Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County is offering several upcoming programs for Wilton residents:

  • Support for Coping with Loss during the Holiday Season
  • Hospice Volunteer Training Course
  • Peace and Compassion on the Final Journey“–a special program co-hosted with the Wilton Library for National Hospice Month

Support for Coping with Loss During the Holiday Season

The holiday season can be a particularly challenging time, especially for adults who are struggling to cope with grief and loss. Wilton’s Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County is sponsoring two, 5-week support groups on Coping with Loss during the Holiday Season.

The support groups will be facilitated by Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County interfaith minister and licensed clinical social worker, Rev. Karen S. Judd, a grief and bereavement counselor with the Agency. “In these support groups we will discuss feelings of grief and sadness that well up particularly during the holiday season,” Judd says. “We will explore ways to promote healing as well as discuss strategies for coping with stress and loss during this emotionally difficult time of year.”

The support groups will be held at the offices of Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County in Suite 114 at the Health and Wellness Center at I-Park, 761 Main Avenue (Route 7), at the intersection of Kent Road, on the Wilton/Norwalk town line.

One support group will meet Thursdays, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., beginning Thursday, Nov. 17 through Thursday, Dec. 22. The other group will meet Thursdays, 6-7:30 p.m., also beginning  Thursday, Nov. 17 through Thursday, Dec. 22. The groups will not meet on Thursday, November 24, which is Thanksgiving.

The bereavement support groups are open to the public and there is no fee to participate but advanced registration is required. For additional information, or to register to attend one of the support groups on Coping with Loss during the Holiday Season, contact Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County at 203.762.8958, ext. 255.

Hospice Volunteer Training Course

Visiting Nurse & Hospice is seeking caring and sensitive individuals from Wilton to serve as hospice volunteers. Hospice volunteers visit terminally ill patients and their families and provide emotional support, respite care and companionship. In training, hospice volunteers develop the skills they will need to work with patients and families and are provided with ongoing support and supervision.

“Hospice volunteers play a vital role in supporting our patients and their families,” says Laurie Petrasanta, volunteer coordinator for Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County. “They help patients live their last days in peace, with dignity and grace. Hospice volunteers also work closely with grieving families to help them through the bereavement process,” she says, and adds that hospice volunteers often feel a great sense of satisfaction.

Hospice volunteer Phyllis Osterman says it is an honor to volunteer and do hospice work. “I want to help people leave this life in comfort, with companionship and love. It’s about compassion. I believe I have been able to make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients and their families. This work is an affirmation of all that is good and important in life.”

Anyone interested in volunteering may register to participate in a five-session hospice volunteer training course beginning Monday, Dec. 5 and continuing through Friday, Dec. 9. Training will be held 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. each day at the Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County offices.

For more information, or to register for the five-session training course to become a hospice volunteer, call Petrasanta at 203.834.6341, ext. 316.

“Peace and Compassion on the Final Journey”

Caring for a loved one who is approaching the end of life is not the same as caring for someone who is going to get better.

November is National Hospice Month and Wilton’s Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County is teaming up with the Wilton Library to host a program called “Peace and Compassion on the Final Journey,” to be held in the Brubeck Room at the Wilton Library, 137 Old Ridgefield Rd., on Monday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m..

The public is invited to attend this special program, which will feature a compelling film by Barbara Karnes, RN called New Rules for End of Life Care, followed by an open and frank discussion among a panel of experts about caring for a loved one who is nearing the end of life. The discussion will be moderated by Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist and best-selling author, Diane Smith.

Panel participants include Christine Pfeffer, RN, MS, hospice director of Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County, and Richard Frank, MD. They will be joined by interfaith minister and bereavement counselor, Rev. Judd, LCSW, as well as hospice volunteer, Inge Maerwitz.

Caregivers and other family members will benefit from the professional advice and compassionate guidance they receive and learn how to provide a peaceful, end-of-life experience for their loved one.

This program is open to the public and offered free of charge but space is limited and registration is encouraged. For additional information, or to register to attend Peace and Compassion on the Final Journey, call the Wilton Library at 203.762.3950 or visit the library website registration page.