Using our gifts

Posted May 28, 2015 by hpccr
Categories: end of life, hospice, planned giving

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by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

Bill@WindowGRYSCLcrop

Artist Bill Ward at work

Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region received a very welcome surprise a few months ago when we learned that we had been included in the will of painter William “Bill” Ward.  It was an unexpected blessing because Bill was not under the care of HPCCR when he died.  And while it took us a while to get to the bottom of this story, his generous gesture let us know that someone he loved dearly must have benefited from hospice.  What’s more, it clearly made an impact on him.

Bill never married nor had children. But he had a very close relationship with his grandniece, Mary Frances Lawing, because of their joint love of art. For many years, Bill taught art to elementary and middle school students and throughout his life he was a prolific painter.  Modest to a fault, he never had an art show of his own or sold any of his creations.  He constantly practiced, however, taking inspiration from some of his favorite artists – Matisse, Picasso, and other post-impressionist painters.

IMG_0148

One of Bill Ward’s pieces

When Bill died, he left all of his tangible property to Mary and dictated that, once liquidated, the proceeds should be donated to HPCCR.  Bill had painted hundreds of pieces in various mediums – oils, acrylics, pastels, and watercolors.  He had also crafted some sculptures and even built several pieces of furniture.

Bill originally came to Charlotte at the request of his sister Edith (Mary’s grandmother) and he lived with her until she passed away in 1993.  Turns out Edith was cared for by Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region. Bill was deeply touched by the experience; he was especially moved by the compassion the care team showed his sister and the rest of his family.

Because of Bill’s artistic gift, he was able to give HPCCR an amazing financial gift.  And we can pass his gift forward, in the form of exceptional of end-of-life care, to those who need us most.  A beautiful blessing indeed.

Want to ensure that future generations will benefit from hospice care? Contact Pam Janowicz Gray at 704.335.4324 to learn more about planned giving.

Light From Within

Posted May 21, 2015 by hpccr
Categories: awareness, grief, hospice, Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Southminster

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by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

Jinna's stained glass

“Light from Within” by Janet Blanchard

Sometimes the most dangerous battlefields are the ones in our heads.  Even those of us with the sunniest dispositions get sad occasionally, weighed down by negative thoughts and vicious self-doubt.  Our darkness struggles against our light and if we’re lucky, the light wins.  If we work hard to squash the darkness, the light from within will continue to shine, refusing to be extinguished.  It will peek through all our layers, starting from the absolute core, and illuminate our soul all the way to the outer edge of our skin.  It’s no easy feat to keep that light shining, day in and day out.  Some of us struggle more than others.

Like Jinna.  Jinna had battled depression throughout her seventyish years.  So much so that she and her friend Mimi made a pact: they would check in with each other every day and if one hadn’t heard from the other, a visit would be made to ensure everything was okay.  One morning, Mimi didn’t hear from her friend so she went to Jinna’s house around lunchtime that day.  That’s when Mimi learned that Jinna had lost the battle to depression.  She had extinguished her light.

You may be wondering what this has to do with hospice.  I’ll tell you.  Jinna was a knitter and she had yarn.  Lots of it.  Nineteen trash bags full of yarn, in fact, stashed around her house.  Expensive, indulgent yarn in gorgeous colors from exotic places like Peru, Italy, and Norway.  Yarn made from all kinds of materials like bamboo, silk, cashmere, and wool.  Yarn that would make unbelievable prayer shawls for hospice patients.  At our hospice houses.  You see the connection.

Kathleen Tarr, Prayer Shawl Ministry Coordinator from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte was called and asked if her group would like the yarn.  Kathleen, a weaver herself, immediately accepted and gathered the enormous bounty.  After sorting it by color, she called in her knitters to claim their prizes.  Each took enough yarn to make four to six prayer shawls, somewhere between 2,500 to 10,000 yards of yarn.  They then sold the leftover yarn online, raising a modest amount of money.  But they didn’t know what they would do with the proceeds.

Turns out we had the perfect solution.

When Kathleen met with Jane Mitchell, our chaplain at Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Southminster, their talk turned to the small chapel located there.  Kathleen asked Jane how our plans were progressing, knowing our desire to make the multi-faith space calm and inviting.  Jane mentioned that we were still looking for a piece of artwork, a final touch to bring all of those peaceful elements together.

