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Journey Hospice Begins Christmas Tree Project

By Staff | Nov 17, 2010

This beautiful ornament was chosen as the 2010 Keepsake Ornament offered by Journey Hospice for their annual fund raiser. The cost is $10 each.

Originally a place where weary and sick travelers could find shelter, Hospice is now a concept of care which provides medical care for the terminally ill patient and psychosocial and spiritual care for both the patient and their family.

Nearing their 20th year of operation, Journey Hospice employs a dedicated staff who collectively serve the needs of the terminally ill in Wetzel, Tyler, and Pleasants counties. Journey Hospice develops a plan of care under the direction of the patients’ attending physician, along with the patient, the caregiver, and Hospice Medical Director Dr. Thomas Gilligan.

The plan is implemented by a team of specially trained hospice professionals and volunteers. Journey Hospice employs five registered nurses: April Judge, Susan Mason, Mary Beth Null, Jackie Heintzman, and Kathy Powell, who also serves as the program director. Rebecca Snider is the hospice’s office coordinator; Bonnie Simpkins is an aide; Bob Carroll handles physical therapy; Patty Wright is the program’s social worker; and Rev. Cathy Harman serves the spiritual aspect of the program as the chaplain.

Journey Hospice currently serves 20 patients. On average, they serve 100 families annually.

Powell says hospice care is ideal for helping families in the last six months of life. Aside from helping the elderly, hospice care is also available for children who are suffering from terminal disease. According to Powell, hospice care and acute care often go hand-in-hand when working with juvenile patients.

Though the job is tough and the hours long, Powell says her job has benefits. “It’s rewarding to make a difference.”

In honor of “National Hospice Month,” Journey Hospice recently held a re-gifting sale to raise funds for the local program. According to Powell, more than $800 was raised to benefit the hospice.

Powell said, “We are very blessed. The sale will boost our funds.”

Unlike other hospice organizations, all of the members of the Journey Hospice staff live locally. This ensures that the patient doesn’t endure a long wait for an urgently needed visit from an on-call nurse. Because Journey Hospice is a single office hospice, the care offered to patients is personable. The level of care is also more personal. Powell remarked, “People who know you, will help take care of you at the end of your life.”

Funds are also garnered through memorial contributions of patients who have passed on. These funds are used for specific needs such as family education, transportation needs prescription assistance, and funeral assistance.

Earlier this week, the staff of Journey Hospice honored their patients who have served in wartime. “About one-fifth of our patients are Veterans,” Powell said. These patients were given a special gift and a boutonniere for their service to the country.

Another fund raiser sponsored by Journey Hospice is the annual Christmas Tree Campaign. Every year, the staff sells angel ornaments which are placed on one of four trees throughout the area. Many families purchase the ornaments in memory of a loved one or a current hospice patient.

The trees will be located in the lobby of Sistersville General Hospital, Quinet’s Court Restaurant in New Martinsville, the lobby of Wetzel County Hospital, and the Middlebourne branch of Union Bank.

Volunteers will man the trees from the week of Thanksgiving until the end of the year, when ornaments will be sent back to the purchasers.

The ornaments will be $10 each.

“People really look forward to this fund raiser every year,” Powell commented.

Journey Hospice is a division of Sistersville General Hospital, located at 314 S. Wells Street. For more information, or to make a referral, call 304-447-2464 or 800-303-2611.