Posted tagged ‘social media’

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!

Party time!

March 10, 2015

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

?????????????????????????????????????????It’s time to pull out the paper party hats, turn off all the lights, and fire up some candles!  We’ve got a lot to celebrate this week at HPCCR!  If it were up to me, I would have baked a cake (it’s kind of my thing), but the people in my office would have (lovingly) kicked me out the door and locked it firmly behind them.  (Summer is right around the corner, after all!)

Anyway, on to our celebrations.  On Sunday, Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region turned 37 years old.  That might not be old for us humans, but trust me, for a hospice organization, 37 years puts you in the class of “seasoned”, to say the least.

Also, on this very day five years ago (my, how time has flown!) I published the very first post on our blog, Hospice Matters.  Five years.  I actually can’t believe it.

First let’s talk about HPCCR.  We became an organization on March 8, 1978.  But we didn’t take our first patient until November of 1979.  And then we took eight more that year, bringing our total to a whopping count of nine.  Ok, let’s compare.  In 2014, we admitted over 3,000 hospice patients and somewhere between 1,000 to 2,000 palliative patients.  That’s some serious growth, folks.  In fact, since that first patient was admitted back in 1979, our total hospice admissions to date (through December 2014) is over 40,000 patients.  Not to mention the fact that we have grown from serving just Mecklenburg County in NC to now serving 11 counties in North and South Carolina.   That’s just outstanding.  It means that we have touched the lives of over 40,000 families in our large region, showing compassion and exquisite care to each and every one.  Every person in this organization factors into this equation.  Because, ultimately, we are all in it for the same reason.  To make end of life honorable, peaceful, and beautiful.

On to the blog.  I am very proud to say that during the five years that this blog has been published, not one week has gone without a post.  Not one.  This post, in fact, will be our 356th.  Our readership continues to increase as our social media presence grows and, as this blog habitually goes out on Facebook and Twitter, the reach of our blog is several thousand people each week.  Upshot?  Several thousand people know just a little bit more about end-of-life care than they did the week before.  Hospice Matters is a virtual stage with which we educate our community and where we demonstrate the impact of hospice care on real people who have benefited from our services.  These stories honestly write themselves; they are always emotional, sometimes uplifting, occasionally heartbreaking, but always worth reading.  They reflect the very heart of what we do and I am overwhelmingly honored to (so often) be their conduit to the “outside” world.

So in honor of these important “birthdays”, I am going to close my eyes and make a wish.  A wish that hospice care becomes the preferred choice at life’s end, that the fear surrounding death be relinquished, and that our enthusiasm for life continues until the very last beat of our hearts.

Of course, you can’t make a wish without cake. . . .

Social media moves us along

February 21, 2013

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager

get well soon cardYou know, as a hospice industry, we’ve come farther than we think.  I mean, we’re not at the point where we’re hosting neighborhood “Hey, let’s talk about end-of-life wishes!” parties, but we’ve come a long way since the 1970s.  And I think that a lot of the social acceptance that we have seen as of late can be attributed directly to social media.

Let’s face it.  Social networking has completely changed the way we communicate.  Information is readily available at our fingertips every single second of the day.  You can comment on someone’s Facebook post at 2am and you’re not shocked when 30 minutes later, three other people have commented right behind you.

So it wasn’t surprising when Regina Holliday, frustrated by a year-long lack of response from the greeting card giant Hallmark, finally got the organization’s notice when she took her cause to Twitter.  See, Regina had been the caregiver for her husband who passed away from cancer several years ago.  When he was first diagnosed, her husband received all kinds of “get well soon” cards.  But once he chose comfort-oriented care, the cards stopped coming. 

Regina realized that it was partly due to the level of discomfort that comes along with impending death.  But she also knew that some of the blame could be attributed to the fact that there are no “hospice” greeting cards; no cards that offer a way to express sympathy about end of life.  What if, Regina thought, a greeting card could say what the individual was feeling during this difficult time?  What if that card could verbalize the complex emotions we feel when someone we love is going to die?

Regina started calling Hallmark directly, trying to speak to someone about her idea.  That didn’t work.  She tried using personal connections and contacts.  That didn’t work either.  So she started an online petition and began tweeting about her cause.  And that’s what finally got the attention of Hallmark. 

They haven’t committed to end-of-life cards yet, but they are considering her idea.  Ten years ago?  Regina would have hit a dead-end after an endless round of unproductive phone calls.  But with the power of social media behind her, she got across the table from a multi-billion dollar company.  Crazy, isn’t it?!   

Of course, not everyone is wowed by Regina’s idea — opposers say that sending a hospice-themed card to someone who is dying would be inappropriate.  But Regina’s point is that a card can at least start a conversation, one that perhaps would never happen without this kind of “opening”.  Hospice cards would let a family know that they haven’t been forgotten.  And it would give those of us who have a hard time with face-to-face conversations a way to show support for the people we care about.

Yep, we’ve come a long way.  The fact that Hallmark would even consider a line of hospice-themed cards tells you that quality, end-of-life care has become important to us as a society.  I don’t think, however, that those “Hey, let’s talk about end-of-life wishes!” parties are ever going to take off.  Maybe I’ll tweet about it.

Social media moves us along

February 21, 2013

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager

get well soon cardYou know, as a hospice industry, we’ve come farther than we think.  I mean, we’re not at the point where we’re hosting neighborhood “Hey, let’s talk about end-of-life wishes!” parties, but we’ve come a long way since the 1970s.  And I think that a lot of the social acceptance that we have seen as of late can be attributed directly to social media.

Let’s face it.  Social networking has completely changed the way we communicate.  Information is readily available at our fingertips every single second of the day.  You can comment on someone’s Facebook post at 2am and you’re not shocked when 30 minutes later, three other people have commented right behind you.

