"This is a letter to thank you for all of your help in my time of need, and to tell you that my life is looking better each and every day.  I am keeping your telephone number handy just in case I might need a kind word, but I think that all of my friends along with my children are there just to get me through most of the relapses. Thank again for being there and may God bless you for what you are doing to help so many."

“Thank you for your excellent help.  I could not have made it without you and your staff.” 

“God puts angels on earth.  Thank you for being beautiful angels.”

“Thank you for all of your help and support with our father.” 

“Thank you so very much for your care. We so appreciated everything you did for our mom.  She is free now…no more suffering.  God bless you and the work of your hands and your heart.  Please pass on our appreciation to those who contributed to her care.” 

“Thank you to each and every person that touched our lives this past year.  I find myself thinking of you often.  I am sure that I will be in touch for some help.  It just isn’t time yet.  Thank you again.” 

“The hospice social worker was wonderful in working with our family and explaining our options.  The nurse’s aide was excellent, very caring and compassionate.”

“The peace of mind that Mom had because she could come home has been shared with us, as we were able to do what she wanted.  Words cannot express the gratitude we have for our hospice team.  Thank you.  Your nurse was an intelligent, compassionate person that helped us all so much.” 

“I would like to thank the minister who came to be with my family after my father died.  Keep up the good work.  I would tell anyone not to be afraid about hospice and it is a good idea to talk to them.”

“Wonderful caring people, if my mom could have, she would have thanked you.”

“The team could not have been more helpful at a greatly emotional time.  I want to thank them very much.”

“I am very thankful for the care provided, it made his last days more comfortable.  I really admire those who work in the hospice program.”

“You have a wonderful staff of people working for you.  Our family was very fortunate to have such a knowledgeable and caring group of people handling so many things for us….our sincerest thanks.” 

“The hospice team gave me membership and full partner status in the care of the patient.  All of my concerns were immediately addressed, all questions answered and the nurses were always available.  This was a very rewarding experience for me, especially in view of the outcome.  Thank you.”

“Our family felt very fortunate to have the hospice care that we did for my mother.  Thank you very much for a job well done.  They went above and beyond our expectations.”

“The team who interacted with my dad were exceptional in providing personal, social and spiritual needs.  Their individualized, personalized care and support was genuine and consistent.  On behalf of my family, I thank the caring staff at Seasons Hospice for the services rendered during my dad’s life and for the spiritual support and guidance following his transition.”

“My son and I appreciate very much that Seasons Hospice accepted my husband under their care, and that the flexibility with their policies helped us deal with what was to come.  My husband went home with the pain pump and IV.  Though I knew what to expect, the thought of disconnecting everything made me want to faint.  Thank you for thinking of our needs.  I would like to thank the whole team for their caring attitude and professionalism.  The social worker helped me a lot with the decision making and the nurses were wonderful.  Thank you so very much for the bereavement counselors also.  They are perfectly suited for the work that they do.  They were non-judgmental and always showed interest even with all of my rantings, cries and talks.  They spent as much time as I needed and I am so grateful for that.  The bereavement staff helped me to see things in a different spectrum.  Seasons Hospice is lucky to have those special people on their team.”

About Seasons

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Taking Special Care of Alzheimers & Dementia Patients

Namaste Care is a program I developed for residents in nursing facilities who have advanced dementia and are unable to participate in traditional activity programs.  Without this program, these residents are fed, changed, groomed and then often placed in front of a television set where they sleep.  Sometimes they can be seen sound asleep on the fringe of an activity program they can no longer participate in; occasionally they are left in their rooms, isolated from others.  This is not quality of life and I truly believe that people with advanced dementia can have a quality of life, with activities that are meaningful for them until they take their last breath and so does Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care. 

Namaste Care is based on the power of a “loving touch”; this approach offers activities of daily living (ADLs) in a way that decreases agitation and brings smiles to the faces of residents with advanced dementia.  Very quickly the program became successful, I wrote a book, “The End-of-Life Namaste Care Program for People with Dementia” and was asked to speak at many conferences.  It was at a conference in 2007 that I met Dr. Russell Hilliard who was at that time the Executive Director of the Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care office in Chicago and now serves as the National Director of Supportive Care.  Dr. Hilliard attended my presentation and shortly after the conference, contacted me and asked if I could adapt Namaste Care for a hospice setting.  He realized that the population of patients with advanced dementia was growing and knew that unlike cancer patients they could not communicate their needs easily and some became agitated when hospice staff tried to provide ADLs, especially bathing.  He felt that the Namaste Care approach to care was a perfect fit for hospice staff, and it is!   

Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care staff was quick to adapt the Namaste Care program for hospice patients.  Dr. Hilliard and his team decided they wanted their own name for the program; they held a contest and it became “A Touch for All Seasons” commonly referred to as “Touch”.  Supplies needed for the program were gathered and a Touch bag was given to all staff so they had everything they needed when visiting patients.  In-services were held for all staff and volunteers so that everyone had an idea of how this gentle approach could be a part of their services to patients with dementia. 

Staff was shown how to offer Touch in nursing homes where most often the room was shared with another person.  A soothing environment was created by pulling the privacy curtain around the bed and spraying it with lavender linen spray.  A small CD player was placed in each bag with some appropriate CDs often selected by their board-certified music therapists.  All the aides now have cell phone apps with a selection of music for their patients and the CD players are mainly used for home care patients.  The education programs offered to all staff stressed an unhurried approach to care and conversation. 

Hospice aides learned that a bed bath decreases the apprehension expressed by patients with dementia who are frightened by the institutional looking bathing areas found in most nursing facilities.  The social worker may have pictures of where the person grew up and their family, clergy will have religious items such as a rosary for Catholics to hold, and a rabbi might offer a yarmulke for the men.  Volunteers bring natural sensory objects to remind patients of the four seasons: lilacs in the spring, and fresh flowers in the summer and colorful and interesting looking gourds in the fall.  One creative person even brought a tub of snow in the winter! 

A Touch for all Seasons is now offered in all Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care sites across the country and provided in nursing facilities, assisted living communities and home care settings.  Many of the inpatient units have a Touch cart filled with CDs, lavender hand lotion and linen spray, religious symbols, music and readings.  The cart is used by staff and when a patient is actively dying, the cart might be used by families. 

The Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care staff decides which patient would benefit from the Touch program and so it has grown to include patients with cancer and other terminal illnesses.  One hospice aide decided that the family caregiver who looked worn out from caring for her husband needed Touch more than he did.  She got the woman to sit in a lounge chair, tucked a quilt around her, sprayed the room with lavender, played soft music and gave the woman a hand massage.  She fell into a much needed sleep while the hospice aide cared for her husband. 

Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care is the only major hospice offering this unique program to their patients with advanced dementia.  I continue to work with them because of their commitment to patients that have very special needs and their promise to have a program that has integrity.  They are a joy to work for and work with. 

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