Support Hospices in Moscow

by VERA Hospice Charity Fund
Support Hospices in Moscow
Victory Day concert in hospice
Victory Day concert in hospice

In April, as soon as the snow melted and the sun came out, walks and picnics resumed in hospices. Many people think that patients' lives are held within four walls, but this is not the case — as soon as the weather allows, patients go outside in wheelchairs and beds.

April is the time for cleaning and renovating. Hospice staff and volunteers have put the territory in order to make it easier for patients to go out for walks. In the garden of the hospice "Butovo", in the farthest corner, there is a very cozy place. Before the pandemic, even large families of patients could gather together for a picnic and not feel in the hospital — as if they were at the country side together. One family even once celebrated 25 years of marriage there. Volunteers put this place in order after the winter: they bought paint, sanded and painted the pergola, barbecue, benches and planted flowers.

In the hospice "Nekrasovka" volunteers cleaned the second floor of the gallery. The volonteer Aigyun wrote a review: "The hospice gave me not only a love for clean-up days, but also wonderful people with whom we easily put our former greenhouse in order for a couple of hours, closed for the quarantine period, which will soon delight everyone around with its greenery again."

"Joy carts" returned to hospices - with treats and small gifts for patients. Volunteers carry a cart around the wards and offer hospice residents sandwiches, fruits and cakes. Everyone can choose an afternoon snack to their liking. And on the bottom shelf - hand creams, crosswords and various useful little things. Patients are very fond of "joy carts". And newbies are always surprised that everything is free. Sometimes carts are organized in honor of some holiday or event. For example, Masha, a volunteer at the Degunino hospice, became the winner of the All-Russian school contest of Law. In honor of this event, Ekaterina organized a "joy cart" for patients.

On April 29, a large charity Easter bake was held in favor of Moscow hospices and wards of the Vera Foundation. Our regular volunteer Nadezhda once again gathered a team of bakers. They baked royal cheesecakes and 1350 cakes for the Easter table.

Each patient received a gift — no one felt forgotten and lonely. Visiting hospice services congratulated patients at home on Easter. Nurses and hospice doctors came to the calls with cakes, Easter towels and souvenirs.

Spring and summer were marked by a return to the regular order - as before quarantine, as possible in the conditions of the ongoing pandemic.

"Now the hospice is slowly returning to its former life. Visits to relatives are already allowed, and this is very important for everyone. We try to make the hospice cozy, we equip recreation areas where patients can spend time with their loved ones over a cup of tea or just sit, chat, read magazines and books. One of these places is our bright hall with comfortable furniture and a fireplace," says Svetlana Porfirenko, coordinator of the Degunino hospice.

In May, Victory Day was celebrated in hospices. Friends of the foundation and volunteers brought treats, flowers and gifts — radios, handkerchiefs and creams. There were roses and carnations in every ward and hall.

In June, hospice staff celebrated their professional holiday - the Day of the Medical Worker. A singer Sergey Galanin came to the Palliative Care Center to congratulate the doctors. And the patient Vanya congratulated the doctors and nurses with poems of his own composition.

And of course what summer is without berries and ice cream? As soon as the first harvest appeared in the summer houses, hospice friends brought strawberries, currants, mint, greens for patients. And ice cream is generally the most favorite treat in hospices. Patients love it very much and eat it every day both on walks and in wards. June in Moscow turned out to be sultry. The temperature reached +37 degrees. Patients found ways to survive the heat, and still did not give up walking. "We drank ice cream milkshakes, turned on the air conditioners and walked at night. We have a cool lobby, and during the day everyone hung out there with a book or a movie. And all the men also wished for ultra-short haircuts," says Nastya Lavrentieva, coordinator of the Rostokino hospice.

 

Our fund has spent for this program 143 480,41$ from July to March including:

  • medical equipment and its service 2 817,55$
  • meals 2 273,44$
  • vehicles and its maintenance 33 068,16$ 
  • coordinators´ salaries 103 056,34$
  • other expenses 2 264,92$
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Last summer, because of the pandemic, hospices were closed to volunteers and relatives. But the patients had a real summer. They walked in the fresh air: sat in the garden, participated in picnics. We often say that hospice is about life. And life consists of such simple pleasant little things.

Felix Pinto Baqueriso, coordinator of the First Moscow Hospice named after V. V. Millionshchikova, says:

"The summer turned into one big picnic. This is very joyful, because the summer was warm. Of course, sometimes it rained, but it was still great. And someone was pleased to get under the raindrops.

