Archive for the ‘education’ category

The power in one word

April 13, 2016

by Carol Anne Lawler, HPCCR Faith Community Educator

one word imageOne of the benefits of being the Faith Community Educator for Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region is the privilege of presenting information to faith communities and other groups about some aspect of end-of-life care. We often say we can’t ‘add years to your life’, but we can ‘add life to your years’. To that end, I developed a Healthy Aging presentation to do just that! My goal is to communicate how our mind, body, and spirit are all connected and when we do one thing it affects the other aspects of our lives as well. I have experienced this connection first-hand and would like to share a few observations.

In 2015, I had the opportunity to attend the School of the Spirit that consists of four retreats over the course of the year to deepen and expand the participants’ spiritual life. One of the practices is called Centering Prayer. In this form of meditation, rather than focus on the breath or on using a mantra, each person chooses a ‘sacred word’ that is said when one’s thoughts begin to veer off course. The word is used as a gentle reminder to return one’s mind and energies to meditate. The sacred word effectively reminds me of what I know to be true.

Not only has the power of a single word been helpful in my spiritual life, my body has witnessed the power of a single word as well. Let me explain. Since our children have become adults and are now living on their own, my husband and I have more time to pursue activities that are of interest. We can frequently be seen at the Dowd YMCA taking a cycle or ‘spin’ class, as it is called, most Saturday mornings and/or Thursday evenings. When the instructor wants to motivate the class to go faster, she will say the word PUSH! Because of my competitive spirit (even with myself), I began saying PUSH…PUSH… PUSH…(to myself of course), and to my amazement, I watch my speed increase. If, by saying a single word, I can help align my spirit to reflect my values and increase my peddle speed on my stationary bike, what can you and I accomplish with a single action toward what is good?

I am reminded of a quote I heard when I was just 16 years old. (My long-term memory serves me well.) I was taking the classroom part of Driver’s Education in the summer and our instructor wrote these words on the blackboard:“I am but one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something….and by the grace of God, I will do the one thing I can do.” I am convinced; there is at least one thing you and I can do to add healing to the world. The recipe for change, then, is this: change a word + change an action = positive results!

When I was young I long sought the answers to life’s important issues. Now that I am older, I am convinced that asking the right questions holds the key to what matters most.

Here are few questions for consideration: How have I loved this hour? Whom have I helped? How have I lived my principles? As we move into spring may we remember the power of a single word and the strength of a single action can not only add life to our years, it can add new life to our world.

The above article will be published in the summer edition of All About Seniors, a comprehensive resource and referral directory available in North and South Carolina for older adults, caregivers, and healthcare professionals.

Have a compassionate conversation with us

March 24, 2016

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

NHDD day image“I wish I’d known about hospice sooner.”

We hear that sentence all the time. And we understand why — it’s a topic that most people don’t learn about (nor want to learn about) until they have to. Let’s face it. No one looks forward to talking about end of life. But it doesn’t have to be so hard, especially if you let us help you.

Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region will be hosting two special events next week, designed to make you more comfortable talking about end of life and what your wishes are concerning it. We’re holding these events to recognize National Healthcare Decisions Day which takes place each year on April 16 (the day specifically chosen because it falls right after tax day and we all know what Benjamin Franklin said about death and taxes. . . .)

The seminars are entitled Compassionate Conversations: It Always Seems Too Early, Until It’s Too Late, and we’ll be hosting them on Tuesday, March 29 (at Levine & Dickson Hospice House – Huntersville) and Thursday, March 31 (at the Philip L. Van Every Learning Resource Center). Both will begin at 6:15pm and last until 8:15 and to entice you to come, we’re having delicious appetizers and offering expert commentary from our extremely experienced nurse practitioner, Beth Martin, and our esteemed Medical Director, Dr. Robert Smith.

The two of them will explore a bunch of different tough and thought-provoking questions such as “How do I begin a conversation with a loved one or physician about healthcare planning?”; “What does it mean to do ‘everything’ possible during a healthcare crisis?”; and “What are the benefits and burdens of nutrition and ventilators at end of life?”

We encourage you to come to one of these events. See, if you have the conversation with us, then you can feel confident having the conversation with the people who matter most to you. Which ultimately would allow you to avoid having the conversation that begins with, “I wish I’d known about hospice sooner.”

