Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
The annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner will be held on Sun., June 2nd at St. Peter’s Parish Center. Dinner will be provided, and a guest speaker will be present. Mark your calendars and plan to join your fellow volunteers for this inspiring event! (Please note the change in date. The original date was May 19th.) RSVP by Mon., May 20, via email, or text or call Linda at 570-404-2180. All are welcome to bring a guest!
It seems like we haven’t had a guest for a while, but this is not for lack of inquiries. We strive to accept guests that will be a good fit for Samaritan House. As a result, not all inquiries turn into admissions. Initial contact is made to the Administrative Medical Facilitator by almost anyone, including, (but not limited to,) a family member, a friend, a social worker, or a Hospice program. The potential guest and family are then interviewed by the Medical Facilitator. A questionnaire is completed by the Medical Facilitator and the guest or family. Questions are in regard to the diagnosis, a guest’s weight, and mental status, and whether or not they are in a Hospice program. The Medical Facilitator consults with the Medical Director, Dr. Guelig, and UPMC Susquehanna Hospice, to determine eligibility.
Many of our recent inquiries were not eligible for Samaritan House for various reasons. These include the fact that the referrals were not currently enrolled in Hospice, their mental status was not appropriate, their weight was over our weight limit (200 pounds), or they were deemed too fragile to move. If a referral is deemed appropriate for Samaritan House, we proceed to determine a date for admission and notify the volunteers to start a schedule. We do not accept a guest until the first four days of the schedule are filled. Once the initial days are full, we work with Hospice to arrange a transfer, acquire any medical equipment necessary, and prepare the house. Samaritan House volunteers and Hospice staff are present to welcome the guest to Samaritan House.
Thanks to generous donations to Samaritan House, we have been able to undertake a light renovation of the downstairs bedroom. New ceiling tiles were installed five inches higher, diminishing the basement feel of the room, while new pot lights brightened the space. A fresh coat of paint has cleaned up the walls and moldings to make the room seem cozy and clean. In addition, new doors have been installed. They are similar to the upstairs doors to tie the spaces together. New carpeting completes the transformation. The home-made curtains and new furniture will make this room a restful and reflection enabling getaway for family and volunteers as needed.
All volunteers are invited to attend the next Book Group Meeting on Wed., May 15th at 6:30pm at the Samaritan House. Participants will discuss “Proof of Heaven” by Eben Alexander, M.D. Bring a light snack or beverage to share. For more information, contact Laurie Coffee (570) 549-2210.
Notes on "Preparing for a Good End of Life" by Katy Butler
The following notes are from an article published in the Wall Street Journal on February 8,
2109, “Preparing for a Good End of Life” by Katy Butler.
According to a recent study (2017), 7 in 10 Americans hope to die at home. Half die in nursing homes and hospitals and more than a tenth moved from one to the other in their last three days. Nearly half of dying Americans suffer from uncontrolled pain. More than a quarter of Medicare members are in an Intensive Care Unit during their last month and a fifth of Americans die in an ICU.
Through interviews with top experts in end of life medicine and with people who have witnessed good…and hard deaths, the author has some suggestions for preparing for a good end of life.
1. “Have a Vision.” Who do you need to thank or forgive? Do you want your favorite music playing? Talk to those you love about what “quality of life” means to you. Make sure that you have someone as your “health care agent” who will honor your wishes. This may not always be a family member who may not want to “let you go”.
2. Stay in charge. If your doctor isn’t asking about what is important to you, find another who will listen!
3. “Know the trajectory of your disease.” Ask for a visual of how you might feel during treatments with your disease. While this is not totally reliable it can help you recognize when it is time to get more help and to consider going from an emphasis on a cure to an emphasis on comfort.
4. “Find your tribe and arrange caregivers.” You need one totally committed person to be the linchpin and as many volunteers as possible.
5. “Take command of the space.” Rearrange the physical environment, wherever you are, to bring calm and meaning to the room Favorite flowers, music. Family photos, religious icons can all help to create a “sacred feeling”.
6. “Think of death as a rite of passage.” “Don’t reduce the end of your life to a medical procedure or strip it of ceremony and humanity. Make sure you live and die as a full human being”.
The dying process may not be easy, but if you imagine what you want it to be, arrange support, and plan you can keep some control of your life all the way to the end.
This article is from Katy Butler’ new book, “The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life” which was published this February. https://www.wsj.com/articles/preparing-for-a-good-end-of-life-11549643346
Samaritan House has the ability to help our guest realize a good end of life. We do this in several ways. We allow our guests to stay in charge. We become part of their tribe. We allow our guests to take charge of their space by encouraging each guest to bring whatever is needed to bring calm and meaning to their room. When we know the trajectory of the disease, we are able to make sure that no one dies alone. Every one of us that death is a part of our life’s journey to be validated as a rite of passage. This was an article that truly validates what we do at Samaritan House!