Friesian horses roamed in the pasture, and lanterns flickered on the porch of the Johnson Carriage House on Brawley School Road last month.Indoors, visitors chatted, dined at a buffet and participated in a silent auction. As guests circulated among wine tasting stations, they learned about Hospice and Palliative Care of Iredell County, the evening’s primary attraction.The inaugural “A Toast to Hospice” fundraiser was conceived by Jamie Venable, owner of Wine Maestro in Mooresville.With a staff of medical professionals, social workers, chaplains and volunteers, Hospice and Palliative Care of Iredell County provides a holistic approach to an individual’s end-of-life journey.“Death is hard. We’re going to make it a little better for a family if we serve you,” said Karen Lawler, director of Hospice and Palliative Care of Iredell County development and community outreach.The nonprofit serves Iredell and nine contiguous counties. It provides care for everyone in the service area who is eligible. No one is turned away because of inability to pay. Anyone can request a hospice referral, but a doctor’s order is required for a patient to be admitted.By using the resources of Hospice and Palliative Care of Iredell County, people can fulfill their wishes for the best quality of life at a critical time. Most care happens in the home. When that is no longer feasible, patients are admitted to the Gordon Hospice House in Statesville. The 15-bed facility provides around-the-clock assistance.Short-term stays are available to provide respite for home caregivers.As Hospice and Palliative Care of Iredell County celebrates its 30th anniversary, the organization is educating families about its mission and the importance of early intervention.“We’re going to walk every step of the way with you,” Lawler said.Although independent teams are based at offices in Statesville and Mooresville, there’s a lot of crossover between them.Hospice and Palliative Care of Iredell County also provides nonmedical support for needy families, grief counseling, support groups and services for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.Providing care for people in the community is expensive for the nonprofit.Contributions and fundraisers such as “A Toast to Hospice” help. The event netted more than $15,000.“Because of the generosity of Jamie, the Johnsons and Epic Chophouse, we were able to have a fun event where people found out more about our organization,” Lawler said.In 2004, Hospice of Winston-Salem cared for Venable’s dad. “I was familiar with hospice, but I was really stunned by the care and everything they provided in helping Dad through that difficult time,” Venable said.Venable has hosted wine tastings for Hospice and Palliative Care of Iredell County at his wine shop but wanted to do more. He contacted Lillian and Tony Johnson, owners of Johnson Carriage House, and Jon Spencer, head chef at Epic Chophouse.As the group organized the February event, they discovered hospice connections. Lillian had been a hospice nurse at the Louisville, Ky., VA hospital from 1995 to 1997. She couldn’t refuse Venable’s proposal.Spencer agreed. Hospice in Brunswick and New Hanover counties had cared for his father and grandmother. “I like what hospice does for people. It’s great to have that comfort at the end,” Spencer said.Comfort, care, compassion and dignity – family members repeated these words as they described their hospice experiences.Hospice and Palliative Care of Iredell County served board member Phil Smith’s father and mother. When the family could no longer provide care for his mother, she was admitted to Gordon House.“Hospice turned something that would have been a very sad experience for our family into a positive, spiritual experience,” Smith said.
Friday, Mar. 14, 2014
Touched by hospice experiences, they stage fundraiser for HPCIC
To learn about the services and programs of Hospice and Palliative Care of Iredell County, call 888-464-4673 or visit www.HOIC.org.
Sandra Phillips is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Sandra? Email her at email@example.com.
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