Friends and Families Show Support at VNA Luncheon

Published: Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Lutheran SeniorLife’s Visiting Nurses Association, western Pennsylvania hospice provides comfort care for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their loved ones who are experiencing the challenges of a life-limiting illness. Last month, about 220 friends and families served by VNA hospice gathered at Butler Country Club for the ninth annual Friendship Luncheon to raise funds to support the hospice program.

“We introduced the luncheon as an opportunity to make time to be with and enjoy the company of friends and family we otherwise don’t see enough – a ladies day out amidst the countless demands most experience,” said Judy Connelly, director of VNA Hospice and Palliative Care.

The event raised more than $10,000 which will be used to support patients and their families, increase awareness of the many benefits of hospice care, support community volunteers and bereavement activities, defray the cost of expenses related to volunteer training, sponsor support groups and ‘wish trips,” and other special events and services.

“The luncheon is important for multiple reasons. In hospice care, we see amazing things day after day. We hear thousands of stories involving memories, love and regret. As illness progresses we see endearing friend and family relationships enter the picture to support, love and care for the patient. It reminds us that in this crazy busy world, these relationships are the most precious thing we take with us and surround ourselves with near the end of our life,” Connelly continued.

For the most part, patients requiring hospice care are able to receive VNA services in the place they call home, whether it is a private residence, assisted living facility, nursing facility or even in a hospital. For the times when the patient is experiencing distressing symptoms, VNA hospice services can be provided at its state-of-the-art inpatient facility in Butler, PA.

“The support for patients and families in relationship to VNA’s Friendship Luncheon is two-fold,” said Margie Walsh, interim executive director of VNA. “The proceeds from the luncheon support continued hospice services both in the home and at our inpatient unit at a level for which the community has come to count on. In addition, it gives families the opportunity to give back and show support for the care their loved ones received. We are extremely grateful to those who support our organization.”


Pictured at right: Jenna Rhodaberger, VNA Hospice bereavement coordinator (center), attended the luncheon with her grandmothers Dorothy Mincer and Arlene Stevenson, her sister Abby Walsh and mother Sherri Wood.

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