Agape House Hosts Open House to Highlight Palliative Care Month

November is Palliative Care Month and Agape House is spreading the word about its unique and exceptional services. Staff will hold an open house on Thursday, November 17th between 3:00pm and 7:00pm. Members of the public are invited to tour Agape House and learn more about what makes this facility so special.

Agape House is the only resource in Bermuda dedicated to palliative care, which focuses on pain management and symptom relief. Dr. David Harries, Chief of Continuing Care at KEMH, said, “When medical intervention is no longer the main thrust of treatment for patients, palliative care provides symptom control and compassionate care.”

Using a holistic approach, staff members and volunteers address the physical, psychological and spiritual needs of clients in an effort to provide a sense of well-being. Jean Gibbons, Clinical Coordinator for Agape House, said, “Our services are offered to persons of any age, religion, race or terminal illness. Depending upon the needs of the client, both respite care and day care can be arranged.”

Another important component of hospice care is support for family members and significant others. “By addressing the needs of the entire family, palliative care brings an aspect of treatment to clients not generally available in a more traditional medical environment,” said Ms. Gibbons.

Relatives and friends of patients are grateful for the care their loved ones receive. Libby Durrant was very impressed when a close friend was at Agape House recently. “I thought the staff did a wonderful job of caring for my dear friend,” said Ms. Durrant. “I saw such an improvement in his quality of life once he was there, which enabled him to still go about his business and entertain his friends to the last. I know he was tremendously grateful, as was his family.”

Nursing staff are able to provide very individual care for patients. Ruth Small, a patient at Agape House since January, appreciates that nurses are attentive to her needs. “The staff take very good care of me,” she said. “There is a chef who cooks just for patients here at Agape House. He tailors meals to my taste and honours my requests when he can.”

Friends of Hospice, the fundraising arm of Agape House, also provides volunteer services. Volunteer Coordinator Karen Dyer said, “Volunteers play a very important role at Agape House. With approximately 55 people helping out each month, volunteer services create a home-like atmosphere for clients. We help with meals, offer massage therapy and fill in at the reception desk.”

Friends of Hospice launched Palliative Care Month by sponsoring a Walk to Remember fundraising event on Sunday, October 30th. Attended by 140 participants, the event and raised over $15,000. This was one of three main fundraising functions the charity runs each year. Funds are used to purchase medications and equipment and to provide goods and services for patients. Friends of Hospice also employs one full time and 2 part time chefs to prepare all meals for patients.

Friends of Hospice will hold a Denim Day on Friday, November 18th, and will sponsor the annual Tree of Lights celebration, scheduled for Friday, November 25th, on the steps of City Hall. Entertainment will herald the arrival of Santa from the roof, as the giant Christmas tree is lit. The public is invited to attend this festive occasion, honouring patients and former patients. A Candlelight Memorial Service, open to the public, will be held on Sunday, December 4th, in the gardens at Agape House in memory of loved ones who have passed.

If you would like further information about Agape House, please call 239-2025 or check our web site at www.bermudahospitals.bm

Pictured below: Janet Glasgow, registered nurse, attends to a patient at Agape House.

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