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Big Bend Hospice: Neighbors taking care of neighbors

Big Bend Hospice is the area’s hometown hospice because it truly is “neighbors taking care of neighbors.”  This has never been more apparent than the accomplishment of the volunteers who serve on the BBH East team.  In 2015, these volunteers provided nearly 300 hours of compassionate care to patients and their caregivers in Jefferson, Madison, and Taylor counties.

Hospice volunteers are utilized to provide companionship to patients suffering from a terminal illness.  Driving over 2,700 miles and making 200 visits in 2015, volunteers also provided a break for those caregivers taking care of these loved ones.  “Sometimes this may mean just sitting and watching television together for a few hours while the wife or husband run errands,” says Katie Mandell, Big Bend Hospice Volunteer Coordinator for the BBH East team.

There are also groups of volunteers who work together to provide more than respite and companionship.  Last year, Valor Volunteers performed 11 valor ceremonies to recognize those patients identified as veterans.  This 30 minute special ceremony provides a unique way to say “thank you” to heroes sometimes forgotten.   Handcrafters, another special volunteer group, provide red, white, and blue afghans for these ceremonies.  They dedicated 2,700 hours of work in 2015 to create beautiful pieces of art to help keep patients warm and comfortable.

Last year also saw the revival of birthday celebrations for patients.  “We celebrated 11 milestones last year, creating special moments for patients and families to cherish,” explains Mandell.  Another way to preserve a visual memory of love and connection was with the help of a local photographer who volunteered their time to provide family portraits for two patients.

“I am truly honored and feel blessed to have such a great team of volunteers on the east side of our service area,” says Mandell.  “These volunteers truly help to provide compassionate care to individuals with life-limiting illness, comfort to their families and emotional support to anyone who has lost a loved one.”

If you would like to learn more about helping your neighbors and volunteering with Big Bend Hospice, please contact Katie Mandel at Katie@bigbendhospice.org or (850) 933-1878.

Big Bend Hospice has been serving this community since 1983 with compassionate end of life care along with grief and loss counselors available to provide information and support to anyone in Leon, Jefferson, Taylor, Madison, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin or Wakulla County.  If you would like additional information about services visit www.bigbendhospice.org.

Photo Submitted With dedicated volunteers that give their time and effort to provide companionship to patients suffering from terminal illnesses, Big Bend Hospice is able to fulfill its motto of "neighbors taking care of neighbors." In the front row, pictured from left to right, are: Katie Mandell, Polly (Diddy) Brown, Sally Jordan and Sally Beshears. In the second row, pictured from left to right, are: Katie Marshall, Milly-Jo Clark, James Clark, Earlene Knight, Helen Braswell, Tim Braswell, Archie Austin, Gail Mosely, Nancy Whitty and Sherwin Odum. Not pictured are: Linda Washburn,  Janet Conner, Cherryl Register, Rip and Ramona Prine, Debra Howell, Cathy Johnson and Barbara Bonner.
Photo Submitted
With dedicated volunteers that give their time and effort to provide companionship to patients suffering from terminal illnesses, Big Bend Hospice is able to fulfill its motto of "neighbors taking care of neighbors." In the front row, pictured from left to right, are: Katie Mandell, Polly (Diddy) Brown, Sally Jordan and Sally Beshears. In the second row, pictured from left to right, are: Katie Marshall, Milly-Jo Clark, James Clark, Earlene Knight, Helen Braswell, Tim Braswell, Archie Austin, Gail Mosely, Nancy Whitty and Sherwin Odum. Not pictured are: Linda Washburn, Janet Conner, Cherryl Register, Rip and Ramona Prine, Debra Howell, Cathy Johnson and Barbara Bonner.
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