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FRIENDS OF HOME HEALTH & HOSPICE SEEK DONATIONS

By Marjorie Woodfin

Pilot staff writer

Friends of Home Health & Hospice, organized in December 2006 as an independent nonprofit foundation serving Curry County, is currently seeking donations to fund the training for a county wound nurse and to purchase a desperately needed van.

Board members Ted and Betty Lonien and Pat Piper met with Patty Slagle, Curry County Home Health and Hospice Volunteer and resource coordinator, this week to discuss plans for the future.

Home Health provides skilled care to individuals in their place of residence, emphasizing restoring of health or minimizing effects of disability or illness.

Hospice provides compassionate care and support for those who have received a life-ending diagnosis and cure is no longer a realistic goal. Services are delivered wherever the person calls home in the endeavor to allow individuals to live life to its fullest and maintain dignity throughout the journey. The hospice team provides physical, spiritual, emotional social support, with care available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Friends, as an independent foundation, is able to receive living trusts, endowments, properties and other assets, and to assist donors in realizing the optimum tax position.

"We have assets such as homes from estates that do not want the assets to go to the county, but want them held for the needs of hospice and home care needs," Betty Lonien explained.

Because the foundation is a fledgling organization, it is not equipped to handle all the accounting and legal requirements for estate donations and has joined the Oregon Community Foundation for that assistance.

The board members and Slagle explained some of the needs that are currently being met by the Friends. An example might be a case when medical bills for extended hospice care may be $10,000 and insurance will only cover $8,000. Friends can reimburse the $2,000 to the county.

There is no tax money or help from Medicare, Medicaid, or insurance for some hospice care. Bereavement support is not covered. Hospice has a team of bereavement counselors to provide bereavement support for schools when a student or teacher dies, as well as for individual patients and caregivers.

Massage treatment is not covered by insurance. Slagle explained that massage by a licensed massage therapist, both for the patient and caregiver, decreases pain level and alleviates stress.

They explained the need for a wound nurse because there is not one wound nurse in Curry County. "A wound nurse, working with the patient's physician, can determine all needs for meds, nutrition, psycho-social needs, and best treatment for wound and patient," Slagle explained. "It's a specialty needed in the Brookings-Harbor community where we have a large age group of those needing the care, including diabetics and those with bedsores and other significant wounds that won't heal," she added.

The wound nurse will complete training and receive her certificate in late March, ready to serve patients in Curry County.

"Right now we need money to purchase a van," Ted Lonien said. "The van owned by Friends is old and decrepit, and it's dangerous," Slagle explained. "We need the truck to transport all of tons of rummage that fills the fairgrounds in August," she added.

"The van needed is a big box truck, 16 to 10 feet, with a lift gate to haul the thousands of donations that will fill 30,000 feet of space at the fairgrounds," Lonien added.

"This is our ninth year," Slagle said. "It's an amazing thing. It has grown from a few volunteers and five tables of rummage to something this big with more than 200 volunteers and people coming from as far away as Canada. It takes all of us to do it."

In the meantime, Friends are looking for support for their next fundraiser, selling hot dogs at the craft area at the Azalea Festival.

The Brookings office of Home Health & Hospice is at 306 Wharf St., the corner of Hemlock. Slagle noted that two-thirds of the clients are from Brookings-Harbor.

For additional information phone Friends President Betty Lonien, (541) 412-8016. Donations cam be mailed to P.O. Box 348, Gold Beach, OR 97444.

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