​A chance to walk along the beach again. One more visit to the family’s vacation cottage. A trip to Europe. When an individual with a terminal illness has only weeks to live, it is impossible to place a value on how much it would mean to experience one of these things again. Hospice of the Western Reserve has found the next best thing. Our patients can bring these memories to life in real time through an exclusive program called A Flight to Remember.

The innovative service – the first of its kind in the United States – is offered in partnership with Aerial Anthropology, a Cleveland-based provider of aerial videography and photography. It allows our hospice patients to capture a live, bird’s-eye view of a place meaningful to them using drone technology.

How does it work?

The hospice team works with patients and their families to determine the location they would like to visit as fly-over zones must comply with FAA safety guidelines. At a scheduled time, the family receives an email with a link to connect to a live feed of the drone video. The hospice patient is a virtual pilot, providing direction to the drone pilot by phone about what he or she would like to see. The flight can be viewed on laptops, tablets, or a Smart TV with internet access.

Flight Destinations

One patient asked to have the drone fly over Punderson State Park in rural Geauga County. She and her family had enjoyed many visits there exploring the trails in the warm months and sledding in the winter. Her family gathered together in her room to reminisce and enjoy the experience with her. During the live feed, she related many happy memories dating back to when she was a young girl.

Another patient who was receiving our hospice care in an assisted living community was “virtually transported” by the drone back to his old neighborhood. He was able to view the church and  surroundings that meant so much to him.

Our patients have even been able to travel to Wales and Italy while in the comfort of their own home surrounded by loved ones.

Moments to Remember

The offering is part of the agency’s Moments to Remember program which focuses on enhancing the quality of life for hospice patients by giving them the opportunity to see a special request or wish come true. It could be as simple as a providing cookies from a favorite childhood bakery or as intimate as hosting a great-granddaughter’s baby shower at one of our inpatient care units.

As one of the nation’s largest and most experienced nonprofit hospice agencies, Hospice of the Western Reserve offers an unparalleled number of life enrichment events in the Northeast Ohio. Our paid and volunteer staff work on fulfilling over 750 requests each year as diverse as our patients and their interests.

If you or a loved one are a patient of Hospice of the Western Reserve and would like to take a Flight to Remember or have an idea for Moments to Remember, please contact Lori Scotese at lscotese@hospicewr.org or at 216.287.8193.