Tell Us Your Story

Care partners at Hospice of Dayton and Hospice of Butler & Warren Counties go above and beyond to invest in each patient and consider his or her time with us to be a celebration of life. It’s our goal to help you cement your loved one’s legacy by embracing his or her life story and presenting it to others. Please, share your loved one’s life story with us today. We believe that illustrating life’s stories provides peace of mind for families while strengthening our community.  Contact 937-256-4490 ext. 4409 or fill out the form below to share your story today.

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Tell Us Your Story

Turning Grief Into an Art Gallery

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Connie Crosby came to Pathways of Hope at Hospice of Dayton eight years ago following the loss of her husband.  Sometimes her support group would convene in the café down the hall in Hospice of Dayton.  A former gallery owner, Connie enjoyed the art displayed on the café walls.  When she learned that the art display might end when the staff member coordinating the project left, she volunteered for the job.

Through Connie’s efforts, local artists display artworks at Carole’s Café dining room on a two-month rotation.   It gives local artists exposure to a new audience.  It offers comfort to patients, families and hospice staff while enabling them to enjoy an art experience at no cost.  If they fall in love with one of the pieces, the artwork is for sale, with each artist pledging 25% of the proceeds as a donation to Hospice of Dayton.   Every artist displayed is local and, according to Connie, many of them are seniors.  A number of items have sold, including one painting that was purchased and taken home by a Chinese physician who was visiting a family member at Hospice.

The art display is available to visitors 24/7 in the Café dining room.  Inquiries about art purchases can be directed to Vicky Forrest at 937-256-4490 ext. 4409.

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Hospice of Dayton Campus Construction Projects

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Several construction projects are underway on the Hospice of Dayton campus on Wilmington Avenue.  The projects are underway with a goal of improving campus accessibility and safety, and to enhance the experience of patients and visitors who come to the Hospice House and campus.

A new main entry is being created at Irving Avenue, with a brick wall under construction at the outskirt of the campus.  Upon completion, there will be new signage to mark the new main entry, and a separate entry off of Wilmington Avenue will be closed to through traffic to create a safer access to the campus.


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A second project involves the construction of a Veterans Memorial to honor servicemen and women for their sacrifice and patriotism. The new memorial will be located near the north pond adjacent to Wilmington Avenue with plans for completion and dedication to coincide with Veteran’s Day in November. The project is being funded by donors and information about contributing is available by contacting the Foundation Department at 937-258-5537.


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In addition to the Memorial, a limestone retaining wall is being added to the north pond to prevent erosion. The retaining wall and landscaping will also beautify and enhance the pond area.

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Volunteer Sisters Bring Sunshine to Hospice of Dayton

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Petersons 1Good luck to two vibrant young ladies, sisters, Aan’Jayla and Aa’Leeyah Peterson as they head back to school. They volunteered in the Volunteer Services workroom for 2 days a week, and at Carole’s Café for 2 days a week through the Montgomery County YouthWorks summer program.

YouthWorks provides summer employment opportunities for in-school youth ages 14-17, helping to develop fundamental life skills including personal growth, interpersonal relationships, and career development.

The Petersons attend Belmont High School and are cheerleaders.  Director of Volunteer Services, Maureen Swarts says, “They are the sweetest girls and work hard! They learned a lot and are a blessing to us!”

We look forward to having them back to volunteer throughout the school year and next summer!

If you are interested in volunteer opportunities with Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, click here.

More information about the Montgomery County YouthWorks program can be found here.

The truth about kindness – Join Us for a fascinating Film Premier

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Let’s make kindness contagious.

Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton is hoping to do just that with a free showing of the film “Kindness is Contagious” on Monday, August 24 at the Fairfield Commons Stadium 20 Theater in Beavercreek.  The documentary film applies the “Pay It Forward” concept created by author and screenwriter Catherine Ryan Hyde.  Featuring heartfelt stories of kindness and generosity, the movie inspires and energizes audiences. kindnessIsContagious_Poster_web-2y2urqutvt183col8n81ds

The film presentation is part of Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton’s “Compassionate City” effort involving Dayton area community leaders from sectors including education, business, service organizations, healthcare, faith communities and more. It is based on the “Charter for Compassion,” an international movement to spread compassion around the world.

The showing of “Kindness is Contagious” at the Fairfield Commons Stadium 20 Theatre, 2651 Fairfield Commons Blvd, Beavercreek, begins at 7:30pm.

Registration Information

Seating is limited so reservations are required and can be made by clicking here.

