Hospice of the Golden Isles Looking for Volunteers

Hospice of the Golden Isles, the hometown hospice for Glynn, CamdenMcIntoshBrantley, and Charlton counties, is looking for volunteers to help make a difference and improve the quality of life for people in the community.  Volunteers are diverse and special members of the community, offering companionship and a listening ear to patients and family members, assist with administrative work or provide support at fundraising events, there is a volunteer opportunity for everyone.   “From the day that hospice care begins, Hospice of the Golden Isles brings our award winning services to patients and caregivers, “said Susan Conway, Chief Clinical Officer. “Volunteers, who receive ongoing training and support, are valued members of our hospice team. Volunteers share their ideas, passions, hobbies and life experiences while providing companionship to patients, assistance to hospice staff, while representing Hospice of the Golden Isles in our communities or participating in a variety of other activities.”   Volunteer opportunities include bereavement outreach, care calls, internet/computer work, arts and crafts, music activities, meal delivery to homebound patients, patient/family care visits, pet therapy, and special events/fundraising.   If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, visit www.Hospice.me for more information or contact the Volunteer Coordinator at (912) 265-4735, who will schedule an interview, discuss the required training, and take you on a tour of the facilities. Hospice of the Golden Isles is a 501(c) 3 community-based, non-profit organization serving patients in Glynn, Camden, McIntosh, Brantley and Charlton counties. Hospice provides care for the body, mind, and spirit. It focuses on expert pain and symptom management and improving quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses. For more information on Hospice of the Golden Isles, call 912-265-4735 or 866-275-6801, or visit the website at Hospice.me.

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The Mission of Alivia Care, Inc., a 501c3, is to provide leadership to support innovative care solutions through best in class services, collaborative partnerships, and strategic investments. The strategic intent of Alivia Care of Georgia, a 501c3 subsidiary of Alivia Care, Inc., is to partner with community-based hospice providers in Georgia to create and strengthen care solutions through vision, leadership, investment, and advocacy. For more information, contact Michelle Cardinal (michelle.cardinal@aliviacare.com; 904.402.1354)

What Is Hospice Care?

what is hospice care  

The value of hospice care is – quite simply – invaluable to patients and their families. And, because there is such a general misunderstanding of what hospice care is and how it’s structured, patients and families often miss out on months – or even years – of support that they would have had access to otherwise. 

Hospice Care In A Nutshell 

Hospice care was originally started in London back in the 1960s as a way to make the end of life a more sacred and patient-led experience, rather than a medical model of rules and protocols.   Hospice allows people to have more control over their comfort, care, and their environment when living with a terminal illness. It also offers patients and their families a wide support net at a time when it can be physically, emotionally, or mentally impossible to research and get the support you need on their own.  If you are currently considering hospice service, we recommend reading, Tips for Choosing a Hospice Care Provider. 

The three core tenets of hospice care  

Perhaps first and most importantly, hospice care is available to all because it is a Medicare-funded program. Absolutely everyone has the right to hospice care; Medicare-funding and the help of community volunteers have made that possible.  According to the Hospice Foundation of America, there are three core tenets of care. It provides: 
  1. Medical care to help someone with a terminal illness live as well as possible for as long as possible, increasing quality of life. 
  2. An interdisciplinary team of professionals who address physical, psychosocial, and spiritual distress focused on both the dying person and their entire family. 
  3. Care that addresses symptom management, coordination of care, communication and decision making, clarification of goals of care, and quality of life. 
To answer the question, we’ll take a look at each of these tenets. 

