A new social hospice is on the verge of beginning in Grove.

Months in the making, the team of founders for the Heavenly Angels House, Inc. will host a "meet and greet" from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 30, at Heart & Soul Gallery in Grove.

The event is designed to showcase the efforts underway to bring a place in Grove where people who are dying can go for end of life care.

Organized by executive director Cindie Kees, along with her husband, Gary, and Dr. Gail Offermann and Cindy Clark, the non-profit organization was created to give those with "life-limiting illnesses" a place to spend their final month of life "with dignity" when options to die at home are not possible.

Kees said the organization will partner with members of the community and local medical hospice organizations to "relieve the caregiving/financial burden on family and friends" and assist them within their grief journey at no charge.

What is social hospice?

Kees said the idea behind social hospice is simple. The facility provides a place for a guest to come for their final month of life.

A guest will be admitted on the basis of a terminal diagnosis, enrollment in hospice and having approximately one month to live.

Kees said the Heavenly Angels House team will work with area medical services to "provide a home-like setting, 24/7 palliative care" for the guest.

"The Social Hospice Model complements and enhances traditional medical hospice care when the care needed to die at home exceeds an individual's financial circumstances and an individual's network of family and friends," Kees said. "The terminally ill individuals can define their final days when while receiving care in a non-institutional homelike environment. 

"This model allows guest and families to redefine the dying process as a family event utilizing both volunteers and paid staff. The burden of family and friends managing the care of the loved one is lifted and they are able to reclaim their roles within the family unit."

For Kees, this means a family member can cease being a caregiver and instead simply be a loved one.   

The social hospice setting, Kees said, also allows survivors begin a "healthy bereavement and grieving process." 

Kees said the Heavenly Angels House will be sustained through fundraisers, donations, corporate sponsors and grants.

How it came about

Kees has been working on the project since February 2016. Modeled in part after the Clarehouse in Tulsa, the Heavenly Angels Home is designed to allow those with terminal illnesses to died with compassion, care, respect and dignity.

The facility in Grove is a member of the Omega Home Network, a national organization that promotes the development and expansion of community homes for dying people. 

Kees said social hospice becomes important, for both the guest and the caregiver, because society has become a "perpetually living" culture. 

"This creates a sense of the healthy grieving process," Kees said. "Caring for the dying, particularly in the last month of life, can be overwhelming. 

"There's nothing like blessing people to get through [times like this]. We can reach out, and extend a hand to help people through this time of life."  

Kees said she hopes Heavenly Angels House will become a "beacon of light" within the community. 

For more information, persons interested may contact Kees at 620-717-1161, at hangels@yahoo.com, HeavenlyAngelsHouse.org, or on Facebook by searching "Heavenly Angels House in Grove."