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Archive | January, 2017

Veteran Advocate Available to Assist at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton

The Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton American Pride program now offers expert assistance for those seeking information about Veteran’s benefits.

Jesse Johnson, A Veteran Service Officer with the Montgomery County Veteran’s Service Commission, is available at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton from 8:40 am to 4:30 pm Wednesdays, weekly, to answer questions and advise on Veteran’s benefits questions. The Air Force Veteran is available to support patients, family members and staff members. He is also helping hospice social workers with their questions, enabling them to better serve patients and families. Johnson admits the benefits and processes are not always easy to navigate.

“Every county in Ohio has a Veteran Service Officer who can help people access all the benefits for which they are eligible,” he explains. “We are trained to keep up with all the changes and our assistance is available at no cost.” The most common questions he receives have to do with spousal benefits, burial allowance and aid and attendance benefits – compensation in addition to VA pension payments. He points out that every Veteran who served for 90 days or more during wartime – regardless of where they served – may be eligible for a pension.

Johnson has served in his Veteran Service Officer role since 2006, and says that changes are frequent and can be confusing. For our American Pride Veterans, his services are an extra measure of protection to assure they receive all the support they deserve.

In addition to his Wednesdays at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, Johnson is also available at the Montgomery County Veteran Service Commission offices Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 to 4:30 pm.

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Love Story Garden Created to Serve as Living Memorial

By Miriam Wolfe, Horticultural Therapist

I was given a wonderful opportunity by our President and CEO to introduce horticultural therapy at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. I was excited about the opportunity, but well aware of the barriers I faced. The average stay for our patients is only a matter of days, and many patients are not able to participate in activities. It finally came to me to create opportunities for patients and their families to enjoy horticultural therapy as a way to extend their connection beyond their hospice stay.

Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton is fortunate to have a solarium for our patients and families to enjoy year around. Our unique octagon shaped solarium is filled with plants and is designed to comfortably accommodate wheelchairs, patient beds and families. There is a sitting bench which houses our water supply and a planting table. On the table there is a small grow light which is filled with plant cuttings, soil, pots and instructions for planting so families can take a plant home in memory of their loved one. We call this a Love Story Garden. Effortless plants such as Jade, Wandering Jew and Cuban Oregano are just some of the plant choices provided. However, we try to accommodate the wishes of patients and families for any plant they might request.

When the project started we began with a donation of 2000 black plastic 3” pots. Although this donation was much appreciated, we wanted to come up with something that would serve as a meaningful and attractive keepsake. I brought a hand full of pots home and painted them with acrylic paints. Patients and families loved them. They were a huge hit. The only problem was they were flying out the door faster than we could get them painted. Thank goodness for our volunteer department. Now many of our volunteer groups choose to paint pots as their project. One teen that had lost her grandmother decided to celebrate her 16th birthday party by involving her friends and volunteering to paint pots in honor of her grandmother. The volunteers are greatly comforted knowing those traveling the journey of loss will benefit from the gifts they created.

The plastic pots have been replaced with peat pots for the planting. Approximately 5000 pots have been planted in just under three years. Most family members take their pots home but some mornings I arrive to find potted plants placed all around the solarium. I hope the plantings helped them through their time of loss. There is also a journal in the solarium for people to write in. Families thank our organization with heartfelt words, and leave moving memorials to their loved ones. Our solarium is so full of life and beauty. It is a constant reminder of the beauty and cyclical nature of life.

Nature a Key in Compassionate Our Hospice Care

Hospice of Dayton provides many opportunities for patients and their families to connect with nature. Each patient room has floor to ceiling windows with beautiful gardens, ponds and bird feeders to view. A variety of wildlife visit our gardens such as squirrels, chipmunks and ducks. Deer will sometimes venture close enough to feast on our Hosta and fruit from the trees. I believe seeing a deer or chipmunk outside your window to help celebrate your life must be an awesome feeling. I will continue to plant more Hosta as necessary so we can continue to welcome all visitors to enjoy our campus.

Horticultural therapy is part of our holistic approach to hospice care. It’s important to me that we encourage people to connect with nature because it can be that source of inspiration, hope and healing that people need the most.

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Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton Holds Special Place in the Heart of this High School Student

Madison Dox paints pottery in volunteer workroom on her 18th birthday.Madison Dox just celebrated her 18th birthday with the same friends and in the same location as the past three years. What’s unusual about that is the location is Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. Madison brings her friends together on her birthday every year to share in a project of love and remembrance.

Madison parents divorced when she was young and her grandfather became the male role model in her life. The two were very close. Madison watched her grandfather’s struggle with cancer over four and half years She was present with him when he passed away at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. It was the first major loss of her life.

That was during her freshman year in high school. On every birthday since, Madison brings her friends together to celebrate her birthday and remember her grandfather by creating gifts and crafts for the patients and families served by Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. Madison also volunteers in other hospice roles and highlighted her hospice experience in her college application essay, explaining how her hospice experience touched her life.

“The goal of the Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton is to help heal those mourning during and after tough times,” she wrote. “Their assistance guides families from the darkness of grief towards the light of closure and peace. The serene atmosphere at Hospice eased my insecurities and calmed my fears of the uncertainty of my grandfather’s condition; but, most significantly, the compassionate staff reassured me that I would overcome the heartache of the indescribable loss, while enlightening me to ways I could spread my grandfather’s legacy to others.”

Madison came back to the Hospice House and brought her friends three months later with a goal of comforting others in need. “I am a committed volunteer whose sole purpose Is to provide comfort and peace to those grieving as I so gratefully received during my darkest times.” Whether decorating seedling pots for families, holiday decorations or handing out Teddy Bears to patients, Madison seeks “to bright light to others.” Her generosity is a living tribute to her grandfather’s memory, and a deeply moving and appreciated gift to others traveling the pathway of loss.

Friend joining Madison Dox on her 18th Birthday painting pottery in honor of Madison's grandfather.

Friend joining Madison Dox on her 18th Birthday painting pottery in honor of Madison's grandfather.

Friend joining Madison Dox on her 18th Birthday painting pottery in honor of Madison's grandfather.

 

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