The transition to the end of life is a potent milestone that affects not only the dying but also their friends and loved ones. Since 1981, Hospice of Redmond has provided physical, emotional and spiritual support to those facing that transition throughout Central Oregon.

Maureen Krebs, who serves as communications director for Hospice of Redmond, emphasizes that, “Hospice is not ‘giving up.’” The support provided by a team of providers allows those entering into hospice care to “enjoy their life and their family and friends for the time they’ve got left,” she said.

A team of 20 staff and more than 70 volunteers come together to provide the three arms of hospice support.

The physical aspect of hospice care focuses on palliative measures to ensure comfort during the last days or months. The care is provided through the services of a registered nurse and a home health aide, led by Medical Director Dr. David Tretheway, who has been serving as medical director for Hospice of Redmond for two decades.

Social workers and a bereavement coordinator provide emotional support for the entire family — and for an extended period of time after bereavement. Some of those served are so affected by the embrace of the community formed through the hospice experience that they continue to stay connected long after the passing of their loved one.

That critical emotional support is also manifested in the annual Camp Sunrise held at Suttle Lake west of Sisters each summer. The camp provides grief support for children who have lost loved ones. It is a profoundly impactful program — both for the children who work through the emotions of their grief and for the volunteers who serve them.

“We don’t charge those families anything,” Krebs noted.

Services are funded through grants and generous community donations.

The spiritual aspect of the program is provided through the service of Chaplain Dan Henderson, who often sits with hospice patients and will pray with them if desired.

Krebs notes that the chaplain’s services are not mandated.

“Some of our patients decide they do not wish to see a chaplain, and we honor their wishes,” she said.

All of Hospice of Redmond’s work is “very individualized and very personal,” Krebs said. “Everything we do is in the home — wherever their home is.”

Krebs points with particular pride to Hospice of Redmond’s veterans outreach programs. Through the national program We Honor Veterans, Hospice of Redmond conducts simple “pinning ceremonies” to express gratitude and appreciation for veterans’ service to their country. Krebs, herself a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, considers these expressions of appreciation to be very important in helping veterans find peace.

“It’s the simplest thing we can do — just go out and say ‘thank you,’” she said.

Krebs and Hospice of Redmond’s volunteer veteran advocate work with families on service-connected disabilities through the Department of Veterans Affairs, resources in the community, flag lines for funeral services, flag-pinning ceremonies for hospice patients, survivorship support, and provide myriad other

resources.

Krebs also pointed to the organization’s Transitions Program, which is a pre-hospice program.

“It’s for anyone who has a life-limiting illness,” she said. “It’s a non-medical program, so it’s really about resources.”

Transitions Program participants, who are not charged for services, also receive emotional and spiritual support as desired, as staff helps connect them with resources that can make their life coping with their condition easier and more satisfying. The program can also connect families with respite care.

Krebs noted that the program was able to help a blind veteran to the degree that he was able to obtain surgery that restored

vision.

That’s the kind of work that motivates Krebs and her colleagues.

“That’s what we pride ourselves in,” she said. “Taking care of these people.”

For more information visit www.hospiceofredmond.org.