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Boquete Health and Hospice December 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.
  • Letter From Your President
  • Calendar of Events
  • BHH Council Notes
  • February Art Auction – Call for Art Donations
  • Volunteer Spotlight…& BHH History
  • Need Medical Equipment?
  • Event Recap - December 1st Volunteer Appreciation Lunch
  • The “Magic of Music”
  • Training Videos
  • Tree of Life
  • 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.



Letter from the President

This will be my last Letter from the President.  I would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who helped me over the past two years, and THANK YOU for the wonderful gift that was given to me at the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon.  You have all been wonderful and I have every confidence that John Earle and Laurie Collier will lead BHH with great results.

Last month (and at the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon) I thanked the individuals who contributed time, energy and talent during 2021.  An amazing 57 certificates were given out. This month I would like to thank the whole organization and spotlight some of the INCREDIBLE work that was done by some of our teams.

As a whole, the organization accomplished:
Planning Initiatives
  • Letter to MINSA requesting priority vaccinations for volunteers that deal with
  • patients/families (denied)
  • Team Leader in Potrerillos (Liz B).
  • Combination Pad Locks installed on the locker doors
  • Update main video on website with current activities
  • Final First Aid at Home presentation given.  Videotaped.
  • By-laws updated to include new member level
  • Email sent to Team Leaders asking for them to contact their teams.
  • New Team Rosters sent out.
  • Oxygen Concentrators status checked
  • Tree of Life – new colors for 2021
  • Policy on Equipment issues
  • Policy on Respiratory Equipment loan protocol
  • Policy on Respiratory Maintenance protocol
  • Caregivers Support – proposal accepted.
  • Three Blood Drives – March, June and October
  • Email to members on how to improve their volunteer experience
  • CPR – One Class held April 14 following the general meeting.  4 students per class.
  • Determine how to deal with damaged oxygen concentrators – Repair options discovered in Panama City.
  • Update/Verify Home Assistance List
  • Being Prepared Video ready for release
  • Eight new volunteers trained
  • “How To” videos reviewed and placed on web site
  • Locations to rent and buy oxygen concentrators in country
  • Additional Storage Locker rented
In addition to the above, the teams accomplished:
Patient Care Coordinators
The PCCs (Patient Care Coordinators) fielded an average of over 55 calls per month, assisted (on average) 20 individual patients per month for everything from equipment needs to mental health questions to blood requests (passed the questions on to the Blood Team), to Being Prepared questions and many other topics.
Equipment Team:
  • 87 Expats and 47 Panamanians were assisted with 194 pieces of equipment (Jan. 1 to Nov. 30)
  • New equipment was purchased at a cost of $4655.32
  • Beds
  • Walkers
  • Wheelchairs
  • Canes
  • Bedside Commodes
  • Shower Chairs
  • Gait Belts
  • Surge Protectors
  • Miscellaneous Equipment Supplies were purchased at a cost of $595.64
Respiratory Team
Concentrators and supplies were distributed to the community as necessary.  Many people are breathing easier thanks to this team.
Blood Team
168 Units were collected from three blood drives (52 in March, 55 in June and 61 in October)
32 patients (10 expat, 22 Panamanian) have been helped with 58 units of blood (Jan. 1 to Nov. 30).

Video and Translation Team
The team has been busy, translating forms for use by the Equipment Team, reviewing videos in Spanish for placement on the web site, assisting patients and researching/verifying information.  Not one month has gone by without this team contributing extensively.

Over the course of 2021, five patients have received 19 meals, courtesy of our volunteers (Jan. 1 to Nov. 30).

Ambassadors Team
This year, the team has been busy having a presence at all of our training classes as well as our General Meetings (when held in person at the Animales building).  They also provided over 10 Friendship baskets to those in our community that were in need of a reminder that they are loved and cared about.

Being Prepared Team
Four workshops were held and over 150 people from our community attended and learned the value of Being Prepared for Death here in Panama.

