Singing Goodbye with Hospice Music Therapy

Singing Goodbye with Hospice Music Therapy

As a music therapist for JourneyCare, I was making a music therapy visit when a nurse from our hospice team saw me and asked me to play for another patient who was very near end of life.

Susan was still fairly young, a 66 year old woman who had suffered from multiple sclerosis. When I entered the room, she was lying in bed, had slightly labored breathing, and did not respond when I greeted her or said her name. She had family surrounding her, two sisters and a brother-in-law, who all very kindly greeted me.

How can grownups support grieving children?

How can grownups support grieving children?

Losing a loved one is difficult for anyone. For children, grief is experienced differently and every child grieves in his or her own way. As an adult, you serve as a role model to the children and teenagers in your life. By encouraging them to express their feelings, you can help them build healthy coping skills through the grieving process and for the future.

Learn how you can help the children in your life through the grieving process with these helpful tips in mind:

How bereavement camps help grieving kids

How bereavement camps help grieving kids

“What can I do to help?”

That question often weighs on the minds of the parents or guardians of a grieving child.

Some children instinctually express their emotions through verbalization, art, music and play. Other children need guidance on how to express feelings of grief and loss.

“It is helpful to children when the adults in their lives provide opportunities to acknowledge the grief everyone is feeling,” The National Alliance for Grieving Children states. “It is also helpful when children can gather with peers grieving similar situations.”

Bereavement camp is a place where children can meet other kids who are facing grief, and are given the opportunity to bond and process loss with them.

Hospice social workers: serving patients with dementia and families

Hospice social workers: serving patients with dementia and families

For National Professional Social Work Month, JourneyCare Social Worker Rachel Risler explains how hospice social workers provide compassionate care and support to patients with dementia and their loved ones. 

I've been working as a social worker with the elderly population since 2004, the last five years at JourneyCare. I became a social worker specifically to work with patients and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Since making the move from long-term care to hospice care, I have been honored to share the journey of end-stage dementia with patients and families. 

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.

Making the holidays brighter at Chanukkah

Making the holidays brighter at Chanukkah

For National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, JourneyCare is celebrating our thoughtful and caring staff and volunteers, who provide comfort and exceed expectations to make the holiday season joyful for our patients and their families.

As a Jewish Care Ambassador for JourneyCare, I’ve often thought of patients in our care during the holiday season and have felt badly that some of them, due to their advanced illnesses, are unable to enjoy the holidays to their fullest extent. This year as December begins, patients in our Jewish Care Services program will celebrate Chanukkah beginning the evening of Sunday, December 2 continuing through Sunday, December 9. Chanukkah is called the Festival of Lights, which is considered a joyous holiday and meant to remind us of the golden menorah in the time of the Temple with the miraculous jar of oil that lasted eight days.

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.

Merry hospice volunteers: Santa and Mrs. Claus bring cheer to kids and families in July

Santa and Mrs. Claus have a special place in their hearts for JourneyCare kids, all year long! And they both are joining JourneyCare to host Christmas in July in the south suburbs this summer!

It all started over a cup of coffee and a conversation I had with Nancy Sullivan. Nancy was ready to volunteer for JourneyCare and be a care companion for our patients. Nancy shared with me that she is the wingman to a very prominent historical figure … Santa!

Nancy explained that her husband, also known as Steve Sullivan, spent much of the past Christmas season visiting our CareCenters and pediatric patients at their homes. It was obvious bringing holiday joy is their mission, and they were happy that JourneyCare gave them the opportunity to help in this way. 

You are not alone - Kids find support at Camp Courage

Camp Courage is JourneyCare’s bereavement camp and activities for children and teens, ages 6-13, who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

When I took it on, I assumed being a Camp Courage volunteer would be tough. I knew that spending a week with kids ages 6-13 who had recently experienced a significant death would challenge my emotional wherewithal. Given my career working with the juvenile justice system and the skills I developed in that role, I decided I could handle it. But I learned, until you are there, you can’t truly anticipate the reality and rewards of Camp Courage.

A very special Mitzvah day: Creating hospice comfort bags

On Sunday, April 29, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Mitzvah Day program at Congregation Beth Tikvah in Hoffman Estates, one of more than 400 communities served by JourneyCare. A Mitzvah Day is a day in Jewish communities when congregation members come together to perform a wide variety of deeds that benefit their community. Many congregations in our service area have these annual programs.

The focus of this particular Mitzvah Day was inspired by a Jewish Care Services patient we cared for last year in our Marshak Family Hospice CareCenter in Glenview.

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