2011 Camp Sunrise Offers a Bit of Magic: by Pat McGuinness

After months of preparation, our 2011 Camp Sunrise is behind us. It was a success as they all seem to be. Caregivers and volunteers returned tired yet jubilant for the successes of the weekend's effort. They have had time to reflect on the experience and as seems to be the case every year, I hear this comment: "This was a really special camp...the best ever in fact." We all laugh because everyone knows that every year feels like the best year ever. Then someone piped in and put it in perspective: "It was almost magical...the way the kids all opened up to each other and worked together on their grief." It was a kind of a no holds barred observation and, as most agreed, it was true.

Perhaps the most recent Camp always feels better than the last because we always seem to learn something new from kids who attend that we can apply to our adult lives. This year brings to mind the Maya Angelou quote "History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again."

This year's kids displayed extraordinary courage in their willingness to be reflective and to share with each other insights about their loss and the associated pain. And in doing so they helped each other over enormous hurdles.

As I listen to the discussions I can't help but think what a wonderful journey Camp Sunrise can be for the kids and for us adults alike. The kids discover--and adults rediscover--the healing that can come through sharing with others. For the children it is sometimes the first bit of awareness of their intrinsic value as courageous, contributing human beings. For the adults...a reminder of the big feelings of joy that come from little acts of care and courage.

Benefits of Early Referrals, by Pat McGuinness

"I wish we had been referred to hospice sooner." It's a sentiment that hospice providers hear often and is indicative of the need for greater understanding of what hospice care offers a patient and their family members. The good news is that more patients and their families are becoming aware of the enormous hospice benefit for end-of-life care. Despite this trend, most are not aware of the numerous benefits of early referral. This reality is born out in a number of valid and reputable studies that report the average length of hospice stays to be declining.

While experts in hospice care agree that patients need to be enrolled for at least 60 days to reap the greatest benefit possible, the nationwide median length of stay for hospice patients is a mere 20.9 days with many of those served staying on service little more than a few days. Yet, by providing the option of hospice care sooner, physicians can continue to make a positive change in the lives of their patients by helping them to maximize their quality of life.

As some of the most ardent supporters know, hospice is a positive option...one that aggressively seeks to provide freedom from pain and comfort care that addresses associated symptoms of a patient's illness. By understanding and accepting that death is part of the life cycle, Redmond-Sisters Hospice is helping patients and their families enjoy a better quality of life until the end of life.