High-quality medical and comfort care  

Many people mistakenly believe that signing up for hospice care means surrendering to death. We often hear, “We just aren’t ready for hospice because we believe there is hope.” There is no need to give up hope while on hospice service. In fact, if you are on the fence about continuing with treatment and going on hospice, you can go on hospice and benefit from a hospice care team. If you decide to pursue further treatment, you can go back off service to honor your wishes. Ultimately – it’s all about the patient!  FYI: If you are not sure about hospice or “not yet,” look for hospice services that also offer palliative care, which provides comfort care in combination with treatments. Then you have more flexibility between programs. While palliative care options aren’t fully covered by Medicare, they typically receive some level of coverage from private health insurance carriers.  Yes, it is true that you must have a “six-month prognosis” to qualify for hospice service. However, you don’t have to die in six months to remain on hospice. As long as your hospice physician believes your diagnosis is terminal – meaning your condition has about a six-month prognosis – we can enlist patients for another six months, and another if necessary. This allows you to live as comfortably as possible with your condition or illness while benefiting from the many benefits of a hospice care team.  The reality is that many of our hospice patients improve for a while on hospice because they are so well taken care of and they are removed from the stress of the clinical treatment plan regimen. Plus, the patient has control over where s/he spends the end of his/her life – whether that be at home, in the hospital, or in a hospice house.  Your medical hospice care team consists of: 
  • Your physician. This is a hospice M.D. who will visit you occasionally and who heads up the care team, trusting a team of hospice R.N.s to provide the mainstay of your medical visits. 
  • Hospice nurse(s). Hospice nurses are repeatedly referred to as “angels,” and there is a reason for this. They are the eyes, ears, and medical decision-makers under the guidance of the hospice physician. If there is a situation that warrants further assessment or a change in medications, the nurses will refer to the physician. 
  • CNAs and nursing assistants. The extension of the hospice team of angels is our CNAs and home health aides, who visit homes as scheduled to support linen changes, bathing, oral/dental care, toileting and incontinence care, clothing changes, etc. They also serve as liaisons between the medical staff and the patient/family, educating the family about the current recommendations or helping them to learn how to better care for their loved one. 
  • Durable medical equipment. Hospice service also ensures the free delivery and pick up of any durable medical equipment required to keep patients comfortable, ranging from hospital-style beds and lifts to wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen tanks, bedside commodes, and so on. 

The interdisciplinary team of professionals 

While we are extremely proud of our medical care team, it is perhaps the interdisciplinary team of professionals and volunteers who make hospice service so special. Along with your home or facility visits from dedicated hospice physicians and the nursing team, patients and their immediate families also receive care as desired or requested from: 
  • Social workers. These licensed professionals are the hospice case managers, educating and informing patients about the help available, assessing what might help, and activating the rest of the team. 
  • Chaplains (spiritual care providers). We have chaplains and spiritual care providers from a range of religions, faiths, and cultural backgrounds. They are there to serve the patient in multiple ways, from answering questions to providing spiritual guidance, practices, or honoring sacred rituals and ceremonies. 
  • Grief counseling. Grief counselors are available to tend to the grief that arises or both the patient and the family members. Some hospice agencies also offer free or very low-cost grief support for members of the community. 
  • Diet/nutrition support. We can provide information and training around the diet that best serves the patient’s diagnosis, symptoms, and any concurrent medical conditions. 
  • Volunteers. Hospice relies on the support of big-hearted volunteers who lend their expertise, talents, and time to patients and families. From massages and bedside singing to companionship, respite care for primary caregivers (giving primary caregivers some much-needed time off), light housekeeping, garden help, and more – our volunteers strive to meet the needs of our hospice families. 

Comfort care and quality of life 

Extended hospice care does everything in its power to provide comfort care and a higher quality of life for our patients and their loved ones. We do this in your home, our hospice house, in acute care or nursing home facilities, or wherever you happen to call home.

Call Us With Your Questions

Contact us here at Hospice of the Golden Isles to learn more about, what hospice care is, and to discuss any other questions or concerns you may have. We are here to make life easier, better, and more livable for our patients and their families. 
tips for choosing a hospice care provider

Tips For Choosing A Hospice Care Provider

Hospice is an incredible service provided at any desired, qualified location – hospital, nursing home, assisted living community, the comfort of your own home, a dedicated hospice house, etc. While the medical and comfort services offered by hospice care providers are fairly universal from agency to agency, the accompanying services may vary.   Basic hospice services include: 
  • A case physician who admits the client to hospice and continues checking in and communicating with nurses on a regular basis 
  • Delivery and set-up of durable medical equipment ranging from hospital-style beds and side tables to oxygen, walkers, and bedside commodes 
  • Hospice nurses (R.N.)s are the front line of hospice care, making the majority of the decisions and visiting clients weekly, or multiple times a week, depending on where the client is on their journey and the types of care required 
  • On-call nurse support, 24/7 
  • Prescription drugs and other equipment necessary to facilitate medical care and comfort 
  • Home health aids (often CNAs, but not always) come in regularly to support the client with hygiene care such as bathing, getting into fresh clothes, changing linens. 
  • Respite care of some kind, typically via volunteers, to give primary partner/spouse/family caregivers some time off once a week or so 
  • Some level of grief support (bereavement care) 
  • Spiritual care, support, direction (for the client and family) offered by hospice chaplains 
All of the above services are covered by Medicare as well as most health insurance providers.  Then there are a range of additional services that may or may not be available for both the client and the family, or that may or may not be as readily available from agency to agency.  This is why it’s important to have an in-depth discussion with prospective hospice care providers. In addition to learning what services they offer, and with what frequency or level of staffing, will help you determine which agency is the optimal choice for your family. 

