Join us for Lighting of the Luminaries

UnityPoint Hospice and Trinity Foundation will host the Annual Lighting of the Luminaries from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on June 14 at the Paula J. Baber Hospice Home.

“For all the comforting philosophies we can offer, the most powerful thing we can give each other in the face of death is companionship and witness. When I’m struggling with the fear of my own death, or with grief over the death of someone I love, what comforts me most isn’t philosophies or ideas. It’s the presence of someone who loves me just sitting with me silently, letting me feel what I have to feel, not trying to fix it or make it go away but simply being with me while I feel it. It’s the presence of someone who loves me letting me know that I’m not alone — and by their presence, being part of the foundation I can come back to when the feelings pass.” — Greta Christina

This is really a great description of what hospice care is about. Our focus is on caring, not curing. Services are available to patients of any age with a life-limiting illness and can be provided in a patient’s home, a free-standing hospice facility, assisted living and long-term care facilities.

Lighting of the Luminaries is for anyone who has lost someone in hospice care. It is a time to remember them, to sit quietly with others who have also lost a loved one and reconnect with care givers, support team members and volunteers who were there during a difficult time.

The evening will include a prayer service provided by the Rev. Gary Snook, Hospice chaplain, prior to a reading of the names of patients who have passed away. Luminaries will be provided and can be decorated and individualized by families.

The Paula J. Baber home provides a tranquil setting for memorializing those who have died, either at the Paula J. Baber home, a patient’s home, assisted living or long-term care facilities. Last year UnityPoint Hospice served over 400 families.

UnityPoint Hospice offers the support of many committed and talented individuals who work as nurses, social workers, hospice aides, chaplains, volunteers, therapists, including massage, music, physical and occupational, and clerical and administrative support personnel. This is evidenced by the many thank you notes we receive on a daily basis. One note read as follows:

“God has truly placed each and every one of you where you truly belong. The compassion and care you have shown will forever be in our hearts. You are all compassionate individuals who are genuine in your commitment for hospice.” Another note read “You just always seem to be there for comfort and care, sensing our needs before we even expressed them.”

UnityPoint Hospice is very fortunate to have many committed and compassionate caregivers. Joyce Bianchi, RN, clinical nurse manager at UnityPoint Hospice explains, “In addition to recognizing those who have died, the event also provides a meaningful way we can recognize our staff for their work with UnityPoint Hospice patients and families, as well as a way for them to reconnect with families that they have formed a close bond with. It is a casual evening, but very meaningful.”

Another family wrote, “Words can’t express the gratitude we have for UnityPoint at Home. You provide the utmost dignity to the patient and the family during a difficult time.” As individuals connect with hospice — no matter the role, they become like family. We appreciate the opportunity to provide support at a difficult time in the lives of our patients and families. Lighting of the Luminaries is a chance to remember family members and friends as well as reconnect to celebrate the life of their loved one.

This event has been made possible in part through generous donations from our community to UnityPoint Hospice. We are very grateful to our community partners who enable us to do much of our work. Donations to UnityPoint Hospice assist with providing staff education, family education materials, bereavement programs and Hospice volunteer training. In addition, our staff works hard to see special occasions in our patient’s lives like baptisms, weddings and birthdays are recognized and celebrated. We also use funds to obtain patient supplies and equipment such as communication devices, music, library resources, and supplies to assist dementia patients, and provide end of life care for individuals without a pay source.

If you would like to help support the mission of UnityPoint Hospice, or for more information about this event, please contact Trinity Foundation, (574-6509. Donations may also be mailed to Trinity Foundation, 802 Kenyon Road, Fort Dodge, IA 50501.

Jennifer Crimmins is executive director of Home Care Operations and Post-Acute Strategy UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge. Lighting of the Luminaries is held annually on the second Tuesday of June.