Archive for the ‘Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region’ 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.

Happy birthday to us!

March 8, 2016

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

38th birthdayIt’s March 8th, a very important day for HPCCR. It’s our birthday (yay!) And, contrary to the way many of us feel about getting older, we absolutely love it.

As of today, we’ve been incorporated for 38 years. That’s a long time! To date we’ve cared for well over 40,000 hospice patients and even more family members. We’ve also offered palliative care to individuals facing life-threatening illness, grief support to countless community members, and educational presentations in venues across our service area. We’ve grown so much — from serving just Mecklenburg County when we first started in 1978 to now serving 11 counties in both North and South Carolina.

And we love getting older because, like fine wine and your favorite pair of jeans, HPCCR just get better with age. Each additional year means more experience. More unique patients to learn from. More outstanding care. It’s confirmation that we are doing our job and supporting our community in the best possible way.

Each person in this organization makes it possible to celebrate March 8 again and again with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Because ultimately, we are all in it for the same reason — to support our patients and the people who love them. To make end of life honorable, peaceful, and beautiful for all of them.

So today we light candles and make a wish. We close our eyes tight and imagine a community where people think about end of life before they have to. We wish for broad acceptance of (and appreciation for) the many benefits of hospice care.

Needless to say, HPCCR will continue to enjoy our March 8ths, getting older and better each year. That may seem like an impossible task, but hey, if George Clooney can do it, so can we.


The perfect act

February 17, 2016

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

Random Acts of Kindness DaySo how are you celebrating today? I know, there are just so many things you could choose to do, it’s hard to pick the perfect act. Wait, you don’t know what day it is, do you?

Well, Happy National Random Acts of Kindness Day!

What a great concept, huh?

Today is the day to do something special for another person. Just a small act; it doesn’t need to be a grand gesture. Pay for someone’s coffee behind you in line. Send a card to someone who has been going through a rough patch. Bake cookies. There are a million things you could do.

Hospice care is all about random acts of kindness. Our staff does them every day. It’s a nurse carefully trimming the fingernails of a patient, a social worker finding a recording of the song that a couple first danced to at their wedding.  It’s a nursing assistant gently bathing a patient, and a chaplain honoring the end-of-life religious traditions of a Buddhist family.  It’s these random acts of kindness that the families remember when reflecting on a good death; they are what prompt families to say that their experience with hospice was peaceful and beautiful.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been grand gestures too. Our patient getting to see Star Wars before she died, for example. Finding a golf cart for a patient who needed to get around his property but didn’t have the means to do so. Procuring a blimp ride for a patient who had always had it on her bucket list.

But today is about the small things. And maybe today you don’t try to think of the perfect act. Maybe today you just do a bunch of small things to bring a smile to the faces of people you care about. Or a smile to the faces of people you don’t even know. That seems pretty perfect to me.


Drop off food and help us win

February 2, 2016

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

Broncos vs Panthers Hospice spiritHere in the Carolinas, we are bona fide Panthers fanatics! We are so excited that our team is in the Super Bowl that we practically can’t stand it. After all, this game represents competition at its finest. And who doesn’t love a little competition??

Well, turns out HPCCR does. Because the gauntlet has been thrown all the way from Denver and we are up to the challenge. Raring to go. Oh, we are ALL IN!

Here’s the deal: The Denver Hospice and HPCCR will each collect as much food (and non-food items like dish detergent and shampoo) that they can until this Friday, February 5. The hospice that amasses the most items (measured by weight) per full time employee will win.

This is where you come in. YOU can help us win this friendly wager! Not to mention, you can also help us make a difference in our community. We will be taking donations of canned food or household items (list is below) at ANY of our locations between now and this Friday. The heavier the better (remember that weight measurement??) but we’ll take all your offerings! The Second Harvest Food Bank has been apprised of this competition and has kindly offered to come pick up our massive collection of goods at our locations.

Second Harvest is helping out another way too. If you prefer to make a cash/check/credit card donation instead of bringing in items, Second Harvest will give us ‘credit’ for seven pounds of food for every dollar donated.  If this option sounds like the way you want to go, please click here and select SUPER BOWL HOSPICE CHALLENGE where you are asked, “What brought you to the site today?”

It’s as simple as that. Now it’s time to rummage through your cabinets or go to the store and find the heaviest supplies you can (or pull out your credit card to donate).

Because you’ve heard the term “bury the competition”, right? Well, we are going to bury Denver Hospice. In a mountain of food. But, you know, we’ll do it friendly-like. With southern charm. We’ll take that gauntlet and mail it back to Denver with an RC Cola and a Moon Pie. Maybe a bag of grits.

