Healing hearts with art and massage | VailDaily.com

Healing hearts with art and massage

Carolyn Pope
Carolyn Pope/Vail DailyMassage therapist Marcia Chase and Kathy Myers, who is holding the evergreen angel pendant.

EDWARDS – Only two times in life a person must make a journey completely and utterly alone. It is also those two journeys in which a person has no choice whether to make them or not. So why is it, then, in a world that celebrates the first journey, birth, with flowers and balloons in hospital rooms outfitted like the Ritz, that the other journey isn’t treated similarly?

Why is it that conversation about the big “D”, this required course we must take, is avoided. Why don’t we exit with the same fanfare, or, at a minimum, with love, affection, and joy that we experience in the beginning? The volunteers of Mountain Hospice believe in being with the dying and their loved ones until that last moment. The organization has been in the valley since 1991.”Margo Peter, one of the founders of Mountain Hospice, had a friend who was dying from breast cancer,” volunteer coordinator Lynn Hoehn said. “She realized how isolating the disease was, and that she needed support from the community, her friends and medical professionals. She came across the hospice philosophy, and along with others, including Mary Hoza, Marge Gates and Jan Jackson, the Mountain Hospice was founded.”Hospice now assists approximately 30 patients per year. Approximately 95 percent are cared for in their homes, and the other 5 percent are using the Maxine Miller Room at the Vail Valley Medical Center.

Thursday, the Mountain Hospice held their second Passport to Living at Eat! Drink! in Edwards. This year, the event benefited their “Healing Hearts” program. Guests “visited” France, Italy, Spain, the U.S.A. and Australia in wine flights accompanied by cheeses from the regions. Representatives from Classic Wines, National, Elite Brands, Southern and Synergy poured some of their favorites. Eat! Drink! donated a percentage of sales that evening to Mountain Hospice.

The event was underwritten by 1st Bank of Vail.Healing Hearts is based on the philosophy that, by incorporating the arts into health care, quality and attitudes improve.”It’s a great way to help patients and staff, improve health care as well as to improve staff and patient satisfaction,” said Amanda Ciotti, a founder of the Healing Hearts program. Amanda is a painter who recognized the power of arts on the sick and dying.

The hospice Healing Hearts is a program within Mountain Hospice that provides comfort to patients and families through the creative arts and massage therapy. Artists, musicians and massage therapists visit patients at home with all of the necessary supplies and materials. The activities can provide enjoyable and memorable experiences during difficult times. Participating in creative activities can help alleviate stress, anxiety, and promote feelings of well-being.

Sally Clair, who headed the event, has been volunteering for hospice for four years. She shared a recent experience with one patient.

“My patient wanted to write journals, so I went to her home two or three times each week. She could no longer write, so I would assist her. She gave a journal to each of her siblings after she died,” Clair said. “They were touched because they knew how difficult it was for her.”

Volunteering has been gratifying for Clair. “There’s a great camaraderie. Volunteering for Hospice creates a very strong bond. We laugh together, we cry together. It’s formed some great friendships for me,” she said. Jean Chatterton, a volunteer for the Vail Valley Medical Center, lost her husband, Bruce, in May.”We only had 26 hours of hospice,” she said. “But hospice was comfort. Understanding. It’s like they just know. You weren’t being told what to do, they would just wrap their arms around you.”

For more information on donating to Mountain Hospice or to volunteer, contact Lynn Hoehn at 569-7455 or hoehn@vvmc.com.Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado

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