Denis Lynch, lead chaplain at HopeHealth, reflects on hope as seen in the universal symbols and celebrations of light that mark the darkest time of the year. As we approach the year’s shortest day on December 21, we are all too aware of the decreasing daylight hours and long cold nights. Light and warmth become daily concerns.
December is a painful time for many people who are missing a loved one. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s or other festivities, the holidays can stress you emotionally, mentally and physically. Alex Zima, grief counselor for HopeHealth, says your heart may be heavy whether this is the first season without your loved one or you have been grieving longer.
The holiday season can be hard in times of grief. But for many people, noting the good things in life can be an important way to heal while honoring a loved one’s memory. “Gratitude is a very powerful tool to nurture yourself, and Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to practice using that tool,” says Alex Zima, a grief counselor with HopeHealth. Practicing gratitude actively grows your awareness of things that can benefit and support you. It’s even scientifically proven to help you cope with grief.
I am a hospice care physician with HopeHealth. My colleagues and I bring comfort and care to individuals and their families when time matters most. If you or a loved one is considering hospice, your doctor may give you a list of hospice agencies to choose from. Not all hospices are the same. You have the right to review your options and learn more about them before making this important decision.
As a hospice physician with HopeHealth, I care for people with a progressive illness after cure is no longer an option. This final phase of life often comes with significant emotions as well as complex symptoms related to the illness. It’s a vulnerable time for individuals and families, and my colleagues and I try to offer comfort and hope.
It is a term tossed around in our industry, to the point where patients can get confused, so we help to answer the simple question: what is palliative care? Palliative care is a relatively new medical subspecialty that helps patients who are living with a serious illness. Its recognition is growing, but people are still confused about what it is and how it differs from hospice care. Jennifer Ritzau, MD, director of palliative care and medical director at HopeHealth, shares five facts to know about palliative care.
In recent months, America has witnessed three public figures choose comfort care in their last days of life: Barbara Bush, Aretha Franklin and Senator John McCain. Although we don’t know exactly when during the course of their illness they chose to suspend curative treatment, we do know that each of them wanted to spend their last days at home with those they love.
For people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other neurological conditions, it can take a long time to move around and communicate with others in day-to-day living. Standing up is hard. Walking happens in small, shuffling steps. You may speak softly or experience a delay in connecting thoughts to speech. At Visiting Nurse of HopeHealth, our therapy team has seen great results improving the quality of life for PD patients through the LSVT BIG® and LSVT LOUD® therapy programs. These innovative methods, part of the Lee Silverman Voice Treatments, have been proven effective by decades of clinical research and are used worldwide.
For people who are terminally ill, animal-assisted therapy has been shown to address the basic needs of love, belongingness and self-esteem, according to a 2014 study published in the psychology journal of Mount Saint Mary College. Animal therapy is also associated with natural pain management and emotional support, a decrease in loneliness and an increase in socialization.
For Ellen Aldrich, renewing wedding vows with her husband, Frank, was “a very special, poignant and meaningful moment in our lives,” she tearfully recounted of the September 2016 event. The ceremony, an early celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary, occurred at Hope Hospice’s McCarthy Care Center (MCC) in Sandwich, MA, just days before Frank’s death. (Hope Hospice is part of the HopeHealth family of services.)