By arhospice on June 6th, 2022
Honoring veterans has always been a priority at the Arkansas Hospice River Valley Home in Russellville, but, recently, an extra touch has helped bring comfort to the facility’s veteran patients during their final days.
As part of the inpatient center’s homelike setting, every patient gets a small quilt or blanket lovingly sewn by volunteers. The blankets have been a tradition at the Arkansas Hospice River Valley Home since its opening more than 10 years ago, said Traci Stokes, who has worked there since the first day and served as the center’s manager for the past seven years.
The blankets and quilts are made by ladies throughout the community and several church groups. If the patient is only at the River Valley Home for a short stay, he or she is invited to take the blanket home, Stokes said. If the patient passes away while at the center, the quilts are given to family members.
Some time ago, Stokes said her staff noticed that several of the blankets had red, white and blue color schemes, so they began saving them for veteran patients.
Then, the center began receiving quilts resembling a small flag – first from one volunteer and then a second. Stokes said it’s likely that the second lady saw the flag quilts while her husband was at the facility.
These specially made patriotic quilts can be extremely meaningful to the veteran patients and their families, Stokes said.
“The flag quilts show the veterans and their families that someone cares and appreciates the sacrifices they’ve made,” she said. “For most of these men and women, it’s probably the last time they’ll be thanked for their service.”
HONORING THOSE WHO’VE SERVED
Along with these patriotic pieces, veterans are honored with a special pinning ceremony as part of Arkansas Hospice’s Committed to Veterans program, which presents veterans in the organization’s care with a small flag and personalized certificate.
“One of every four dying Americans is a veteran,” said Anita Deal, Arkansas Hospice Vice President & Chief Clinical Officer. “Not every veteran wishes to be recognized, but most appreciate it. Of course, the pandemic has made it difficult to hold events for Memorial Day and Veterans Day these past two years, but we still do as much as we can to honor those who’ve served. These blankets and quilts are certainly a wonderful way to help do that.”
Veterans who die at the River Valley Home are also recognized as part of the program’s Last Salute, which honors the deceased with a simple ceremony as they are taken from the premises. A special American flag is put over the veterans, and those who are able stand while Taps is played.
The quilts are just one of the ways that the community has shown support for the River Valley Home – both during its decade of patient care and the years beforehand when nearly $3 million was raised to build the facility. Located at 220 John Babish Lane, the state-of-the art, eight-bed facility provides care in a warm, home-like setting for patients with life-limiting illnesses who need around the clock care. Earlier this year, the Arkansas Hospice Russellville Area Office, which serves patients in their homes, nursing homes or other facilities, moved onto the River Valley Home’s campus, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. To learn more about the history of the Arkansas Hospice River Valley Home and watch a special anniversary presentation titled “A Decade of Patient Care,” please click here.
More information about the Arkansas Hospice River Valley Home, the Arkansas Hospice Committed to Veterans Program, and the nonprofit organization’s volunteer opportunities, including the donation of quilts and blankets, is available at www.arkansashospice.org or by calling 479-964-4500.
I have nothing but the best things to say about Arkansas Hospice. They were so good to my Dad before he passed away. The love and care, compassion they showed to my dad was priceless. The nurses and CNA’s that took care of my Dad are the best and always be the best.
We are just starting our dad’s final journey and Arkansas Hospice has been a blessing. They’ve taught us so much already and provide as much support and comfort to the family as they do my dad. I’m grateful they’ll be walking this final path with us.
I love Arkansas Hospice. Every single employee has a heart of gold and takes the best care of their patients.
I would not hesitate at all to recommend this provider for anyone who is considering hospice care for themselves or for a loved one.
Arkansas Hospice took care of my Mom before she passed. It was my first experience with any hospice and I was amazed. They took such great care of her. They treated her with dignity and respect until the end.
So many thanks for the way your staff treated my very dear friend, Jeff, as he raced toward the finish line. Words can’t express my gratitude for helping us to care for him and keep him comfortable. Top-notch professionalism and immediate responses to requests for assistance.