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Boquete Health and Hospice November Newsletter

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NEW General Meeting Times - 2nd Wednesday of every month, starting January 12 - 10:00 a.m. at the Animales Building.  December Meeting is the Luncheon Dec 1
Table of Contents
  • Letter From Your President
  • Calendar of Events
  • Council Notes
  • February Art Auction – Call for Art Donations
  • Letter From Merl Will-Wallace
  • Did You Know….
  • Volunteer Spotlight – Laurie Collier
  • October 27th “Being Prepared” Workshop
  • November 10th General Meeting
  • The “Magic of Music”
  • Chris’s Corner - Breast Cancer Vaccine
  • Training Videos
  • Tree of Life
  • BHH Policies & Mission Statement
Letter from the President

BHH Training
As with everything in life, things evolve.  14 years ago, when BHH was founded, the focus was on helping people who were close to death and helping them and their loved ones cope.  Currently, that is only one part of what BHH does – we ALSO assist people who need equipment, people who need blood, we provide education (CPR and Being Prepared are examples of two of the trainings we provide), we assist with translations and work with the medical community to make sure that people get the care and information they need.

The curriculum currently being used for training our new volunteers has been updated to reflect the fact that, at the current time, we are NOT making home visits.  Everything that is covered is for the benefit of those new volunteers:  they learn what BHH is, what services are offered, how to help friends and loved ones who may need equipment or be in an emergency situation, the volunteer opportunities on our various teams, the roles of our volunteers and the guidelines that the volunteers need to follow, and a review of how to communicate successfully with people of a diverse background and those who may have impairments, and, finally, we go over the Being Prepared program.

The training takes 18 hours and is broken down as follows:

Day 1
  • History of BHH
  • The role of the Patient Care Coordinator
  • The role of the Hospice and Family Care teams
  • Introduction to BHH’s various volunteer teams
  • The roles of the volunteers (both those who work with patients and those who do not)
  • Guidelines that the volunteers must follow (both with patients and doing other tasks)
  • How to deal with death, dying and grief (so the volunteers can help their friends/neighbors/loved ones
Day 2
  • Patient Care – what medical emergencies can be handled at home and which ones require professional medical intervention
  • How the medical system (physical and mental) works in Panama
  • Body Mechanics
  • Use of Equipment (Wheelchairs, Walkers, Canes, Gait Belts and Crutches) – geared toward the use by our volunteers at home
  • Signs of dying (so the volunteers can help their friends/neighbors/loved ones)
Day 3
  • Communication Skills
  • Communicating with those who are “different” from you” – Diversity
  • Communicating with Special Groups (Deaf, Blind, Dementia)
  • Diversity – how we engage it by personally living in Panama as well as how we volunteer and interact with others
  • Being Prepared program
  • Planning for your medical emergency
In all, only about 45 minutes are devoted to working with hospice patients.  After all, we may only have 5-8 hospice patients a year, however, we perform our other activities constantly.  At the end of the third day, the class is presented with scenarios that are taken from real life.  For example:  What would you do if your neighbor called and said that her spouse was having a mental breakdown? Or, your worker twisted his ankle and needs help.  Or someone stops you in the street and asks how to make a donation to BHH.   None of this has anything to do with taking care of a dying person.  They do have everything to do with what BHH does.  The goal is to educate the new volunteers in the history of BHH, what we do, how they can fit in, where to find information to share, and the opportunities we provide.

In addition to the aforementioned training, team-specific training will be provided as needed for certain volunteer roles (for example: if you volunteer for the Respiratory Team, you will receive specialized training in the use, maintenance, etc. of oxygen concentrators).  When the time is right, and we start working in homes again, a training will be held for those who are interested in that portion of our work.  We will cover how to move patients, how to change beds with patients in them, how to help the caregivers care for the patients, what we can and cannot do.

The training is twofold and at the end of the last day, volunteers walk away:
With a thorough understanding of BHH, its service offerings to Boquete and the many volunteer opportunities available, and being able to answer questions about our organization.
Prepared to help themselves, family and friends in a medical emergency since the medical system here may be quite different from that of the volunteers’ passport countries.

A Training Attendee's Thoughts
Since I recently went through that training, I wanted to share my perspective.