  • Four “First Aid in the Home” classes were presented.
  • One CPR class was held
  • Eight new volunteers were trained in what BHH does for the community (3 day class)
  • Three radio shows and one Community Chat on what BHH can do for you were held.
Donations were slightly up versus last year ($14,152 in 2021 vs. $13,321 in 2020).  Up 6.2%.
Expenses were up significantly versus 2021 ($12,175 in 2021 vs. $9898 in 2020).  Up 26.2%.  Mostly equipment.  In November we purchased an additional 4 hospital beds at a cost of approximately $4,000 due to the increased need by our community (Jan. 1 to Nov. 30).
Thank you for your generosity and enthusiastic support for all the programs of
Boquete Health and Hopsice

Proposed Slate of Officers for 2022
President – John Earle
Vice President – Laurie Collier
Secretary - John Ferguson
Treasurer – Lesley Hughes

Election will be held JANUARY 12, 2022 at the Animales Building at 10:00 a.m.  Voting will be in person only.  The election will be the first thing on the agenda so those who wish to vote and leave, may do so.

Sad News

In addition to the passing of two of our members Joyce Newton and Newman Jones (as noted in the November newsletter), BHH has just lost one of our founding members.  Shirley Maffitt died Dec. 10.  She was one of our Ambassadors and during 2020 was always at our table during events/training.  She was a member for over 14 years and will be missed very much.

All BHH Members:  BHH has an opportunity for someone to become the new Trainer for our New Volunteer Training Course.  

The Trainer's job entails:
  1. The training is three days and you will be working all three days from 9 to 3.  The Student Manual, the Instructor Manual and the general course time line are developed.    
  2. You will be responsible for teaching about 1/3 of the class.  Someone from the Council will do part of the training, and a PCC will do part of the training.  In addition, part of the training will be conducted by individuals who have special expertise or are Team Leads (e.g., Equipment Team Lead).
  3. According to current BHH Policies, you must be vaccinated and be willing to wear a mask the entire class.  
  4. The class is composed of minimal lecture, group discussion, numerous hands-on activities, homework discussion and lots of interaction between everyone in the room.  This is not your typical lecture type class.  It is a fun class to teach!

You are guaranteed to know almost everything about BHH by the time the class is over.  Craig and I will help you teach the January class and will be available to answer any questions going forward.  We are looking forward to having you help new volunteers learn about BHH, the volunteer position, the various available volunteer positions, and all of the services we provide to the community!  If you are interested, please let Lesley (lesleyahughes@gmail.com) or Craig (cgatrel@gmail.com) know.  We will get together soon and start forming the training team and planning class logistics.

We would also like to welcome Sandra Cripe to the training team.  She will be the new Volunteer Coordinator and will be responsible for the behind-the-scenes administrative work.

Last Official Event for 2021

On Dec. 9 five volunteers (Lesley, Craig, Sally, Carmen and Penny) participated in a Community Chat at the library.  About 20 people attended and listened to a presentation on the volunteer opportunities within Boquete Health and Hospice.  After the meeting, three people introduced themselves and wanted more information about how to volunteer.

Our next New Volunteer Training class will be held in late January and is already full.  Future classes will be held as warranted.

Thank you Boquete, for being so supportive of our organization.
Lesley Hughes, President

Upcoming Events

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.

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 NOW
John Earle, one of the founders of Boquete Health and Hospice, and the first president back in 2007, is again stepping in and running for the position of President for 2022.  Be sure to come to the January 12th General Meeting and Elections, vote, and say “hi” to John!  A bit of his and Babbie’s history follows.

History of the Founding of BHH
Babbie & John Earle 
Founders of Boquete Health and Hospice
We experienced our parents dying, subjected to drastic measures rather than experiencing death with dignity.  At that time, we both realized that we needed to become conscientious and prepared around the dying process. We began reading and researching (including Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s work) and knew that dying with dignity and without pain, the Hospice concept, was a concept that we wanted to embrace and share.
An important item of note is that now we serve the Panamanian community as well as the ex-pat community. This was not possible at the outset. Recently 50 percent of the calls received were from Panamanians. We are the only hospice in the country.  A talented, knowledgeable and dedicated group of people over the years have created an organization dedicated to serving through education, providing services and by providing assistance during vulnerable, intimate and sometimes a very stressful time of life.