Event Information

What: “Kindness is Contagious” – Film Premier
Where: Fairfield Commons Stadium 20 Theatre
2651 Fairfield Commons Blvd, Beavercreek
When: August 24th, 2015, begins at 7:30pm

National Book Lover’s Day featuring Fearless Living and Loving

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Fearless Living and Loving

By Vicky Forrest, Media Content Editor – Article featured in the 2015 Summer Journey Newsletterjohn love

Hospice of Dayton Chaplain, John Love, started writing spiritual reflections to share with his patients and families three and half years ago. The positive response he received from hospice patients, families and caregivers motivated him to turn his reflections into a book. The newly published Fearless Living and Loving-Christian Hope for the Sick and Their Caregivers guides readers through a spiritual journey of self-discovery.

“As a chaplain, I’m sensitive to honoring all faith traditions,” Love explains. “I didn’t write this book to change what people believe. Rather, I think it will help people clarify their beliefs and encourage readers to examine what their faith means to them. I also wanted to provide an uplifting message, a book that offers hope for people facing chronic or terminal illness and for those who love and care for them.”

Capture2Love has observed that end-of-life care presents unique challenges for professional caregivers. He says, “Hospice organizations are blessed to attract the very best of the best: nurses, aides, counselors, and so on. But the physical and emotional demands of the work can deplete caregivers and lead to burnout. I believe that spiritual work helps us grow in love and faith. And as we grow in love and faith-as we feel closer and more connected to God-we are better equipped to handle the daily stress which comes our way.”

Fearless Living and Loving is available through WestBow Press, a division of Christian publisher Thomas Nelson & Zondervan. It can be ordered online at or by calling WestBow at 1-866-928-1240.


You can also purchase the book through AmazonSmile, which donates 0.5% of your purchase to Hospice of Dayton when you designate Hospice of Dayton as your charity of choice.

Putting the Art in the Art and Science of Nursing

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Betsy 1Anyone who asks Betsy Stavnitski if she “used to be a nurse” will receive a quick response. “I am a nurse,” Betsy says proudly. Retired or not, Betsy will always be a perfect example of what a nurse should be.

Betsy graduated from nursing school in 1958 and immediately earned a role as an instructor for nursing students. When she became pregnant with her first child, she was dismissed from the job and informed “a pregnant nurse is not an acceptable instructor for students.” She shares the story wryly today, adding “Can you imagine? But that’s the way things were done then.”

Like many women of the era, Betsy did not return to nursing until her three children had grown. When her youngest son was a junior in high school, she completed a refresher course at Miami Valley Hospital. “It was wonderful,” she remembers. “I learned so much!” She joined the Miami Valley staff in orthopedics, transitioned to infection control and ended up managing the orthopedic team. For the next thirty years she gave her loyalty and love to “the Valley.”

This year, Miami Valley and Premier Health returned her affection, presenting Betsy with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her career in nursing.   Her award notes that “Betsy strived to keep the patient and family 1st by leading compassionate and safe care….Many of us marvel at Betsy’s professionalism, spirit and direct communication skills. Betsy served with dignity, class and the utmost respect for the patient and the care team.” After retirement Betsy served as a volunteer, as a member of the Miami Valley Foundation Board and on other committees, extending her loyalty and contributions beyond the end of her nursing role.

Betsy is humble about her recent Premier honors, noting that her “colleagues on the floor work so hard, mentally, physically and emotionally.” Asked what has changed the most over the course of her nursing career, Betsy says “Technology. The art of nursing has not changed, but the science has.”

As any of her colleagues can tell you, when it comes to the art of nursing, Betsy is one of the Miami Valley’s finest artists.

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Gardener Shares Love of Nature

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Miriam Wolf is pictured on right with team members Rose Akerley and Noah Stomps

When she was 18 years old, Miriam Wolf fell in love – with a yellow pepper plant. It started her on a path that led to Hospice of Dayton.

Miriam graduated with an Associate degree in horticulture from Clark State University, is a Master Gardener and earned a certificate in Horticultural Therapy from the Horticulture Therapy Institute in Denver. She serves as the Maintenance Landscaper at the Hospice of Dayton campus, a role that has her overseeing gardens, trees and nature paths on the 17-acre grounds surrounding the Hospice House. Ask her about her favorite part of her work and she enthusiastically outlines the focus on making the environment natural and welcoming to all visitors. “We want the gardens to feel private but safe for everyone. We have such a wide variety of plants and flowers, and have added water features and seating areas to encourage enjoyment of the campus. We have edible gardens, scented gardens and the labyrinth, all places where people can find the peace and comfort of nature.“

It’s not only people who enjoy the gardens. “We feed the birds, the ducks, squirrels and chipmunks on our grounds, and encourage the deer who enjoy eating our hostas and fruit from our trees. “

Miriam is touched by the notes left in the journal at the solarium, where visitors are invited to take plant cuttings as memorials for loved ones in hospice care.  Called the “Love Story Garden,” Miriam is moved by the stories people share. “It’s inspiring to read what people write.   It’s important to me that we encourage people to connect with nature because it can be that source of inspiration and source of hope that people need.”

