Hospice will hold its first dinner, silent/live auction fundraiser Saturday, Aug. 16 beginning at 5 p.m. in the Mount Shasta City Park Upper Lodge.

Mercy Hospice says its focus is to “provide medical, emotional and spiritual support and care for those whose illness cannot be cured, and to enrich every moment of remaining life.”

Hospice will hold its first dinner, silent/live auction fundraiser Saturday, Aug. 16 beginning at 5 p.m. in the Mount Shasta City Park Upper Lodge.

Tickets for “Dinner with Heart” are $35, available at Village Books in Mount Shasta or at the hospice office at Mercy Medical Center Mount Shasta campus, 914 Pine Street.

Hospice Social Worker and Volunteer Coordinator Hannah Helms said the fundraiser is the program’s way of assisting with the cost of hospice care that has seen declining financial resources.

“No one is ever turned away from hospice services regardless of insurance or ability to pay,” Helms said. “But we’re seeing an increasing number of patients who are under-insured and cuts in benefits, especially for veterans.”

Helms said hospice is supported by Mercy Foundation North and hospice wants to assist the Foundation that has many responsibilities.

“The Foundation gives us tremendous support, but they support many programs,” Helms said. “The fundraiser is our way of doing what we can to support our program as much as possible.”

Hospice offers a team-approach that includes a medical director, registered nurse, home health aide, social worker, chaplain, physical therapist and volunteers. The Hospice medical director meets regularly with the hospice team to assess the plan of care, pain management, and progress. Care is provided at home whenever possible.

Helms said the criteria for acceptance into hospice is a qualifying medical diagnosis of no more than six months to live.

Referrals come from many sources, including medical personnel, family and the patient.

“People must be willing to shift from aggressive medical care to comfort care,” Helms said. “We meet with patients and discuss whether hospice should be immediate or in the future. We’re about enhancing the quality of life for the time people have left.”

Helms said patients are often fearful of death or are looking for a medical solution.

“We have people who don’t want to talk about death or have unrealistic expectations of postponing death indefinitely,” Helms said.

The fundraiser is being entirely put together by the volunteers who “saw a need and acted it on it,” Helms said.

Volunteer Susan Brennan said an important part of hospice is the wide circle of support. “Hospice serves the whole family, not just the patient,” she said.

One of the volunteers’ functions, according to Brennan, is to be the bridge between the patient and the family. “We might be the only ones who listen to the patient and help the family understand the process their loved one is going through,” she said. “We educate the family on the dying process.”

Volunteer Rick Demarest said, “My main purpose is to give relief to the caregivers. They tend to be forgotten. They want to be there 24/7. It’s not possible. They get worn out. The caregivers sometimes feel that there must be something they can do. Our culture wants to be able to fix things. One of the things I learned early on from hospice founder Barbara Moyer was never to take anything personal in front of the patient. Take it outside.”

Volunteer Michael Zanger has nothing but praise for hospice. He said, “The Mount Shasta hospice is a wonderful long term success story in compassionate care for our community. The foundation of hospice is that the patient is able to be in the comfort of their own home. We’ve seen patients with extended family and those with no family at all. Those are the ones most in need. Hospice crosses all lines and everyone is treated with compassion.”

Donations are gratefully accepted and funds go directly to the hospice program. Make checks out to Mercy Hospice and send to Mercy Hospice, 914 Pine Street, Mount Shasta, CA 96067.

For more information, call 530-926-6111, extension 455 or visit the website at www.mercymtshasta.org/