Local hospice remembers its patients

By STEVEN CALHOUN/Staff Writer

SouthernCare Hospice held a memorial service on Nov. 20 to honor those who have passed on in their care.

The families of people in hospice care who have recently died were invited to the office for a time of remembrance. It was a quiet setting with songs and prayers.

“It was soothing,” said Thomas Rayam, a SouthernCare employee.

Rayam said visitors were able to support each other as a community and learn more about the people who were caring for their loved ones.

“It takes a big group of people to take care of one patient,” said Rayam. “We bounce so many ideas off each other about the patient and the community’s needs.”

Rayam said the goal of hospice is to address the needs of the individual patient and those of the community surrounding the patients. It takes nurses, administrators, chaplains and a host of other employees.

He said palliative care is not just about taking care of someone in his or her last days; he believes more can be done.

“For example, one guy is a huge Alabama fan. I played for Alabama, and when the patient lights up seeing me stand in the door, that’s huge,” said Rayam. “You don’t do this to get rich. You have to understand the mindset of a hospice employee. It’s a godsend.”

He said people who work in hospice have the patients’ needs in mind and look to find ways to improve their lives each day. Rayam works to help people understand the good he believes can come from palliative care.

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