Move-in Assistance, Healing Touch and Polarity Therapies Now Offered

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ –The volunteer program at the Center for Hope Hospice & Palliative Care has grown tremendously in both ranks and services. Now, Center volunteers are offering patients a new move-in assistance program, veteran program, and two holistic modalities to relieve stress and pain.

Justin Densch, 17 of Kenilworth, is one of the move-in assistance volunteers; upon request, he helps prep patients’ rooms for hospice care.

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“Sometimes furniture needs to be moved or obstacles removed to make it easier for the patient, family and nurse to get around; or they may need help putting things away when they get home," explained Densch, who also participates in the Center's gardening club and monthly book club. "It’s very rewarding to make the patients as comfortable as possible and I know it helps the families as well.”

“With patients coming home from the hospital or rehab center, there’s a lot for the family to deal with and the room may not be arranged ideally for a hospice patient’s needs,” said Stacy Kaplan, Center for Hope’s volunteer coordinator. “This move-in assistance takes the burden off of the family and helps the patient get settled.”

The Center’s volunteer department has also started a program to honor military veterans that is run by volunteer Elaine Coupe. She and her team arrange a visit from a member of the Veteran’s Association who presents the patient with a hat, pin and prayer card, along with a message of thanks for their service and dedication to the U.S. armed forces. Patients and families alike have been honored and touched by the intimate ceremonies.

Holistic therapies to promote calm and comfort

Mary Ann Dolling was looking for something rewarding to do after retiring from nursing. As a certified healing touch therapist, she now offers the technique to patients at the Center for Hope.

“Healing touch is a very relaxing, nurturing energy therapy with a goal of balancing the body’s energy pathways naturally to promote well-being,” explained Dolling. “It works in harmony with standard medical care, and can be used to alleviate acute or chronic conditions and relieve pain, making it a wonderful modality for hospice patients.”

Doreen DiGiacomo is bringing polarity therapy to Center patients, which she describes as a cross between reiki and massage.

“Like healing touch, polarity therapy is used to shift the body’s energy balance in order to encourage energy flow,” said DiGiacomo. “It is especially helpful for patients who are feeling physical pain or stress. It’s very relaxing and can improve one’s emotional state and cognition.”

DiGiacomo is also an 11th Hour volunteer, part of a specially trained team that offers transitional support to patients and their loved ones at the very end of life.

“Hospice care is about providing comfort to our patients in various ways—physical, emotional, spiritual. Our corps of dedicated volunteers are helping us fulfill that mission in meaningful and innovative ways,” said Frank Brady, president of the Center for Hope.

The Center for Hope offers palliative and hospice care services in its two residences in Scotch Plains and Elizabeth, as well as where patients reside throughout Union County and surrounding areas. For information about the many other volunteer opportunities at the Center for Hope, contact Stacy Kaplan at skaplan@cfhh.org or (908) 288-9111.

About Center for Hope Hospice & Palliative Care, Inc.
Center for Hope Hospice & Palliative Care (Center for Hope) is a non-profit, community-based organization that provides terminally ill patients with hospice care, and their families or loved ones with physical, emotional, and spiritual support during their time of need. The Center actively supports the individual's right to live out the remainder of their life with dignity and in comfort, surrounded by the love of family and friends, and eased from the burdens of physical, emotional, spiritual, financial or social distress.​ Center for Hope welcomes all terminally ill patients, their families and loved ones without concern for race, ethnicity, religious affiliation or ability to pay. It also offers pain and symptom management for chronically ill and seriously ill patients through its palliative care program. Center for Hope operates two facilities in Scotch Plains and Elizabeth; the latter provides nearly $3.5 million a year in charity care.