, Holzer Hospice utilizes volunteers to enhance its care program. Activities performed by Hospice volunteers include: visiting patients, light housekeeping, running errands, assisting with fundraising activities and office support.
Hospice also utilizes the skills of Leslie Shoecraft, NTM-BC (Neurologic Music Therapist, Board Certified), Rhythm–N–You, to provide music therapy for patients.
“Leslie is able to provide another avenue of self-expression for our patients, when they need it the most,” commented Vicki Nottingham, program director, Holzer Hospice. “Often times the patients and family members are able to relive memories through song, creating a comfort during this time.”
“In some cases, I have been able to work with some high-functioning patients to write about their life and experiences,” said Shoecraft. “This provides the family with a positive memory for many years to come.”
Hospice provides a monthly grief support group, led by staff member Shelly Ranegar, LSW. The community support group is a service that is offered to anyone that has experienced a loss, whether it be recent or not. The loss can be a loss of a loved one, pet, job, relocation of a friend, miscarriages, or caring for Alzheimer or dementia or ailing parents and loved ones. These are only a few examples of situations discussed. Any loss or life-changing event can be discussed or presented to the group. Any member of the community is welcome to attend, regardless if they have received Holzer Hospice services.
“We want to be a resource for the community,” said Ranegar. “Our group provides an open forum where confidentiality is stressed, and individuals can relate to others about the experiences they are going through with the assistance of a social worker and other resources.”
Community fundraising events spearheaded by hospice include an annual Car Show (held in the late summer or fall), Basket Auction fundraiser, and ornament sale. Profits raised from these events are utilized for a number of activities, including the annual Camp Courage, a bereavement camp for children who have suffered a loss. Camp Courage was created to help children learn how to process, deal, and grow from grief. Campers participate in a variety of activities, exercises, and dialogue that allow individuals to learn new ways of coping and dealing with loss. The camp is held during the summer months with several community members assisting with the activities.
Donations received to the department are utilized for medication costs and plans of care for symptom management.
“There are many ways to donate to our program,” Nottingham said. “We have a Tree of Love dedicated in the front lobby of the Gallipolis Medical Center with leaves inscribed with the donor’s names. This display was graciously sponsored by Jennifer (Clarke) Mackessy, Ph.D., the daughter of Dr. Oscar W. Clarke, who helped initiate Holzer Hospice in August 1994. The tree serves as a reminder of the program and an opportunity to donate much needed funds for our patients.”
Hospice is a recipient of Holzer Heritage Foundation funds. Tax deductible donations can be made to Holzer Heritage Foundation and designated to any Holzer location. Funds provided through the foundation are currently being utilized to update the Ruth Stowers Memorial General Inpatient Hospice Room, located at the Gallipolis Medical Campus. This area is utilized for both General and Respite Hospice Care, enabling the caregiver to place their loved one in Holzer’s care. Having this type of room available provides caregivers peace of mind while handling personal situations ensuring that loved ones are being cared for in the best possible manner. If one would like to learn more about Holzer Hospice Care, visit www.holzer.org or call 740-446-5074. Staff is available any time and can assist with any questions.