Things To Think About When Choosing A Hospice Care Provider 

Here are some of the things to consider and discuss with your family before choosing a hospice provider. 

Is the client choosing to die at home? 

If you are the primary caregiver and/or the client is choosing to die at home, the adjunct services offered by hospice may be more important to you – especially if your loved one will be on hospice service for a matter of months, rather than days or hours.   Unlike clients who are signed up for hospice in a hospital, assisted living, or designated hospice houses (where care staff, meals, and other services are already a part of the service offerings), families of clients who die at home will want to find an agency who can support the big-picture needs. 

Who is covered by your personal health insurance plan? 

Hospice is typically picked up by Medicare but is also covered by personal healthcare insurance whenever possible. Where you live will certainly determine prospective hospice care providers because most travel within a certain territory.  Your health insurance provider may also have “preferred providers,” with whom they’ve already established “favorable rates.” It is worth checking in with those hospice agencies first and expanding your search from there if you don’t find a good fit. 

Do they have additional accreditation(s)? 

All hospice care agencies are heavily regulated by the federal government because of the associated Medicare/Medicaid. However, many go the extra mile to gain additional accreditations with reputable agencies such as the Joint Commission and the Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP) to further exemplify their excellent quality of service. 

Which extra support services are most needed from your hospice care provider? 

Hospice agencies rely on volunteer support, and the more volunteers there are, the more rich the service offerings can be above and beyond the “basic hospice care” services we listed in the introduction.   The following is a list of services that may or may not be offered by volunteers and hospice staff. Jot down the services your family finds most valuable or needs most, and then look for hospice care agencies that accommodate those: 
  • Bilingual care or care in the client’s native language 
  • Respite care (having someone come sit with the client while the primary caregiver(s) take some time off) is typically available on a weekly basis or bi-monthly basis. 
  • Grocery shopping or general errand running 
  • Companion services (to have someone come to read, play games or cards, listen to/tell stories, conversation, watch TV together, etc. – tailored to the interests of the client 
  • Light housekeeping 
  • Meal preparation 
  • Gardening 
  • Pet walking/care 
  • Singing 
  • Plant watering 
Again, these volunteer services are tailored to the client and family’s needs. If you have a specific request, put it out there and they may or may not have a volunteer who can honor it. 

Conduct Interviews With At Least Three Agencies 

The more agencies you interview, the better feeling you will have for their company culture and service offerings. Even if the services are more or less the same, there is a good chance the client and family will have stronger connections with one over another, and this connection is important when beginning the journey you will all be on together.  

Ask Questions To Help You Learn More About Your Prospective Hospice Care Provider 

