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Medical Journal to Publish Article Based on Treatment Innovation Originating at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton

Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton clinicians Kathleen Emerson, Linda Quinlin, Mary Murphy,  along with Miami Valley Hospital clinician Patricia O’Malley, and Kathleen Hayes, Hospice and Palliative Care Coordinator with the Dayton VA Hospital, are the authors of an article to be published in the June issue of the Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing.

“Evaluation of a Low Light Intervention- Starlight Therapy –for Agitation, Anxiety, Restlessness, Sleep Disturbances, Dyspnea and Pain at End of Life” details study outcomes in the use of innovative light therapy in the treatment of patients.

Research into the impact of starlight therapy was initiated at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton over seven years ago when laser star projectors were first introduced to patient care. The projection of starlight onto the ceiling and walls of patient rooms proved to be a valuable therapy in easing anxiety, agitation, sleep disturbances, dyspnea, pain and restlessness among patients. Research also demonstrated a reduction in the need for pharmaceutical interventions for patients with a positive response to the light therapy approach.

 Pictured (l to r) are Mary Murphy, MS,RN,CNS, AOCN, ACHPN,  Linda Quinlin, DNP, RN, ACNS-BC, NP-C, ACHPN and Kathleen Emerson, LPN, CHPLN

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Bouquet Award Presented to Jamie Doughman

Every quarter we honor outstanding staff members for their contributions to our mission. Each of our disciplines is recognized as part of our Bouquet of Recognition. Among our most recent recipients

Carnation award

Jamie Doughman, Hospice House Unit Clerk

Jamie was nominated by a colleague for her role in a moving reunion of husband and wife.

The hospice patient came to the Hospice House directly from a rehab center. He cried and wept off and on for several days as his wife could not bring herself to overcome her fear of leaving their home.

The couple have been married 60+ years. The wife is Japanese and has a slight language barrier, walks with a cane and is usually wheelchair bound. She is 89 years old and has an extreme fear of leaving the house. Due to her agoraphobia, she had not seen her husband for over three months while he was in the hospital and in rehab before coming to Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton.  Staff called the wife to make her aware of her husband’s decline. She was very upset and asked that we place the phone close to Charles ear so he could hear her. As she cried and proclaimed her love for him, Jamie offered to find a way to go and get her even if she had to take her lunch and go herself. With the help of the volunteer department, Jamie and a volunteer visited the home to help escort the wife to the Hospice House. When Jamie and Bob arrived at the house they offered the encouragement needed for the wife to face her fear. When the patient, who had been previously unresponsive and actively dying, learned his wife was on her way, he opened his eyes. When she arrived, her visit coincided with a veteran pinning ceremony honoring the husband for his service. The couple were able to reunite and spend precious time together before the husband’s passing.

Pictured above, Jamie left with Brittney Thiel, Hospice House Team Leader, right

 

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Nine-Year-Olds Celebrate with Charitable Giving

Mitchel Schmidt and Ethan Bailey were both born in February and have celebrated their birthdays together since before kindergarten. For the past several years, lots of other kids have been the beneficiaries of their birthday celebrations.

This year the boys turned nine. As they have since they celebrated their sixth birthday, the boys bypassed birthday gifts for themselves in favor of requesting donations for local not-for-profit organizations. This year their designated charity is Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, so kids who are visiting loved ones at the Hospice House will receive “Kid’s Packs” that include gifts contributed by Mitchel and Ethan’s friends.

 

Both boys are students at St. Luke Catholic School in Beavercreek, so their mothers say this charitable outreach is a positive lesson in caring and community. Fourteen children attended the birthday party for the boys at SkyZone, enjoying cake and pizza, and contributing gifts that this year will help comfort and entertain children who may be losing a loved one.

 

 

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Drawbacks of Daylight Savings for Seniors and those with Serious Illness

We join in celebrating the arrival of spring, but for many the adjustment to Daylight Savings Time that comes with it poses special health concerns. As clocks spring forward we not only lose an hour of sleep, we need several days to reset our internal clocks.

Older adults and those with chronic illnesses can find the transition particularly difficult. Sleep deprivation is already a common complaint for seniors and those who are ill. According to Nancy Trimble, an Advance Practice Nurse with Ohio’s Hospice, “The elderly, who already have fragmented sleep patterns due to aging, may suffer more sleep disturbances, worsening of sundowning in dementia, and are at a higher risk of heart attack in the first 3 days following the Daylight Savings Time change due to the stress of sleep disturbance. People can be groggy, leading to more auto and on the job accidents. For seniors it may also affect their accuracy in taking medications correctly. Falls due to sleepiness may also ensue.”

Trimble offers some recommendations for easing into the time switch. “Avoidance of sleeping pills, alcohol, and caffeine will help, as well as gradually adjusting bedtimes and awakening, and being aware of the potential changes that might occur. It may be necessary to speak to your health care provider on how to adjust scheduled medications such as insulin with the time change. Exposure to more light also is helpful in resetting the circadian (light, hormone, wake/sleep cycle) rhythms. Seniors tend to take more time to adjust to the time changes and may need a little help during those times.”

