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Hospice of Douglas County celebrates 30 years

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Hospice of Douglas County has been providing compassionate care for terminally ill patients and support for their family members since 1983.

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Hospice involves a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain and symptom management and emotional and spiritual support tailored to each patient's needs and wishes.

The focus of hospice relies on the belief that each person has the right to die pain-free and with dignity.

Hospice of Douglas County's staff includes a medical director, patient's physician, certified hospice and palliative nurses, registered nurses, social worker, chaplain, hospice aides, counselor and physical, occupational and speech therapists.

Hospice also currently has 33 active volunteers and 10 therapy dogs. All volunteers undergo extensive training.

Hospice of Douglas County also offers music therapy, massage therapy, registered therapy dogs and veteran recognition. Its most recently-added service, Legacy navigator, involves trained staff helping patients frame their thoughts and ideas for writing and sharing their values, faith, life lessons, hopes, love and forgiveness.

The local hospice program currently has 32 patients.

For more information, call (320) 763-6018 or visit the website www.hospicedouglascounty.org.

LOCAL HOSPICE HISTORY

1983: Douglas County Public Health Hospice was established; the first patient was cared for in August.

1995: In February, received Medicare certification, allowing hospice to expand the care provided to patients at the end of life.

In September, contracted to provide hospice care at three local nursing homes.

Hospice care was also being provided in assisted living facilities, dementia facilities, adult foster homes, group homes and patients' homes.

2005: Strategic plan completed, determining that based on demographic information, the program needed to prepare for substantial growth and development.

2007: Received a grant from The Longfellow Foundation to begin offering music and massage therapies.

2009: Name was changed to Hospice of Douglas County.

2010: Received a grant from the Norma Roman Longfellow Fund, allowing the addition of registered therapy dog services.

2011: Achieved Level One status in the We Honor Veterans campaign, in order to improve end-of-life care for veterans.

2012: Served more than 210 patients.

2013: Seven volunteers and staff members were trained as Legacy Navigators, to assist patients in creating legacy letters to loved ones, the newest service offered by Hospice of Douglas County.

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