Submitted by Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care
Nearly 60 years after the end of World War II, former US Army Sergeant and Villages resident Charles Mellott was honored for his service during a special ceremony, surrounded by family and friends. The Cornerstone SALUTES! ceremony was arranged by the Cornerstone Hospice social worker who was part of the team that ensured the 93-year-old lived his last days in comfort and with dignity.
Mr. Mellott’s cardiologist had recommended Cornerstone to care for Mellott. His daughter said the time was right. “It took a huge load off of my 90-year-old mother as a caregiver,” says Del Hunt. “She was then able to prepare for his passing.”
Hunt said the Cornerstone Hospice team treated her father with compassion. “They spent time getting to know him personally, listening to him with their undivided attention. He looked forward to the routine visits from his nurse and she became his friend,” said Hunt. The hospice team even coordinated care with her parents’ assisted living facility.
“When our teams collaborate on a patient they aren’t focused on how this person is going to die, but rather how he’ll live out his last days, and that his family receives the necessary support to allow for it,” said Chuck Lee, President and CEO of Cornerstone Hospice.
Each Cornerstone Hospice patient is cared for by members of what is called a “multidisciplinary team” which includes a physician, nurses, nursing assistants, a chaplain, a social worker and a specially-trained volunteer. The team addresses symptom control, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes.
Hospice focuses on caring, not curing and, in most cases, care is provided in the patient’s home. It also is provided in freestanding hospice centers, hospitals and long-term care facilities or wherever a patient resides.
Due to misconceptions about what hospice provides, patients often are brought in too late when much discomfort and strain has already been experienced by the patient and the family.
Patients may be eligible for hospice services when a doctor certifies a patient has a terminal illness and a life expectancy of six months or less. Hospice services are available to patients of any age, religion, race, or illness and are covered under Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance plans.
Cornerstone provides special services to ensure overall comfort and support including its nationally recognized seven-day care model which ensures continuity in the care team and improved communications amongst staff and the patient, the Pet Peace of Mind program, bereavement counseling and Cornerstone SALUTES! for veteran patients. Cornerstone SALUTES! is a comprehensive hospice program respectfully celebrating veterans’ service to our country, at home and abroad, and providing care that recognizes the challenges unique to military families.
“Veterans often have emotional and physical conditions related to their service which require additional insight from the care team,” said Lee. “With one in four people dying today being a veteran, we take extra steps to help them during their last days.”
“Words could not describe how that made my dad feel. He was finally recognized for his service to this great country. He appeared to be more at peace and held his head higher. I feel in my heart it did bring closure for him,” said Hunt.
About Cornerstone Hospice
Cornerstone Hospice is a leading community-owned provider of end-of-life care in Central Florida. For 34 years Cornerstone has set the standard for hospice care as we serve more than 7,000 people in Lake, Sumter, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties each year. For more information, to donate, or to volunteer, call 866-742-6655 or visit www.CornerstoneHospice.org