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  • Spectrum Hospice Continues Harp and Pet-visitation Programs

    Representatives of Spectrum Home Health and Hospice Care met with Binese Goldberg, a trustee of the Albert E. & Lillian M. Marceau Fund for the Terminally Ill, to receive another round of program funding. From left are music practitioner Dr. Donalyn Gross; Goldberg; Cynthia Hinckley with her therapy dog, James; and Kathleen Benoit, director of the Spectrum Hospice program.

    ONGMEADOW — Spectrum Home Health and Hospice Care, a program of Jewish Geriatric Services (JGS), is again the recipient of a grant from the Albert E. & Lillian M. Marceau Fund for the Terminally Ill.

    Binese Goldberg, a trustee of the fund, delivered a third year of funding for a therapeutic harp program, which brings live harp music to a patient’s bedside, and a second year of support for a therapeutic pet-visitation program available to patients served by Spectrum Hospice. Spectrum serves those living in private residences, at Ruth’s House, at the Julian J. Leavitt Family Jewish Nursing Home, and other area facilities.

    The bedside harp program is managed by Dr. Donalyn Gross, who has concentrated her career in thanotology, the study of death and dying. She is also a certified music practitioner who has been providing support to those nearing the end of life, as well as education to health care providers, for more than 30 years as part of her own Good Endings program.

    The pet-visitation program was founded based on the positive role that animals can play to improve one’s quality of life and the sense of comfort so beneficial at this time. These dogs and their human companions are trained by the Bright Spot Therapy program and are part of the Spectrum Hospice care team. The visits are integrated into the care plan of each individual receiving this service.

    Kathleen Benoit, director of the Spectrum hospice program, explained that “our therapeutic harp program and the therapeutic pet-visiting program are two wonderful ways that Spectrum Hospice distinguishes our end-of-life services. They are part of our team, which includes registered nurses, our medical director, a medical social worker, home health aides, our director of pastoral care, and traditional volunteers. We make every effort to tailor our services to each individual’s personal needs and seek ways to bring a sense of calmness, dignity, and peace to each patient.”

    Susan Kimball Halpern, JGS director of Major Gifts and Advancement, expressed the importance of this support.

    “As a nonprofit health care provider, JGS is chronically underfunded by third-party reimbursement sources for the standard of care that we provide,” she said. “ Community philanthropic support has always made it possible for us to deliver our exceptional quality of programming and services. That is why it is so gratifying to be able to bring together a community funder, like the Albert and Lillian Marceau Fund for the Terminally Ill, and talented people like Dr. Donalyn Gross and Cynthia Hinkley to deliver programming that touches people’s lives and makes life’s difficult transitions easier.

    “Our therapeutic harp program and our dog-visitation program represent the best that JGS can be with the support of community partners,” she added. “These programs exhibit our mission of caring in action. We are so appreciative that the trustees of the Marceau Fund recognize the positive impact these programs have on those facing end of life, and continue to offer their support.”

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