Heartfelt Newsroom

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Filling a "large gap"

Hospice of Humboldt expands services to include home-based palliative care

By THE TIMES-STANDARD |    April 13, 2022

Hospice of Humboldt has been caring for the seriously ill in the community for over 43 years. Now, the nonprofit is taking the next step in expanding its compassionate services to include home-based palliative care. “Hospice of Humboldt is uniquely positioned to fill the large gap in care that currently exists for those in our community suffering from late-stage cancer, pulmonary disease, heart failure and other life-limiting illnesses,” said Karen Ayers, clinical director, palliative care, Hospice of Humboldt. Ayers said, “Currently, these individuals often need to go to the emergency room and endure hospital stays in order to obtain the support they need. Once their symptoms are controlled, they are discharged home, and sadly, this cycle recurs, causing much suffering and stress for the ill individual and their family. Palliative care breaks this cycle of suffering,” Many people with life-threatening illness are coping with complex medical conditions and see a variety of specialists. Palliative care doesn’t replace a patient’s other doctors, or require them to give up curative treatment. The palliative care team provides an extra layer of support to a patient and works collaboratively with their other doctors. “When a seriously ill individual leaves the hospital and moves under the care of a home-based palliative care team, this team, comprised of a medical provider, nurse, social worker and community health worker, is able to meet the needs of the patient and family at home, and support them in defining the goals they have for their care and their life,” said Dr. John Nelson, medical director, Hospice of Humboldt. He added: “The focus on someone as a whole person, rather than a disease to be cured, is what sets palliative care providers apart. This distinct focus and skill set makes hospice providers uniquely situated to provide excellent palliative care.” For more information about palliative care services call 707-267-9880 or for Hospice services, call 707-445-8443. “We want to extend our profound gratitude to Providence St. Joseph’s local Community Health Investment Fund, the Rose Perenin Foundation, and the McLean Foundation for their support to help offset some of the start-up costs of our new home-based palliative care program,” said Dianne Keating, interim CEO for Hospice of Humboldt. To make a donation to Hospice of Humboldt, visit www.hospiceofhumboldt.org, call 707-445-8443, or mail donations to 3327 Timber Fall Court, Eureka, CA, 95503. Hospice of Humboldt has been serving families locally since 1979, has a staff of over 100 employees and works with nearly 100 volunteers. The person-centered care Hospice of Humboldt provides allows patients comfort and dignity and gives families support at a time when they need it most.

Sharing People's Lives - My Best Job Ever

By Malcolm Campbell,  Hospice of Humboldt volunteer since 2008

Senior News - September 2021

“Best job I ever had!” That’s a recurring line spoken by Brad Pitt’s character and his tank crew in the 2014 World War II movie, “Fury.” Thankfully, I’ve never had the “best job” of being inside an Army tank during combat, but I have had two other “best jobs” — is that even possible? I began my best paying job in 1977 when I was hired as a UPS driver here in Eureka. That career lasted 30+ years, and although it was a lot of hard work (think Christmas), it was also fulfilling. A UPS driver on any given day can fill any number of roles, including healthcare provider, Santa elf, a first responder, or the last link in a chain conveying a precious family heirloom. It was easy to find excitement out on the road each day. I once came upon a motorcycle accident and (much to my boss’s dismay) transported the very bloody rider a mile to his friend’s house where he could get help and medical attention. I witnessed a woman being assaulted and pushed from her abuser’s pickup truck before he sped away, leaving her slumped in tears. Despite being previously admonished to not transport anyone, I scooped her up and delivered her minutes later to the Fortuna Police Department, where she could receive the help she needed. I’ve been met at the front door by a handgun-wielding woman saying: “I don’t answer the door after dark without THIS.” Another knock was answered with the door being flung wide open by a very naked man, who immediately exclaimed: “OH! I was expecting my brother!” Now figure that out! Every UPS driver has no shortage of funny, outrageous, heart-warming or heroic stories. My other “best job” is the one I currently hold, which is as a volunteer with Hospice of Humboldt for the past 13 years. I called my UPS job my actual paying job, but that certainly doesn’t mean this volunteer role is any less rewarding. As a patient care volunteer, I get the opportunity and the honor of being a companion to a patient near the end of life, and often not so near the end. I’ve been matched with three different patients who lived 1.5, 2, and 2.5 years on Hospice service. Hospice is much more about living than it is about dying, and as a patient care volunteer, I get to be present and learn about a precious life of some wonderful people. I’ve been able to sit with one patient for a few hours on her 107th birthday, enjoyed coffee and pie and vintage TV Westerns with another, recorded wonderful audio stories told by a delightful patient/storyteller, and photographed patients surrounded by family members so the family could have a lasting visual record of their loved one. On four or five occasions, I’ve had the rare privilege of holding a patient’s hand as they took their final breath and left this Earth.

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A love story...

July 2021

Hospice is not always just about compassionate care. Sometimes we help make dying wishes come true. One story we’d like to share from 2021 in memory of a patient who touched all of our hearts and in honor of our staff who go above and beyond the call of duty. Lisa Campbell’s dying wish was to marry her longtime partner Eric Lee and have his last name on her death certificate. Recognizing the limited amount of time Lisa had to live, Hospice Social Worker, Debbie Patton and Chaplain, Pat Basham quickly put into action a plan to make Lisa’s wish come true. Pat and Debbie traveled around Humboldt County securing a marriage certificate, a wedding dress from The Hospice Shop thrift store, and helped her friends and family make the day complete with flowers and decorations. On July 25, 2021 Lisa and Eric were married in an outdoor ceremony at their home in Redcrest surrounded by loved ones. Lisa said she was incredibly grateful that we helped make her last wish come true. Just six days later Lisa passed away far too soon at the age of 57, but she did so with the knowledge that her death certificate would read, Lisa Campbell Lee.