By LAURI GROSS
Compassion and support are important elements of hospice and the best hospice care encompasses a full range of needs, emotions and options. No one knows that better than the team at Hospice of the Western Reserve, which has been serving Northeast Ohio for more than 40 years.
In fact, Hospice of the Western Reserve (HWR) is the leading hospice provider in the Northern Ohio region. The not-for-profit agency serves Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage, Stark and Summit counties.
Lisa Gallagher, Director, Education and Engagement at Hospice of the Western Reserve, says HWR is a full-service provider. “HWR arranges in-home delivery of prescriptions and medical equipment, offers 24/7 phone support, helps educate family caregivers and provides regular visits from a transdisciplinary team of hospice specialists,” she says. “When a loved one is admitted, their family becomes a part of our circle of care at the same time.”
HWR provides care in many settings, including wherever a patient calls home. Lisa explains, “This includes private residences, apartments, senior-living communities, group homes, and assisted-living and skilled-nursing settings.”
HWR also owns and operates three freestanding inpatient hospice units, or what HWR calls hospice houses, for advanced symptom management and respite care. These are the Ames Family Hospice House, in Westlake; the David Simpson Hospice House, in Cleveland; and the Medina Inpatient Hospice Unit.
Lisa says, “These feature gracious, home-like environments and around-the-clock comprehensive support for patients and their families. Frequently, once symptoms are managed, patients are able to return to their own homes following a brief stay.”
HWR also provides specialized hospice programs for veterans and other groups, plus palliative care. In addition, anyone who has experienced a loss due to death can engage the HWR grief services programs, which include children’s bereavement camps, equine camps, family programs, special events, art therapy groups, Healing Arts Workshops, online forums and a wide variety of grief support groups. Crisis response in the community and in-school grief programs are also available. Note that Covid restrictions may necessitate changes to these
Through HWR’s Moments to Remember program, patients can fulfill special wishes like taking one last fishing trip or attending a grandchild’s graduation or wedding.
Lisa explains, “We care for patients from all walks of life. As a mission-driven, not-for-profit agency, we do not turn anyone away. We believe every individual deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”
To support their community-based programs, HWR runs the Life Treasures thrift shop at 317 S. Court Street, in Medina year-round, plus a “store within a store” Christmas version around the holidays. Everything for sale in the store is donated by community members, including furniture, clothing, décor, jewelry, collectibles and more.
In addition, shoppers can check out the quarterly HWR warehouse sales at the HWR headquarters (17876 St. Clair Ave., in Cleveland). The next warehouse sale is February 26, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and February 27, noon to 4 p.m. Covid safety measures are in place including social distancing and a mask requirement. Volunteers will be on-hand to help load items into shoppers’ cars. Cash and credit are accepted. Call 216.255.9090 for more info, including how to donate goods for the sales.
To fulfill their mission, HWR employees and volunteers work hand in hand. “Volunteers make an impact in countless ways,” Lisa says, as she mentions assisting with direct patient care, providing emotional, spiritual and physical support, working as receptionists and working at the warehouse sales and Life’s Treasures thrift shop. “Volunteering with HWR can be a life-changing experience. Opportunities are limited only by a person’s imagination, and volunteers with specific vocational skills are especially needed,” Lisa adds. For instance, HWR welcomes licensed cosmetologists to style and cut patients’ hair, attorneys and notaries to help with advance-care planning documents, and volunteers with therapy pets.
For more info on volunteer opportunities, call 216.255.9090, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit hospicewr.org/volunteer. For other ways to help, visit hospicewr.org/Ways-to-Give. Or, call the Development Office at 216.298.0245. To make a gift online, visit hospicewr.org/Tribute.
Hospice of the Western Reserve offers hope to Northeast Ohioans
By LAURI GROSS