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Help for the Holidays

The holidays can be extremely painful for people who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Hospice Austin has developed many offerings to help loved ones get through the holidays this season. They are all free and open to anyone in our community.

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Hospice Austin Chaplains – Holding a Sacred Space

The end of a person’s life can so easily be consumed by chaos – pain, fear, grief, denial. Hospice Austin chaplains meet patients where they are, and, in the process of listening, bring comfort, peace, and invite patients to reflect on and define the meaning of their lives.

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Pet Therapy

Several years ago, a patient was readmitted to Hospice Austin’s Christopher House late on a Friday afternoon. When he had been there before, he’d met Hospice Austin volunteer Rusty and her therapy dog, Faraday, a loving one-eyed white lab. As soon as this patient was wheeled into Christopher House on a gurney – before he even got to his room – he was asking for Faraday: “Where’s the dog? I need to see the dog.” Hospice Austin’s volunteer coordinator ran to call Rusty who immediately said, “I’m on my way.” She and Faraday drove across town and the patient was able to spend time with Faraday. He died two hours later.

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Camp Erin Central Texas

Rachel* lost her brother in an accident. Sandra lost her stepfather to suicide. Marty’s mom died of cancer and a few weeks later, his father died from complications of a heart attack. These are just some of the stories of the kids who attended Camp Erin Central Texas.

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Honoring Madelyn’s Wish

In February 2017, 16-year-old Madelyn Shoales was diagnosed with a rare type of brain cancer. She underwent surgery to remove the tumor, followed by six weeks of radiation. One year later, when it became apparent that Madelyn would not survive her courageous battle, her last wish was to die at home. Her parents, Suzannah and Jason Shoales, and her Hospice Austin pediatric care team were determined to do everything they could to honor her wish. Bethany Miller was Madelyn’s RN case manager.

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Loving Spirits

Stacy Pruitt became a certified nurse aide after witnessing the subpar care her grandmother received from a nursing home in her small town. Suzanne Armistead became a CNA after seeing the excellent care her brother received. Andrew Stratman became a CNA after visiting his grandmother in a nursing home several times a day for about a year. “It was never a chore for me to help her,” he said. “I felt privileged to do it. It made me realize I have an aptitude.”

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The Beauty and the Mystery

Hospice Austin social workers are on the emotional front lines for patients and families coming to the end of life’s journey. They help families heal fractured relationships, plan funerals, access social support services, normalize symptoms, and give voice to their sadness and fear. They provide a calming presence by holding space and offering support for the social and emotional issues that arise during this agonizing time. They help patients and families build on their own emotional strength.

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Patients who need all the help they can get.

Every month or so, I am able to tell someone who is sick, dying, can’t work, and has no insurance that they now have comprehensive care completely free to them through Hospice Austin.

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Why I volunteer at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House

I volunteer at Hospice Austin's Christopher House because of the generosity and compassion that transcends throughout the building with patient care, professional friendly staff and the great family feeling of love to all that enters the building (young or old). I have seen babies in cribs there. My most memorable story was the first year I volunteered on Thanksgiving Day at Christopher House and witnessed for myself the love and joy that was given through food and fellowship to the patients and their families.

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Celebrating 20 Years of In-patient Care

When Hospice Austin Executive Director Marjorie Mulanax toured Christopher House in 1993 after it opened as a small AIDS hospital, she was dazzled. “Oh my gosh,” she remembers thinking, “They’ve done what we need to do!” Hospice Austin needed an in-patient facility, but Marjorie didn’t see how it would be financially possible.

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