There is no cost to attend these seminars, but you must pre-register. To do so, email Louise Giusto at For more information about the Compassionate Conversations seminars, you can contact Carol Anne Lawler at


A final message

December 30, 2015

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

thank you 2014As we enter the final days of 2015, HPCCR has an important end-of-year message for all of you.

Thank you.

Because of the support from friends, patients we’ve served, and the loved ones of those patients, we have had a wonderful year.  And just so you know, our definition of a wonderful year is being able to make a difference in our community.

What does that look like?  Well, it means helping patients spend their last days, weeks, and months in comfort.  It means being a supportive resource to frightened family members and exhausted caregivers.  It’s educating families about when the time is right for hospice care to give them the benefit of much-needed additional help.  It’s providing grief support to bereaved family members after their loved one has died.  And it’s offering education to our community about end-of-life planning and other equally important topics.

We did all those things in 2015 and we did them with care, compassion, and integrity.

We thank each and every one of you who talked about hospice care and helped us further our mission of spreading the word.  We thank the families who allowed us into their homes; who gave us the honor of caring for their loved ones at such an important time.  We thank those of you who followed us on Facebook and Twitter, kept up-to-date with the goings-on of our organization, and attended our fundraising events.  And we appreciate all of you who read the inspiring stories on this blog, commented on them, or even shared them.

Bottom line?  End-of-life care is a true blessing.  But it takes people accessing it, talking about it, and learning about it so that it can become a more widespread and understood option.  You helped us do that in 2015 and we know that you will continue to do so in the coming year.  For that you have our sincere gratitude.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2016!

Today’s the DAY! #GivingTuesdayCLT

December 1, 2015

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

GTCLT12_1 blueWe’re so excited we can hardly stand it! The day we’ve been planning for (and when I say we, I mean HPCCR and 108 other not-for-profits) is finally here! It’s #GivingTuesdayCLT! That means today we’ll find out if we reached our goal of raising $2 million for the populations we collectively serve in the Charlotte region!

We’ve been tweeting, updating Facebook statuses, sharing Instagram photos, sending emails, and writing newsletter articles about #GivingTuesdayCLT. But you know what? It ultimately comes down to you.

That’s right. You. The loyal supporters of these 109 not-for-profits will be the real heroes today. We couldn’t do it without your generosity. Without your vision of how this kind of money can help your neighbors in need. You will be the reason why struggling families will have meals, children will receive healthcare services, pets will be adopted, families of service members will receive financial support, cancer research will be funded, students will have school supplies. . . . the list of how you’re helping is truly endless.

And you will also be the reason why HPCCR will be able to continue funding Chameleon’s Journey (our grief camp for kids and teens), why we will be able to care for anyone who needs our exceptional end-of-life care (regardless of their ability to pay), and why we can offer community education everywhere in our service area.

So have you made a donation to HPCCR for #GivingTuesdayCLT? If not, do you want to? It’s easy — just click on our donation form to make your gift and then choose #GivingTuesdayCLT in the drop down menu for the question, “What brought you to the site to give today?”

Thank you. Seriously, thank you so very much. On behalf of all of us participating in #GivingTuesdayCLT, we can’t begin to express our gratitude for helping us reach this wonderful goal. There is a powerful surge of kindness surrounding this holiday season and your generosity has helped to ignite it.

May this spirit of compassion surround you and your family throughout this wondrous time.



A new location for education

November 4, 2015

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

From left to right: Dick Pahle of the Philip L. Van Every Foundation, HPCCR CEO Pete Brunnick, and Pall Crull, HPCCR Board Chair

From left to right: Dick Pahle of the Philip L. Van Every Foundation, HPCCR CEO Pete Brunnick, and Pat Crull, HPCCR Board Chair

Over the years, we have learned that education is crucial to the success of our organization. We know that once a person learns about hospice and understands its intrinsic value, they will become a lifelong and passionate advocate. We also realize that keeping our staff up-to-date with continuous education is a critical component of maintaining the exceptional care we offer. Education is so important that we’ve included it in our mission statement. It should come as no surprise, then, that Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region is taking education to an entirely new level.

We are proud to introduce our newest location, the Philip L. Van Every Learning Resource Center. This location will have a dual purpose – it will offer a space for specialized training for our clinical staff and will also have the capacity to host educational events for the community at large.  It officially opened a few weeks ago, but we are having an open house tomorrow (with a ribbon cutting featuring those awesome huge scissors) to introduce the building to the public.

