Gifford Health Care’s COVID Candle Lighting Ritual.
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness. It is not based on age or prognosis, but focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness. The goal is to improve the quality of mind, body and spirit for both the patient and the family since today’s health care system isn’t designed for the needs of the seriously ill patient.
Gifford’s palliative care providers will work with your primary care provider to get to know you and develop a customized plan that supports your treatment goals, personal wishes and values. Services typically include:
- Pain relief (physical, mental and emotional)
- Continuation of appropriate treatment and therapy services for your illness
- Advanced symptom management
- Support and counseling for the patient and their family
- Assistance with advance care planning is available to aid you in understanding your illness and treatment.
- Support for end-of-life care
Gifford provides special care in two special garden-side suites, for patients at the end of life and support their grieving families. The ride was created by Gifford motorcycle rider and nurse Lynda McDermott to support the Garden Room and special services for patients in advanced illness and at the end of life. Some of these services occur in the Garden Room and some are for those coping with advanced illness at home or choosing to die at home.
These special services include comfort measures, such as massage, acupuncture, Reiki and music therapy. Family services, such as meals for those staying with their loved one in the Garden Room, bereavement help, and professional photos of your loved one, are often provided and medicines if necessary. And one-time gifts support a huge variety of individual wishes. Past wishes have included everything from a trip to a Red Sox game to a handicap ramp, a life celebration to an ambulance ride home at the end, gas cards for travel to doctors’ visits to a lift chair.
All free services provided through Gifford’s palliative and end-of-life care program are a direct result of the Last Mile Ride. To request assistance through the Last Mile Ride, talk to your or your loved one’s Gifford health care provider. He or she can work with the program to access funds.
Call us at (802) 728-2380 for further details.
Some of the services the Last Mile Ride has supported:
- Massages, Acupuncture & Reiki for pain management
- Legacy Projects professional photos of patients and families.
- Special wishes for one-time family grants are available, as appropriate and depending on funding. Past grants have provided estate planning, family travel expenses and more.
- Riverbend hospice singing group (available to sing at the patients’ bedsides)
- Comfort Cart food carts for patients’ families while in the hospital.
- Comfort Kits for end-of-life patients, which include a beautiful prayer shawl, reading materials, and more.
Starting in 2006, The Last Mile has raised more than a million dollars for Gifford’s end-of-life care. The money helps lift the burden off of families who have become the caregivers, allowing them to can go back to their primary role of being a wife, husband, child, or grandchild.
Linda McDermott tells the story of how the Last Mile fundraiser started.
Some of the services made possible by The Last Mile include:
- Travel expenses for incoming family members
- Treatment for physical/mental pain (massages)
- Estate planning
- Special ceremonies (birthdays, weddings)
- A Gifford provider can refer a patient for a palliative/end-of-life consult and can request assistance through the Last Mile fund.
Gifford’s chapel is located on the first floor of the hospital next to the hallway that takes you to Howell Pavilion. It is a quiet sanctuary for reflection, meditation and prayer.