Shopping for all those holiday presents can be extremely time consuming, so get a little time back for yourself by having someone else handle the gift wrapping for you. Now through Christmas Eve (yes, all you wait-til-the-last-minute elves), Hospice by the Bay is staffing a volunteer-run gift wrapping station at the Town Center Corte Madera. The best part? The wrapping service is absolutely free, although donations are gratefully accepted and help fund this valuable non-profit, providing an important service to the community that many of us will tap into at some point in our lifetime.
Since 1975, Hospice by the Bay has helped Marin families during pivotal times requiring end-of-life care for family members. We caught up with Janet Evans, a senior director at Hospice by the Bay, to find out more about this longstanding non-profit, which was the first of its kind in California.
How did you become personally interested in getting involved with Hospice by the Bay?
I witnessed first-hand the positive impact Hospice by the Bay had on my family when my grandparents, who were in their nineties, needed hospice service. The clinical care that was provided in my grandparents’ home, including support for two generations of family caretakers and offering peace of mind, was priceless.
How long have you been working for Hospice by the Bay?
I began as a patient care volunteer for Hospice by the Bay 14 years ago, and then I have worked as a staff member for the past 13 years.
Why is there is a need for an organization like this in the community?
So many thoughts race through someone’s mind when they are facing a terminal illness. What if I become a burden? How will my children cope? How will my family get through this? We are here so no one has to go through this alone.
Every day, Hospice by the Bay helps hundreds of patients and their loved ones to find answers to questions they’ve never had to ask before. Through our clinical team model, we support patients in living the fullest life possible. It is comforting for patients to receive care in their own home surrounded by their loved ones.
When our patients and families begin receiving hospice care, they express many feelings, especially relief. They share their gratitude because so many things that were uncertain are now more manageable. Family and friends who want to be there for their loved ones are not always sure how best to help. With guidance from our care team, they gain confidence and step up in ways that are truly remarkable.
Are there any moments working there of which you are most proud?
We were able to care for a woman who had been living on the streets and had been estranged from her family for decades. We reunited her with her brother and it meant so much to both of them to be together in her final weeks.
What kind of positive feedback have you received from those who benefit from your care?
These quotes from two of our families illustrate it best:
“I had always heard about the wonderful care everyone got from Hospice by the Bay, but I never imagined it to be as great as it was. Your attention to my aunt’s well-being, to anything she needed, and even to her caregivers, was incredible. You had such compassion, love and empathy for what was happening.”
“We cannot imagine how we would have gone through those last few weeks without your support. The care you provided our father was respectful, gentle, and compassionate. Throughout his journey, you always educated us as a family, letting us know what to expect. This was so reassuring to us during such a difficult time.”