So it wasn’t surprising when Regina Holliday, frustrated by a year-long lack of response from the greeting card giant Hallmark, finally got the organization’s notice when she took her cause to Twitter.  See, Regina had been the caregiver for her husband who passed away from cancer several years ago.  When he was first diagnosed, her husband received all kinds of “get well soon” cards.  But once he chose comfort-oriented care, the cards stopped coming. 

Regina realized that it was partly due to the level of discomfort that comes along with impending death.  But she also knew that some of the blame could be attributed to the fact that there are no “hospice” greeting cards; no cards that offer a way to express sympathy about end of life.  What if, Regina thought, a greeting card could say what the individual was feeling during this difficult time?  What if that card could verbalize the complex emotions we feel when someone we love is going to die?

Regina started calling Hallmark directly, trying to speak to someone about her idea.  That didn’t work.  She tried using personal connections and contacts.  That didn’t work either.  So she started an online petition and began tweeting about her cause.  And that’s what finally got the attention of Hallmark. 

They haven’t committed to end-of-life cards yet, but they are considering her idea.  Ten years ago?  Regina would have hit a dead-end after an endless round of unproductive phone calls.  But with the power of social media behind her, she got across the table from a multi-billion dollar company.  Crazy, isn’t it?!   

Of course, not everyone is wowed by Regina’s idea — opposers say that sending a hospice-themed card to someone who is dying would be inappropriate.  But Regina’s point is that a card can at least start a conversation, one that perhaps would never happen without this kind of “opening”.  Hospice cards would let a family know that they haven’t been forgotten.  And it would give those of us who have a hard time with face-to-face conversations a way to show support for the people we care about.

Yep, we’ve come a long way.  The fact that Hallmark would even consider a line of hospice-themed cards tells you that quality, end-of-life care has become important to us as a society.  I don’t think, however, that those “Hey, let’s talk about end-of-life wishes!” parties are ever going to take off.  Maybe I’ll tweet about it.

Exercise your right!

January 4, 2012

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager

As far as I’m concerned, one of the best aspects of social media is that it allows users an easy way to exercise their right to free speech on a very large scale.  It is, however, a double-edged sword.  Because as nice as it is to be “on stage” and shout out your true feelings to the world, there are times when those opinions are not necessarily welcome and might be best kept to themselves. 

But occasionally you get a happy surprise when it comes to social media.  For HPCCR, it appeared over the course of several months last year on Facebook (but I didn’t notice it until one day last fall).  Without being asked, some loyal hospice supporters felt compelled (completely unsolicited!) to fill out the recommendation section that Facebook offers for businesses.  Here are a few excerpts from their comments for your reading pleasure:

Chameleon’s Journey has made a huge difference in our granddaughter’s life and ours too!  We are so thankful for this group and for all those who sponsor Chameleon’s Journey!  They are the BEST!!!  May God bless you all!”

“As a human being, author, and thanatologist, I give 3 cheers to HPCCR!  They do the right thing, for the right reason.  When you are at your worst, they are at their best.  Period.”

“They were amazing and helped us navigate the last months of my father’s life with so much grace and honor!  We would not have made it through if it had not been for the staff and volunteers at HPCCR!”
 
Kids Path and Chameleon’s Journey camp made a HUGE impact on the grieving process for our family.  Two thumbs WAY up!”
 
 See what I mean?  We love to receive compliments, especially when we haven’t asked for them!  And we are so appreciative of the great feedback; it keeps us focused on our mission and spotlights the difference we are making in our community on a daily basis.
 
So if you are a friend of ours on Facebook (and if you’re not, you should be!), you can go out there and read what others are saying about us.  And hey, if you feel like writing a glowing recommendation for us, we surely can’t stop you.  You know. . . . free speech and all that.

An experiment gone right

March 10, 2011

One year ago today, Hospice Matters (which wasn’t the title quite yet, but who’s keeping record?) published its very first post.  Since then, we have published 108 more and we’re really just getting started. 

Social networking began as an experiment for Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region, but has evolved into an important component of our overall marketing strategy.  We truly feel that we are raising awareness about end-of-life care by prompting discussion and fostering education. 

Social media is a give and take.  We give, our supporters take.  And vice versa.  So we would be remiss if we did not thank all of our loyal subscribers, our weekly readers, and our thoughtful posters.  (You know–the people who make comments.  Not the paper you hang on the wall.)  As we see our number of views increase, we are further encouraged that we are doing the right thing–in terms of our mission and our outreach efforts. 

An experiment always has the potential to fail.  You look at the risks, you weigh the consequences, and then you make an educated decision about the outcome.  This time, we were right.  So excuse us while we head out to buy some lottery tickets.  We gotta feeling we’re on a roll here.

7 lessons for dealing with death

February 25, 2011

There are a lot of people out there in the digital world and almost everyone has an opinion.  Social media has promoted freedom of speech in ways that our founding fathers could never have imagined.  But the sheer number of blogs, posts, and comments about every topic under the sun is completely overwhelming.  I mean, who has time to read it all?  And do we even have extra space in our brain to accomodate these new perspectives?

Luckily for all you loyal Hospice Matters readers, we’re doing the prep work for you–just this once.   We’ve already read the blog that we plan to share with you and we think it’s great.  The author, Jason, is clearly a veteran of loss.  But rather than internally combust, he’s channeled his emotions into a blog that is honest, heartfelt, and at times rather raw.  Maybe the founding fathers wouldn’t appreciate it, but we think you will.

7 Lessons For Dealing With Death

P.S. Jason’s website is www.deathisdumb.com.  Just to be clear, we at Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region do NOT think death is dumb.  Quite the contrary, in fact.  But we do like what Jason has learned through his experiences with loss.  Especially his devotion to hospice!