Situated on the corner of Walsh Boulevard and Johnston Road in south Charlotte, the building was once a branch of the Charlotte Public Library, operating from 1983 until 2010. It sat empty and unused until it was purchased by Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region in 2012. Its proximity to our south Charlotte office (located just around the corner) was a distinct selling point for the organization when considering the purchase.

HPCCRLearningResourceCenter-0007HPCCR has a strong history of providing excellent education to the staff and fostering an environment that enhances the skills of our clinicians. The Philip L. Van Every Learning Resource Center will dovetail perfectly within this mission. One of the main advantages of this space will be the simulation lab, adequately equipped to provide hands-on training through the use of medical equipment specific to HPCCR. Staff will have access to a hospital bed, lift, infusion therapy pumps, artificial nutrition delivery systems, fluid management / containment devices, and more. By working and training with the equipment (and simulating real-life situations they are likely to encounter), our staff will be even more prepared to deliver exceptional end-of-life care to our patients.

In addition to the simulation lab, the building boasts multiple conference rooms designed to accommodate presentations and educational offerings to the community. With state-of-the-art teleconferencing capabilities, these rooms offer endless opportunities for learning. We envision seminars about advance care planning being held here; individuals learning about living wills, Healthcare Power of Attorney documents, and the MOST (Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment) form. This location will also serve as a training site for other medical professionals, like medical residents and nursing students, who could benefit from more deliberate instruction about end-of-life care. And our own staff will receive education here as well, with in-house seminars and the ability to use a comprehensive and innovative computer lab.

Our learning center is exactly the sort of facility that Philip L. Van Every imagined supporting when he created his foundation. An important leader in the Charlotte community (he was the CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation and the mayor of the city), Mr. Van Every was known for his philanthropic nature. Among other causes, he was devoted to education, healthcare, and community service. The HPCCR facility bearing his name strives to encompass all three of these passions, making healthcare education easily accessible to anyone with the desire to learn.

HPCCRLearningResourceCenter-0009Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region is committed to exceptional end-of-life care. The Philip L. Van Every Learning Resource Center allows us to promote hospice and palliative services both internally and externally; furthering the training of our own staff in order to serve patients better and offering quality education to our neighbors within the communities we serve.

We are thankful for the man who had the foresight to serve the city he loved. He envisioned enriching lives by funding nonprofits and their worthy causes. With the Philip L. Van Every Learning Resource Center, Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region will honor and further his legacy by also investing resources in our community. We will use this facility to enhance education around end-of-life care and engage the community in the important work we are doing. We know that Mr. Van Every would be proud.


Common values, common mission

June 30, 2015

by Carol Anne Lawler, HPCCR Faith Community Educator

summer campProgressive Baptist Church on West Avenue in Charlotte is a true friend of our organization.  Their pastor, affectionately called Pastor Mack, invited me to speak at their Wednesday night Bible study earlier this year.  I clearly remember the evening, as it had just begun to snow, and they wouldn’t even consider canceling the meeting!  They also hosted a “lunch ‘n’ learn” for us in March, a community-wide seminar entitled “What Hospice Can Do for You”, and one of the seminar’s participants recently became a hospice volunteer.

Just yesterday, I happened to be in the neighborhood, so I thought I’d stop by and say hello.  Precious, Pastor Mack’s daughter, church administrator, and now camp director, invited me next door to the recreation center, and I was most surprised at what I saw.  Progressive Baptist has opened its doors to the community and has organized a camp for 125 children, ages 4 to 17, Monday-Friday from 9am-5 pm for all nine weeks of the summer!  Although the cost to attend the camp is minimal, the skills the children are learning will be with them for a lifetime.

This week’s theme is selfishness.  They are learning what it is, how to minimize it, and how to cultivate generosity.  In addition to instruction, playing games, and participating in classes, they also receive breakfast, lunch, and snacks.  The children of west Charlotte are being well-taken care of by this caring faith community.

Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region is proud to have an association with Progressive Baptist Church.  They remind us of the importance of living out one’s values in thought, word, and deed.  From the beginning of life to life’s end, Progressive Baptist believes in making a difference among the lives around them and also understands the importance of compassionate end-of-life care.

Our mutual relationship reminds me of what drives Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region.  Among our core values: we hold the delivery of quality compassionate patient and client services as our highest calling; we act with integrity and dependability, and follow through in all aspects of our work.  Our relationship with Progressive Baptist Church deepens our own mission and values and continues to highlight the importance of a shared partnership that affects those we are privileged to serve.

Ben Franklin was a wise man

April 16, 2015

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 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.