May 16, 2013
Woven into the fabric of the community, Hospice of the Western Reserve supports and cares for neighbors in addition to patients and families. The Hannah Gibbons Elementary School is located just east of the headquarters building on St. Clair and has approximately 350 students.
As in all elementary schools in Ohio, the students took the State of Ohio Achievement Tests in April. Hospice of the Western Reserve learned that many students would not have snacks to sustain them during the long hours of test taking, so decided to help.
“Friday dress down” funds were collected to purchase testing day snacks and school supply donation boxes were set up throughout Hospice Headquarters. This morning, the school principal dropped off “thank you” notes from the children (pictured here).
Staff and volunteers are excited about this new community partnership and look forward to many other opportunities with Hannah Gibbons as a strong and lasting relationship continues to grow!
April 17, 2013
In his award-winning essay, Going Home, Jason Ryan, MD, a Connecticut physician, shares the story of Marilyn, and makes a case for compassion, dignity and respect at the end of life. Read Marilyn’s story here.
April 11, 2013
On November 9, 2011, 24-year-old Mike LaMarre, of Hudson, Ohio, was rushed to the hospital due to a seizure that occurred in the middle of the night. He was diagnosed with a large malignant brain tumor. Emergency surgery was performed the following morning and successfully removed about 80% of the tumor.
Further pathology reports identified the tumor as Glioblastoma, an extremely aggressive form of cancer. Mike completed his first year of both radiation and chemotherapy treatments at the hospital. Mike is a determined, strong-willed, and focused fighter. The love and support of his fiancée, Rachel Van, family, and friends helped to encourage Mike in his courageous fight.
Mike’s courage inspired his future in-laws to establish a charity in his name: Fight Like Mike. The Fight Like Mike Foundation was created to defray hospital and medical treatment expenses for Mike and other cancer fighters. The foundation is committed to bringing awareness to the community and financial assistance to cancer patients.
Motivated by Mike’s courage, the charity hopes to offer any small comfort it can to cancer fighters and their families by providing assistance with hospital bills and other medical expenses. Learning about cancer fighters adds to the foundation’s motivation and determination to continue to work for the charity, so the charity can work for others.
While helping as many people as possible in his name, Mike has also received help from others. A great deal of help came from the Hospice of the Western Reserve.
Mike was in the hospital for over a month before he was referred to David Simpson Hospice House, the non-profit agency’s residential care facility on the lakefront at E. 185th Street. The day he arrived, he was in such extreme pain that he was unable to walk. He had to be lifted in and out of bed. The certified palliative care specialists on Mike’s hospice team were able to successfully manage his pain. Once his pain was under control, Mike was able to regain his mobility and soon was up and walking again.
It was a joyous day for Mike, his family and fiancée when he was cleared to return to his home – with his family and near his friends. Mike remains comfortable at home as a result of palliative care from Hospice of the Western Reserve’s Summit County home care team.
The significant role that Hospice of the Western Reserve has played in Mike’s story is best illustrated through the adaption of the Loren C. Eiseley story, “The Star Thrower,” commonly referred to as, “The Starfish Story”:
A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement. She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!” The girl seemed crushed. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!” The man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea.
Just like the “Star Thrower,” Fight Like Mike aims to make a difference, one cancer patient at a time. The foundation will be Mike’s legacy, a lasting tribute to a very special young man. Similarly, Hospice of the Western Reserve is continuing to make a difference in Mike’s life, and in the lives of each patient the agency touches, by empowering them to live with dignity, love and support.
– Bridget Lynch Tichar, Director of Fight Like Mike and Mike’s future cousin-in-law
March 22, 2013
Personal empowerment, family support and quality community resources and programs can help those with developmental disabilities live more fulfilling and successful lives. Here, two members of our Hospice of the Western Reserve team share their personal stories about how love and support are making a world of difference.