And that’s when all of the pieces fell in place.  Kathleen allotted the money raised from the sale of Jinna’s extra yarn to pay a fantastic artist, Janet Blanchard, to create a piece of artwork for the chapel.  Janet works in stained glass and her creations are simply beautiful.  The only stipulation was that the stained glass piece would be “in memory of Jinna”.  Of course we agreed immediately.  We couldn’t think of a more poignant and meaningful way to recognize the gift that Jinna unknowingly gave us.

We had a dedication ceremony in the chapel this week for the new stained glass panel.  I spent several minutes just staring at the piece.  It is indeed a calming scene, with serene blocks of color swirling and dipping around each other.  But the aspect that stands out the most to me is the sense of security I feel when looking at it.  Maybe because, to me, the swirls of color look like arms bending to cradle a child.  Loving.  Comforting.  Soothing.  And the entire piece is lit from within, creating variations within the deep tones of ambers, purples, reds, and blues.  It’s a perfect match for our chapel, making the space everything we wanted it to be.

It makes me happy to think of this beautiful piece of art living at Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Southminster.  Lit from within, it repels the darkness, something Jinna was ultimately unable to do.  Her internal light has been extinguished, but the glow within this stained glass panel can remain on, keeping Jinna’s memory alive and proving that her struggle was not in vain.  Day in and day out, her soul will peek through the layers of this unique and stunning work of art.

May you rest in peace, Jinna.

Nothing could be finer than Hops for Hospice

Posted May 14, 2015 by hpccr
Categories: hospice, special events, fundraising

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by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

Hops for Hospice_2015Ah, springtime in the Carolinas!  There’s nothing better.  Wait, yes there is. Springtime in the Carolinas with a beer in your hand, surrounded by fun people on a beautiful patio.  And I know exactly where you can find that kind of perfection.

Join us this Saturday (May 16) at Foxcroft Wine Co. in Southpark for Hops for Hospice.  From 1pm until 4, you can taste some fantastic local (and not-so local but still delicious) beers from breweries whose names you probably know.  Names like Terrapin, Bird Song, Grand Teton Brewing, Mother Earth, NoDA, Triple C, and more.  Plus you can nosh on delicacies from Foxcroft Wine Co.’s own Chef Justin who has devised a few appetizers and snacks to nicely complement said beer.  It’s kind of a perfect afternoon, actually, and we are wrapping it up and putting a bow on it and giving it to you like a special gift.

Speaking of gifts, there are going to be some cool gift baskets up for auction (silent auction, that is) so come prepared to bid.

Now, what would you expect to pay for this tastebud-pleasing, sensory-soothing day out on the patio?  Well, this delightful afternoon can be yours for the low, low price of $20.  If you get your wristband before May 16, that is.  On the day of the event, you will have to pay the not-quite-as-low price of $25.  So call Foxcroft Wine Co. (at 704.365.6550) to reserve your wristband before Saturday!  Because $20 is a screaming good deal for a perfect Saturday afternoon in the “nothing could be finer” Carolinas.  Can I get an AMEN?

Foxcroft Wine Co. is located at 7824 Fairview Rd.  For more information about this event, call Nancy Cole, Director of Special Events, at 704.335.4312.  Proceeds from Hops for Hospice benefit Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region. 

Showing some love

Posted May 6, 2015 by hpccr
Categories: advocacy, awareness, hospice, Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region

Tags: , , , , ,

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

love heartYou know what motivates people, especially when it comes to their career?  I can tell you one thing — it’s not money.  (Can I get an Amen, fellow not-for-profit employees?)  In fact, I read this little tidbit recently from an article on Forbes.com: “Rather than money, studies have shown that how creative an employee feels when working on a project is the strongest and most pervasive driver.”

Creativity is a big deal; I can certainly attest to that, given what I do here at HPCCR.  But I have my own theory about what drives satisfaction.  Not just within a career, but in LIFE.  As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing better than feeling appreciated.  Knowing that you are valued.  Loved.

And to that end, there are some amazing people out there who need to be shown some love this week, people.  Nurses and moms, our eternal caregivers.  Seriously, what would we do without them?

The anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday is on May 12 and to commemorate her, National Nurses Week falls each year from May 6-May 12.  It’s the week we honor the unquenchable spirit and compassionate nature of nurses everywhere.  It’s the time when we try to show appreciation for the undeniably tough job they have.

And hospice nurses?  I am totally in awe of what they do and the challenges they face.  They care not only for patients, but entire families.  They bring relief to individuals in unimaginable circumstances and at the same time, they support families suffering from crushing emotional and spiritual pain.  And you know what they do?  They step in, take control, and make things better.  They are bedrocks of comfort, oceans of calm, and fortresses of love.

