A referral to Hospice of Crawford County, Inc. is appropriate when:
- Cure of disease is no longer possible
- Patient and family seek palliative care when the focus shifts from cure to comfort
- Patient no longer wishes to go to the hospital
- Patient and family desire living out life comfortably at home and dying comfortably at home when it is their time.
The patient is considered terminally ill—your medical opinion is that given the normal course of the patient disease that the patient is likely live 6 months or less—for the following diseases:
- End stage heart disease
- End stage lung disease
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- General end stage disease (example: failure to thrive, debility)
- Neurological conditions (example: multiple sclerosis, ALS, etc.)
- HIV and AIDS
“When your heart is broken, nothing else works.”
While caring for a dying loved one can be a stressful time, the actual loss of the loved one is often devastating. Grief can have many effects on those left behind, including overwhelming sadness, a sense of isolation, inability to function normally, guilt, disrupted sleep and eating patterns, anger and a general sense that life will never be right again. Our society tends to believe that grieving people should have closure and move on as if nothing happened. The truth is the grieving person’s life has changed forever and it will take time to find a way into a new life. To this end, Hospice of Crawford County, Inc. is committed to assisting those who grieve with a variety of programs.
Our services include:
- Monthly support groups in both service areas are open to anyone who is grieving
- Biannual grief support / education: 6-week sessions in each service area, including coping with holidays
- Individual support sessions in each office with a social worker
- Grief intervention and support as needed in the area school districts
- Annual Memorial Service
Support Groups and Task Force
Meadville Area Monthly Support Group:For information, please call 814-333-5403 Second Tuesday of the month 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm First Presbyterian Church 890 Liberty Street Meadville, PA 16335
Titusville Area Monthly Support Group:For information, please call 814-827-0330 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm Hospice of Crawford County, Inc. Titusville Office 406 West Oak Street Titusville, PA 16354
Crawford County Suicide Task ForceThe Crawford County Suicide Task Force helps at-risk children and adults and provides support to families and communities affected by suicide. For emergencies, please call 9-1-1 or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK (8255).
Palliative Care Services
Palliative care is a form of care for those diagnosed with serious, long-lasting, or life-threatening illnesses. It is most effective when started early and in conjunction with other therapies intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and when multiple hospitalizations or emergency room visits occur. During these therapies, Palliative care enhances the quality of life by reducing symptoms and side effects, such as pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and insomnia. It can also reduce the need for emergency room visits and hospital stays. Palliative care also addresses psychological and spiritual issues that arise with a serious illness. Palliative care improves the quality of life of patients and their families who are facing life-threatening illnesses.
Hospice of Crawford County, Inc. and the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) Alliance offer a cooperative Palliative Care program. VNA Alliance patients who have end of life care concerns are eligible for this program. Through the Palliative Care Program, registered nurses from Hospice of Crawford County make supplemental visits to VNA Alliance patients to assist with managing such symptoms as pain and shortness of breath, and provide education and support around end of life concerns.
Volunteers in hospice find it personally gratifying, intellectually stimulating, and emotionally meaningful to assist those in need at a critical point in their lives. Many of these volunteers were introduced to hospice through the death of a family member and understand firsthand the value of hospice care, but nearly 20% of volunteers are new to hospice. Volunteers consistently report that helping the terminally ill through hospice is not about dying but about living.
Participants may range in age from teens to senior citizens. While volunteer opportunities can vary greatly from one hospice to another, all hospices strive to constructively utilize the time and talents of those who answer the call to serve. Some volunteers may have professional skills or specialized expertise, but most are just people who want to help their friends and neighbors and serve the community.
To ensure that all volunteers are equipped for the challenge of working with end-of-life patients, hospices require that volunteers complete extensive orientation and training sessions, as well as submit to a routine background check. It’s important that volunteers understand the history of hospice and are aware of the specific ways hospice works to serve the community. Depending on the area of service, additional training may be available or necessary.
How Do I Volunteer?
One of our most valuable resources is our volunteer program. Our volunteers unselfishly share their time and talents giving priceless gifts to our patients and their families. Our volunteers are carefully screened, enrolled in a comprehensive training program and given ongoing education and support. Volunteers choose their assignments and their hours—giving as much as they are able. With help from our staff and volunteers, patients can be comfortable and relaxed and families can be free to have the precious gift of time with their loved one. We are always looking for candidates for our Volunteer Program. We welcome those who wish to join our hospice team.
Our volunteer training program consists of 4 sessions, 2 hours each covering the following topics:
- Hospice Philosophy, Mission, and Scope of Services
- Hospice team and focus of each discipline
- Care of the hospice patient (physical, emotional, spiritual)
- What to expect as the patient’s journey progresses.
- Therapeutic communication
- How to cope with grief
Some types of volunteer opportunities include:
- Support for patients – This can include visiting, reading, taking walks, writing letters, bringing in music, and supervising visits with pets.
- Respite and support for family members – Volunteers can assist with shopping or household maintenance, or allow family caregivers the opportunity to take care of necessary errands and get some time away from the house. Family members also appreciate a visit from a compassionate friend who understands what they are going through.
- Childcare assistance – This can include help with babysitting, picking up children from school, or providing necessary transportation to club meetings or sporting events and practices. Volunteers have also made invaluable contributions to family pet care.
- Bereavement support programs – Hospice volunteers can work closely with the hospice’s professional bereavement staff in duties that range from assisting as a support group facilitator to serving refreshments and helping with mailings to clients and families.
- Fundraising and administrative work – A volunteer with clerical skills can serve a hospice by helping in the office with simple administrative duties. Fundraising responsibilities can range from preparing mailings or thank you letters to organizing fundraising events.
Contact the Volunteer Coordinator
Our volunteer coordinator teaches volunteer classes with input from our director, nurses, hospice aides, and chaplain. For more information, please call 814-333-5403.