Hinds Hospice to host three events in November about hospice care

Hinds Hospice said it will host three events during November to raise awareness about hospice care.Hospice care helps patients and families focus on living. That’s the message the hospice is sharing with the community during National Hospice Month, Hinds said in a news release.

"November is a valuable time to raise awareness throughout our community about care at the end of life," said Kathleen Stefani, Community Relations coordinator for the Merced office of Hinds Hospice. "The time a family might need us doesn't follow a calendar or occur only during this season, so our message must make an impression that stays with people all year long."

The hospice team, comprised of doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, home health aides, and caring volunteers, provides expert medical care to keep patients comfortable and able to enjoy time with loved ones, the news release said. The team answers questions, offers advice on what to expect and also provides emotional and spiritual support for the entire family.

More than 1.45 million patients received care from the nation's hospices in 2009, and in 2010, that number is expected to reach 1.5 million, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization reported in the news release.

“Portraits of Life,” featuring the photos of Roger Wyan and the stories of Hinds Hospice families, will be on exhibit Nov. 1 - 10 at the Merced Civic Center Gallery on the ground floor of the Merced Civic Center, 678 W 18th Street in downtown Merced.

The gallery is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibit, in photos and stories, seeks to clarify the realities of hospice care. Initially presented at the Merced Multi-Cultural Art Center in November 2008, the exhibit has been presented most recently at the Mullins Studio Gallery in Fresno, and is being presented again in Merced thanks to a grant from the Merced Community Foundation.

On Saturday, Nov. 13, and Sunday, Nov. 14, Hinds Hospice will partner with Playhouse Merced, 452 W Main Street, to present a one-act play focusing on hospice care and end-of-life issues. The play is named “Vesta,” for a fiercely independent and compelling woman. Vesta introduces the audience to the real-life issues surrounding a terminal diagnosis, and offers an in-depth look at how to deal with the loss of independence, economic challenges, family dynamics and care-giving.

The Nov. 13 performance will take place at 7 p.m.; the Nov. 14 performance at 2 p.m. Both performances will be followed by a moderated discussion intended to open a dialogue and answers questions about hospice care. For the Nov. 13 evening performance, a $10 donation is appreciated; the Nov. 14 afternoon performance is free, but donations are appreciated, the Hinds news release continued.

Hinds, a nonprofit, said Fernando's Bistro will host another Wine Makers Dinner Wednesday, Nov. 10, beginning at 6 p.m. A gourmet five-course meal will be served, each course accompanied by a specially selected wine. Tickets for the event are $75 a person. Seating is limited to 60 guests, so call early to assure your reservation.

For information regarding any of the events, please call Hinds Hospice at (209) 383-3123.