Hospice | St. Louis Public Radio


Hospice patient Dorothy Matejka enjoys a music therapy session with her daughter Nancy Daake and music therapists Alison Cole and Kathryn Coccia, seen here with her guitar.
Nancy Fowler | For St. Louis Public Radio

Some of Dorothy Matejka’s favorite days are when she gets to enjoy music therapy in her south St. Louis apartment. She never tires of songs like “On the Good Ship Lollipop” and “Goodnight, Irene” that recall special moments of her 93 years.

“I’ve had a very good life and a lot of laughs, a lot of good times and a lot of memories,” Matejka said.

Matejka wistfully anticipates leaving a special memory for her family after her death: a song that includes her own heartbeat and lyrics drawn from family stories. The song is part of the Heartbeat Project, which music therapist Alison Cole started three years ago with hospice patients after hearing about it in other cities.

Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis’ Carol Emmerich (left) and Mike Roberts (right) talked about how people can deal with feelings of grief.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When a person nears the end of their life, feelings of grief can increase and unaddressed matters often add to the complications.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about how people can deal with those issues. Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis’ Mike Roberts, public relations and communications manager, and Carol Emmerich, director of hospice care, joined him for the conversation.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The term “palliative care” has been bandied about quite a bit as of late. But what does it mean? On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, three people joined host Don Marsh to discuss what palliative care means and how it differs from hospice care.

Joining the program to discuss palliative care:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 11, 2012 - James Langley, a second-year pharmacy student at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, didn’t quite know what to expect when he began helping to organize a hospice volunteer program.

One initial concern was whether the time and commitment needed would take away from his studies. The second concern was the thought of feeling helpless in the presence of a hospice patient when “it’s all going bad.”

For Dying People, A Chance To Shape Their Legacy

Apr 9, 2011
(Becky Brooks)

Imagine that you've just been told you have only a short time to live. What would you want your family and community to remember most about you? In St. Louis, a hospice program called Lumina helps patients leave statements that go beyond a simple goodbye. 

Autobiographies at Hospice

Feb 8, 2011

Suzanne Doyle sits quietly thumbing through a stack of books and photo albums she helped create. She's a middle-aged woman with a soft spoken demeanor. Doyle is the founder of Lumina, a program at BJC Hospice that helps patients leave statements that go beyond a simple good-bye. Her eyes begin to moisten as she recalls a recent patient, Courtney Strain, who died of brain cancer last summer at the age of 25. In the months before Strain died, she met weekly with Doyle where she revealed one constant frustration. Strain said she felt like an outcast, that people didn't know what to say to her, so they said nothing at all.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 17, 2009 - With plenty of experience and a passion for patient care, Ann Ritter ventured into the home health business in 1983. It turned out to be a good move, making her part of a service that's still regarded as one of the most effective and least expensive ways to care for some patients.

But Ritter got cold feet after some hospitals began expanding into the business. "I didn't think I could compete," she says, explaining why she sold the business to Barnes Hospital a few years later.