A Mother’s Perspective
My husband and I have two children. Our son loves the outdoors, playgrounds, running, climbing, swimming and riding his bike. When he can’t play outdoors, he builds forts and plays computer games. He’s a typical energetic, rough-and-tumble boy.
When he turned one year old, it was obvious that his temperament was more than the usual “boys will be boys” behavior. We decided to place him in an early intervention preschool program because of developmental delays — mainly with language. There were behavioral problems which were becoming apparent at home and starting to affect his behavior at school.
The psychologist at his preschool told me about Positive Education Program (PEP) and cautioned that it was a big commitment you absolutely have to attend the sessions consistently, but if you’re willing to put in the time, the program works.
Our whole family, the four of us, went twice a week to a PEP Early Childhood Center. Their whole philosophy is to work with the family. It’s not a parenting class where you sit down and take notes. The PEP consultants also visited school to see what was working and not working and visited our home for the same reason. They make sure the child’s entire world is on the same page, and it’s amazing … the child responds.
Now my son is 11 and we still rely on a great deal of outside providers. These providers help with social skills, tutoring and behavioral modifications. Without this team support, my son would not be as successful as he is in the world.
My hope is that a team approach of providers continues to help my son and every other person with DD. Now I have a new professional perspective, as a Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner myself. I truly believe that Palliative Care can be that extra layer of support for people with DD. I look forward to seeing Palliative Care making a difference in the lives of people and families with DD as they navigate through their lives.
- Tique Oeflein, APN, Team Leader for Western Reserve Navigator
A Brother’s Perspective
It is wonderful to see the changes in our communities for people with DD. Today there are educational programs, vocational programs, choices about where to live, how to live, what to do for a career (not a job, a career) and so much more. When my big brother was born over 45 years ago, those opportunities didn’t exist. I am not sure if the term Developmental Disabilities existed… I am sure it wasn’t the term shouted at my brother and his classmates.
Thanks to the work of dedicated parents, educators, volunteers, elected officials, agencies and countless other members of the community, life for people with Developmental Disabilities has improved dramatically in a relatively short time. This is a vitally important change because Developmental Disabilities have an impact on all of our lives. People with DD are our friends, neighbors, co-workers and family.
I have always lived in a world with a person with DD, but not everyone has the same experience. As my wife and I were playing with our children last night, I accidentally left the news on in the background. There was a report about a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that estimated the number of school aged children with Autism could be as high as 1 in 50. Some will say that the definition of Autism is too broad or the survey was flawed and they may be correct. What resonates with me is that every child in school today interacts with at least one person who may have a Developmental Disability and children with Developmental Disabilities are interacting with their classmates. When my brother and I were children, we never had that opportunity. Today, kids do.
I have watched programs grow and evolve to meet the needs of my brother and his peers (people with DD ages 45 and up). I feel like they are an even more unique population in that many of the programs that exist today were started with his age group in mind, but completed too late for my brother and his peers realize their full benefit.
I am optimistic that through work with clinicians like Tique and community resources, agencies and programs, we will continue to provide excellent palliative, end-of-life care and bereavement support for people with DD and their families and continue to develop innovative programs to prepare for the needs of this growing population.
Hope for the future
The amazing opportunities and programs that exist today have made a world of difference in the lives of so many people. They serve as an inspiration to those of us close to people with DD. As the DD population ages, we will see more and more need for care specific to the end of life needs of people with DD. That is why Hospice of the Western Reserve works closely with County Boards of DD, Residential Facilities and Professional Organizations on a state and national level to collaborate with, learn about, care for and support the people with DD, their families, caregivers and our community.
- Nathan Gradisher, Provider Relations Manager, Hospice of the Western Reserve
March 17, 2013
Several years ago, on March 17, a patient died at David Simpson Hospice House. A few days before this, he told his family that he wanted to hear bagpipe music. The patient believed the sound of the bagpipes would ease his passage from one world to another, so the family purchased cassette tapes of bagpipe music which he listened to diligently. Hospice House was hosting several activities on March 17 to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. In addition to genuine Irish soda bread, an Irish dance troupe, and a special lunch – bagpipe players were scheduled to appear. It’s important to note that those planning this event were unaware of this patient’s request to his family. That afternoon, the bagpipe players arrived and began their performance in our Atrium. They continued to play as they were leaving; their special sound floated over Lake Erie. Just at that moment, as the music carried itself across the water, the patient took his final breath.