First of all, I thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed every minute of the training classes.  It was extremely powerful for me, not only the varied topics but the depth of the topics and the variety of people delivering the messages.  I was deeply moved at all the ways this organization comes together to support people in need in this community.  Based on that training, the article that I wrote this month for the Magic of Music team is largely inspired by the importance of the skill of "listening" for BHH volunteers and even references various places in the training manual that talk about listening (the article was just published on the website today: "Are You Listening?").  And the training even moved me to the point of wanting to become more involved in BHH - I would welcome the opportunity to be an in-person care-giver if I was needed in this capacity.  I can see how my experience with meditation (silence and presence) can particularly be of value in this capacity.  And it was Babbie Earle's presentation that made me realize this.  Other presentations such as Kim Dougherty's and Chuck High's were particularly powerful as well.  I can think of no one who "flopped" in their presentations - just the opposite - each one offered me something of value.  And it opened my eyes to more places within the organization where I can be of value, too.  And this happened because the training educated me on the many aspects of the organization outside my current niche.

I have heard that there is a push to shorten the training. If I had a vote I would opt to keep the length of training as it is.  I can think of no content that isn't worth the time to learn about as a new volunteer.  Even if a new volunteer isn't interested in a particular area, I think it is still important that the new volunteer knows about those other areas. It's important that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing.  

Anyway, that's my two cents.  To those of you who put in much time and effort to make September's training happen, thank you from the bottom of my heart!  I was deeply moved and inspired.  And I am very grateful to live and work and volunteer amongst you in this community!

Thank you
On December 1, 2021 we will be having a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon.  Several of our volunteers will not be able to attend.  ALL our wonderful, generous, loving volunteers deserve to be recognized.  They are:
In Memoriam
It is with gratitude, love and sadness that we honor two of our members who died this year:
Joyce Newton
Newman Jones
Both gave selflessly to our organization.  Both were always willing to answer to call to provide meals when they were needed.  Their kindness and friendliness was always welcomed by those they visited when bringing meals.  We will miss them very much.

Election of Officers
On January 12, 2022 we will be holding elections for the coming year.  We have two open spots to fill:  President and Vice President.
The job of President is to lead the organization:  prepare agendas for the Council Meetings and General Meetings, make sure the various Teams have what they need to be effective, provide vision and leadership for the organization, assist in the preparation of the Newsletter and encourage volunteers.  The job is not extremely challenging and does not require many hours per week.  The best part is that the Council, Team Leaders and volunteers are ALWAYS willing to help and offer support and advice.

The job of Vice President is to support the President.  The Vice President will cover for the President when they are not available, will verify the Council Minutes and other tasks as the President requests. 
If you are interested in helping the organization by filling either of these two positions, please email Lesley Hughes (lesleyahughes@gmail.com)
Upcoming Events
  • Dec 1st Volunteer Appreciation Brunch This is the General Meeting
  • Dec 28th Final Day for Nominations for Officers
  • Jan 5th  Planning Meeting 
  • Jan 12th  Annual Meeting and Election of Officers

BHH Council Notices
A change has been proposed and accepted by the Boquete Health and Hospice Council.  In order to facilitate communication and make sure that all concerns are brought to the Council’s attention, please submit items to be discussed/acted upon to the Secretary (John Ferguson) (johnstpete@gmail.com) in writing by 5:00 p.m. on the last Wednesday of the month. The Council will consider all items on the agenda that month.  Anything received late will be added to the following month’s agenda.  Council Meeting for December and January is Council ONLY.

General Meeting Dates: Starting January 12, 2022 the General meeting will be moved from 1:00pm on the second Wednesday to 10:00 on the second Wednesday.
Donate Art
Open Letter to My BHHF Community
from Merl Will-Wallace
My wife Barbara and I have lived in and loved Boquete for almost 7 years but now, sadly, need to return to the US permanently. During this time one of my greatest pleasures has been to volunteer for several areas within Boquete Health and Hospice. I have enjoyed great camaraderie and teamwork with all in the ]
BHHF volunteer community. Everyone, from the board members to the respiratory team, have had one focus: ‘How can I help?’ This has made BHHF the best volunteer experience in my lifetime.

A little over six weeks ago chronic degenerative changes in my spine gave way. I have gone from a vigorous 20 mile per week hiker to a wheelchair bound handicapped person. This has put me in the unique position of going from volunteer to BHHF client. The shock of this sudden change has been life changing, but the outpouring of support from BHHF has made a huge difference in helping me adjust and to successfully execute plans to get back to the US for probably two separate back surgeries. The administrators, the equipment team, the meal team (gourmet dining all the way!), the board members, and ride providers have come to Barbara’s and my support. Thank you is not enough. We love and so appreciate all of you.  All of this knowing we are treated no differently from any Boquete resident who reaches out in need to this great organization.

As you read this I hope it will inspire you, as a volunteer or as a donor, to continue the great mission and work of Boquete Health and Hospice Foundation. Your time and money will make a difference. Even though Barbara and I will be living in Tucson, AZ, our hearts will be with BHHF and we will continue to support BHHF in any way we can.

Did You Know….

BHH currently has over 95 pieces of equipment out on loan to the community.
BHH will be purchasing additional hospital beds & MP3 players.
We have helped 68 patients needing blood donations since the June 2019 blood drive.
The next blood drive will be on June 11th – the World Blood Donor Day.
There is a list of nurses the patient care coordinator can provide.
There will be a new volunteer training session offered in January.
Stay tuned for dates on the upcoming CPR class.

Those who volunteer with BHH are truly amazing.  Look at the Thank you list above..Or look at the roots and trunk of our Tree of Life.

Laurie Collier

Rarely is there a volunteer as capable, kind, caring, efficient, and brilliant as Laurie Collier.  Laurie's contribution to Boquete Health and Hospice over the years has been tremendous. She has served as President, has held a seat on the Council over several terms, and is currently the Treasurer for Boquete Health and Hospice. 
 Her list of accomplishments goes on….. as she also headed up the PR team for several years, and created the blood drive program which she has been managing since its creation in 2019.  The blood drives have saved a number of lives and dramatically improved health care for the Boquete community.  In the not too distant past when someone needed blood, a call was put out to find donors (and delays were detrimental to some people’s health).  Since the inception of the blood drives, the community has more immediate access to life saving blood supplies.

Laurie - a very special lady who is always there when help is needed, always has a kind word, and is supportive of everyone’s effort.  BHH is honored to have such a valuable volunteer.  We love you Laurie!
Sign Up to Volunteer
Activity Recaps

October 27th “Being Prepared” Workshop

Kim Doherty presented “Being Prepared” to an audience of 36, following all MINSA guidelines.  This Boquete Health and Hospice “Being Prepared” program was created by members many years ago to assist expats in navigating health and end of life issues in a foreign country.  Points covered were steps in preparation for end of life, forms needed, contact numbers, what to do on the day of death and days following, services offered by BHH, etc.  We at Boquete Health and Hospice are here to serve you and our community during a difficult and emotional time.   BE PREPARED.   Handle details in advance so you can have peace of mind and live a joyful life in beautiful Boquete, Panama.
If you missed this great and informative workshop, you can still get the “Being Prepared for Death in Boquete Panama” guide.  $10 for the paper copy (available at the Tuesday Market BHH table or Mailboxes Etc.) or for a $5 donation online at our website boquetehealth.org.  Go to the “donate” tab.  In “memo” field please note that is for Being Prepared.  When BHH is notified of your donation, a Being Prepared PDF will be emailed to you.  This guide is regularly updated, and can help in handling a health crisis and death, what to do, when, where to go and in what order each step needs to be followed.
From the left: Penny Barrett, Kay Wade, Sandra Cripe, Cat Vann and Kim Doherty
November 10th General Meeting

Dr. Roderic Gottula Presented “Blood Sugar – Highs and Lows”
Hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia were discussed, with information on methods to improve control of both.

There were Team Breakouts to develop 2022 plans, and provide the council with their projected needs and planned activities.  Teams are:
Hospice and Family Care
Training & Recruitment
Information Technology
Magic of Music
Blood Donor
Public Relations & Marketing
Home Comfort
Being Prepared

Are You Listening?

Personal Music Players

Boquete Health & Hospice recognizes the critical importance of the skill of listening.  The BH&H New Volunteer Training Manual mentions this skill in the contexts of the volunteer job description, volunteer duties, emotional support and caring, and the manual even has an entire section on listening skills in the chapter on communication.  But realistically, how often do we take listening for granted?  How often do we intentionally set out to cultivate our listening skills? 
This month, the Magic of Music team takes a look at cultivating "deep listening" which has the capacity to not only enhance your enjoyment of music but also deepen your relationships and potentially transform your very consciousness!  In the article you'll find not only a discussion of exactly what we mean by "deep listening" but also links to music to help you practice deep listening, TED Talks on the impact of listening as a skill to strengthen human connections, and other resources to help you experiment with and cultivate your deep listening skills.  Check out this month's article from the Magic of Music Team: "Are You Listening?"
You can find more info about the Magic of Music Team at Boquete Health & Click Below
More Info about the Magic of Music
Personal Music Players for our Patients & Caregivers:

We lend music players to our patients and caregivers! Music is a great way to provide relaxation, reduce stress, aid in sleeping, and in general, just make a difficult time a bit brighter. These are small, clip-on devices that have many selections of different music genres. We can also personalize the music choices. Recently, a patient asked us for some Reggae music, and we were happy to provide that for her. These players are especially helpful for patients who are using an oxygen concentrator. This is due to the loud sound of the concentrator's motors. Music can help us all!

Please contact our Patient Care Coordinators at 6781-9250 to request a player along with your other equipment loans.
Education Videos are up and running! Excellent info for caregivers and general public in both Spanish and English.  Topics include using all kinds of equipment including crutches, wheelchairs, walkers, how to move patients safely for both patient and caregiver, and general patient care. There are also informative videos on Alzheimer’s and other dementia. To find these, go to the BHH website: Boquetehealth.org  - Education - chose your topic. 
See the List of Videos


If you are vaccinated, please take a photo of your vaccination card and upload it to our website.  It will be kept confidential, but will allow us to contact volunteers when we need members for people to do events in the community.  

If you are having trouble uploading it, email it to Lesley Hughes at lesleyahughes@gmail.com.
Enter Vaccine Information

This section will contain an interesting article that we found on the web with a teaser so you can see if you want to click through.  Many places want you to sign up for their mailing list; however, we only choose links that let you bypass the sign up. Later, if you like the site, you can choose to sign up, but not necessary to read the article.
Donor-Supported Breast Cancer Vaccine
Begins Clinical Trials

Cleveland Clinic researchers have opened a novel study for a vaccine aimed at eventually preventing triple-negative breast cancer, the most aggressive and lethal form of the disease.
Go to full article
About the Tree of Life
The tree was created to honor our donors and volunteers.  The roots are volunteers, the trunk is the council, the leaves are people who have donated $100 or more.  The two color leaves are people who have donated for two years.  The flowers are sponsors who donate $1000 or more.  The Lilies are memorials to people who have passed.  Family or friends have donated $200 or more to honor them. 
Add your leaf or flower or Lily.  Click the button to make our tree grow.
Thank you.
Click Here to Enlarge Tree
Many Thanks to Our New and Repeat Donors 
Alison & Bill Brundage
Barbara Will-Wallace 
Evie Jones
Jack & Sofia Bute

The policies of the organization are posted on our website.  There is a link at the bottom of the home page or you can go to the “More” page to read them or download a PDF version.  The policies will be updated as needed.  

View BHH Policies

Our Mission Statement
Our mission is to inform and promote community health. To support people with health and wellness needs by providing information, equipment and volunteer services. To provide palliative (Hospice) care for the terminally ill in order that they may experience death with dignity and limited pain.

To Make a Donation
 BHHF functions with donations provided by the community. If you are interested in supporting the work we do, please make a donation. To make a financial contribution:
• Check or cash please contact Laurie Collier, treasurer, at  treasurer@boquetehealth.org
 Click Here  to make an online Paypal donation.
• Direct Deposit to Boquete Hospice and Health Foundation, Global Bank Checking Account #16-101-23071-6 

Contact Us
8am to 5pm M-F, 9am to 1pm Sat & Sun
Hospice/Health:  (507) 6781-9250         
Blood Donor Program: WhatApp (507)-6590-2000 or call (507)-6781-9250
Email: info@boquetehealth.org
Website: http://www.boquetehealth.org
FacebookPage: https://www.facebook.com/boqueteheartshandsandhelp

All patient information shared with any Boquete Health and Hospice volunteer is kept in the strictest confidence.

Freely send this to anyone, use any part.

Our mailing address is:

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