Lighting a candle in honor of those who have passed is an old tradition that allows us to express what we often cannot communicate with words. By lighting a candle for our loved ones we honor their lives and memory. The flickering flame of the candle helps to remind us of the departed and their impact on our lives.
Each patient is special to Adventist Health's hospice care teams. In small communities like Tillamook, Oregon, the hospice patients are often well-known friends and long-time members of the community — even extended family members. When a patient passes, we pause to remember. During the holiday season — often the most difficult time for those who have lost a loved one — holding the "Light Up a Life" ceremony is one of the many ways Adventist Health hospice teams celebrate life.
Hospice is a distinctive service of Adventist Health, designed to provide sensitive and supportive care for those with terminal illnesses. Hospice care seeks to enable patients to carry on alert, pain-free lives and to manage other symptoms so their end-of-life time may be spent with dignity and quality at home.
Adventist Health has six hospices in Oregon and California. In the Pacific Northwest, we serve patients and families in the Portland and Tillamook areas. A hospice patient receives care from a multidisciplinary team of professionals including doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists, chaplains and volunteers. The hospice team provides guidance and encouragement to the patient as well as to family and friends so they can better handle situations or problems while caring for the patient at home.
Though hospice services are often covered by insurance, such payments rarely cover the full cost of care. Adventist Health Hospice is able to care for all who need and seek our care, regardless of age, diagnosis or ability to pay. Hospices must therefore rely on donations and community support to provide treatments, medical supplies, comfort medications, grief support and respite relief for family members caring for loved ones.
These services have a deep and lasting impact on those struggling with the death of a loved one. A caregiver recently shared her experience with the Adventist Health Hospice in Portland: "Every interaction that we've had with the hospice team members has been pleasant and peace-filled. Hospice is a gift to those of us in need and appreciated even when we are too caught up in our caregiving to pause and thank you. ... You are truly God's angels here on Earth and are simply masters at tucking those beautiful wings away out of sight."