Editorial: Hospice care gift of love

The Uvalde Memorial Hospital hospice department will host a celebration of life today at 6 p.m. in the downtown plaza. The event will honor loved ones who have died throughout the years. The service is free and open to the public. Luminaries will be provided.

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Awareness Month and a fitting time for us to be reminded of the amazing services rendered by the Uvalde Hospice organization.

Founded more than 20 years ago as an outreach program operated by Uvalde Memorial Hospital, Hospice has become an indispensable service to patients who are approaching the end of their lives. Hospice brings care to between 175 and 200 people a year, a number that grows exponentially when the families of those patients are included.

In addition to Uvalde, the Hospice service area includes Barksdale, Batesville, Big Wells, Brackettville, Camp Wood, Carrizo Springs, Concan, Crystal City, D’Hanis, Hondo, Knippa, La Pryor, Leakey, Montell, Rio Frio, Sabinal and Utopia. In other words, a wide swath of Southwest Texas is tended to by only a dozen employees.

It is the Hospice employees who deliver care with a focus on two main goals: relieving pain and symptoms associated with an advanced illness and providing support and care to the patient and family. According to the organization’s literature, “Uvalde Hospice strives to encourage the patient to live comfortably and as fully as possible until God sees fit to call them home.”

If the employees, under Hospice director Heidi Mathewson and medical director Dr. Sameta Sosa, are the front line in enhancing patients’ end of life experience, it is the handful of volunteers who help ensure that the little things continue to matter.

Volunteers create flower arrangements every Monday morning (flowers are donated by H-E-B and the Flower Patch) for delivery to patients, perform clerical work in the office and are the driving force behind community events like today’s celebration of life luminaria service, the delivery of Thanksgiving meals to Hospice patients and their families on Nov. 18 and an open house scheduled for Nov. 22 at the Uvalde Hospice office located at 100 Royal Lane.

While Hospice is routinely funded by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance, the Uvalde Hospice Foundation heads up fundraising efforts that – along with money generated by Friends of Hospice Thrift store – help ensure that no one in need is turned away.

As part of Hospice Awareness Month, the foundation is currently selling tickets for prizes that will be given away on Dec. 1. Proceeds will help purchase medicine, pay utility bills and other things patients may not be able to afford.

We encourage the community to purchase the prize drawing tickets and to continue to stand behind this indispensable organization that alleviates patient suffering and brings hope to our families at one of the most difficult times in our lives.

 



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