The milkshakes were made, the coffee was brewed, the ice cream was eaten, the sausages were fried. They listened to different music. There are patients who like to sing along with the performers.

When we connected patients with their families from our garden via video link, of course, the family was a little confused. They are happy that their relatives are in the flower garden, that they have a grape on one side, and a linden tree on the other side."

Besides that both summer and autumn - it's time for fresh fruits and berries. Our volunteers and benefactors delighted the patients with delicious watermelons, melons, apples, and cherries.

With the onset of winter, preparations for the New Year began. Our volunteers decorated hospices, painted windows with Christmas patterns, and benefactors prepared gifts: colored fleece blankets, sweets, coffee and tea.

But life is not just about common holidays. There is always room for your own personal joys. For example, birthdays. We congratulated the patients, despite the circumstances.

Says Lyubov Ivanovna (pictured), a patient of the Moscow hospice:

"The moment I arrive at the hospice, it's my birthday. I just said in the ward, " Oh, girls, you know, it's my birthday tomorrow. Let's have a tea party? Candy bars, something like that, chocolate bars." Well, that's settled.

I wake up early in the morning and suddenly I hear-my girls all start in chorus: "Happy Birthday!". They began to sing ditties, different songs about Lyuba. And by that morning we hardly knew each other. You know, I was crying."

Thank you to all the benefactors for their support. Thanks to you, we can maintain an atmosphere of warmth and comfort even during a pandemic.

 

Our fund has spent for this program 719 718,93$ from July to March including:

  • medical equipment and its service 17 214,40$
  • meals 4 904,08$
  • financial support 383 888,99$
  • coordinators´ salaries 307 204,32$
  • other expenses 6 507,13$
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Changing with the world. Just like every one of you. The only thing that doesn't change is the confidence that every moment of life is valuable.

Hospices have now taken all measures to protect patients who are particularly vulnerable to the virus, and their loved ones.

We temporarily had to cancel the visits of the Foundation's volunteers in Moscow. This decision was made with difficulty, because now the coordinators - employees of the Vera Foundation-have an increased workload: attention to each patient, maintaining comfort and order — like at home; a tea corner, animals, plants. We all miss the volunteers very much already.

Patients often remember how great it was when there were a lot of people in the hospice. For example, our coordinator Nadezhda recorded a conversation with a patient:

 

Every day Lyudmila asks me the same question about volunteers:

- Where are our girls?

- At home. But they will come back. When the lockdown is over, they will return.

Then we remember how it was before.

- Remember when we made soap?

- I also liked playing Lotto…

Today Lyudmila looked sadly at the gray sky.

- I miss my daughter Lena so much. And let's call her from the pictures, like yesterday?

Called Lena. Lyudmila smiled and stroked the screen with her finger. After that, we also made a box, discussed colors and drawings... Like before, like there's no lockdown.

 

Most of the employees of the Vera Foundation worked remotely. This curious new experience gave us a chance to take a fresh look at the challenges — and at each other. We talked via video link and learned, who live in the house finches, dogs, butterflies and even crickets.

We started sharing life hacks with our supporters and benefactors about how to organize your life in isolation and not go crazy. Our coordinators and "masters of care" are real pros in this. They are the ones who figure out how to arrange a real Italian evening, even when there is no possibility to go somewhere, or have a picnic without going out. They know how to arrange the space in which you are located-so that it is convenient.

All this time, we did not lose heart and tried to support those who are nearby, and do everything possible to make hospices comfortable and good. With the help of volunteers and philanthropists, we purchased tablets so that patients could communicate with their loved ones via video link, held master classes and parties online, and also tried to fulfill the wishes of patients and celebrate holidays.

At Easter, volunteers baked 850 cakes for hospices – and did not break the rules – each cake was individually packaged. On 9th May we were able to congratulate each patient with flowers and pleasant details.

And for everyone who had to stay at home because of the lockdown we held recumbent concerts with the stars – it was very emotional.

 

At first, we were worried that we might be left without support at this difficult time, but we have only added more helpers – and now this is especially joyful and valuable. Thank you for staying with us and giving us "tomorrow" - no matter what. And we do not curtail programs and do not lose heart.

 

Our foundation has been spending the average of 93705$ to cover for the following needs of Moscow hospices:
01.04.20 through 31.06.20

Meals – $1291

Medical equipment and medical devices for patient care – $16356

Coordinators’ work – $75354

Other expenses - $704
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By tradition, we share with you the stories that happened in Moscow hospices thanks to your support.