March 6, 2013
We are in the final days of our visit. Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit with a gentleman in the inpatient unit who is the father of seven children. He shared his interest in gardening and his concern about going home and being able to manage alone.
The Helderberg Hospice group is engaged, re-energized and eager to continue the relationship and partnership. Several Management team members from Helderberg are interested in visiting our hospice in Ohio.
On Sunday we took a ride to the Cape of Good Hope. The view was spectacular (pictured here)!
Click here to see more pictures from the trip to South Africa.
March 5, 2013
This has been an eye-opening, soul-searching trip. We went on visits to patient homes and these were unlike anything we would see in Cleveland. For me, this really demonstrates what we mean when we say you must meet a patient and family where they are. You must look into their eyes and connect with them regardless of surroundings. You cannot project your concerns as they may not be the patient’s or family’s concerns.
The children in the communities waved to us and smiled and the patients and family members were totally open and welcoming. We spent some time in a meeting with three social workers after the visits – this was a good thing as the conversation helped me process everything.
It was a busy weekend. Our hosts have worked really hard to pack the days with diverse experiences. The weekend included a trip to a game reserve where we saw a number of African animals. We saw lions, springbok, wildebeest, bull (but nothing like we have), elephant, ostrich, rhino and others. Just under two years ago they had a big incident with poachers who set the land on fire as a distraction so they could attack the rhino and take their horn. The rhino survived but were brutally mangled.
We also attended a community theater where there was a musical on District 6. This was an amazing production with thoroughly talented cast. The history here, that includes Apartheid, was not really very long ago.
Yesterday, we spent the day at hospice with our counterparts. We had discussions regarding our partnership and expectations. See you soon!
Click here to see more pictures from the trip to South Africa.
February 26, 2013
Three members of our Management team have traveled to South Africa for two weeks to visit our sister hospice, Helderberg Hospice. The goal of our partnership with Helderberg Hospice is to form mutually beneficial relationships leading to the exchange of insight, expertise and resources and to provide financial support to Helderberg Hospice. Learn more about our partnership here.
While recovering from their jet lag, the hosts took them sightseeing the first day to learn more about the local area. During these next couple of weeks, we will be sharing their insights and experiences from the field. Stay tuned!
• • •
“Our first day was glorious! The weather was sunny and around 80 degrees. We started the day with breakfast at Gill and Lionel’s, the couple Sunny and I are staying with. Gill is the CEO of Helderberg Hospice. After breakfast, Andre Wagner, Organisational Development Manager, Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa, picked us up and we went to a market to shop and have lunch. We met Andre’s son, Keith, and a couple from Canada who are visiting Keith. From there, we visited three wineries. Somerset West is located in the wine country of Cape Town. At the third winery, we did taste testing. The names of the wines are similar to ours.
The countryside was beautiful. Mountains in the background, fields of grapes, blue skies and warm weather. Who could ask for more? Not me! After wine tasting, we journeyed to the home of Patricia and Rupert. Patricia works for the hospice doing development and fundraising. What a unique home they have. It was built in the 1800s. It’s a farm house and Rupert farms the grapes for wine. He does not make the wine. Grape farms and wineries are an important industry in this part of South Africa. Patricia served African sausage and venison.
We had a wonderful day!”
• • •
“We had a wonderful weekend! It’s warm and beautiful and our hosts, Andre, Gill and her husband, Lionel, organized a variety of fun activities. We visited a local market, local wineries for tasting and fabulous lunch, dinner at the wine farm owned by Patricia (the hospice’s fundraising and development manager) and her husband, Rupert. The farm originated in the 1800s and has been in Rupert’s family for almost four generations. This was great fun in an amazingly beautiful setting. We did a little shopping and have figured out the conversion rate! Last night we wrapped up the weekend at a benefit event that was held at a grand hotel with wine, canapés and a concert by the youth symphony. Really excellent.
