National Hospice and Palliative Care Month is November. As part of their commitment to well-being, Serenity Hospice believes strongly in holistic treatments for the body, mind and soul. To celebrate National Hospice Month, Serenity is offering free Self-Care Classes open to the public. The class will focus on nutrition (try or anti-inflammatory chili), essential oils (take home Serenity’s special blend), sleep issues, movement and healthy holiday tips. Each person who attends may sign up for a free chair massage at Serenity’s Spa located in the hospice home in Oregon. The class will be offered the following times and places: Nov. 27 6 p.m. at the Mt. Morris Library, Nov. 28 6 p.m. at the Oregon Library, Dec. 3 6 p.m. at the Rochelle Library, Dec. 4 11:30 a.m. at the Post House Ballroom in Dixon. Register for a class by calling 815-732-2499.
Also as part of National Hospice Month, Serenity will be participating in National Child Grief Awareness. “People often don’t realize that children grieve,” said Cathy Warren Bereavement Coordinator for Serenity. “Their grief is different but should be worked through just as an adult. A child also needs to find their new normal without a loved one.” Serenity invites anyone to drop by The Shed in downtown Oregon (131 N. 3rd ST.) with a child who has experienced the death of a loved one. Even if it is the child’s friend’s mom or someone you consider somewhat distanced from the child, he/she will still have questions. The Shed will be offering simple activities to help the child work through their grief. Stop by anytime M-F 9-4:30 or to make an appointment by phone and ask for Cathy Warren. 815-732-2499.
Serenity would like for people to understand that hospice is not a place but is high-quality care that enables patients and families to focus on living as fully as possible despite a life-limiting illness. Palliative care brings this holistic model of care to people earlier in the course of a serious illness. Serenity Hospice serves nine counties in Northern Illinois and most of their patients are being served in their own homes or nursing care facilities. When the circumstances warrant it, patients also have the option of being served in Serenity Home, which has eight beautiful rooms all with family accommodations.
In recent months, a number of notable Americans have died. They include Senator John McCain, the queen of soul Aretha Franklin, and former first lady Barbara Bush. In many media reports, they were described as having “given up” on curative care late in their lives. Ms. Franklin opted for hospice care; Mrs. Bush received what was described as “comfort care.”
It is essential that people understand that hospice and palliative care is not giving up, it is not the abandonment of care, it is not reserved for the imminently dying. Hospice is a successful model of person-centered care that brings hope, dignity and compassion when they are most needed.
Serenity’s hospice and palliative care programs provide pain management, symptom control, psychosocial support, and spiritual care to patients and their family caregivers when a cure is not possible. Serenity offers an extensive bereavement program that includes The Shed which is a full-functioning workshop bringing alternative therapeutic resources to everyone in the community whether or not they were served by hospice. Serenity also employs a holistic therapy coordinator who oversees massage treatments, aromatherapy, essential oils, pet therapy, comfort music and art along with well-being education on nutrition, sleep and movement.
Serenity not only offers patients and their families these resources, but Serenity also focuses on their staff and strives to be an employer that recognizes that all people have lives outside the work place and they encourage their staff, who work in a highly stressful environment, to practice self-care daily. Serenity offers massages, a walking trail, great benefits and even an education credit for their full-time staff.
The mission of Serenity could not be accomplished without the support and loyalty of their wonderful volunteers. “Volunteering for Serenity does not mean that you have to sit with someone while they are dying, “ said Maia Johnson Volunteer Coordinator. “That is an option but there are many ways to help at Serenity—gardening, cooking, cleaning, visiting patients, help a patient write their memories or relieve a caregiver for an hour or two. If you are interested in more information about volunteering at Serenity, please call Maia at 815-732-2499.
More information about hospice, palliative care, and advance care planning is available from www.serenityhospiceandhome.org or from NHPCO’s CaringInfo.org.