The development of BHHF included writing manuals, setting up trainings, establishing different teams for providing home comfort like food deliveries, adding the necessary concept of health support to our mission, creating an ever evolving great website, working with a group of trained nurses who work with our Patient Care Coordinator, setting up a library, shipping in from the US containers of  medical equipment and having that available for our patients, establishing a blood drive, and an amazing Music team, and the booklet and presentations, “Being Prepared In Boquete For Life and Death”.  A lot of work!

The Panamanian government actually had, and still has, on the books the National Palliative Care Resolution # 499 - stating that each province has to have a palliative care center.  We worked hard then and over the years trying to find someone who knew about this law. It had not been implemented and, in communicating with doctors and lawyers and government officials, we discovered that few knew of the law and, if they did, there was not much knowledge about what palliative care is.  So, we gathered together with other people and began to figure out the process for BHHF’s beginnings.  We had no idea how complicated bringing the concept, much less the formation of a legal entity, to Panama would be. We persevered and finally, in 2007 BHHF was established as a legal entity.

When we arrived in Boquete in 1999 there were 30 expats and most of us were here without extended family and wanted to support one another.  We began researching to learn what customs and beliefs here influenced people’s views of dying and death.  We needed to learn what laws governed the establishment of a hospice here.  The Panamanian cultural idea was that with dying, often the suffering is accepted and expected.  A belief which John and I hoped to dispel.

Not that we can plan our deaths, but we can all contemplate and incorporate various practices that might make our passing more peaceful for ourselves and our loved ones. John served on the board of one of the first Hospices in the US and then we both had the privilege, for 30 years in Vermont, of being Hospice volunteers, both on various steering committees and sitting with patients.
Volunteer Application Form
Need Medical Equipment?
If you or someone you know has a need to borrow or return equipment, please contact our Patient Care Coordinators (PCCs) at 6781-9250.  All requests related to equipment must go through the PCCs.  The PCCs will work with you or the caregiver to determine the appropriate equipment, availability and loan period.  Once the equipment need is identified, the PCCs coordinate with the Equipment Team to ensure the correct equipment is sanitized and ready to be checked out (picked up) at our locker located at Alto Dorado.  A member of the Equipment Team will contact you or the caregiver directly to make arrangements to meet at our locker.
Please note that our Equipment Team members only go to the locker for scheduled equipment checkouts and returns.  No Equipment Team member is staffed at the locker and the locker is only open during specific times.  Therefore, it is important to contact the PCCs first.  When you are ready to return equipment, the process is the same.  Simply call the PCCs at 6781-9250.

If you are using a piece of equipment for the first time, be sure to visit our website and go to Patient/Caregiver Videos under the Education tab to learn more.  Here you will find videos and information on using equipment and caring for patients in the home.
Goto BHH Website
Activity Recap
December 1st
Volunteer Appreciation Lunch

At 1pm on December 1st, Tap Out was filling up with happy and festive volunteers from Boquete Health and Hospice – out to enjoy goodwill and good times with each other. 
President Lesley Hughes recapped 2021 and gave out certificates of appreciation to the various volunteers who had roles to play throughout the year.  Treasurer Laurie Collier, on behalf of the club, thanked Lesley for all her service during a very difficult pandemic year.  Thank you Lesley!
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 Click Here to Email
Enter Vaccine Info
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.

Reproductores de música personales para nuestros pacientes y cuidadores:

¡Prestamos reproductores de música a nuestros pacientes y cuidadores! La música es una excelente manera de proporcionar relajación, reducir el estrés, ayudar a dormir y, en general, simplemente hacer que un momento difícil sea un poco más brillante. Estos son dispositivos pequeños con clip que tienen muchas selecciones de diferentes géneros musicales. También podemos personalizar las opciones musicales. Recientemente, una paciente nos pidió algo de música reggae y nos alegramos de proporcionársela. Estos reproductores son especialmente útiles para los pacientes que utilizan un concentrador de oxígeno. Esto se debe al fuerte sonido de los motores del concentrador. ¡La música puede ayudarnos a todos!

Comuníquese con nuestros Coordinadores de atención al paciente al 6781-9250 para solicitar un reproductor junto con sus otros préstamos de equipo.

Magic of Music Team's Music Wellness webpage:

"Are you Listening?"

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?
Are You Listening

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. 
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 
Kat McKay
Linda Simmons
Merl & Barbara Will-Wallace
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.  
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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