Thursday, November 8, 2012


Dr Bernice Catherine Harper
Dr Bernice Catherine Harper was presented with the
highest of honors last year at the National Hospice Gala, for her lifetime work.
"The Global Vision Award"
for a pioneer, a social worker, an advocate and a woman who has walked the walk and talked the talk for all people for many years.
It is important we know and honor the pioneers of Hospice, that we remember them in daily steps taken to do the work of hospice, to keep our eyes straight and our hands clean as we live the mission and vision promised
Thank you Dr Harper, Ann Vickery, Mary Labyak, Florence Wald, Jo Magno, Samira Beckwith, Donald Schumacher, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and so many more who have started this thing we call HOSPICE    


Dr Bernice Catherine Harper is one of the
grand dames of the hospice world
and a social worker to boot!
She is known as
"the professionals professional", a social worker
and quite a grand lady to be certain.
One of my hero's and I was honored to see
be with her at the last
National Hospice Foundation Gala
in Washington DC this year.
We caught up on old times, laughed much
and enjoyed being together talking about
"back in the day".

Back in the day
we served on the "first" task force for access for minorities in hospice, known as
"Cultural Diversity"
with Samira Beckworth who is now the CEO
HOPE Hospice in Lee County in Florida!

We visited with Jean Berquest another old friend and Hospice grand dame from "back in the day";
a mover and shaker in DC,
and many others at that grand Gala.
Those founders and those new to Hospice as well.
About caring and the circle of care,
keeping patients and families and those who love in the middle of the circle and all are connected
and oh how the circle has expanded through the years.
From back in the days of
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
with her landmark work on death and dying, her contributions too large to even attempt, her works and her books still so very useful to professionals and to those who are facing death and loss today.
The mission and values of Hospice that began so long ago, still etched in the hearts of so many as they get up each day and serve, minister to those as they live until the moment they die better with the skills and love of Hospice; those who dedicate themselves professionally and the volunteers who give so freely.    

Hospice does that so well.
Across the life span, the seasons of time
and ages
from the little ones to the Elders
across the world
Hospice is available to provide
care, dignity, respect
to their patients
those who love them.

President Obama signed a Proclamation this year
National Hospice Month
and says this: "
All Americans should take comfort in the important work of hospice care, which enables individuals to carry on their lives, in spite of a terminal illness. During this month, let us recognize those who allow the terminally ill to receive comfortable and dignified care."
According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization,
"Access to care has improved significantly in the three decades since November has been celebrated as National Hospice Month. 
 Dame Cicely Saunders who started this whole thing off at St Christophers in England and once said,
"Care of the body means nothing without care of the soul",
The first White House proclamation honoring hospice month was signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978. At that time, hospices in the US served several thousand individuals and their family members each year. New data from National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization shows that a record 41.5 percent of people who died in the US – 1.56 million patients with life-limiting illness – were served by the nation’s hospices last year."

There are many who work for hospice behind the scenes, those voices that are there, those who deal with the paper end of things, answer the phones, coordinate the nurses, social workers, chaplains and keep things running smoothly... they know what is going on all the time; they find the volunteers in the middle of the day or night to sit with dying patients or to soothe a troubled family member.
Many are the "pulse" of the team.
All to be valued.

The Volunteers are the "hearts" of Hospice
giving their time, talents, and hearts to step out of self
into others.
Leaving their personal problems and agendas in their cars or on the door steps and walking in open for whatever may be, and letting the story of the person they are seeing take center stage; as it should be.
It is after all,
the patient and family journey
not ours.

steeped in history, the stories are woven into a rich and colorful fabric of compassion and care.
Dr Bernice Catherine Harper has set a high standard
a bar that many need remember
when ministering to those in hospice
and to their peers
with professionalism
compassion and kindness always
just as

Josephina Magno
Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Jean Berquest
Samira Beckwith
Mary Labyak
Dame Cicely Saunders
Florence Wald
Balfour Mount
Colin Murray Parkes
Eric J Cassell
Donald Schumacher
Steven Connor
and so many more
 Remembering Mary Labyak as she received the esteemed Architect Award from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
Mary was a pioneer of hospice, a social worker, a visionary... she died under the care of the very hospice she built over 30 years ago and we will forever be thankful for her vision and dedication to the world of HOSPICE

Many blessings to
HOSPICES around the world
For you
those who passionately do the work
the volunteers
I give great thanks
It is good

For more information on
or to locate a hospice near you

"That which is to provide light must endure burning"
Victor Frankl

The fire is burning brightly, its embers are hot ~ Sage/Cedar fills the air with
thoughts and prayers on the wind
with great gratitude today
As I now prepare to visit and speak to 
in Lafayette Indiana during this
Hospice month, I am so thrilled to meet and see those doing such great work there.
A hospice that was begun by 
5 women with a vision, mission, and dedication now growing and caring for community ... hospice is about life!
Indiana here I come!
Walk In Beauty
That is the
Healing Heartaches


fluff said...

Hello Dr. Sherry and friends. Thank you for your words about Hospice today. I know there are many grand and caring Hospice workers. I wish the best for all those who work in any position or volunteer their precious time. Have a wonderful day! /Sandy♥

oshkosh said...

Yes, and amen!!! Hospice workers, and caregivers have a "special gift" .... and should be honored every day!!!