Category Archives: Hospice of Santa Cruz County

Helping Kids Cope with Loss

Because of the generous support of our community, Hospice of Santa Cruz County hosted our first weekend camp for grieving children, Camp Erin© Santa Cruz, last fall. Nestled in the redwood forest at Mount Hermon Redwood Camp, the weekend was filled with both healing and fun activities for the 40 campers in attendance. Campers brought photos of their special person to include on the memory board. They gathered in small groups and, with the support of trained volunteers and staff, discussed their feelings of grief and loss. Interspersed with these healing activities was a lot of fun – ziplining, swimming, art projects and an adventurous ride on the Geronimo Swing. Bernice’s StoryAs we gear up for our 2015 camp, we continue to check in and connect with our camper alumni. Eleven-year-old Bernice attended Camp Erin Santa Cruz County on the recommendation of her school counselor. After her father’s sudden death

The Recipes of Life – A Volunteer’s Journey

Volunteer Visitor Denine Jones Sometimes an experience in life inspires us to change directions.  Denine Jones had one of those experiences toward the end of her father-in-law’s life. While spending time with him in the hospital, she realized her calling – to become a nurse. As she was helping to honor her father-in-law’s end-of-life wishes, it became clearer that her interest was in hospice care. “I just want to support and empower people who are dying and do what I can to improve their quality of life,” explains Denine. And that’s exactly what Denine is doing. She has been a Volunteer Visitor for three years, in addition to being a nursing student at San Jose State. “It feels good. It feels like I’m doing exactly what I want to do – empowering people to be autonomous and do the things that are important to them.” Every Saturday Denine spends four

5 of the Most Important Questions You Should Have the Answer to

The news is inundated with stories of accidents and unexpected illnesses that effect people every day.  Have you ever thought about what would happen if you were suddenly unable to speak for yourself?  The following are five questions you should have the answer to for not only your peace of mind, but for your family’s peace of mind. Who do you want making decisions for you? What kind of decisions would you want them to make? Would you want to be kept alive on life support or would you prefer comfort care only? Or something in between? Are you comfortable leaving your loved ones to try and figure out what you would want? Are you certain if your loved ones aren’t there that your healthcare provider is aware of your wishes? If you haven’t completed a directive, you’re not alone. According to a study conducted in late 2011 by the

Supporting Children When Someone They Love Has a Serious Illness Part 6 – Explaining the Final Stages of Life

Part 6 of our 6 part blog series sharing coping tips to help support children when someone they love has a serious illness.  Explaining the Final Stages of Life The final stages of life can be confusing and scary for children if they do not understand the changes they see happening.  Not all terminally ill people will go through these changes, but talking about them ahead of time can help children be prepared. Loss of StrengthThe disease may weaken the body so much that the person will need lots of rest.  At some point, the person may not have the strength to talk.  Explain that he or she is still able to hear their voice and feel their touch. Loss of AppetiteThe person will slowly lose their appetite until they may not eat anything at all.  It is important to tell children that because of the disease, the person does

Supporting Children When Someone They Love Has a Serious Illness Part 5 – Guidelines for Teenagers

Part 5 of our 6 part blog series sharing coping tips to help support children when someone they love has a serious illness.  The Teen Years  During the teen years, children are finding their own identity and becoming more independent. They need more privacy and often withdraw from family members.  This process of growing up is harder for them when someone in the family is ill.  They try to balance the family’s needs with their own very different needs.  Teens may show anger as they become more anxious and fearful about the illness. When much of a parent’s time and attention is focused on the sick person, the teen may feel that they are being abandoned and become resentful.  As the ill person gets closer to dying, teens often are able to talk about it and cry as they express their sadness.  They may also become very anxious and worry