Hospice launches pet program aimed at giving patients peace of mind

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MEDINA, Ohio (WJW) — A new program is being launched by Hospice of the Western Reserve in Medina County that will give palliative and hospice patients greater peace of mind.

It’s called the Pet Peace of Mind program and offers that, and so much more to people suffering from a chronic or terminal illness. 

“I think it’s a great program, and I’m honored to be a part of it,” said volunteer Jamie Glomb. “Because it helps the patients at end of life be able to keep their pets at home.”

Hospice has long recognized the importance of animals to their owners.

As such, Lisa Scotese-Gallagher, Director of Staff Experience for Hospice of the Western Reserve says, the new service just makes good sense.

“We have always had a mission to care for patients and families and whoever they identify as family. And, you can imagine often caregivers and patients tell us their pets are part of their family,” said Scotese-Gallagher.

Sadly, caring for a pet can become difficult for patients — especially those without family members to help out.

That’s where Pet Peace of Mind volunteers step in. After undergoing specific training, volunteers can help with a number of needs from playing with the pet to cleaning up after them.

“If they need me to come in to help exercise or walk animals or take them to vet appointments or they need me to help with feedings or grooming appointments I can do that,” said Glomb.

The program is already happening nationwide and launching locally in Medina County, but will be available at all Hospice of the Western Reserve locations throughout the ten counties they serve across northern Ohio.

“We have people across our entire service area who are poised and ready to meet the needs as they arise,” said Scotese-Gallagher.

Not only do they care for a pet now but they offer peace of mind for later by finding the animals foster care and/or new permanent homes.

Along with this program, Hospice has also increased pet therapy visits.

“So it gives them peace of mind knowing as they’re passing away that their animal’s going to be taken care of,” said Glomb.

Glomb’s Doberman Manny is a certified therapy dog, and certified search and rescue dog that recently received the second-highest possible award from the American Kennel Club for his hard work as a therapy canine.

For Glomb, this program is personal because both of her parents were once Hospice patients. She says the best way to honor their memory is to help comfort others.

“We go around to different homes and do visits especially during the pandemic we’ve been doing more window visits and outside parades just to uplift some of the patients,” she said.

If anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer they can call (216) 255-9090.

Hospice of the Western Reserve says they can also use donated gift cards to help support the program. They say gift cards to grocery stores are preferable because they can be used to purchase food, leashes, litter, and other necessities for the animals at one location.

Click here for more information about the Pet Peace of Mind program.

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