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Hospice’s Light Up a Life an Annual Highlight of Holiday Season

| Date Posted: 11/21/2012

PINEHURST – Offering comfort and care to patients and families throughout the Sandhills, FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care is dedicated to ensuring that the spirit of every life always burns brightly.

“Hospice combines the medical comforts of a hospital with the warmth of a home,” says Hospice & Palliative Care Director Charlotte Patterson. “Our focus is not on curing the patient. Instead, we reach out with care that emphasizes comfort and provides support for families. It is our privilege to meet many different people whose life experiences touch our hearts and remind us of the value of every moment.”

That’s why FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care invites families throughout the region to honor and memorialize their loved ones through an annual holiday event called Light Up a Life.

The 21st Annual Light Up a Life Tree-Lighting Ceremony, which benefits the FirstHealth Hospice Foundation, will be held Thursday, Dec. 6. The program will begin at 5 p.m. on the FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care campus at 251 Campground Road just north of Pinehurst.  A reception will follow the program. 

Light Up a Life symbolizes and supports Hospice work, providing a concrete reminder of loved ones throughout the holidays. Funds generated through the project garner a legacy of support for Hospice programs that touch lives and embrace families. Each light on every tree represents a contribution to support the mission of FirstHealth Hospice and reflects the true spirit of giving throughout the holiday season.

The 2012 event is particularly special. 

“This ceremony is one of the highlights of our holiday season,” says Associate Director Tina Gibbs. “Each year, it gives our Hospice families the chance to re-connect with their care team.  It’s a time to remember and to honor the important people in our lives. This year, we also have another very special opportunity, the chance to reflect on our first full year in our new location.”

FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care is now located on more than 30 acres just off Highway 15-501 North. The three-building campus includes an Administrative Building housing staff offices, volunteer workspaces and a Grief Resource & Counseling Center; The Hospice House; and a non-denominational chapel.
In the past year, FirstHealth Hospice reached 579 new patients, a 33 percent increase over 2011, and recorded a total of 51,684 days of care, an increase of 21 percent over the previous fiscal year.

Central to the campus is the Hospice House, which recorded the first of its 254 patient admissions on Oct. 10, 2011. Unlike end-of-life residential programs, the acute-care program of FirstHealth Hospice House accepts patients who need temporary care for pain management or symptom control. The average length of stay for patients in the house during 2012 was eight days. 

Each of the 11 private rooms in the Hospice House has its own bath and private patio. Building features also include a family kitchen, a sunroom and porches.

“Patients and families are thrilled and talk about how peaceful and serene the surroundings are,” Patterson says.

The expanded Grief Resource & Counseling Center has also thrived in the new location, recording a 22 percent increase in overall use of counseling services. Services for children and teens have grown 87 percent, and there was a 34 percent increase in support group attendance over the 12-month period.

The Grief Resource & Counseling Center offers small and large group counseling sessions as well as numerous support group meetings. All services are available to the entire community.

“Our success is the direct result of the compassion and generosity of this community,” says Gibbs. “Their support through the FirstHealth Hospice Foundation provides us with the resources to reach out to the community. Our Light Up A Life celebration gives us the opportunity to come together to celebrate our loved ones, our community and the light that grows brighter as we reach out to one another.”

For more information about FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care or Light Up a Life, call (910) 695-7500.

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