This month I celebrate two decades of working for Hospice Savannah. What an honor and a privilege to work for such an ethical and meaningful organization.
Every day I am in awe of the work accomplished by our hands-on caregivers – the certified nursing assistants who bathe and dress our patients, the registered nurses, caring social workers and chaplains so skilled in assessing and addressing the physical, psycho-social and spiritual pain of our patients and their loved ones. I marvel at the hours our dedicated volunteers continue to give as they visit patients, provide administrative support throughout our many departments.
It has been a privilege to be part of the growth of our not-for-profit. Due to the financial support and generosity of our community and to the fiscal and executive leadership of our boards, we can provide a beautiful Hospice Inpatient Unit (HIPU) ; we can help stressed caregivers – long before they need hospice care – through the Edel Caregiver Institute; we can provide certified music therapy, story keeping and massage therapy; we can help patients and their families care for their beloved animals through Pet Peace of Mind; we can offer recognition and special support to those patients who served our country in the armed forces; we can comfort the grieving through the many programs offered by our Full Circle Grief and Loss Center; and we can provide symptom relief for those dealing with serious illness through our Steward Center for Palliative Care.
I particularly enjoy reading the weekly updates from some of my fellow co-workers at the Demere Center for Living. Here’s a random sampling:
“I’ll be in Effingham today and tomorrow seeing bereavement clients and making telephone calls. Wednesday I’ll be doing my second Grief School Group at Jacob G. Smith. This is an amazing group of younger elementary students that are eager to speak of their loss. I can’t tell you how much I am enjoying these school groups this year”
“I have provided ‘We the Living’ training to the staff of Deep, an organization that engages young people from all walks of life in writing. I presented to the Bridges Academy (the alternative high school) at their Counseling Café on the topic of grief and teens. Today I will be traveling to the Hinesville Senior Citizens Center and making a presentation on Grief and the Holidays. I am seeing 7 individual clients of various ages for grief support. We will be leading a ‘We the Living’ Support Group at the Youth Detention Center in January.” (‘We the Living’ is a neighborhood-based support and counseling program for youth affected by death by gun violence.)
“What a lovely Tree of Light Ceremony. I enjoyed collaborating with the bereavement staff and community musicians on that ceremony. I am balancing an interesting caseload. I have everywhere from a pediatric case, to an older adult suffering a recent death of his wife, as well as plentiful persons with dementia and other life limiting illnesses who are in need of some positive auditory stimulation in their lives–that means less TV and more music and human interaction!”
So thanks to everyone who supports Hospice Savannah and allows us to continue our mission in the face of increasing for-profit hospice competition and Medicare cutbacks. I look forward to a 2018 filled with laughter, tears and meaningful interactions with our clients, patients, co-workers and volunteers.
We are already planning for an amazing set of lectures by Dr. Angelo Volandes, the speaker for our 10th Annual Lecture Series. Please join us on January 25 for ‘Coffee, Croissant and Conversation’ as he discusses his best selling book, The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care. Details here. You also won’t want to miss the 4th Annual Artists and Artisans Tour benefiting Hospice Savannah on the evening of February 8. Tickets will be on sale soon for food (provided by The Grey), cocktails (provided by The 1970 Vodka), art and sculpture from over 30 artists displayed in the homes and gardens of four downtown homes. And of course, we will soon be gearing up for our annual overnight children’s grief camp, Camp Aloha, scheduled for the first weekend in May.
Again, what an honor and a privilege to be involved with this work.
Director of Marketing and Volunteer Services