King, marketing director of Brightmoor Hospice, was this week’s guest speaker.
“We are in desperate need of volunteers,” King said. “It’s emotionally draining for one family member to provide constant care for a patient.”
She said even one hour per week, in which helpers would read to patients or simply provide some companionship, could make an impact.
“This isn’t a pushy type of situation, but you do go through some training,” she said.
Many longtime area residents are familiar with Brightmoor’s nursing home and assisted living facility. The hospice, which was founded about three years ago, has remained an outpatient service, although some of the 30 patients provided hospice care for each year reside in either one of the two facilities on Georgia Highway 16.
While on the subject, King introduced the concept of hospice care to the audience. “Hospice is not a place. It’s an idea,” she said, adding that when someone heard the word hospice many years ago, it was associated with “‘two more weeks.” “That’s not the case any longer.”
It is common for patients to remain in hospice for six months, if not a year. If patients who have been diagnosed with a life-terminating illness -- the prerequisite for hospice care -- improve significantly while under care, they may no longer qualify.
While they do, “we are not there for just the patient, but we are there for the entire family,” King said.
Hospice is not about the end of life, it’s about giving patients the comfort and dignity they need, King said.
After talking about care for the terminally ill for about 30 minutes, there was a bright spot for King at the end of the meeting. She said one Kiwanis member had picked up an informational package on how to become a volunteer.