"Hospice Patients have goals too, just like the rest of us…" Passages Hospice Helps Patients & Families Achieve Goals Despite Life-Limiting Illness

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Passages Hospice in Elgin, IL helps patients with life-limiting illnesses achieve a dream, wish, or desire that makes their life more fulfilling in both big and small ways. By taking the focus off the limitations caused by an illness and highlighting what they are capable of, patients feel more empowered and emotionally uplifted.

At Passages Hospice, when it comes to helping a patient achieve a dream, wish, or goal "sharing makes it so." For patients and families who express a cherished desire to their Passages care team, Passages springs into action on their behalf. Whether it's flying in a family member from a distant region of the U.S. and then paying for daily expenses during the visit, or recently arranging for an Elgin patient and his two adult sons to attend a Cubs vs. Marlins game, Passages Hospice is dedicated to improving the daily lives of its patients.

"We take pride in making quick decisions that benefit our patients and families," explained Seth Gillman, Passages Administrator. "Passages Hospice is a relatively small company with a big heart. Our team is trained to listen well to wishes expressed by patients and their families. We then do everything we can to help make that goal a reality. Hospice is all about cherishing life in whatever remaining time is allotted to each person. As an organization, we strive to do whatever we can to support patients in achieving those goals they have set for themselves."

Passages' social worker, Deb Vege, works closely coordinating cherished goals with patients and families.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame…

"Recently, one of our patients recalled to me how much he loved watching Cubs games as a kid," said Vege. "Growing up, he lived close to Wrigley field and could walk to games all summer long. So, he's been a huge baseball fan his entire life whether it was watching his grandchildren play ball or following the major leagues. Then he expressed his dream, to see the Cubs play again at Wrigley Field accompanied by his two grown sons. Although this patient is on continuous oxygen, and would also require a wheelchair, I just knew I had to do whatever I could to get him three tickets to a Cubs game."

And she did.

"It was so easy, " she said with a laugh. "I only made one phone call and instantly had three tickets. Later, I found out from co-workers just how lucky this was. I had no preconceived ideas that obtaining Cubs tickets would be difficult."

Jack Munson was ecstatic with the news that he'd be seeing the Cubs play on Sunday afternoon, July 27th. "I've been a baseball fan for 40 years," Munson said. "I was really excited at the chance to go to the ballpark with my sons - it was a dream come true. As a youngster, I grew up near Diversey & Damen and could walk to Wrigley Field and watch the games all summer. I've always loved the Cubs and this was a great surprise."

Joy Cornelius, Passages Hospice Coordinator, added how patients and families both benefit when anticipating something positive. "With a life-limiting illness, the patient and their families are stressed and drained because of so much focus on the person's illness. However, when a cherished goal is shared and the plans are put into motion for achieving it, everyone's outlook lifts and good feelings come flooding back in. It is great to be a part of that dynamic change for the better."

Small Gestures Get Big Results

Cornelius noted that even fulfilling the smallest or simplest of desires could add to a hospice patient's quality of life.

"Our staff becomes like a surrogate family member because of the amount of time we spend with our patients and their families" Cornelius noted. "During our frequent visits, we take the time needed to learn about their individual and personal preferences."

Small preferences that make big differences can be as simple as providing a favorite food like vanilla milkshakes, as one client requested, or supplying headphones to a patient who expressed frustration over her difficulty hearing radio and television.

"When people express their desires, such as for a favorite food and share why, it shifts them to a happier time, a happier moment," Cornelius explained. "Suddenly, they are focusing on something that brings enjoyment and often we can supply it to them quickly.

"We're taking the spotlight off the life-limiting illness and instead encouraging the patient's capabilities. This is far more empowering for them. "

Nothing beats a good dinner out at a favorite restaurant to celebrate a birthday with family. Recently, Passages' patient Jim Zenke, a Joliet resident, expressed this desire to his care team.

"I'd like to spend my 61st birthday dinner at a nearby steakhouse," he said. Passages' staff arranged for this to happen on his birthday - Sunday, July 14th. He ordered his favorite meal and then received a birthday cake complete with sparkler and singing waitresses. Joining in the celebration were Zenke's two brothers, a sister-in-law, and his mother.

"I was embarrassed," he said with a sheepish grin.

What did he like best?

"Being together with my family over a good meal," Zenke said. "Plus, I am so grateful to Passages for arranging this for me. Obviously, I don't get out much anymore and this was a wonderful treat."

Seth Gillman, Passages' administrator concluded, "Hospice patients have goals too, just like the rest of us. There's still life in a person who has a life-limiting illness and our staff is dedicated to finding that special something that will make a big difference. Meeting patients' needs in body, mind, and spirit, is what hospice is all about and it's what Passages strives to deliver every day."

Passages Hospice, LLC is located in Elgin, IL and is a full-service, privately held hospice company delivering: 24-hr Medicare/Medicaid Continuous Care; 24-hr. Nursing Care; 12-month Bereavement Program; Respite Services; Interdisciplinary Professional Team; Prescriptions and Medical Supplies related to hospice diagnosis; and more. For additional information, contact (847) 695-1431 or visit http://www.passageshospice.com

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SETH GILLMAN
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