Memorial Hospice: Caring for our veterans

Currently, Memorial Hospice cares for fifteen veterans. Staff delivered special service pins and “Welcome Home Vietnam”  pins yesterday to all of our veterans. Cali Hunn, a social worker, said her veteran was overwhelmed and thrilled. He pinned it on his pajamas and said “I’ve never seen anything like this – thank you so much – it means so much to me – I won’t ever take it off.”

What is Hospice?  Part 2

A hospice challenge is getting patients onto a hospice service soon enough to be fully beneficial for both the patient and the family. Hospice is available to patients that have been diagnosed with a terminal illness with a prognosis of 6 months or less and we work to get our patients onto service as soon as possible. We want to help our patients and families live their best lives and help them prepare for the future—physically, emotionally and spiritually. When we get a patient on hospice with just a few hours or days before death, we find that the patient doesn’t get the opportunity to benefit from all we might offer—and they may find themselves less prepared than they would like to be.


This entry is the second part of a three-part series on some of the basics of hospice.

What is hospice?

Hospice is a program of care and support for patients and families who are faced with a terminal illness. Hospice helps terminally ill people live their best lives, as comfortably as possible. The focus is on comfort, not on curing an illness.


How do I know when hospice is an appropriate choice?

Patients are eligible for hospice care when they have been diagnosed with a terminal illness with a typical prognosis of 6 months or less. That is a time for patients and family members to consider transitioning the primary focus from curative measures to comfort care and symptom management.

When should hospice be called?

Hospice should be called any time the patient has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. It is appropriate to discuss all of the patient’s current and future care options, including hospice.

Are all hospices the same?No. “Hospice” is a medical specialty like pediatrics, geriatrics and oncology. Each hospice is a different organization. All hospices have the same general philosophy but their services may differ. Some hospices are for-profit corporations, while others (like Memorial Hospice) are not-for-profit organizations. Yakima County is home to three hospices: Memorial Hospice, Yakima Regional Hospice and Lower Valley Hospice. It is your right to request the hospice of your choice.



What Is Hospice? Part 1

Time and time again, as I work with family members of patients, I hear a similar sentiment: “I wish I would have known that hospice offered this or that benefit . . . we would have signed on sooner!”
It’s a statement that reminds me that not everyone knows about the many things hospice offers . . . or what we actually do.
In an effort to provide a better picture of what hospice is all about, the next few blogs will cover basic hospice information that you may find helpful—and hopeful.
What is Hospice?
Hospice is a program of care and support for patients and families who are faced with a terminal illness. Hospice helps terminally ill people live their best lives, as comfortably as possible. The focus is on comfort, not on curing an illness.
Who provides care?
A multi-disciplinary team of physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, home health aides, bereavement specialists, and volunteers work together to address the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of each patient and family.
Where is Hospice?
Hospice is not a place or a location; it’s a healthcare option. The best “place” for hospice is the place that the patient calls “home.” Care can be delivered in private residences, nursing homes, assisted living and retirement communities and in hospitals.
What’s the Cottage in the Meadow?
Cottage in the Meadow is a wonderful, Medicare-approved hospice-care facility that addresses particular needs for the hospice patient.  It is not where a hospice patient typically moves to once admitted to hospice (because the best place for hospice is the place the patient calls “home”).
Hospice patients are usually admitted to the Cottage for one of these reasons:
a)      Symptom Management
The patient’s symptoms can’t be managed well at home and the patient needs to be admitted to this hospice-care facility until symptoms are managed.
b)      Respite
You can receive respite care if your usual caregiver (such as a family member) needs a rest. You can stay up to 5 days each time you receive respite care.

Grassroots Support Builds Cottage in the Meadow Hospice in Yakima

In this era of politics and elections, we’ll hear lots about “grassroots” support. But, let me share a little known fact with you about how Yakima and the Central Washington region came together to build the new Cottage in the Meadow, due to have its community open house on Saturday, July 14.

With 30 years of fundraising experience I have never seen a community come together as it has rallied around the cause of building a hospice home to care for terminally ill patients at the end of life. With few other options in the state, and none in the Central Washington region, nearly 5 years ago a group of community-minded citizens partnered with leaders of The Memorial Foundation and Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital to build Cottage in the Meadow.

While we are appreciative of the several large gifts to the Cottage campaign, we have thousands of smaller donations made by people, businesses, churches, clubs, and organizations. What do Tony and Joyce Sagare, John Heily, Moss Adams accountants, Wray Plumbing, Yakima Safeway store employees, St. Paul Cathedral, Englewood Christian Church, Apple Valley Kiwanis, Newcomers and Friends Club, and Ladies Division of Suntides Golf all have in common? They are just a few of the nearly 6,500 individuals, companies and groups that have made donations totaling $5 million. This definitely represents “grassroots” support. These people and organizations gave because Yakima needs a better place for hospice patients and their families to gather at the end of life. Yakima needs a place where the holistic approach to life is practiced. We thank these thousands who have rallied to the cause and answered the plea. We thank the community for recognizing the need for a place like Cottage in the Meadow where comfort care can be provided in a home-like setting and were respite care can be offered to weary caregivers who need a break.

As final touches are made in preparation for the Cottage Open House on July 14, we ask our community and our readers to help us with the final $300,000 to reach the goal of $5.3 million. I believe that there are other people who want to be partners in this project – be it with a $25, $250, $2,500, or even $25,000 gift to The Memorial Foundation. Let me hear from you!