In 2005 Holy Family Hospice in Parma, Ohio became a part of the St. Augustine Health Ministries, a family of community and residential services in the Diocese of Cleveland. Founded originally in 1956 by the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, New York, Holy Family Hospice was one of seven homes for individuals with incurable cancer. In 2006, they expanded their services to include individuals with any life-limiting illnesses and add a community hospice program.
Holy Family Hospice is unique in that it is the only faith-based hospice care facility in Cuyahoga County. The community is sized to provide individualized care ensuring that no one is lost in the system.
Although it is a Catholic-based care facility, Holy Family Hospice offers care to all patients regardless of their faith.
The home’s core values of dignity and familial care extend not only to members of the Catholic Church, but to all who enter. “I’d say that 80 percent of our patients are Catholic, but the other 20 percent are people of all faiths or non-faiths,” said Pastoral Care Coordinator Sister Margaret Mary. “We reject no one and [we] will not turn anyone away…for any reason.”
The importance of treating each patient as an individual, on what Sister Mary Margaret has termed their faith walk, is what makes their facility and services unique. Each member of their staff, from the kitchen to the nurses, believes in the ministry and the importance of the care they provide.
“Working here is truly a work of grace,” according to Holy Family Hospice’s Director, Kristen Graham. “Everybody recognizes that they are part of this journey. You are not always invited in to this sacred time in life, and when you are invited in, it is a gift…you don’t do this work if you don’t get that.”
Holy Family Hospice prides itself on not only giving their patients the best in spiritual and medical care, but also provides event-based care that inspires and entertains patients during this end-of-life journey. Graham says, “We’re always trying to find ways we can create a more comfortable environment for both patients and families.”
From musical therapy, to pet therapy to summer picnics, Holy Family puts on a variety of activities to create a positive, loving environment. “Sometimes a guitar or accordion player will come and they will go from room-to-room and play the patients’ favorite songs,” said Sister Margaret Mary.
Another aspect that makes Holy Family Hospice unique is the amount of care they put into the physical facility. Graham proudly stated, “We are constantly remodeling.” This past year, the facility has been renovated with fresh interior painting, new recliners for the families, a spa tub, an entirely new waiting room, a gift shop, and a gorgeous stained glass window. Next spring they will do an entire renovation of the grounds, including their Memorial Garden. “We strive to make a more comfortable place physically and visually to give everyone a sense of well-being,” Graham said.
At the end of the day, Holy Family Hospice provides excellent individualized care to a variety of patients at the end of their life. The facility and the staff reflect their mission to serve everyone. “I work in God’s waiting room, said sister Margaret Mary. “ [We] are just a small stop on the road to heaven.”
For additional information visit the Holy Family Hospice site.