BootLeg Betty

At The “Crossroads”

Crossroads Hospice provides ‘ultimate gift’

“If you only had one day to live, what would that day look like?”

Press Release
By Crossroads Hospice Of Philadelphia
Mar 01, 2007 08:55:47

Photo: Ortega/Wired

(PRLog.Org) – (Horsham, PA)- The mission of Crossroads Hospice of Philadelphia is to provide highly competent comprehensive and compassionate hospice services to persons experiencing a life-limiting illness and to their families.

The company believes in compassionate, end-of-life care – which can best be exemplified by its “Ultimate Gift” philosophy.

The Ultimate Gift program is the brain child of Crossroads Hospices President and Founder, Perry Farmer. One of the facets of the Ultimate Gift program allows a patient who is at the end of his life to choose the gift of a day.

With the help of hospice staff and family, a patient may choose a meaningful experience to be brought into his or her home or hospital room.

The idea, Farmer said, came after reading “The Ultimate Gift,” a book by author Jim Stovall. Farmer and Stovall have formed a partnership to spread the concept across the country.

Crossroads Hospice took the concept of “The Gift of a Day” and turned it into reality. They have helped terminally ill people all across the country live out their perfect day.

“We want to remove any barriers that keep people from letting go comfortably,” said Farmer, from his Tulsa office. “We want to take away some of the negatives and add some positives.

“If you knew you were going to be gone the day after tomorrow, what would you do tomorrow?” he asked. “What could we do to celebrate your life?”

Farmer said the process of choosing the gift of a day has two benefits. First, he said, it causes the patient to reflect on what is important to him or her, and the discussion forges a relationship between patient and caregiver.

“We plan out the whole day as part of the care plan,” Farmer said. “Some may be physically or financially prohibitive, and we look for creative ways around that.”

The hospice has a network of about 400 specially trained volunteers across the country to help devise ways to deliver the day.

For example, one patient wanted to go to the beach. Farmer said sand, a wading pool, beach towels and umbrellas and music were brought in to the patient’s room. She was able to play in the sand and enjoy the water.

Another patient was treated to a video vacation to Fiji to “meet” distant relatives and to see the sights.

A World War II veteran in Kansas City requested to make a video thanking the troops serving in the Middle East. The tape was played on the 10 p.m. news one evening, and the man was able to let go and die about 15 minutes after the broadcast, Farmer said.

Farmer said celebrities even have been involved in some of the gifts. Bette Midler made an appearance during a day in Atlanta.

Patients also have the chance to give the gift of gratitude in the form of a scrapbook. “This is the way to make the journey the best,” he said. “It’s a bridge. It’s a path of heritage; providing a legacy. It’s also a bridge back for the patient to say ‘I love you,’ and a bridge back from the pain. It’s an exercise in closure.”

The third component is a Gift of Recovery. This is a gift to the communities we serve and we can help others with their issues and grief recovery.

Farmer instituted the Ultimate Gift Foundation in order to defray some of the costs associated with arranging the gifts, he said.

“It’s wonderful to be able to take hospice to the community and to do things that make a difference,” Farmer said.

For more information on Crossroads Hospice of Philadelphia and the Ultimate Gift program call 215-956-5110 or visit www.crossroadshospice.com

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