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Honoring veterans in hospice care

For Veterans Day and National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, JourneyCare is honoring our veteran patients and celebrating the volunteers who dedicate their time and talents to our patients, patient families and the staff throughout our agency. We are so grateful for our generous volunteers every day of the year!

It’s estimated that one out of every four dying Americans is a veteran.

This Veterans Day and National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, JourneyCare is very proud to be one of more than 2,400 hospice organizations in the United States participating in the We Honor Veterans initiative to honor and care for veterans and their families. Started by the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) at the request of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the intent of the program is to identify when a veteran is enrolled in hospice care, connect veterans and their families with any benefits for which they may be eligible, and take this final opportunity to honor and thank those who served and sacrificed so much.

Hospice music: fine tuning the quality of life

Hospice music: fine tuning the quality of life

In honor of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, we are celebrating the hospice and healthcare workers who hold the hands and hearts of our patients and their families every day. In tribute to the physical, emotional and spiritual work they do, each blog this month will bring you an up close look at how they bring compassionate care to patients and families in extraordinary ways. We hope you will be inspired by these stories which shine the spotlight on these everyday heroes.


As a music therapist for hospice and palliative care patients, I feel incredibly grateful each day that I have the privilege to do this unique work. This November I reflect on National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, and realize I can honestly say that I absolutely love my job and the work that we do here at JourneyCare.

In my journey as a music therapist, I experience so many touching moments with our patients. But what makes my work especially worthwhile are the “WOW” or breathtaking moments. And sometimes, when I least expect it, a “nice” visit can become one of my best.

Tree of Lights…from both sides now

I look forward to our Tree of Lights celebrations every year. My personal experience with grief and loss has been eased by participating not only as a staff member, but a grieving person in my own right. Let me share a story with you ...

In the past 18 years, I have had the privilege of providing grief support to family members of hospice patients as well as members of the community at-large. Little did I know when I began my connection to JourneyCare as a volunteer over 20 years ago, I would become part of one of the most compassionate organizations that serves people at the most critical juncture in their lives. What was once a small agency now reaches across 10 counties in the Chicago region.

Being a Voice for Patients: Hospice Chaplains as Advocates

Being a Voice for Patients: Hospice Chaplains as Advocates

There are so many patients who have impacted my life, but I’m going to share this story for Pastoral Care Week (October 21-27). It’s an example of how chaplains are not only spiritual counselors for patients, but also serve as their advocates.

There was a cancer patient, an Irish man who was quite ill by the time he came into our hospice care. He lived alone in his home. He was in his 50s, and his wife had died of cancer two years prior. He had lung cancer and was still a smoker, so we could not bring oxygen into his home. He was becoming weaker and weaker, his house was in a disarray, and it was becoming unsafe to leave him in the home by himself.

Your Hospice Care Team: Soothing body, mind and spirit

Your Hospice Care Team: Soothing body, mind and spirit

For World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, Nurse Katie Fernandez explains the team-based approach care patients and their loved ones receive through hospice.

I have been working with hospice patients for 15 years. My role as a hospice nurse is tightly woven into the team I work with: physicians, other registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, social workers, chaplains and volunteers. We collaborate as we work together to manage the needs of those we care for. I am deeply grateful to work with committed professionals as we apply our strengths to soothe the physical, emotional and spiritual struggles that patients and families are dealing with.

Honoring Vietnam veterans in hospice care

As we observe the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, JourneyCare’s Veteran Volunteer Advisory Council and the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration invite Vietnam Era Veterans to join us for a special ceremony in recognition of their service and sacrifice for our nation on October 6. The event will feature a special keynote address from Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Allen J. Lynch.

My name is James “Jim” Claydon and I am a Vietnam Navy Seabee veteran. I served in Danang, Phu-Bai and Hue from 1967-1968, and was a Steelworker in support of the Third Marine Engineering Battalion.

Volunteering for hospice? Ask a different kind of question.

Volunteering for hospice? Ask a different kind of question.

Like many people these days, my mom has gone nuts for genealogy. Not only did she buy Ancestry.com kits in bulk for all of us at Christmas, but she spends a couple of days every week at a genealogy resource center in Cleveland where a lovely lady helps her search the vast databases the Mormon church has made available free to everyone.

Mom loves the detective work and when she discovers a name she’s been following in a census or on a birth certificate or in an obituary, she’s thrilled. But, it’s frustrating for her, too, because she realizes that all she knows in the end about these long-departed relatives are their names, dates of birth and death, and if she’s lucky, an occupation or some other tantalizing detail. She can’t help but wonder: What was their story?

I love my job as a hospice Team Care Coordinator

It's Health Unit Coordinators Week (August 23-29) and JourneyCare recognizes the importance of our Team Care Coordinators, who help keep our CareCenters running smoothly for our staff, patients and families. Thank you to all our TCCs! We appreciate the hard work and compassionate care you provide every day of the year!

I love working as a Team Care Coordinator for JourneyCare at The Pepper Family Hospice CareCenter. It amazes me the negative stigma that hospice has with the public. I am always confronted when I tell someone where I work, “Oh, I could never do that.” As for me, I could not imagine doing anything else.

Healing horses nurture spirits of grieving teens

Healing horses nurture spirits of grieving teens

The loss of a loved one turns your world upside down and, for a teenager, this loss can be especially bewildering. In my role as a bereavement counselor, I talk with teens that often feel like there is no way out, like the light of their lives has been diminished and they can become immersed in the stress of their own feelings. It is overwhelming for anyone, but especially for a teen finding their place in the world.

Finding peace through faith and hospice

Finding peace through faith and hospice

Our clinical team cared for a wonderful hospice patient in McHenry County who lived in a little wooden cabin house, directly on the lakefront. Every person on our team said it was a dream house, directly on the water with a sandy beach and a fire pit right outside the front door.

The only thing was, Gabe was dying and alone inside this home. He no longer could even walk down the steep lawn to the lake anymore, not without assistance.

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