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Soup, Warmth and Comfort for Hospice Patients

Soup, Warmth and Comfort for Hospice Patients

JourneyCare's Soup & Stories initiative began five years ago when JourneyCare Juniors and adult volunteers from Barrington delivered containers of homemade soup, fleece blankets and conversation cards to the homes of JourneyCare patients on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Whenever Dr. Martin Luther King's Day of Service takes place,  I am reminded of all the ways I can serve the community and make the world a better place. As a JourneyCare Youth Advisory Board Volunteer, one activity I love to participate in during this holiday is the Soup and Stories deliveries. If this initiative has taught me one lesson, it’s that a little can go a long way.  Just a small package filled with soup, a blanket, and a card can brighten someone’s day and bring love, comfort and joy to a home. 

Music in hospice – an unbroken connection

Music in hospice – an unbroken connection

Drawing on their musical and clinical palliative care training, music-thanatologists use harp and voice to address physical, emotional and spiritual suffering at the end of life. Using music prescriptively, they vary the tempo and tone of music to respond to changes occurring in a patient's body, like a slowing of pulse and breathing, in the final hours of life. During their visits — music vigils — they alternate sound and silence to help patients and loved ones relax and rest.

In my work as a music-thanatologist, there are certain vigils that stand out in such a way that leave me feeling especially grateful for what we are able to offer patients and families at this most critical and sacred time of their lives. At these times, I feel that I am at the right place at the right time and I am grateful for the deep connections made. The following narrative is from one of those vigils:

There are many family members present when I arrive at Jason’s home: his wife, Kim, two daughters Lucy and Naomi, his son-in-law and a baby. The kitchen is abuzz with conversation and planning. The sound of a television is coming from Jason’s room.

When it is time for me to enter the small, dimly lit room, Jason’s JourneyCare nurse is measuring his heart rate and oxygen levels, which are regular. Jason is lying on his back, supported with pillows and slightly turned toward his left side. His brow is smooth, his eyes are closed. He does not rouse to speech or touch. By now, only Kim and their two daughters remain in the room.

How to encourage parents to complete an advance directive

How to encourage parents to complete an advance directive

It’s a touchy situation. You love your aging parents and want to do what’s best for them. You know they should be planning for their end-of-life care and putting their wishes into writing. If they would complete an advance directive, you’d be sure they will receive the care they want, under any circumstances, even when they may not be able to speak for themselves.

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