Doing Good – Comfort and Care

Hospice of Marion County programs touch lives in myriad ways.

Many people know about the compassionate end-of-life care that hospice organizations can provide for loved ones and friends. But, Hospice of Marion County (HMC) provides many lesser-known services as well.

In addition to treating the terminally ill, HMC also offers palliative care, in-home programs for those with a life-limiting illness and grief counseling.

“We want to provide not only a peaceful environment, comfort from pain and state-of-theart medical care, but also give our patients and their families as much time together as possible without pain and with lucidity,” shares HMC Charitable Gift s Officer Cindy Moody, CFRE. “We do help patients who are facing end of life, but they can benefit from what we do other than just the last hours. A favorite expression of mine since working for Hospice of Marion County for the past six years is, ‘When days can’t be added, we want to add life to your days.’”

Palliative care, offered through the Carewell Supportive Care program, can begin before a patient enters hospice and offers “relief from the symptoms of serious illness” to “enhance your care and wellbeing” for those who have a serious illness that in time will likely lead to a terminal diagnosis. Through this program, hospice provides “diagnosis-specific symptom management” in a “team approach” in collaboration with you, your family and your doctor. Under this program, the patient may still seek curative care through their physician. This service is designed to help provide some increase in the patient’s quality of life when they have an illness in which pain or symptoms keep them from participating in their daily routine and to provide an extra layer of support to the patient.

“Palliative care is there to alleviate some of those symptoms,” Moody offers.

“Another program is Transitions,” she continues. “Trained volunteers go to the patient’s house and provide companionship, make lunch, play cards, sit and chat. That is a benefit to the patient and provides respite for the primary caregiver.”

Transitions is a “professionally managed prehospice” program that assists those challenged by an advancing illness with a prognosis of one year or less, available to Marion County residents at no charge.

The organization also offers free counseling through The Monarch Center for Hope & Healing to anyone who has lost a loved one. Located in a separate free-standing building, it is a place for people of all ages to process their loss and programs offer support to anyone who is seeking healing and stability aft er the death of a loved one, whether they were a patient of hospice or not. Both individual and group grief counseling are available.

“Our bereavement teams also go to schools to help young people deal with grief because they may have lost a loved one or a fellow student,” Moody notes. “We have a quarterly children’s camp and a group for teens.”

Volunteers are critical in many HMC programs and Moody says there are opportunities to fi t “every passion.”

HMC has three hospice houses and soon will break ground on a fourth. Proceeds from four thrift stores help support the organization, as do proceeds from community events such as benefit golf tournaments and 5Ks.

HMC’s “signature” annual fundraiser, Soundtrack of Your Life, is set for March 10th at the World Equestrian Center, with dueling pianists Nate Rodriguez and Jordan Peterson, and Dale “The Paintman” Henry.

To RSVP for Soundtrack of Your Life, email cmoody@hospiceormarion.com or call (352) 291- 5143. For Carewell Supportive Care services call (352) 291-5881 and for grief counseling call (352) 873-7400 or visit hospiceofmarion.com

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