During the holidays, we feel gratitude for family and friends who are here to celebrate with us, but we also send our thoughts and prayers to those loved ones who have passed. We’ve just begun our annual “Light Up A Life” campaign to benefit a Juneau-based branch of Catholic Community Service, Hospice and Home Care of Juneau (HHCJ). I want to take a moment to talk about this important program and the profound impact it has had on the individuals and families served.
The decision to apply for hospice care is not an easy one. A patient is generally referred by a physician, which means that the provider must first determine that no further course of medical action will be effective. Then patients must find it within themselves to relinquish the fight and accept their mortality. Rather than pass in a hospital bed, they might prefer to live out the remainder of their life in the comfort of their own home. For this, HHCJ is available –regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.
HHCJ, working with local doctors, provides services to all those who are in need and qualify. The services are individually tailored and include nursing care, physical, occupational, and speech therapy; spiritual and bereavement support; social services; and volunteer services. In addition, the program supports the community by offering community grief, loss and healing workshops, and hospice volunteer training and education. We do not bill patients or families for any costs not covered by insurance, not even our bereavement services, which are always offered to families and community members free of charge.
The Light Up A Life fundraiser will run through November and December. Each donation may be made in honor of a loved one who has passed away. The names of those honored will be memorialized on our Light Up A Life Christmas tree hosted at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center.
Thank you to those who have already donated, and to all who will participate throughout the campaign. This is our biggest annual fundraiser for Hospice and Home Care of Juneau. It is the only hospice provider in town, and a program for which fundraising is vital as, again, these integral services are offered without charge to end-of-life patients and their families.
With gratitude and warm regards,
Executive Director, Catholic Community Service