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Mindful : February 2014
February 2014 mindful 45 four hospice houses that have sig ned up for the program. Rochester has more two-bed hospice homes than any other city in the U.S . Under state law, hospice homes with only two beds are allowed to operate as homes, not hospitals. Add another bed and it becomes a legislated health-care facility, and the cost per bed jumps from $100,000 a year to $175,000 a year because of the need for full- time nursing staff. T wo-bed hospice houses can run with one director, volunteers who come on two-person shifts from morning to night, a paid nursing assistant who stays overnight, and an on-call nurse who comes when needed, such as to confirm a death. The students sig n up for shifts—there’s no set number they need to fulfill, but some become so dedicated, they elect to put in hundreds of hours. At that point, the classes at school become a forum where the students can share and process their experiences. As she prepares to graduate, Carolyn Rumrill, 18, says she has learned to see the big picture: “At this stage, we’re expected to figure out our lives— where we’ll go to school next year. You need to do well in extracurricular and academics, so it’s really self-centered right now. This course moves you away from that. It’s not all about you. There are many aspects to life, so don’t freak out about every little thing. I also feel like I’ve become more attuned to listening instead of speaking.” Kane asks his students who wants to do the honors. “ I’ll light it,” says Ca rolyn as she reaches for the candle sitting on the table in front of them. The ca ndle is lit before every class. It reminds them that life is as fragile as the flickering light. → Clockwise from left: Hospice class student Carolyn Rumrill, 18, says, “I’ve become more attuned to listening instead of speaking.” Student Kayli O’Keefe, 18, helps hospice resident Wendy do a word puzzle in the daily newspaper. The 52-year-old former speech pathologist had frontal lobe syndrome. An earlier photo of Wendy. “At this stage, you’re expected to figure out your life—where you’ll go to school next year. And you need to do well in extracurricular and academics, so it’s really self-centered right now. This course moves you away from that. It’s not all about you.” Hospice student Carolyn Rumrill