Heidi Barham thinks of hospices as being much more than simply places where people go to die. By her accounting, they can prove life-enhancing for patients who might no longer benefit from medical intervention, providing them with art therapy, music therapy, spiritual consultation and a chance to leave a legacy perhaps in the form of a video that shows them playing the piano.
Ms. Barham, chair of African American Outreach Committee for the Hospice of the Western Reserve, is working alongside other members of that committee to spread that message at health fairs and other similar events. She realizes that it might take quite a while for that message to have its full impact. But she is pleased that increasingly more African Americans are utilizing the hospices where she works. And she is also encouraged when she receives calls from people, some of the prominent, who had previously spoken against hospice care but have changed their attitude when they saw home much it benefitted a loved one.