And, oh yeah, GO PANTHERS!


Here’s the list of suggested items. Keep in mind, you can donate items that are not on this list as well:

Canned Meats
Chicken, turkey, ham, beef stew

Canned Fish
Tuna, mackerel, salmon

Canned Vegetables
Beans, corn, potatoes

Canned Fruits
Pears, apples, peaches

Other Items
Peanut butter, pasta, rice, deluxe macaroni & cheese, soup

Non-Food Items
Laundry and dish detergent, shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper, diapers



Fight Panthers withdrawal with soup

January 25, 2016

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

Soup on Sunday logo_50Holy cow, it’s a HUGE day here in North Carolina! Our beloved Carolina Panthers clinched the NFC championship last night (in an amazing game) and we’re going to the Super Bowl in Santa Clara in just a few short weeks. We are beside ourselves with excitement!

This whole season has been so much fun. Who knew that when we started winning way back in September, we just weren’t going to stop? (I know, I know, we lost to Atlanta, but who’s counting?) Every Sunday has been riveting (and sometimes downright exhausting) but it led us to that shining moment last night and the potential to be the NFL champions this season. Wow. Just . . .  wow.

But all that’s on February 7th. Now what?

If you’re anything like me, on those Sundays the Panthers don’t play, everything feels weird. Discombobulated.  There are three extra hours to fill and you kind of wander around aimlessly wondering what it is you’re supposed to be doing.

We know what you’re supposed to do this Sunday, with no Panthers to watch. You’re coming to see us. At Soup on Sunday.

That’s right — it’s that time again! We’re hosting our 16th year of the most delicious fundraiser in town. And it won’t conflict at all with your football-viewing schedule.

Soup on Sunday features amazing soups from some of Charlotte’s best restaurants. We’ll have vegetarian soups, soups with chicken and sausage, various chilis and bisques, as well as gumbos and chowders. We have the current list on our website so you can go ahead and start drooling now. And there are usually some last minute delectable additions for those of you who like to be surprised.

But there’s more than just soup. There will be gorgeous, hand-made pottery to choose from, breads from Great Harvest Bread Company, Coca Cola products, and Bojangles sweet tea. And there will be desserts. You can sample different flavors of Nothing Bundt Cakes (or “dangerous circles of heaven” as I call them) and then there’ll also be some serious chocolate temptations; the chefs from the participating culinary schools always come up with some breathtakingly beautiful, sweet creations to rival their scrumptious soups.

panthers superbowlSo instead of wandering around your house, suffering from Panthers withdrawal, come out to Soup on Sunday. But if it makes you feel better (and because old habits die hard), Cam Newton jerseys will be welcomed.


Soup on Sunday takes place THIS SUNDAY, January 31, from 11 am until 2pm at the Phillip L. Van Every Culinary Arts Center on the CPCC campus. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door. $30 will gain you general admission and the $40 Soup Lovers’ Special allows you to pick your very own handmade pottery bowl. Call Nancy Cole at 704.335.4312 for more information. All proceeds support the programs and services of Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region.


Soupuary (and pottery making)

January 14, 2016

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve decided to rename January. From now on, it shall be called Soupuary. Because now that Mother Nature has remembered that we apparently don’t live in South America (where, you know, it’s actually supposed to be summer) and has brought back cold temperatures to the Carolinas, a hot bowl of soup is one of best things to look forward to.

January is host to our annual Soup on Sunday. This year, it falls on the last day of Soupuary, the 31st. More details to come about this mind-blowing event in another post, but suffice it to say that many things must get done behind the scenes to be ready that day.

Like the pottery. We’ve already told you about the awesome staff, parents, and kids at Charlotte Country Day School who help us out every year by making creative, fun bowls. Yes, they contribute a huge chunk of what we need, but we still need more of them to fill up those tables in the pottery room.

This is where you come in. Do you harbor a secret artist inside your soul? Can you look at a lump of clay and see a gorgeous bowl that’s yearning to be free? Then we need you!

Come to Carolina Clay Connection (2132 Hawkins Street) this Sunday, Soupuary 17th from 2pm until 4pm for a pottery “play day”. You don’t have to have a lick of experience. Jinny Hargrave, owner, will be there and she’ll help you make an absolute masterpiece for Soup on Sunday. Space is limited, however, so make sure to call (704.376.7221) or email Jinny to reserve your spot.

January (the boring month after the super-exciting holidays) conjures up words like “cold”, “gray”, and “blah”. Soupuary sounds fun. And warm. And delicious. I’m telling ya, I’m on to something here . . .


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!