The following are some additional suggestions to help those most affected by the change to Daylight Savings Time:

  • Maintain a routine. As much as possible, maintain regular sleep patterns, adjusting the time of going to bed and waking up by no more than 15-20 minutes. This helps keep your personal sleep rhythm steady.
  • Avoid the enemies of good sleep. Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol in the evening; avoid over-the-counter sleep aids; and avoid napping.
  • Exercise. Walking, biking, swimming can all help you fall asleep more easily.
  • Take a bath. A warm bath before bed can help the body relax and produce the natural sleep-hormone melatonin.
  • Set the stage for sleep. Make sure your sleep environment is comfortable and quiet. Turn off that TV!
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Patient Experience Advocate Focuses on Patient Satisfaction

Jessica Conger, BSN, CHPN, has a new role at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. Her experience as a bedside nurse has helped prepare her to serve as the Patient Experience Advocate for hospice patients.

“We can always improve on patient satisfaction,” Conger explains. “Our commitment to providing superior care and super services means we are always identifying opportunities for improvement. If we don’t understand how we are doing, we can’t become better.”

Conger is working with staff members to find enhancements that will benefit patients and families in hospice care. She is also establishing a Family Advisory Council, comprised of family members of former patients, to help refine processes for an improved patient experience.  Conger explains. “We are hoping to involve at least 20 people in the Family Advisory Council who can help us evaluate and improve things like our patient handbook, admission packet, and communication processes. They will also have the opportunity to identify and recommend additional areas where improvements will be meaningful to our patients and families.”

Those interested in serving with the Family Advisory Council can contact her at jconger@ohioshospice.org

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Social Workers Contribute to Quality Care

Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton social workers pictured with social workers of Ohio’s Hospice affiliates.

March is National Social Worker Month and an important time to recognize and express appreciation for the social workers who are central to our Quality of Life Team.

Our hospice social workers help patients and families address the many practical and emotional issues that come with serious illness.

  • They help families connect with valuable community resources, including meals on wheels, in-home caregiver support and financial assistance.
  • They educate and inform family caregivers so they feel confident in caring for their loved one.
  • They help patient and family openly discuss their fears and concerns.
  • They help smooth the way when patients need to transition from one living environment to another.
  • They serve as advocates for patients, helping to identify and plan so patients can achieve their end-of-life goals.
  • They assist with completing advance directives and funeral planning.
  • They help assure that children receive the services and support they need when facing the loss of a loved one.

Social workers bring knowledge and expertise in working with ethnic, cultural, and economic diversity. They are familiar with navigating the complexities of health care systems. They understand bereavement and are focused on enhancing quality of life and well-being for patients and families.

While accomplishing all these things, social workers also provide emotional support and understanding as families face the most difficult challenge of saying goodbye.

We are grateful for the role our social workers play in providing superior care and superior services to our hospice families. Learn about other key players in our Quality of Life Team by clicking here.

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Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton Starlight Therapy Subject of National Publication and Poster Presentation

Congratulations to Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton authors Kathleen Emerson, LPN, CHPLN, Linda Quinlin, DNP, RN, ACNS-BC, NP-C, ACHPN, Mary Murphy, MS,RN,CNS,AOCN, ACHPN, (pictured L to R) and Miami Valley Hospital clinician Patricia O’Malley PhD, RN, CNS, CCRN-Alumnus, whose article “Evaluation of a Low Light Intervention- Starlight Therapy –for Agitation, Anxiety, Restlessness, Sleep Disturbances, Dyspnea and Pain at End of Life” has been accepted for publication in the June issue of the Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing. The group will also be among the featured poster presenters at the February annual assembly in Phoenix, Arizona at the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Nursing Association. The Annual Assembly brings together nearly 3,000 hospice and palliative care clinicians to share research, clinical best practices, and practice-related guidance to advance the specialty and improve patient care.

Research into the impact of starlight therapy was initiated at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton over five years ago when laser star projectors were first introduced to patient care. The projection of starlight onto the ceiling and walls of patient rooms proved to be a valuable therapy in easing anxiety, pain and restlessness among patients. Research also demonstrated a reduction in the need for pharmaceutical interventions for patients with a positive response to the light therapy approach.

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Two Hearts As One

For staff members at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, it was heartbreaking.

Charles was alone in his room, tears streaming down his face. He longed to see his wife of 63 years. She longed to see him. But her fear of leaving their house kept her from his side. valentines day hospice of dayton

His wife never left their home. A native of Japan, she met Charles when he was serving at an Army hospital base in Japan. The two came together when she and a girlfriend attended a dance. Their meeting quickly turned to romance and a wedding ceremony at the embassy in Tokyo.