The scenery is beautiful. The people are friendly and Andre knows and is loved by everyone!
Today, we will go to work at Helderberg Hospice.”
February 25, 2013
According to the American Cancer Society, there are more than 13.7 million cancer survivors in the United States, and that number is expected to grow to nearly 18 million by 2022.
For Derotha Moore, who has successfully battled cancer not once, but three times– thyroid cancer in 1976, lung cancer in 2006, and breast cancer in 2009–living life to the fullest is all about expressing gratitude and celebrating the gift of life by helping others.
“As long as I am in good health, I’m going to continue to pay it forward by helping hospice,” says the recently retired Clevelander, who was employed for many years as a social worker at Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services. For the past six years, on or near her birthday, Derotha has hosted a soul food luncheon in the community featuring her own home cooking.
Her dishes are prepared from scratch in her kitchen. She charges $10 a plate. Proceeds benefit Hospice of the Western Reserve’s pediatric palliative care patients.
This year’s luncheon, held at the Friendly Inn Settlement Corporation on Unwin Road in Cleveland, raised over $1,200. The menu included gumbo, baked chicken, pulled pork, cornbread, homemade rolls, collard greens, beans with bacon, chicken tetrazzini and Derotha’s signature cheesecake recipe. Since catering her first soul food benefit luncheon in 2007, she has raised $4,462.
Derotha was trained as a nursing assistant prior to her career in social work. She developed an appreciation for hospice many years ago, when her father was a home care patient in rural Alabama. “I come from a large family, so my siblings and I took turns caring for him,” she says. “My father’s home was out in the country, and not easily accessible from major highways. Hospice provided him with wonderful care. The nurse was always there for him, even if it meant navigating the back roads and arriving at his home at 4 a.m.”
Hospice of the Western Reserve is one of very few hospice organizations in the country offering a pediatric palliative care program. In 2012 alone, the program incurred more than $400,000 in unreimbursed expenses, so is highly dependent on private donations.
“We’re so grateful to Derotha for preparing and hosting this meal to help our children,” says Mary Kay Tyler, Director of Pediatrics and Clinical Support. “We are devoted to providing the specialized care and support our pediatric patients and their families need as they cope with life-threatening illnesses.”
On any given day, the pediatric palliative care team cares for approximately 50 pediatric patients in the Northern Ohio region. The team includes a physician, nurses, social workers, a spiritual care coordinator, expressive therapists, and bereavement specialists who work closely with the child’s pediatrician or oncologist to ensure issues are addressed efficiently. Pediatric patients can continue to receive curative treatments while receiving comfort care.
“Derotha is one of our ‘Hospice Heroes,’” says Bill Sluzewski, Development Officer. “Her contributions and those of other grassroots supporters play a critical role in allowing us to provide the highest level of care to children and their families, regardless of their ability to pay.”
If you or your community organization would like to host a special event or participate in a fundraiser to benefit Hospice of the Western Reserve, click here or call 855.475.0245.
February 21, 2013
Pictured is Executive Director, Ann Newman, celebrating with the presentation of a check to Bob Plona, Hospice of the Western Reserve’s Director of Residential Services. Young patients and visitors feel at home with the colorful furnishings, televisions, games and toys in the Children’s and the Teen’s Rooms at Ames Family Hospice House. Cribs, a baby swing, glider chairs and other necessities will comfort babies and their parents for years to come. And, for children waiting at the Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Bereavement Center, the new table and chairs are the perfect place to draw and color.
Hospice of the Western Reserve is grateful for this grant, which was endorsed by McDonald’s Owner/Operator Allen D. Smith, the owner of several McDonald’s restaurants in Lake and Ashtabula Counties.