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Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton Tapped for Medicare Pilot Project

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Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton has been approved, among the 4,000 plus-Medicare-certified hospice providers across the country, to participate in the new Medicare Care Choices Model. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to launch this “concurrent care” demonstration authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in January 2016.

Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, along with other hospices selected for the pilot, will provide palliative support services in the form of routine home care and in-home respite to patients with advanced cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure and HIV/AIDS who meet hospice eligibility requirements.  The patients will have the option to also receive services provided by their curative healthcare providers at the same time.  Hospices selected for the five-year demonstration will receive $400 per beneficiary per month (PBPM) to provide the palliative care services.

Hospices selected for the project must be Medicare-certified hospice and able to demonstrate experience providing care coordination and case management with a network of various types of healOhio's Hospice of Dayton Innovation in Hospice Carethcare providers, as well as shared decision-making to beneficiaries prior to electing the Medicare hospice benefit in conjunction with their referring providers and suppliers.

Currently, Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton provides concurrent care to hospice patients with chronic heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pulmonary hypertension. No other hospice provider in the Miami Valley provides comprehensive concurrent care services to their hospice patients. In addition to differentiating the organization from competitors in the market, the expanding concurrent care program is aligned with the mission to focus on inclusionary—rather than exclusionary—practices of patient access and delivery of superior end-of-life care.

According to Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton Vice President of Mission Support Kim Vesey, the Care Choice option will greatly benefit patients in our community that do not chose hospice. “Patients with a terminal diagnosis who wish to continue with aggressive treatments will have the option to do so. They will also receive the opportunity to benefit from the holistic, interdisciplinary care provided by the hospice team. Family caregivers will also have the support from the hospice team that is a hallmark of the hospice model of care. We believe that the Medicare Care Choices Model project will validate that patients who have access to hospice alongside curative care have better outcomes, higher family caregiver satisfaction, and benefit from the expertise of hospice earlier in their care.”

About Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton

Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton is a non-profit hospice provider and has served patients and families in the Miami Valley for over 35 years in their homes, extended care and assisted living facilities and the Hospice House located in Dayton.  Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton is a member of Ohio’s Hospice, a partnership of non-profit hospice and palliative care providers in Ohio committed to a shared vision of strengthening and preserving community based compassionate care for those with life-limiting illnesses.

Additional Background from CMS Announcement:

Many seniors, disabled Americans, and family members of individuals who suffer from life limiting illnesses must choose between the support services provided through hospice care or curative treatment. Fewer than half of eligible Medicare beneficiaries use hospice care and most only for a short period of time. Under current Medicare payment rules, individuals are not able to receive both palliative and curative treatment concurrently.

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the hospices that have been selected to participate in the Medicare Care Choices Model. The model provides Medicare beneficiaries who qualify for coverage under the Medicare hospice benefit and dually eligible beneficiaries who qualify for the Medicaid hospice benefit the option to elect to receive supportive care services typically provided by hospice while continuing to receive curative services.

“This model empowers clinicians, beneficiaries and their families with choices and is part of our broader efforts to transform our health care system into one that delivers better care, makes smarter payments, and puts patients in the center of their own care,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “We want to do what we can to help families find the care that is right for their loved one.”

Due to robust interest, CMS expanded the model from an originally anticipated 30 Medicare-certified hospices to over 140 Medicare-certified hospices and extended the duration of the model from 3 to 5 years. This is expected to enable as many as 150,000 eligible Medicare beneficiaries with advanced cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, and human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome who receive services from participating hospices to experience this new option and flexibility.

Under the model, participating hospices will provide services that are currently available under the Medicare hospice benefit for routine home care and respite levels of care, but cannot be separately billed under Medicare Parts A, B, and D. Services will be available around the clock, 365 calendar days per year, and CMS will pay a per beneficiary per month fee ranging from $200 to $400 to participating hospices when delivering these services under the model. Services will begin starting January 1, 2016 for the first phase of participating hospices and in January 2018 for the remaining participating hospices.

HHS’s plan to make this vision a reality is to pay providers for what works, unlock health care data, and find new ways to coordinate and integrate care to improve quality. With passage of the Affordable Care Act, we took one of the most important steps toward a more accessible and affordable health care system in almost 50 years. With the new tools provided under the law, we have an opportunity to seize this historic moment to transform our health care system into one that works for the American people.