When Charles was discharged, the couple returned to the Dayton area where Charles was raised. He took a job with a local High School – a role he maintained until his retirement over twenty years later. They bought a house in 1959, a home kept neat as a pin by his wife. Now, after 63 years of marriage, the two were separated, and Charles lay dying.

The hospice staff was planning to honor Charles for his military service with an American Pride Veteran pinning ceremony to recognize and thank him for his military service. They wished his wife could be present, but she never left her home because she was overwhelmed by fear whenever she did so. As his condition began to decline, hospice staff members launched a full-court press to bring them together. Hospice House RN Leah Guthrie called and told his wife that time was running out for Charlie.

Hospice House coordinator Jamie Doughman enlisted a volunteer driver and the two traveled to the family home, offering door-to-door transport to hospice to see Charles. Reassuring and encouraging, the two were able to convince his wife to make the trip to see “Charlie” and be part of his recognition ceremony. Charles had become unresponsive.

The pinning ceremony was moving for everyone involved. Charles’ wife arrived in time for the event, and began speaking to her husband. “I love you my Charlie,” she said, stroking his cheek. For the first time in many hours, he struggled to open his eyes.

The romance that began a continent away continued to have the power to bring Charlie back to the love of his life to share some final precious memories.

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Bears, Bears, Bears at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton

Oakwood High School students & Lasertoma group give stuffed teddy bears to patients at Ohio's Hospice of Dayton Hospice House.No lions. No tigers. But lots and lots of bears, bears, bears.

With a mission of visiting and cheering patients, LaSertoma of Dayton Club members and students from Oakwood High School bring stuffed bears monthly to deliver to patients at the Hospice House on Wilmington Avenue in Dayton. LaSertoma member Pam Stephens can’t say how many bears have been delivered, but shares “LaSertoma started this project in the 1990s. We bring 40 bears with us 7 or 8 months out of the year.” That’s a lot of bears!

And a lot of smiles.

Delivery of the bears is a heartwarming experience for everyone involved. “We have had some patients – usually men – tell us they never had a teddy bear before, “ Pam says. “They hug on tightly when they get one.”

Oakwood students support the project and Stephens says patients really enjoy the interaction with students. “They are wonderful with the patients,” Stephens observes. “Many of them have had grandparents at hospice, so they have a special sense of the value in visiting and connecting.”

Each bear is presented along with a poem written by long-time LaSertoma member and hospice volunteer Helen Fornes:

To patients we give huggie bears

To help your day be brighter,

This warm and oh so loving petOakwood High School students & Lasertoma group give stuffed teddy bears to patients at Ohio's Hospice of Dayton Hospice House.

Will make your burdens light

 

Oakwood High School students & Lasertoma group give stuffed teddy bears to patients at Ohio's Hospice of Dayton Hospice House.Bears and Hugs bring joy to all

A loving touch to share

Hug-A-Bear Day at the Hospice of Dayton

Is our way to show we care,

LaSertoma receives some financial support from the students at St. Luke Elementary School in Beavercreek, who save lunch money to assist in the purchase of bears. Additional donations are accepted to help support the bear gift program. Please contact Pam Stephens by email at pamstephens@daytonlasertoma.com.

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African American Congressional Medal Winner Among Those Honored at American Pride Memorial

During Black History Month, we highlight John Lee “Jack” Cooper, who was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal. We honor him at our American Pride Memorial.Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton has the privilege to serve Veterans every day. Our American Pride program is designed to assure that the unique needs of Veterans are addressed and our American Pride Memorial celebrates those who have sacrificed to assure American freedom.

During Black History Month, we highlight John Lee “Jack” Cooper, who was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal.

Cooper was one of an estimated 20,000 black Americans who enlisted in the Marine Corps between 1942 and 1949. The enlistees were the first to integrate the U.S. Armed Forces. Sent to Montford Point, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina for training, Cooper and his fellow black troops were segregated and trained separately from white soldiers. That changed when troops served side-by side in the war theaters of World War II. Cooper served in the South Pacific from 1943 to 1945. Upon his return to the states, he and his wife Gladys settled in Dayton, where he worked for 36 years and retired from Delphi division of General Motors.

Congress designated the Montford Point Marines as Congressional Gold Medal honorees in 2012, but were unable to present Cooper’s medal to him when they were unable to locate him. A family member rectified the failure, making sure that Cooper received the honor in 2013 while he was a patient with Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. U.S. Representative Michael Turner and Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell were among those present to honor the 91-year old Cooper when the medal was presented.

We are proud to include “Jack” Cooper among those Veterans recognized at our American Pride Memorial. We invite anyone in the greater Dayton area with information about a Veteran who should be recognized for their service to submit information and be included in our Memorial listings.

We celebrate the service and courage of “Jack” Cooper, honoring the memory of a man who helped make history and change history as an early pioneer of civil rights.

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