This is a challenging time, and it can be hard to think straight and remain in “business mode” with all that you are handling on the emotional and energetic spectrum. These questions can help guide your “interviews” with prospective hospice care providers. Asking the same questions helps you to compare “apples-to-apples” so to speak.  Request permission to use your smartphone to record the interviews, which allows you to play them back and re-listen when you have a moment to be focused or take good notes about the experience to reflect on later when making your final decision. These questions are courtesy of the Hospice Foundation of America 
  • What is the typical response time if we need to reach someone at the hospice after normal business hours, or on weekends and holidays? 
  • How quickly will a plan of care be developed for the individual by the hospice? 
  • How quickly can we expect pain and/or symptoms to be managed? 
  •  How quickly will the hospice respond if medications do not seem to be sufficiently addressing pain or symptoms? 
  •  What does the hospice do when someone’s pain cannot be adequately managed at home? 
  • If there is a need for inpatient care, how will that be addressed by the hospice? 
  •  Are there any services, medications, or equipment that the hospice doesn’t provide? 
  • What kind of out-of-pocket expenses should the family anticipate? 
  •  How often will a hospice team member visit and how long will most visits last? 
  • When the hospice orders medication, where can it be picked up, or is it delivered by the hospice? 
  • Do members of the team providing care have additional training and certifications for their hospice and palliative care skills? 
  • What is expected of the family caregiver? 
  • Will the hospice provide training to family caregivers? 
  •  Can the hospice provide respite care to give family caregivers a break and how does the hospice arrange that? 
  • What help do your hospice volunteers provide and how can we request help from a volunteer? 
  • Does the hospice measure quality of care and does it have any quality data it can share? 
  • What kind of bereavement support is offered by the hospice? 
  • If we are unhappy with some aspect of care the hospice is providing, who can we contact at the hospice? 
  • We recommend printing the questions – and any others the client, primary caregivers, or family members have to direct the interview process. 
Hospice of the Golden Isles has provided heart-centered and hospice care throughout southeast Georgia (Glynn, McIntoshCamdenBrantley, and Charlton counties), for 40 years and counting. Contact us to learn more about our services to determine whether we’re the perfect fit for your family. 
5 signs you may need grief support

5 Signs You May Need Grief Support

“Grief and love are sisters, woven together from the beginning. Their kinship reminds us that there is no love that does not contain loss and no loss that is not a reminder of the love we carry for what we once held close.” – Francis Weller (The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief) The above quote, by Francis Weller, is a beautiful reminder that while grief is born of sorrow, it is also born as the result of deep love, connection, or a desire to heal that which was broken. As a result, there is a wild array of emotions that takes over when we are in the midst of grief.   Those emotions can be so overpowering that if they aren’t allowed to express themselves or find a way to move through and out of the griever, they can become stuck. When that happens, the following 5 signs may begin to reveal themselves. 

5 Signs It’s Time To Seek The Gift Of Grief Support 

Those of us who work in the realm of death, dying, and grief support are very aware that grief is not something that needs to be fixed. Nor is it something that can be shoved away, repressed, or “gotten through” via 21st-century busy-ness.   We understand that grief is a process; it is a journey and while you may always carry grief with you, grief support can 100% allow you to be seen, heard, and witnessed as you transform overpowering or debilitating emotions into healthful expressions “of the love you carry for what you once held close.”  Here are 5 signs that it’s time to seek the gift of grief support for yourself, or to gently suggest/offer grief support resources for someone you know who is grieving. 

You think about grief support, counseling, etc.

If you find yourself in the midst of grief and have thoughts, “maybe I should get some grief counseling or support…,” odds are you are in need. Those are great signs that you are absolutely right!   One thing you’ll learn to trust during your grief support journey is that you are wise. Your body knows exactly what you need and it communicates with you through feelings, emotions, and – yep, you guessed it – thoughts. Trusting these messages is part of your learning, and will help you to get the help and support you need – when you need it. 

You’re not functioning in your daily life

Grief can become all-encompassing without the right support and the passage of time, not necessarily in that order. When that happens, a deep depression settles in. This deep pressing down of emotional weight can impact every aspect of your life.   Signs your grief is more than you can bear on your own include: 
  • Suicidal thoughts 
  • Loss of appetite or comfort eating 
  • Insomnia or sleep disruptions 
  • The inability to get out of bed 
  • Skipping daily hygiene routines 
  • Consistently avoiding social situations, work, friends, etc. 
  • Ceasing to participate in activities and hobbies you love 
  • Unconsolable sadness 
  • Uncontrollable crying 
  • Rage or unmanageable anger 
  • The inability to stop playing a particular memory, conversation, etc. with your loved one over and over again in your mind 
  • Obsessive compulsive behaviors 
  • Lethargy 
Of course, these are all normal emotions in the immediate weeks or even a few months after a traumatic or tragic loss, but if they continue after the three-month mark (or they are affecting your ability to live a more full life) it is probably time to find the right outlet so you can begin processing them in a way that suits you. Even in the midst of a pandemic, hospice and other grief support communities are finding creating and soulful ways to support those in grief. 

You suffer from “bereavement guilt” 

Bereavement guilt can come in many forms, but the most common are: 
  • It’s my fault s/he’s dead. If only I would have… 
  • Our unresolved issues will never go away and it’s all my fault… 
  • Getting caught in an endless loop of regret(s) about your relationship (or lack thereof) with the deceased 
Any feelings of unresolved guilt that haunt you or seem to recurrently take over your thoughts or emotional wellbeing are messages that you are in need of grief support. You will be amazed at the way finding the right support venue can help to release harmful, painful, and relentless feelings associated with bereavement guilt. 

