Steering Committee volunteers visit Cottage

I was glad to have the opportunity to show several of the Hospice Steering Committee members the construction progress on Cottage in the Meadow. They were pleased to see so many workers on-site working to keep the project on schedule.

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With the framing just about done the final roofing over the public portion of the Cottage will proceed in the next week or so. Willette Cheatom, Steering Committee member, remarked upon seeing the patient rooms “they are so spacious and will be so nice for families to gather in around their loved one – they just exude a sense of peace”. With ten of the twelve patients suites facing south one can easily visualize the sun streaming through the windows and how lovely the meadow will be to look out upon. Dr. Tim Melhorn, Steering Committee chair said, “I was so impressed with the ingenuity of the layout design of the Cottage allowing a variety of different settings in which families can gather.”

An Outstanding Hospice Volunteer – Denise Campbell

Denise Campbell is a caring and compassionate hospice volunteer, often going above and beyond to ensure her patients are comfortable and able to enjoy whatever time they have left.

Denise grew up in the Lower Valley as a ‘farmer’s daughter.’ She worked in the hop industry for more than 15 years in a number of capacities, raised two sons and now has the blessing of eight grandchildren.

“After my parents died, I wanted to help other families who were struggling with end of life issues, so becoming a hospice volunteer was how I chose to help,” said Denise. “As a volunteer, I have helped many patients in different ways but one in particular stands out. This patient wanted to get out of the house so I took her on a tour of the murals in Toppenish and stopped off at a fruit stand. On the way back she stated an interest in visiting a casino. Within a couple weeks we went on another outing to Legends Casino and she won some money. On the way back home she commented that she wanted to spend her winnings so we stopped at the mall and she bought a heated blanket.”

The beauty of Hospice is that real friendships are forged between volunteers and patients with lasting memories made.

“I miss my friend, who has now passed away, but I feel good about helping those who can’t help themselves.”

Denise is just one of dozens of hospice volunteers who daily work with patients and their families. In addition to her role as a hospice volunteer she serves as president of the Leslie Loudon Guild at Memorial. This Guild has now successfully raised $35,000 to underwrite the Children Play Room in the new Cottage in the Meadow.

“We are blessed to have Denise give of her time and talents” said Mark Young, Development Director for Memorial Hospice.

How to Help the Kids Cope with Loss—Part I

How to Help the Kids Cope with Loss—Part I

“I’m okay, but I can’t seem to get my 10-year-old son to open up about the prospect of his father dying.”

This concerned mom just wanted the best for her son. She didn’t know how to help her son grieve.

“Whenever I ask, he just answers, ‘I’m fine, Mom,’ and then he changes the subject. What can I do?”

When we’re trying to talk with kids about death, we often shuck and jive around the issue. We make it more complicated than it needs to be.

That’s because, if we might step back in our own lives and look at how we respond to loss—both positively and negatively—we will probably be able to help our own kids better.

When the mom was asked how she’s been acting in front of Little Johnny, she replied, “Oh, I need to be strong for him. I try not to let him see me cry. After all, I’m the adult.”

This one seems obvious, doesn’t it? Little Johnny is acting exactly the way he’s seeing his mother act—and “act” is a most appropriate word. So, instead of working so hard to be strong (and who is the person that decided that this is the time when we have to prove how strong we are??), the mom needs permission to be honest with her son, and let him know that she’s sad, and share how she’s actually feeling. This will go a long way to help comfort Johnny even more than trying to put on a happy face will.

Holiday Sadness

The smell of warm food.
A crackling fire.
The anticipation of opening presents.
Family and friends traveling over snow-covered roads to spend time and tell stories, to laugh and create new memories.
And now the holiday season begins, and you wonder why you’re dreading the days and weeks ahead.

It’s the most wonderful time…of the year…
…unless, of course, you’re grieving.

That’s because we spend our holidays making memories. But the person you’ve made many of those memories with is now a memory.

Maybe this is your first holiday season without your loved one. Maybe it’s your fifteenth and you’re surprised how sad you still are.

You may feel like you’re on a roller-coaster ride this season, feeling both happy and heartbroken in quick succession.

You are NOT losing your mind. In fact, you are quite normal. Accepting rather than fighting your feelings will lessen your stress, so try to set yourself up for success by recognizing that certain holiday traditions may, at times, cause sadness rather than joy. You may feel isolated in a crowded room. Try to surround yourself with others that you feel okay laughing—and crying—with. Then, whatever happens will be okay.

Hospice Leader , Carol Loudon, Tours Cottage in the Meadow

I had the pleasure of taking Carol Loudon, Hospital Steering Committee Member and Chair of our Special Events Committee, on a tour of the Cottage construction. Carol has worked tirelessly on the hospice home project since 2007. She has given hundreds of volunteer hours each year speaking to community groups about the virtues of our hospice home, attending planning meetings, and encouraging people to donate. She has worked diligently with the Leslie Loudon Hospital Guild to help raise $35,000 to underwrite the Children’s Playroom at the Cottage. In addition, she has gathered her family around the Cottage in the Meadow project to make a significant gift in memory of their parents. Having had two distinctly different hospice experiences over the years, she gives wonderful testimony to the tremendous services offered by our hospice staff and clearly advocates the need for a hospice home in the Yakima Valley.

As we toured the construction site, her excitement built and she expressed, “Wow, a dream is becoming a reality. How wonderful for our community to have a beautiful and comforting home where people can spend their last days. I am overwhelmed with thoughtfulness that has gone into making the Cottage a warm and friendly environment where family can gather around a dining table for a meal, cozy up to a warm fireplace, spend time meditating in the beautiful chapel, or sit with their loved one on a patio just outside the room overlooking a serene meadow.”

It has been a pleasure to work closely with Carol and others who serve with her. Their countless hours and strong commitment to the Cottage project is most appreciated.

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Safeway managers check out Cottage in the Meadow

It was exciting to take 14 Safeway managers from the Yakima District on a tour of Cottage in the Meadow. The employees of the four local Yakima Safeway stores have contributed to hospice and Cottage in the Meadow over the past several years. They have selected their support to underwrite the Nurses’ Station at Cottage.
Dave Myllenbeck, district manager, commented that “it was great to see the progress being made and we are so happy that our Safeway employees could have a part in developing this wonderful new hospice home for our community.” Once again, the Safeway stores in this district have chosen to support hospice in 2012 through their employee giving campaign.

Critical Thinking In A Didactic World

By Teresa Pritchard,Vice President, Employee Services, Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital

Wouldn’t it be great if all we needed  to do in healthcare was follow pro-tocol, process, and procedures?  I’d love a world that was only black and  white—in the form of checklists and  algorithms.  But that certainly isn’t the reality–particularly in an indus-try where changes are happening at an increasingly rapid pace.

Read the full article at

From:    Washington Healthcare News.


Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital is a 226 bed acute care facility providing a range of hospital services.