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Horizons' program honors residents at end of life

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Photo submitted Pam Howe (left) donated a beautiful handmade quilt to the "End of Life, Discharge with Dignity" program at Horizons Care Center. Pictured on the right is Amy Bryant, Horizons memory support program director.

Horizons Care Center has received a donation of a handmade quilt to its "End of Life, Discharge with Dignity" program from Pam Howe, daughter of a Horizons Care Center resident.

"We now have the most beautiful quilt designed to honor those who are leaving us and sincerely appreciate this heart-felt gift," admissions and marketing director Karen Crump said.

Horizons Care Center created the program several years ago to honor its residents at end of life and to create a new culture of thought around death. Instead of keeping news of a death quiet and taking the deceased out the back entrance, the staff at Horizons chose to come up with a new process to create a meaningful ceremony around a death and to allow the deceased to leave through the front door with dignity.

"We have created a special hospice room we use for our residents who are passing. It is tranquil and private and provides room for families to be with their loved one and our loved one," Crump said. "We also notify the roommate and others by placing a white flower at the dying resident's place at their dining room table."

Crump explained that after a resident passes, when the funeral home arrives to pick up the deceased, the staff covers the body with either a quilt or for former military, an American flag. For veteran residents, a retired military officer pays a visit and does a full military salute. Taps is played as the veteran leaves the facility.

"We notify our residents and staff that someone has passed by announcing that the white dove has flown and we ring a bell. Staff and residents line up along the hallway to pay their respect, say their final goodbyes, and honor the departed resident," she said.

"It is one of those things you have to witness, and experience, to truly understand," said Kelly Mathieu, director of nursing at Horizons.

Each month, departed residents are honored at a celebration of life ceremony which is open to both residents, family members and staff to attend.

Donations to the Discharge with Dignity program are accepted Monday through Friday at the Horizons front desk. For more information, or to find out how you can help, contact Karen Crump at 11411 Hwy 65, Eckert, CO 81418, 970-835-2900 or kcrump@voa.org.

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Business, Eckert, Horizons Care
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