You’re experiencing unusual anxiety or panic attacks

The loss of someone we love affects us in so many ways, and those ways differ from person-to-person and scenario-to-scenario. If you have never really suffered from anxiety or panic attacks in the past, grief can show up just like that.   Anxiousness and panic attacks are particularly common for parents who lose a child (paranoid they’ll lose another), those who have unresolved grief guilt (see #3), and those who are typically “in control” or who find their sense of calm by having things in order. Death and dying are one of the most powerful reminders that we are absolutely not in control, and that can understandably result in panic and anxiety. 

Loss of identity

The loss of identity that occurs alongside grief can be shocking and life-shattering. For most of us, the loss of a loved one is the moment we realize how attached our identity was to being a wife, husband, son, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother, etc.   If you emerge from the acute pain of grief, only to find you are questioning who you are without the one you lost, grief support can facilitate that learning process. Grief work will help you process the complex array of emotions and thoughts you are experiencing, while simultaneously helping you do the identity work necessary to continue stepping into your own future.   We understand that seeking grief support can be scary, but we also witness firsthand the way grief support – at the right time, and the right place, in the right mode – helps our clients find the space necessary to begin taking steps forward, and without the debilitating energy that untended grief can become.  Contact us here at Hospice of the Golden Isles to learn more about our grief support programs. 
what to ask your hospice provider during covid 19

What To Ask Your Hospice Provider During COVID-19

One of the things that makes hospice so special is the ability to customize the level of services to a client’s needs and wants. The current pandemic has challenged all of us in the hospice and palliative care realm as we work to balance CDC and other health guidelines with our clients’ differing levels of need for human contact with care providers.   Your goal is to find the best-quality of hospice care, as soon as possible, and in a way that aligns with your family’s values and healthcare priorities, including social/emotional priorities. Asking the right questions will help you to navigate that path with better information.  

5 Questions To Ask To Find Your Best Hospice Provider 

Each hospice agency has slightly different policies and strategies for navigating hospice and palliative care services within the CDC and WHO pandemic framework.  Asking the right questions of your hospice provider during a pandemic will help you select the one that can best care for you as a client, while also protecting the wellbeing of the extended family and caregivers as well as honoring your desire for human-to-human, soul-to-soul connection if that is a need for you. 

Are you currently accepting new clients?

Like the clients we serve, hospice agencies come in all shapes, sizes, cultures, and ways of being. So, while larger and medium hospice agencies are typically able to accommodate a steady new flow of clients, others have to put potential clients on short-term waiting lists as they work with the staff they have and the restrictions they have in place.   As one of Georgia’s premier, non-profit hospice agencies of 40+ years, we are fortunate to be able to take new clients onto our rosters at any time. That said, we always advocate contacting hospice providers and signing up for service as soon as you are eligible so that you have the opportunity to optimize their available services.  

Are you accepting hospice clients that test positive for COVID-19?

We are most certainly accepting hospice clients that test positive for COVID-19. With our precautions in place, and a patient-specific care plan, your COVID-19 case does not hinder your ability to register for high-quality hospice or palliative care in any way.  

Are you able to accommodate in-person visits?

Again, depending on the size of the provider and their staff, the ability to accommodate in-person visits vary. Every hospice agency should be able to guarantee regular and timely in-person visits from hospice nurses, nursing assistants, and the physician (as needed). However, some agencies have shifted the way services are provided by other members of the care team such as the social worker, chaplain or spiritual counselor, volunteers, etc.   For some agencies, services offered in the social-emotional realm are strictly offered via phone and video platforms. Others are providing those services as they always have, while most are providing in-person services in a modified manner – replacing in-person visits with secure video or telephone options.   If in-person visits are a priority for you, make this known immediately so prospective agencies can let you know whether that is even an option. A prospective hospice service provider who can’t meet your needs may be able to refer you to other hospice providers that still offer in-person options. 

What precautions is the hospice provider putting into place to minimize infection risk?

