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Marceau Fund delivers gift to Spectrum Hospice for those nearing end-of-life

LONGMEADOW Spectrum Home Health and Hospice Care, a program of Jewish Geriatric Services (JGS), received a special holiday gift from the Albert E. & Lillian M. Marceau Fund for the Terminally Ill. The Marceau Fund delivered a check to renew funding for a Therapeutic Harp program, which brings live harp music to a patient's bedside, and also brought funding to support a new Dog Visiting Program to be made available to clients served by Spectrum Hospice. Spectrum Hospice serves clients in private residences, at Ruth's House, at the Julian J. Leavitt Family Jewish Nursing Home and other facilities. The Dog Visiting Program will build on the positive role that animals can play to improve quality of life, and the sense of comfort so beneficial at this time. With support from the Marceau Fund, Spectrum will formally introduce a four legged "caring friend" dog and volunteer to those in the hospice program who wish to avail themselves of this special service. Spectrum Hospice will partner with an organization that trains dogs and their human handlers, matches patient's needs and characteristics to those of the dog and provides oversight. The dog visits will be integrated into the care plan of each individual receiving this special service. JGS' bedside harp program, now in its third year, is managed by Donalyn Gross, Ph.D., LCSW, CMP, who has concentrated her career in an area known as thanotology (the study of death and dying). She is also a Certified Music Practitioner, who has been providing support to those nearing the end-of-life, as well as education to healthcare providers, for over 29 years as part of her own "Good Endings" program. Diane Mintz, Executive Director of Spectrum Home Health & Hospice Care, who accepted the grant proceeds, explained, "Our Therapeutic Harp Program and this new Dog Visiting Program are two wonderful ways that Spectrum Hospice distinguishes our end-of-life services. We make every effort to tailor our services to each individual's personal needs and seek ways to bring a sense of calmness, dignity and peace to each patient." Binese Goldberg, a Trustee of the Albert E. and Lillian M. Marceau Foundation for the Terminally Ill, shared the funds history: "William T. Marceau, son of Albert E. & Lillian M. Marceau, established this fund in memory of his dear parents, as a way to fund initiatives that bring comfort to the terminally ill. Bill was a musician and a piano technician, so it is very appropriate that the grant be used to comfort those in the last hours of their life through music. The additional funding of the new Dog Visitation Program will further Bill's wishes to provide comfort and quality of life to the terminally ill in this very special and caring way."

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