On Thursday evening, April 9, The Visiting Nurses Association of Venango County held their Annual Memorial Service to honor the memory of their patients who died in 2014. This year, the service was hosted by Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin.
VNA had 147 patients pass in 2014. Most of them were hospice patients. A hospice patient is an individual with a medical diagnosis resulting in an estimate of six months or less to live.
Our hospice mission is to prevent and relieve suffering for persons at the end of life so they may live as fully and comfortably as possible and to offer continuing support to the bereaved.
There were approximately 60 people in attendance at this year’s service, including VNA staff members and volunteers. VNA’s Bereavement Support Group was also in attendance, meeting before the service for their monthly dinner and hosting an information table in the social hall. The balance of those in attendance were family and friends of the deceased.
This year’s service opened with a welcome by Kathy Cochran, Senior Manager of Clinical Operations, followed by an invocation by Rev. Randy L. Kightlinger, Chaplain for VNA Hospice and Sugar Creek Station. Kim Slater Heil read from Scripture, then the attendees sang Amazing Grace, accompanied by Karen Cook, RN, Retired. Rev. Kightlinger offered a meditation on Matthew 11:28-30 which flowed into a special song, sung by Amy Wimer, RN. At this point in the service, the deceased patients’ names were read by the staff of VNA and Great Lakes Home Health and Hospice of Erie, as the family members in attendance came forward to sign the mat board around a memorial photograph that will be hung in the VNA office. Rev. Kightlinger closed the program in prayer and everyone was invited to the fellowship hall for refreshments.
VNA services families throughout all of Venango County. With that in mind, they have alternated the service from year-to-year between Franklin and Oil City. Rev. Kightlinger says, “The Visiting Nurses Association of Venango County has been extremely blessed by the hospitality of our local churches for offering the use of their facilities for this service. Plans are already started for our 2016 Annual Memorial Service to be held in the Oil City area.” Rev. Kightlinger wishes to thank the Venango VNA Foundation for their financial support of the annual service and Christ United Methodist Church for hosting us this year.