Regardless of which services are offered in-person, and how often, the health and safety of both the client, their family/household members, and our caregivers are always the number one priority. In-person visits will always mean that our caregiving team and volunteers are appropriately sanitized, masked, and potentially gowned, gloved, and shielded – depending on the types of care they are providing.  As you can imagine, non-essential healthcare services that do not require touch are offered at a distance of six feet or more. Similarly, hospice houses and administrative offices that are still allowed to have in-person visits from family and loved ones will require that visitors and guests honor our pandemic health and safety protocols  These various guidelines, restrictions, and mandates vary from month to month, week to week, and (sometimes it feels like) day-to-day. Please be patient with us as we learn to navigate these ever-changing waters. Your willingness to have grace and patience with rules you may not agree with allows us to keep our doors open to better serve you and your family.  

How are you providing emotional, spiritual, and mental support for patients?

First and foremost, we want clients to know that our hospice agency provides emotional, spiritual, and mental support to our clients and their families. The client’s loved ones are equally essential in the hospice equation. While we certainly hold the client’s health and comfort at the pinnacle of our service pyramid, we know through and through that, the emotional, spiritual and mental support we provide is what makes hospice and palliative care so special.  All of the services that support the social-emotional wellbeing of the client and family should still be available – even if it takes place via phone or secure video connections. These services are provided by both staff and volunteers. Some of the most common providers of social-emotional support offered by hospice include: 
  • Designated social workers for each case to keep a finger on the social-emotional pulse of the client and their immediate families/loved ones 
  • Both licensed and volunteer peer counselors 
  • Chaplains and spiritual counselors 
  • Grief support therapists and volunteers (Grieving has been so painful in a time where in-person connections – including funerals and memorials have all but disappeared. Read Griefing From Six Feet Away for more about that topic and some resources) 
  • Group grief support 
  • Volunteers that provide companionship, cheer, music therapy, errand running and grocery shopping, respite care (providing a break for primary caregivers), etc. 
As we mentioned before, these services or their scope and availability, differ from agency-to-agency. So, if any of these services feel essential to you, your search for the best hospice care in Georgia should focus on agencies that offer the services you want in a way that suits your needs.  Are you looking to find a hospice agency that provides hospice care at home, in our hospice house, or in another facility? Contact us here at Hospice of the Golden Isles to schedule a consultation with one of our compassionate and helpful patient care coordinators. You can also give us a call at 912-265-4735 to speak directly with one of our representatives.

Amy Broderick Breathes New Energy and Enthusiasm into Fundraising at HGI!

Amy is known for her community involvement in the Golden Isles over the past two decades and for the past nine years as the community and event touchstone for Hospice of the Golden Isles. She has also worked behind the scenes building our Facebook page and other social media outlets as well as marketing and advertising for HGI.

In Amy’s new role as Development and Community Relations Manager, she is applying her 20 years of sales, marketing, and community relations experience to focus more specifically on educating potential donors about the value of supporting patient care at HGI.  These conversations come easy to Amy as she herself experienced first-hand the compassionate care provided to her mother and family twelve years ago. Her time caring for her mother and her newfound devotion to supporting hospice efforts have offered her a new view of the world.

“In the four short days she was here, my mother was cared for expertly and lovingly. She was comfortable and at peace when she died. That’s all I could ask. It was this exceptional care she received at the end of her life that ignited my desire to give back in any way I could to HGI. I joined the Auxiliary, was elected Fundraising Chair and ultimately volunteered my way into a full-time job…and here I am almost a decade later!”

We are excited to have Amy partnering more closely with donors in the community in her new role at HGI. For more information about fundraising events or to make a donation, please contact Amy at AmyBroderick@hospice.me

Grieving From Six Feet Away

The following contribution is from Hospice of the Golden Isles’ Bereavement Coordinator, Whitney Bounds, LMSW

COVID-19. Social isolation. Grocery stores full of mask-donning Americans staying 6 feet apart from one other. No social gatherings, including funerals, memorial services, and celebration of life parties. Anxiety, mixed feelings and emotions. Panic.

This is all part of our new reality. As life continues to move forward, nature takes its course, pandemic or not, and the cycle of life continues. We are grieving loved ones that have passed, the lost normalcy that was our daily lives, and a lack of social interaction. What does this mean for those who are grieving?

This perfect storm could lead to increased mental health concerns, including depression and anxiety during the grief journey. Social isolation in particular can lead to lack of a support system, leaving these individuals especially vulnerable to depression.