Mothers are no different; they offer unconditional love and support to their children (when they’re not daydreaming about ways to hide from said offspring, that is).  From the time we are born, our mothers protect us, soothe us, and support us.  They are our cheerleaders, a constant standing ovation in our lives.  When we succeed, they couldn’t be more proud.  When we fail, they help us get back up to try again.  It’s the hardest job on the planet, and it’s completely unpaid.  We officially acknowledge moms on Sunday this week, but they really should be acknowledged every day of the year. (Are you listening, Powell children?)

They say that motherhood is the toughest job you’ll ever love.  Well, nursing comes in a close second.  Nurses and mothers all over, you are loved and endlessly appreciated.  You have our eternal gratitude for showing up to work every day and not handing in your notice.  And if you are both a nurse AND a mom?  Well then.  You deserve to take the rest of the week off.  Paid.  In, like,  Aruba.

Adding a voice to the conversation

Posted April 30, 2015 by hpccr
Categories: advance directives, awareness, hospice, palliative

Tags: , , , ,

by Jaqueline Lee, UNC School of Medicine

Conversation imageWe knocked on the door to our next patient’s door. She was a new resident at a rehabilitation and nursing facility just outside of Charlotte. “We are from palliative care” we explained to her nurse who was busy giving a bath to our patient’s roommate. She looked back, a look of concern taking over her face. “Oh no I’m so sad to hear that, I thought she was doing okay” she said, referring to the patient we were to visit.

We later went on to meet our patient, a sweet older lady who had just celebrated her 100th birthday the day before. She had a set of bouncing balloons in her room and photos of her many children and grandchildren up on the wall. After a short conversation we confirmed, just as her nurse had said, she was doing just fine; however, a quick review of her chart revealed that we could be helpful. Her MOST form had not been signed appropriately, and she had no authorized DNR, therefore if her heart stopped she would still receive chest compressions. Although the nurse seemed to associate our services with bad news, this patient was an ideal candidate for palliative assistance. She was not actively dying, and we had time to discuss with her and her family what her wishes were so that she could make conscious decisions about the end of her life.

My experience on my hospice/palliative care rotation at Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region showed me that there is a good amount of general confusion about the role of palliative medicine in our society, and that the skills required to offer these services are unique, and not shared by all providers. Moreover, despite being three years into medical school, I really didn’t know anything about hospice or palliative care. Even in my short, two-day experience, it became glaringly obvious that the words “hospice” and “palliative” are easily two of the most misinterpreted words in modern medicine. Even though the nurses, chaplains and doctors that I interacted with on the palliative and hospice services were easily the most pleasant and kind-hearted group I’ve worked with so far, patients, families, nurses, even physicians associate their work with “the end” or failure as evidenced by the response we got from our patient’s nurse.

My journey thus far through clinical medicine has shown me that as a medical community, we are not comfortable discussing the end of life. Modern medicine has an established role that is to “make people better” and prolong their life. As such, this mindset is considered by many to be in direct conflict with the goals of palliative and hospice medicine. Even experienced physicians are uncomfortable discussing the end of life. Although this is unfortunate, it makes sense, because these conversations are difficult. They take time, patience, and require that the provider put their own beliefs, expectations and desires aside.

After witnessing the important work of the hospice and palliative care providers on this rotation, I know that we need to reframe their work as a medical community and add their voice to many of our conversations with patients and their families. Their goals are truly patient-centered, and I know that weaving their viewpoint into more conversations about patient care will only benefit the people we serve.

Goodbye winter, hello Regatta Party!

Posted April 22, 2015 by hpccr
Categories: fundraising, Hospice & Palliative Care Lake Norman, Lake Norman Hospice Regatta, special events

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by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

LN Hospice Regatta logo_2015I just saw on Twitter that they got 9.5 inches of snow in some (quite unlucky) areas of Wisconsin yesterday and today. While I feel very sorry for those poor souls who are dragging out the shovels and the snow blowers yet one more time, I can’t help but feel smug.  It’s finally springtime in the Carolinas and we are enjoying some glorious sunshine, bluebird skies, and dry weather.  Each year when we finally get this gorgeous respite, we also get a tingling of anticipation.  You can almost sense something delightfully fun is in your future.  And it is!  The 15th annual Lake Norman Hospice Regatta Party is coming your way on Saturday, May 2!

