by James Rada, Jr. photography by Bill Ryan

Sharon Martin manages the dining room that provides light fare for visitors.

The first question that Regina Bodnar asks potential new employees at Carroll Hospice is, “What do you do for fun?”

It’s not a trivial question. She wants to make sure that employees have a balanced life. They need to be able to have fun and enjoy life, because their work at Carroll Hospice will be very challenging. It will also, however, be richly rewarding.

“You meet the most incredible people in hospice, but for such a short time,” said Bodnar, who is the executive director of Carroll Hospice.

Sometimes, the best that modern medicine can do for a patient is make sure that their last days are as pleasant and pain-free as possible. Should that time arise for you or a loved one, there’s Carroll Hospice.

“Hospice is about caring for patients who are seriously ill and nearing the end of life,” said Bodnar.

Carroll Hospice provides each patient with a team of caring professionals that includes registered nurses, certified home health aides, physicians, social workers, bereavement counselors, spiritual counselors, chaplains and volunteers. The care team works with patients and their families to provide the necessary services.

Linda Jones, Jennifer Lentz, Cathy Warfield

Most hospice care can be provided in the patient’s home, but if intensive services are needed, Carroll Hospice offers in-patient care at Dove House in Westminster. Currently, Carroll Hospice is caring for 150 patients in their homes and for seven at Dove House.

For a person to be eligible to receive hospice services, a doctor must certify that the patient has a life-limiting illness, that no curative treatment is available, and that life expectancy is less than six months. This is the Medicare requirement for hospice, but should a patient outlive their diagnosis, they will continue to receive care.

“We encourage people to make a liar out of the doctor all of the time,” Bodnar said.

A pair of doves greet visitors to the waiting room of the Dove House as they visit Carroll Hospice.

The need for Carroll Hospice’s services has been steadily growing in the county, and the staff is available to take referrals around the clock.

Bodnar said the continual service is needed because “Every referral is a call for help.”