The University of California Department of Psychiatry has put together a resource page addressing emotional well-being during this unprecedented time: “Emotional Well-Being and Coping During COVID-19.” It is full of helpful information to get us all through this pandemic. In addition, New York State Office of Mental Health has tips for helping others grieve. Stay well, follow the CDC guidelines, and take care of yourself and your family.

Click here for more information about coping during Coronavirus

National Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16, 2020

Debbie Britt
Debbie Britt Law Logo

“National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) is a nationwide initiative that encourages adults of all ages to plan ahead of a health crisis. When we make health decisions ahead of time and put those wishes in writing, we bring peace of mind to our families. We enable givers to advocate for us when we are unable to do so for ourselves. We are more likely to avoid the difficult situations that are so common when we become seriously ill and our loved ones are left to guess what we would have wanted.”

St. Simons Island attorney, Debbie Britt, focuses her practice on estate planning and elder law.  We reached out to her for her expert input on the best way to plan ahead and put our healthcare decisions in writing.  In these uncertain times of worldwide pandemic, these decisions are especially important.

Debbie says a vital document we all need is the Georgia Advanced Directive for Health Care.  If you are over the age of 18, you need an advanced health care directive.  This important document allows your appointment of a health care agent to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so.  This same document allows your expression of your health care treatment preferences when certain conditions are present.  These preferences will guide your health care agent and medical providers when you are unable.

In Georgia, we have a statutory form advanced directive for health care.  While other forms may be accepted, developing a customized directive substantially compliant with the statutory language provided by Official Code of Georgia Section 31-32-4 is recommended.  It is best to seek professional (medical and legal) advice regarding this important legal document.

There are several reasons advanced health care directives are the best part of a comprehensive estate plan:

  • Healthcare decisions.  Agents appointed under your durable financial power of attorney may not make healthcare decisions for you.
  • Timing of effectiveness.  Different legal documents are effective at different times.  Wills apply upon your death.  Revocable living trusts apply upon your death or incapacity, as defined in the document.  A presently effective advanced health care directive ensures your designated agent can act for you as set forth in the directive.
  • Guardianship nomination.  Should you need to have a court-appointed guardian, you may nominate a person you would like to serve in that role in your advanced directive.

For more information, visit Debbie’s website at www.debbiebrittlaw.com

Hospice of the Golden Isles is Celebrating 40 Years!

Hospice of the Golden Isles is honored to have served Southeast Coastal Georgia since 1980!

In 2020, we are celebrating 40 years of providing expert and compassionate hospice care across five counties (Glynn, McIntosh, Camden, Brantley, and Charlton) in your home or our Hospice House.  Hospice care is provided wherever you call home. We care for our patients in private residences, in Independent Living, Assisted Living and Nursing Facilities, and in our Residential Facility or Hospice House.

Stay tuned for anniversary activities and celebratory events throughout the year! 

Hurricane Dorian

We are thankful Hurricane Dorian passed us by with little effect on our beloved Golden Isles as other communities did not fare as well.  With three hurricanes and one tropical storm hitting our coast in as many years, we are grateful for the reprieve. On Monday (9/2), in response to the mandatory order for evacuation, Hospice of the Golden Isles transferred our Hospice House patients to hospice facilities further inland. Our team worked diligently with home patients to make their evacuation and emergency preparedness plans, and we signed contracts with other hospice providers who were on-call to provide services for patients who traveled out of our service area. On Thursday (9/5), the mandatory evacuation order was lifted and HGI resumed normal operations on Friday (6/6). Home hospice teams resumed patient visits and Hospice House patients are being transferred back to our facility. Many thanks to the Glynn County EMA and our community for your support of our efforts to keep our patients safe through the storm.  
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toll free 866.275.6801

1692 Glynco Parkway
Brunswick, GA 31525

501(c)(3) non-profit organization
License #GA063007H

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Copyright ©2020
Hospice of the Golden Isles.
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912.265.4735 | toll-free at 866.275.6801
1692 Glynco Parkway | Brunswick, GA 31525
501(c)(3) non-profit organization | License #GA063007H
Privacy Policy 
Copyright ©2020 Hospice of the Golden Isles.
All rights reserved.

Members United Way of Coastal Georgia
We Honor Veterans
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Member