Megan D'Angelo, director of community relations for Hospice Chautauqua County, spoke recently to the members of the Rotary Club of Jamestown regarding the services that Hospice provides.
The club members have been hearing programs during the month of November to enable them to be knowledgeable regarding debilitating illness and death.
Ms. D'Angelo began by informing the group that the best time to call for Hospice services is the moment one asks themselves that question - when someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness - when life expectancy is in months rather than years.
Pictured are Megan D’Angelo, director of community relations for Hospice Chautauqua County and Bill Tucker, president of the Rotary Club of Jamestown, who thanked D’Angelo for her presentation regarding the services of Hospice.
Among the illnesses Hospice patients have had are: cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiac disease, renal disease, neurological illnesses, Lou Gehrig's disease, AIDS, cirrhosis of the liver, leukemia, etc.
The process begins with a Hospice social worker completing an intake questionnaire with the family members. Once Hospice understands the patient and their illness, plans for a visit are made with the patient to evaluate their needs and see what services best serve them and the family.
Hospice provides a Palliative Care Program for those with a life-limiting illness who need help with pain relief, fatigue, anxiety, help setting goals for care, guidance in making complex treatment choices, and need attention for the emotional and spiritual needs that death often brings. Hospice Chaplains can help families work through these feelings and connect with their existing faith to help develop a spiritual growth at the end of life.
Hospice services include: a consultant physician, registered nurses, home health aides, pastoral caregivers, social work services, therapies (physical, occupational, speech), dietary counseling, drugs and medical supplies/equipment related to the life-limiting illness, back-up hospital care, respite care, trained volunteers, and bereavement counseling. Additional services provided include: physical /health support; occupational therapy; art therapy; music therapy; Reiki and massage therapy.
Hospice cares for more than 600 patients per year, receiving more than 51 percent referrals in Chautauqua County; however, Hospice cares for only 37 percent of those referrals because most people call too late in the progress of their illness or they remain unsure they need the services.
The financial burden on patients at the end of life impacts their pets too and so Hospice has developed the Pet Peace of Mind Program which allows people to have the relief in knowing their pets will be taken care of and provided for with vaccinations, food and medications.
The Hospice "We Honor Veterans Program" assures that all veterans are receiving the benefits they are entitled to? This program addresses the special needs of veterans at end of life, while encouraging a better understanding and stronger partnership between hospices and VA Facilities.
Hospice strives for a calmness and strength for their patients to understand when the moment of relief has arrived and the time has come to continue in spirit.
Megan Wilberg D'Angelo graduated from Jamestown Community College and earned her degree in Art - Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is also a licensed Optician and worked at Spectrum Eyecare and in several optical firms in North Carolina before returning to Jamestown with her family. She is a member of Zonta and Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce.