Heartland Hospice serving the Peninsula has initiated a Heart Pin program to honor and remember patients whom they have had the privilege to be with as they take their last breath. “We wanted to capture a patient’s last moments with this heart symbol so we can keep them with us always,” explained Angela Lavigne, Heartland Hospice Administrator.
During a special ceremony, team members who were present for their patients’ last breath are presented with a Red Heart pin to wear on their uniform along with a thank you card that states: “Please take my heart, wear it always and know how special you are in sharing my last breath with love.”
When asked what it meant to be with a patient at the end of their journey, Heartland RN Case Manager, Amy Gernon commented, “In my experience, every death is unique, it is shaped by the personality of each individual patient and by the families and loved ones who are involved with them. As such, the final moments are as varied as each patient – some are filled with laughter, others are accompanied with tears, and still others are surrounded by tradition or ceremony. For those of us who witness these events, however, there is one thing that remains constant – the honor one feels in being present and the privilege that comes with sharing intimate moments with those concerned as an earthly life comes to its end.”
A picture of a heart is displayed in Heartland’s agency lobby with a caption that reads, “Ask us about the hearts we carry.” “We want people to know that each heart symbolizes a journey that can be hard to describe in words but, has imprinted itself in not only our hearts but our souls,” commented Angela.