For more information on the model, visit




Of B-17s and Blue Skies and Bucket Lists

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IMG_0805“She was a Stradivarius of an airplane…”                   Colonel Robert Morgan, pilot of the Memphis Belle

The “Stradivarius” referred to is the Boeing B-17. The Colonel is not the only admirer of the B-17. Valentine Baab became a fan as a young airman stationed in Great Britain where the iconic World War II bombers had been based. At the age of 20, he was proud to serve as a firefighter at the same base that actor Jimmy Stewart had, and from which General Curtis LeMay had commanded the heroic B-17 unit critical to World War II success. Valentine became a life-long World War II buff.  He recently realized a life-long dream of flying in one of the heralded Flying Fortresses.

Valentine and his grandson, Craig, took to the skies as passengers on one of the few remaining B17s. Only thirteen of the planes remain airworthy, so the flight has historical significance as one of rare opportunity. The two built an incredible memory and shared it with nearly a dozen family members along to document the flight. The outing was a special one, but just one of many Valentine and his grandson have shared.


IMG_0804Valentine and Craig started a weekly ritual years ago of Wednesday breakfast together at Bob Evan’s Restaurant. The two are so close that when the opportunity to fly in a B17 was presented, Valentine knew immediately he wanted Craig along for the ride. Valentine’s love of adventure and travel has taken him to Germany, Russia and Isreal along with Great Britain. It was while on one of these trips he received the news by email that he had been diagnosed with cancer. The worst part, he says, was having to break the news to his wife, Elizabeth. While that was difficult, Valentine knew she would show strength, as he has always “surrounded himself with strong women and positive people by choice.”

Now in hospice care, Valentine is making every moment count with his family that includes four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren – one of them a grandson who recently soared the skies with the grandfather he adores in one more great adventure, making one more wonderful memory.

Music and Dementia

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music therapy

Dementia slowly robs many abilities from those who have it. Their ability to understand and communicate is affected. Sometimes, they do not know what to do next so they do the same thing over and over. They often have trouble coping and they may become more fearful. They do not know how to calm themselves. These changes cause them to be more anxious. It is important to help them by keeping a steady routine. Keep things simple. Increase their rest periods. Appeal to their sense of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.

This guide explains some ways to use music when fears begin to take over.  Each person and each journey is unique. Caregivers can try many approaches to find what works best.


Music is right at your fingertips. Listening to familiar music can help someone with dementia feel more safe and calm. It can tap into memories and draw out pleasant emotions. Soothing music can slow heart and breathing rates.


  • Music Choices
    • Choose music that the listener prefers.
    • To help them when they do not know what to do next, play music that gets their attention.
    • To help them feel calm, play music with a steady beat (80-100 beats per minute).
    • Peaceful sounding instruments playing smooth melodies without dramatic changes work best.
  • Planat piano youth and age
    • You can use any source for music: recordings, digital devices or live music.
    • Prepare several musical choices so they are ready to use as soon as they are needed.
  • Observe
    • Watch for patterns of anxiety to see if you noticed events that cause it, or if it begins at a certain time of day. If you can, begin to use the music before the anxiety sets in. If there is too much anxiety, music alone may not be helpful.
  • Prepare
    • Reduce the noise of talking, TV, radio, alarms, telephones or moving around.
    • First, take care of any physical needs such as giving a snack, assisting to the bathroom, giving medicine.
    • Make the room comfortable. Dim the lighting. Adjust the loudness of the music for the listener.
  • Gain attention
    • First, choose a music activity they enjoy to catch their attention.
    • If the listener enjoys dancing, use safe and simple steps, swaying, clapping, or tapping surfaces to help them enjoy music more.
    • If they enjoy singing, start a sing-along of their favorite songs.
    • If they enjoy talking about music, listen to a favorite song with them. Then talk about their memories of that song.
    • You may need to keep the music activity to 10-15 minutes; the listener can become too tired or too excited.
  • Reduce the stress
    • Next, make the listener comfortable and play soothing music.
    • Coach them to relax by showing them deep, slow breathing. Allow time for them to mirror this breathing. This can reduce heart and breathing rates.
    • For best results, do not let music continue playing for more than 30 minutes at a time.
  • Observe and modify
    • Watch the effect the music has on the listener. If music causes anxiety, change songs, or stop listening to music altogether.
  • Mask
    • Noises can cause anxiety to start up again. There are recordings of nature sounds such as ocean waves, rainfalls, birds chirping. Some have music background and some do not. These can cover up noises at any time, day or night, so the listener is not affected by every sound around them. This can help them stay calm.


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