Community Hospice House marking 15th anniversary

MERRIMACK – December marks the 15th anniversary of the Community Hospice House opening in Merrimack.

The CHH is a 10-bed facility owned and operated by Home Health & Hospice Care, which serves people at the end of life, typically in the last days to weeks.

While hospice care can happen in any environment – private homes, nursing home and assisted-living facilities, and hospitals – the CHH is a setting specifically focused on providing care in the final phase of life. It is specially staffed to be able to manage the care of people with acute pain and symptom issues that might be difficult to manage in other settings.

But the experience for those who are cared for at the CHH is much broader than having physical symptoms assuaged. Staff and volunteers are there to support the whole person on his or her journey, as well as family and loved ones.

As the 15th anniversary approaches, it is appropriate to reflect on the chosen name – the Community Hospice House. Far from being generic, the word "community" defines much about the place it has become. Community, as it turns out, is very personal.

The CHH serves the community. But it is also the elements of community gathered in those services that make it the place it is.

Staff members provide compassionate care day in and day out. Volunteers, who wash the dishes, fold the laundry, visit with pets, sit for presence, offer reiki and care for the gardens, are young and old, male and female, working and retired. They represent all aspects of the community.

The ground on which the CHH was built was donated by Pennichuck Water Works. Handmade quilts covering the beds are donated by local quilters.

Women from a local church make cucumber sandwiches for quarterly bereavement teas, allowing bereavement staff and volunteers to welcome family members back to the CHH after the death of their loved one and to check in. Neighbors comfortably walk their dogs through the parking lot and gardens.

The threads of community are deeply interwoven, and the experience of patients and families served there are enriched by that connection.

Through the first 15 years, many lives have been touched by the CHH. Nearly 4,000 people have been cared for within those walls. And with the countless family members and friends who have also been part of their stories, the ripples of impact are far and wide.

There is a little-known fact related to the building of the CHH. Under the faux stone that makes up the immense fireplace in the house’s great room, literally built into the foundation, someone anonymously wrote a simple wish: "Peace to All Who Enter."

As HHHC and the community gather to celebrate this 15th anniversary, it is a celebration of being connected, of holding space. It is recognizing death as a phase of life and knowing that these last days to weeks can have great meaning.

As a community, the staff and volunteers at the CHH will continue to partner with patients and families to do this work.

Community Hospice House marking 15th anniversary

MERRIMACK – December marks the 15th anniversary of the Community Hospice House opening in Merrimack.

The CHH is a 10-bed facility owned and operated by Home Health & Hospice Care, which serves people at the end of life, typically in the last days to weeks.

While hospice care can happen in any environment – private homes, nursing home and assisted-living facilities, and hospitals – the CHH is a setting specifically focused on providing care in the final phase of life. It is specially staffed to be able to manage the care of people with acute pain and symptom issues that might be difficult to manage in other settings.

But the experience for those who are cared for at the CHH is much broader than having physical symptoms assuaged. Staff and volunteers are there to support the whole person on his or her journey, as well as family and loved ones.

As the 15th anniversary approaches, it is appropriate to reflect on the chosen name – the Community Hospice House. Far from being generic, the word "community" defines much about the place it has become. Community, as it turns out, is very personal.

The CHH serves the community. But it is also the elements of community gathered in those services that make it the place it is.

Staff members provide compassionate care day in and day out. Volunteers, who wash the dishes, fold the laundry, visit with pets, sit for presence, offer reiki and care for the gardens, are young and old, male and female, working and retired. They represent all aspects of the community.

The ground on which the CHH was built was donated by Pennichuck Water Works. Handmade quilts covering the beds are donated by local quilters.

Women from a local church make cucumber sandwiches for quarterly bereavement teas, allowing bereavement staff and volunteers to welcome family members back to the CHH after the death of their loved one and to check in. Neighbors comfortably walk their dogs through the parking lot and gardens.

The threads of community are deeply interwoven, and the experience of patients and families served there are enriched by that connection.

Through the first 15 years, many lives have been touched by the CHH. Nearly 4,000 people have been cared for within those walls. And with the countless family members and friends who have also been part of their stories, the ripples of impact are far and wide.

There is a little-known fact related to the building of the CHH. Under the faux stone that makes up the immense fireplace in the house’s great room, literally built into the foundation, someone anonymously wrote a simple wish: "Peace to All Who Enter."

As HHHC and the community gather to celebrate this 15th anniversary, it is a celebration of being connected, of holding space. It is recognizing death as a phase of life and knowing that these last days to weeks can have great meaning.

As a community, the staff and volunteers at the CHH will continue to partner with patients and families to do this work.