If you haven’t purchased your tickets to the “best party on the lake”, you still have a chance because we have a few left (which you can find on our website). The Lake Norman Hospice Regatta Party is an upscale evening at The Peninsula Club in Cornelius and it features delicious food, music, games, an inspirational speaker, and a well-stocked cash bar.  You will also enjoy some amazing items up for bid in the live and silent auctions.  And the best part about the auctions?  You can do your bidding online from the comfort of your seat, using only your smart phone and your cunning, cutthroat strategies to get the items that you want.

Need some incentive to get your tickets?  How about a sneak peek into some of the items up for bid?  We’ve got an unbelievable trip to the Napa Valley which includes a 3-night stay at a fabulous resort and a three-hour gourmet dinner for two on the Napa Valley Wine Train.  This trip also includes round-trip coach class airfare for two.  Yeah, you can just go ahead and sign me up for that one.

We’ve also got a week-long stay in a two bedroom condo (which sleeps eights) in Hilton Head.  One week of hanging out on the beach, listening to the waves, and catching up with your friends (who will adore you for inviting them).

Or maybe you just want a quick getaway to the mountains?  We’ve got a one-night stay at a bed & breakfast in Banner Elk.

Plus, we’ve got golf packages, jewelry, nights at the Grove Park Inn, and a ton more.  To put it simply, there are more than enough reasons for you to get your bidding on at this awesome event.  Not to mention it supports a wonderful organization making a huge impact within its community — Hospice & Palliative Care Lake Norman.

The party starts at 6:30pm on Saturday, May 2 at the Peninsula Club in Cornelius.  Tickets are $100, which is a tiny investment in the massive amount of fun you’re going to have, especially if you end up outbidding me for the Napa trip.  Now, if you’re coming here from snowy Wisconsin, we’ll probably let you in for free.  You’ve seriously suffered enough.

A HUGE thanks to our generous presenting sponsors: Huntersville Ford, Kathryn Keele, and Lake Norman Transportation Services, Inc.  We sincerely appreciate your amazing support!

To purchase your Lake Norman Hospice Regatta Party tickets, visit the Shop HPCCR page on our website.  For more information, contact Nancy Cole, HPCCR Director of Special Events.

Ben Franklin was a wise man

Posted April 16, 2015 by hpccr
Categories: advance directives, awareness, education

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by  Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

ben franklinBen Franklin very famously said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  Given the significance of yesterday and today, I have to say that this quote has never been more appropriate.

So yesterday was tax day.  A nice mid-week treat, right?  Isn’t preparing and filing taxes fun?  Well, for those of you getting a nice refund, the work was worth it.  For those of you writing hefty checks, take comfort in the fact that the holidays are still eight months away.  Plenty of time to start saving up!  And you don’t have to pay the government for another whole year.

But now we move on to the other part of Ben’s quote: the certainty of death. Today, April 16, is National Healthcare Decisions Day.  It’s the day when you have to (well, you really should) think about end of life.  It’s a day nationwide when we ask ourselves some very important (and tough) questions:  Who would you want making important decisions about your healthcare if you couldn’t speak for yourself?  What decisions would you want that person to make?  Do those closest to you know how you feel about life-sustaining procedures?

How did you do on those questions?  Not so well?  Ok, I’m going to ask you a few more.  Do you have a Living Will?  A Healthcare Power of Attorney?  Do you have any idea what a MOST form is?  If your answer to any of these questions is a resounding, “No!”, then you are not alone.  But that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Less than one-third of adults have completed these advance directive documents.  Which means that more than two-thirds of our population are leaving their loved ones unaware of their wishes should something unplanned and catastrophic happen to them.  That’s just not ok.  Advance directives give family and friends peace of mind in the event that the hypothetical becomes reality.  Making the hard decisions now will ultimately be a gift to those who love us.

This all might seem very overwhelming to you, but take comfort in the fact that there are organizations and individuals whose sole purpose is to help you fill out your advance directives.  And there are plenty of websites (including hpccr.org) that not only answer your questions, but also provide contact information for people who would be happy to assist you in any way.

I know the last thing you want to do the day after you pay taxes is to think about your impending death.  But Ben Franklin knew what he was talking about, people.  You can’t avoid death just like you can’t avoid taxes (well, I suppose you can avoid taxes, but there is that pesky jail thing to think about).  Being prepared for both will take away some unnecessary stress and let you focus on the more important things in life.  Like the fact that the holidays are only eight months away.  You should be hearing Christmas carols in Walmart any day now.


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