Wellmont Hospice House Celebrates Completion Of Healing Garden That Expands Comfort And Peace

Patients and their families who rely on Wellmont Hospice House for high-quality care are experiencing a broader level of comfort and peace with a new healing garden at the facility.

The garden builds on past efforts with the addition of raised beds and covered walkways, along with a collection of new flowers, plants, trees and furniture. These items create an ambiance that will help patients and their families during this special time in their lives.

Wellmont Hospice dedicated the new garden during a ceremony Monday, Oct. 21.

"Our hospice house has received tremendous community support since it opened, and we are grateful to see this legacy continue with the opening of our healing garden," said Jackie Everett, clinical leader of Wellmont Hospice. "This garden is beautiful and is a testament to so many people's efforts to bolster the therapeutic environment we offer to the community."

This project received assistance from multiple companies, garden clubs, physicians and other individuals interested in making a difference. Boehm Landscaping, General Shale, Burwil Construction and Bear Creek Nursery contributed to make this dream a reality.

Many people made donations, some in memory of a loved one, as a way to enhance the garden's look and feel. Plus, many plants and flowers added to the grounds as part of an Eagle Scout project several years ago were incorporated in the updated garden.

One contribution to the new garden came from Dr. Ben and Anne Cowan, who embarked on a three-month, 4,835-mile bicycle trip on the Northern Tier from West Washington State to Bar Harbor, Maine, and then from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., to Baltimore..

The couple, who are avid cyclists, offered to match up to $25,000 in donations in honor of their ride and kept a journal of their activities. It is available at http://bit.ly/1audEh5.

The Cowans departed June 10 and completed their trip Sept. 10, interrupted only by a nine-day break to attend their son's wedding. The couple averaged about 65 miles a day during their 74 days of pedaling and, fortunately, experienced no injuries and limited rain.

They spent much of their travels riding with friends they had met on previous bicycling trips and mostly camped at night. They rode on back country roads, two-lane and four-lane roads and even some spent some time on the interstate in North Dakota. In Minnesota, they rode on about 150 miles of mostly paved rail trails.

"It was a trip of a lifetime, and we had an amazing experience," Anne Cowan said. "We are already planning our next trip."

She said many people they met were surprised by the reason behind the trip, but the three months on the road gave the Cowans opportunities to highlight the value of hospice care.

"We talked to a lot of people who were interested in hospice and helped them understand what hospice is, how it works and how it benefits patients and their families," Anne Cowan said. "I heard from many people about their experiences with hospice and how helpful it was. It felt good that we were able to share with people about the importance of hospice."

Hospice provides support at home for people in the end stages of progressive, incurable illnesses. Inpatient hospice care is an option for patients who have symptoms that can no longer be controlled at home.

This service provides effective management of pain and other symptoms and supportive services for patients and families. Caregivers address the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients and families to offer hope, comfort and support.

Todd Norris, Wellmont Health System's senior vice president of system advancement and Wellmont Foundation's president, said the healing garden represents another powerful way the community can partner with not-for-profit health systems.

"Whether it is coming to the hospice house to assist with the planting of trees and flowers or making a financial contribution, the residents in our region are empowering Wellmont to achieve a high level of care," Norris said. "We are pleased to deliver superior care with compassion, but the involvement of the community enables us to elevate the quality and meaningfully impact people's lives."

Contributions for this project can still be made at www.wellmontfoundation.org. Further information about the hospice program and the hospice house is available at www.wellmont.org.