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Jovanna Little – Good Shepherd Hospice

August 8, 2008 @ 12:00 am EDT


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Jovanna Little, Good Shepherd Hospice’s development officer, was our speaker this morning and she gave a wonderfully informative presentation of the mission of hospice. Originally hospice was the place where the dying indigent were cared for. The movement has evolved. Today it represents the services needed by anyone who is suffering from a terminal illness. Jovanna gave us an overview of what hospice is, and is not. It is not a place to convalesce. It is not a place where curative methods are used. It is a place where those facing death can do so with the physical needs, and the spiritual needs met while on this final journey.

With rare exceptions there is no curative therapy administered. Those curative methods may be used are, healing bed sores to enhance the comfort of the sick. Palliative care is among the services provided, They inform the family of the different phases that the patient may be going through as they progress to death. They answer questions that the family needs as they witness the waning health of the patient, with much love and attention from the family and the care givers. 

Help in the preparation for death diminishes a lot of fear and doubt on the part of the sick, and puts it into prospective for the family. There are no resuscitation orders that must be signed. Hospice wants the family and the afflicted to know that the terms of hospice care are for the final journey, although that final journey can be long at times. There are funeral arrangements to be made, and family is encouraged to go about these needs with the confidence that all of this is appropriate.

Good Shepherd Hospice is completing a new unit for those people , who for one reason or another, cannot be cared for at home. They also will be using these facilities for bereavement service and providing a place to stay for family members. The facility is decidedly not hospital like in its’ appearance. Hardwood floors, wall portraits, fireplaces, comfortable seating  and place for families to gather and share meals, are all part of the mix.

Death is a part of life. It may be traumatic, but much can be done to alleviate pain and fear. That is part of the mission of hospice and they do a great job.

Ernie Fazio