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Organization distributes love to hospice patients

Posted: February 3, 2013 - 1:08am

A local hospice care organization is collecting care packages for its patients in hopes of spreading some love on Valentine’s Day.

Hospice Care of America, 4314 Belair Frontage Road, is collecting what staff and volunteers are calling Baskets of Love: gift baskets that can be distributed to hospice patients to show someone is thinking of them.

“The majority of our hospice patients are homebound and they are not able to move around freely as they would like because they are dealing with a terminal illness,” said Tammie Smith, volunteer coordinator at Hospice Care of America.

Smith said volunteers and staff take care of the patients wherever they call home, which may be a house, an assisted living facility or a nursing home.

This campaign will provide patients with baskets of items such as warm socks, sun-catchers, homemade goods, coffee mugs or even stuffed animals, Smith said. A big card that whole groups or families could sign also would be a good idea.

“We try to remember to do things for our seniors and for people that are sick at Christmas time and things like that, but we forget about what a nice surprise getting something in February would be,” she said. “With hospice patients, they may only have a few weeks or they may have a few months, so being able to do something special for them, as often as possible, is something that we try really hard to do.”

Baskets can be dropped off until Feb. 11 at Hospice Care of America’s office, Kendrick Paint and Body and Sunbelt Nissan.

The agency prefers baskets to already be made up; the organization can’t provide baskets for loose items.

While giving a gift basket to a patient in hospice care may seem like a small gesture, Smith said this drive gives people the opportunity to get involved in these patients’ care.

“I think the community at large really wants to help, but sometimes they really don’t know how to help,” Smith said. “And something like this really gives them the idea that, ‘Oh, you know what? I can do one of these. It wouldn’t be hard to do and it would be something nice that I could do for someone. To let them know that they’re being thought about and that they’re being cared for.’”

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