By Kristen Gloss
“A lot of people don’t know what a hospice is,” said Amy Tucci, a fourth year participant of the Delaware Hospice’s 5k Run and Family Walk. When she told one of her friends that her mom was at the Delaware hospice last year, the friend had continued talking, unaware. Tucci said, “[Learning what hospice is] helps them understand and be able to react in an appropriate way when they hear about someone in hospice again.”
On Wednesday July 11, the only non-profit hospice in Delaware hosted the 5k Run, which approximately 250 people attended, in order to promote community awareness of what the hospice does. The Run helps to raise the funds needed for all of the unique programs that the hospice offers regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.
The hospice center provides end-of-life care and support for the patient and their family. According to the Delaware Hospice website, “[Their] goal is to provide a holistic approach that considers the combined medical, personal, emotional and spiritual needs of the individual, who, along with loved ones, are living with a life-limiting illness.”
The programs beyond patient care include family counseling, the Transitions program (which connects people not in the hospice, but needing connections with resources), and the New Hope Program (a camp to support children and teenagers who lost loved ones.)
The family members of patients are taught how to deal with grief while the patients who stay at the hospice center are kept comfortable from pains and the nurses make sure all of their needs are met.
“They helped my mom die with dignity and the support she needed. They helped me deal with my initial loss. You don’t realize what you need in terms of support until you get there,” said Tucci.
The hospice has offered support to families such as the members of Team Ruth, which brought 14 family members to the 5k Run’s to commemorate Ruth.
“A lot of people have a connection or a loved one that was here,” said Team Ruth member and marathon runner Doug While. “When you’re young, it’s the last thing you think about, but this hospice is all set up to do everything anyone needs, even for the whole family.”
For Tucci the hospice center home run team, which helps patients who are still at home, taught her father how to care for her mother when she returned from the hospice center. Her mother had stayed at the hospice center for five days before stabilizing and returning home.
“What I admired about the folks at home and at the center that cared for my mom is that they are so patient and understanding. You’re not at your best dealing with people in this situation. I never got an unkind word. I was frazzled and they helped me work through it. Those nurses have angel wings tucked inside their lab coats,” said Tucci.
“The staff really care about the work they do. They go the extra mile,” said Public Relations Specialist Beverly Crowl. “There’s a misconception: that hospice is about dying; It’s about living the best quality of life right now.”