Tammy Feyen with the Bonner Community (BC) Hospice in Sandpoint spoke to the Rotary Club on February 1st about Hospice and its presence in Bonner and Boundary Counties. Hospice services in Boundary County started as a volunteer group by the late Francis Lederhos and is now part of the BC Hospice in Sandpoint.  There are 6 very active volunteers from Boundary County.

One of four hospice organizations in the area, and the only non-profit hospice, BC Hospice addresses the medical, emotional, spiritual and psychological needs of the terminally ill person and their loved ones.  Feyen explained that a patient with a terminal diagnosis, like cancer, is eligible for hospice care if their prognosis is six months or less. The focus is on palliative care -- comfort and supporting quality of life rather than cure and extending life. Once a referral is made for services, the hospice team consists of the patient's personal physician, together with registered nurses, medical social workers, chaplains, certified nurses' aides, volunteers and bereavement counselors. Prescriptions and medical equipment and supplies are generally provided at no cost if they are related to the terminal illness.

Hospice services are paid through Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, private payment and/or donations. Fund raising is a constant with BC Hospice and consists of community supported programs like the "Memorial Tree of Light" and private donations in memory of a loved one noted on the "Healing Garden Memorial Wall".  The organization  sponsors an annual seminar on all aspects related to hospice. The topic this year is "End of Life Spirituality".  Classes are also provided in the  community for bereavement services and are offered at no charge.

For further information, BC Hospice has a website and can also be contacted by phone at 208-265-1179.