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As a hospice nurse, Sally Aldrich has seen people young and old face the end of their lives alone, afraid. “At Methodist Hospice, dying with dignity and compassion is a guiding principle for our patients when a cure is not possible. Patients with few or no resources come to us for the basic of life’s essentials—yet one of the most important things our caring team offers is a loving touch and spiritual guidance as death is nearing” says Aldrich.
The brutal economic realities many are facing combined with decreased health insurance coverage and decreased TennCare enrollment, has increased our hospice charity care from a previous 75- 100 days each month to over 300 each month in 2010. The cost of caring for a Hospice patient is, on average, $150/day – this includes our staff time, medicines, supplies, equipment, and bereavement services. It’s easy to see how financial costs add up – charity care now accounts for over $45,000 of our costs each month.
“I remember a patient named Jesse, one of the many patients who received quality care from the professionals at Methodist Hospice—free of charge. Since Jesse had no family to care for him, our staff took over to meet his physical and spiritual needs,” recalls Aldrich.
She goes on to say that the hospice nurses carefully tended to his physical symptoms and eased his pain. The home health aides lovingly bathed him and brought him clean sheets. The social workers ensured he would have food and electricity. The chaplains prayed with Jesse and brought him strength through God’s love. Several months after he died, a hospice aide placed an ornament on the Christmas Memory Tree. Written on the ornament in gold glitter was his name. “I just want someone to remember him,” the aide said.
This holiday season you can make your gift to help others like Jessie die with the grace and dignity we all deserve. Just $12.50 covers two hours of Hospice care and $150 will cover an entire day. When you give by December 15th, your name or the name of someone you would like to recognize, will be written in gold glitter and displayed on the Hospice Memory Tree.