True love was in the air recently as an Alive Hospice patient married her longtime sweetheart! Mary Ann Chambers and John Pruitt have been together for about five years, and on Aug. 10, they decided it was time to celebrate their love and commitment to each other in sickness and in health.
Two Alive Hospice chaplains presided at the ceremony, and a nurse serenaded the couple with “The Very Thought of You.” The bride was dressed like a princess in a yellow dress, and the groom wore a purple shirt matching the shade of her nail polish.
Click here for this spotlight from Fox 17.
The Daily News Journal featured a Murfreesboro Eagle Scout who did something very special for Alive Hospice’s summer camps. Boy Scout Troop 448’s James Woods, 15, led an effort to build 100 memory boxes for kids at Camp Forget-Me-Not and Camp Evergreen. Decorating memory boxes is one ofÂ our traditional camp activities and a special way to remember loved ones.
Camp Forget-Me-Not and Camp Evergreen are Alive Hospice’s summer camps for grieving kids ages 6-14.
James himself attended Camp Forget-Me-Not in 2006, when he was 9 years old, after the death of his father. According to James, “For my Eagle Scout Leadership Project, I wanted to select something that honored my father’s memory and was very personal to me. This particular project gives back to an organization that helped me through a difficult time in my life.”
There’s still time to sign up for camp! The registration deadline is May 29.
Camp Forget-Me-Not: June 6-8 in Murfreesboro. Call 907-1677 to register. Click here for more information.
Camp Evergreen: June 21-23 in White Bluff (transportation provided to and from Alive Hospice’s Nashville administrative office). Call 963-4732 to register. Click here for more information.
TheÂ Gallatin News Examiner and Hendersonville Star News recently published a guest column by Alive Hospice Grief Counselor (and blogger!) Ruth Williams. The column gives tips for coping with holiday grief.
Having a person missing from the traditional family scene may draw your attention to what isnâ€™t instead of what is. Instead of pretending the loss isnâ€™t real, sometimes it may help to share stories about the person now absent from the family photo. Everyone has a unique perspective on the legacy of the person who has died. And, yes, tears (and occasional laughter) can be very healing!
How do we cope in the middle of a season filled with seemingly endless events and celebrations â€“ public, private and faith-based?
SeeÂ the answer to Ruth’s question here.
Have you ever thought about becoming a hospice volunteer? Do you want to know what it involves and how to get started, or maybe you’re unsure if you can do it?
Hear Alive Hospice Volunteer Coordinator Joy Fenton talk about becoming a hospice volunteer in this recent interview with Murfreesboro’s WGNS 1450 AM. She talks about her own story, which started with a dog named Winston and turned into a very meaningful time for both of them.
For more information about volunteering with Alive Hospice, and to apply online, click here. To talk with a volunteer coordinator, call 615-327-1085.
|Dr. David Tribble
Not long ago, New York passed a law called the Palliative Care Information Act, which requires physicians to present palliative care options (those which aim to enhance quality of life) to patients whose illnesses are considered to be terminal (those with a limited life expectancy).
In a recentÂ commentary on the law published by theÂ New York Times, Jane Brody presents both a summary of the act and physicians’ objections to it as well as some comments that are interesting, to wit:
- the law requires only that a discussion include palliative options
- the law exists because non-mandatory measures resulted in no response from physicians
- in response to the allegation that discussing palliative care robs hope, Brody notes the unfortunate tendency for physicians to vanish once palliation is adopted. She further comments that a physician remaining present and involved with a dying patient will be more effective in terms of hope.
To be sure, the part of me that is somewhat to the right of Louis XIV takes umbrage at the idea of making yet another rule. Applying the heavy and frequently arbitrary hand of law to an issue frequently creates as many problems as it solves, particularly in terms of enforcement, the development of thresholds of compliance, requirements for formula documentation and the like. I fear that this will add to the population of meaningless catch-phrases that abound in physician and nursing documentation as the result of well-intended but unenforceable legislation.
Far more disappointing, however, is the climate which rendered such a step necessary:
- It is astounding, for example, that physicians assert that frank discussions of outcome with their patients will result in loss of hope. Actual research on the subject has shown that frank discussion of prognosis results in fewer hospital days, less adoption of futile technology, earlier adoption of hospice care and better symptom control, all at no cost in terms of survival!
- It is dismaying that physicians, who generally present the array of treatment options for a given illness, see the palliative option as one they need not present (and do not want to present).
- It is even more disappointing that the palliative options and disease-modifying options are presented as mutually exclusive, which is clearly not the case. A recent article from the New England Journal of Medicine (2010; 363-733-742) showed that palliative care from the time of diagnosis, along with usual treatment resulted in better symptom control, less oncotherapy, and earlier adoption of hospice care with 3 months longer survival than did usual treatment alone.
- Perhaps most telling however, is the observation that a common physician response when disease-modifying treatment is no longer appropriate is to remand the patient to an agency and walk away. Perhaps the reason many physicians see the adoption of palliative care as abandoning the patient is because that is the behavior with which they are most familiar. (It doesn’t have to be that way. More thoughts on the subject here.)
This is an interesting turn of events, particularly in light of the campaign rhetoric about “death panels” not so long ago. I am happy to see this level of support for inclusion of palliative care options and candid disclosure to patients as part of the discussion.
I am only sorry that someone had to pass a law to make it happen.
Dr. David Tribble is Alive Hospiceâ€™s chief medical officer.
Alive Hospice Nurse Kellye Byrn was spotlighted in the spring 2011 issue of Salute to Nurses magazine. Kellye is part of Alive Hospice’s pediatric palliative and hospice program for infants, children, and youth.
In this edition’s “Why I Love My Job” profile, find out what led Kellye into nursing, what people might find surprising about her work — and yes, why she loves her job! (Article posted with permission.)
How did you become interested in nursing as a profession?
As a little girl, I was constantly putting bandages on my baby dolls. I wanted to feel like I was helping.Â I guess I was following the example of what my mother did for me. If I fell down and scraped my knee, she’d put a bandage on it. Read more…
Pictured above: Kellye with patient Jordyn Luker.
A dog or cat might be the last thing a person would expect to see in the hospice setting, but Alive Hospice patients are visited by animals every week!
WKRN Channel 2 recently featured pet therapy volunteers Christy Biles and her 4-pound, four-leggedÂ companion named Sophie (lookÂ for the video link at the upper right). They visit Alive Hospice at Saint Thomas Hospital once a week and have spent time with hundreds of patients and family members.
As Channel 2’s Jamey Tucker showed, it’s all part of providing comfort for patients and families during a difficult time. And oh,Â what a difference it makes!
Volunteer Christy Biles and Sophie.
Earlier this week, the Wilson Post newspaper published the beautiful story of an Alive Hospice patient’s voyage through the last few months of his life — and an unforgettable day on the lake, thanks to his Alive Hospice chaplain and some friends. This story shows just how much living is left to be done, even (or especially?) in hospice care.
Click here to read the story. It’s one you won’t soon forget.
Additionally, the Daily News Journal recently spotlighted Alive Hospice’s upcoming Camp Forget-Me-Not, a summer day camp for grieving kids ages 6-14. Click here to read how it helped one family (and how it can help others).