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Delivering Cookies and Cheer: Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice Volunteers Prepare Almost 260 Cookie Trays

Jennifer Jean Miller

Saturday, December 15, 2012 • 10:44pm

NEWTON, NJ – Sweet treats on silver trays, and wrapped with cello and ribbons lined desks, and filled offices, boxes, and hallways, at the Karen Ann Quinlan Memorial Foundation’s Office this past week.

Sue Morrow, who is the volunteer coordinator, said the Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice volunteers, some of them having just graduated from the Pike County class (there are volunteers for Sussex and Warren Counties in New Jersey, and Pike County in Pennsylvania), eagerly spent time throughout the week helping to package close to 260 trays filled with cookies and other treats, which ended up being delivered to patients.

Hospice patients may be resting in their homes, or nursing homes.

Volunteers also delivered to homes of the newly bereaved.

“To houses where there are kids, we deliver two to three trays,” said Morrow.

Overall, Morrow said, “They love it, the patients love it.”

The Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice and Karen Ann Quinlan Memorial Foundation volunteers, and employees have been creating cookie trays annually for the past 15 years. Morrow said when the program first started, about 25 to 30 volunteers were involved in the effort, and now, nearly 90 volunteers are mobilized to help.

“We bake, wrap, package, and deliver the cookies,” Morrow said.

Cookies were of all types, from chocolate chips, to frosted varieties, to some shaped like Christmas Trees, and everything in between. Interspersed between the cookies were Dove Chocolates, and other snacks for patients to enjoy.

She said one of the years when the cookie campaign took place, there was “horrific weather,” with ice and snow, and faithful volunteers still came out to prepare the trays, and deliver them, in spite of the conditions.

Morrow was especially surprised this year by High Point High School’s cookie contribution. 

“High Point High School gave us 2,300 cookies,” Morrow told The Alternative Press.

Volunteers deliver cookies to the patients after packaging.

Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice Volunteers “read, sit, play games, and hold hands,” with patients, according to Morrow.

Volunteers are trained to work directly with patients in their homes, helping them with tasks around their home, or simply spending time with them. They may also work in the office, or at special events, such as manning the organization’s booth at the New Jersey State Fair/Sussex County Farm and Horse Show, and the Wine & Cheese Benefit at Waterwheel Farm in Fredon.  Click here for the article by The Alternative Press. 

Just above Waterwheel Farm is where the Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice will be having its groundbreaking in 2013 of over nine acres for the construction of a hospice facility for those requiring round-the-clock care.

“2013 is going to be the year we’d like to see it built,” said Glenn Lewis, the group’s director of development.

Lewis described the $5 million project as a building with 10 patient rooms, at 10,000 square feet.

“Most rooms will have this view,” said Lewis, pointing to a photo of a view of Waterwheel Farm, site of the annual wine and cheese benefit, and the Kittatinny Ridge Mountains, just off of Fairview Hill Road.

The facility will be used for respite care, as well as possible rooms for family members if needed. There will also be a children’s play area and family room.

“Their [a patient’s] home should be about good memories, not just about mom or dad passing away,” said Lewis.

The Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice facility will provide a comforting place other than a home, so those fond memories of home can be retained, or also, a last place for those patients who have no home.

The process for patients to enter into the hospice is decided by consensus, between a family consultation, and with social workers and counselors.

The Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice was started in 1980 in honor and memory of Karen Ann Quinlan, who in 1975 at 21-years-old, slipped into an irreversible coma. Karen Ann, of the Landing section of Lake Hopatcong, was first at Newton Memorial Hospital, then St. Clare’s Denville, where her coma became a “persistent vegetative” state, and, Karen Ann suffered. A court battle ensued when her parents, Joseph and Julia Quinlan, asked to have her removed from life support, and the hospital refused. In 1976, Joseph Quinlan was appointed Karen Ann’s legal guardian, and had her removed from the ventilator, which she was on for almost a year. After being weaned from a ventilator, Karen Ann continued breathing, and was moved to Morris View Nursing Home, where she lived for the next 10 years, succumbing to pneumonia in 1985.

The family started the Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice based on the court ruling which, Julia Quinlan said on the organization’s website, “Set a precedent for all future cases.”

The Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice, according to its website, said the ruling helped to give patients and families the “right to live each stage of life, including the last stage, with dignity and respect, “ and for medical institutions, such as hospitals, hospices, and nursing homes requirements “to establish and maintain ethics committees.”

Click here for the Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice website. 

 

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