 

Do you remember Vlasta, who read "War and peace" aloud to a neighbor in the hospice every day? A Christmas miracle happened: Vlasta's dream came true — She attended the ballet at the Bolshoi theater! Vlasta loves the theater, but because of her illness, she could not get into it for a long time. And finally, everything worked out. The story through the eyes of a volunteer Zuli, who is friends with Vlasta and went to the "Nutcracker" with her:

"I Write and I can't stop. Today happened a fairy tale for Vlasta... On new year's eve, Vlasta went to the hospital, and there were many very painful procedures. Vlasta says that it was a hellish torture for several hours. What holiday is this? We were worried that she wouldn't be able to come to the theater. But, apparently, she really wanted to — and everything worked out. She didn't just arrive. She just flew on her wings! And somewhere at the checkpoint, when she asked about a benefit for a disabled person of group 1, they looked at her with a smile and great doubt. Rapture is a very weak definition of what happened to Vlasta all day and evening. She was very beautiful and very happy! "Today I am completely healthy, free and happy! I am filled with such joy that I do not feel my illness at all. Endorphins are off the charts. Even in my wildest dreams, I could not imagine that I would be sitting in a Large room near the stage. You can see everything here: faces, emotions, costumes... I can even see their breath!!! My God! This will stay with me for the rest of my life.“ Of course, this is a miracle. It's her first time at the ballet. In new year. at the Bolshoi. In some rooms, I noticed Vlasta furtively wiping away tears. I myself got goosebumps at the climax of the Pas de Deux 2 action :) And even the guy from the orchestra, sitting close to our box, smiled at Vlasta, often glancing at her. She was pleased, of course. "I don't want this fairy tale to end so soon," Vlasta said.... And we continued! We walked through the streets of the center, soaking up the new year's joy: music, lights, beautiful people in suits ... Went to have a snack and finish the story with a glass of champagne. You should have seen her happy eyes."

 

 

"Last night I went into the ward, and V. P. met me with the words: - our friend is very bad, look. Help him!" V. sits on the edge of the bed. Emaciated in the last few days, pale, with his eyes closed. Until the last very independent. He refuses everything: to go to bed, to eat, to drink. There's not much left, you can see that. I put my hand on his shoulder, talk to him, offer to help. Without a word, he takes my hand and puts it on his head. "Stroke it?" — ask. He also nods silently. I stand and gently stroke my head. So passes several minutes. Yu. V. asks for cold water and agrees to lie down. We put him to bed. He calms down and becomes quiet. His friends on the ward say: "you don't leave." He was gone this morning. Finally, the holidays are over, and you can just like this, without answering the phone or running past in a hurry, Pat on the head. Sit next to each other, talk, hear, see and spend."

Author - Mira, coordinator of the Kurkino hospice

 

One good day through the eyes of Marta — a patient of the First Moscow hospice. "In General, Martha lives on the Rostov embankment, but today we were in a hurry to return home, and to the ward of our hospice. Usachevsky market, of course, was not recognized. We approved the Vietnamese elephants, the office of the former government wine warehouse (then the Electroluch, and now there is a business center and beautiful luxury homes). We still don't approve of our roads. We are happy to have a warm winter. It was nice to meet people who smiled at us. On the way back to the hospice, we met Inga from a flower shop near the metro. We thank her very much - she has been helping us for a long time, giving us beauty and tenderness. And today Inga did not let us go without a huge armful of flowers."

Author - Dilnoza, coordinator of the First Moscow hospice.

 

In mid-March, Moscow began to talk more often about the coronavirus and the pandemic. Some of the Fund's employees switched to remote work. We were forced to refuse visits of volunteers to hospices and tried to do everything so that hospice patients did not feel deprived – the coordinators continued their work in hospices, we organized video calls and online concerts, held chamber carts of joy and watched movies, tried not to reduce the quality of our work in any way and did not change their principles-we hope that we succeeded.

 

We will tell you more about the life of Moscow hospices during self-isolation in the next report.

Take care of yourselves.

 

Our foundation has been spending the average of 115049$ to cover for the following needs of Moscow hospices:
01.01.20 through 31.03.20

Meals – $1840

Medical equipment and its service – $1490

Coordinators’ work – $104654

Other expenses - $7065

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In the First Moscow hospice, which turned 25 in October, we spent Sunday with the concept of Last Christmas — when all family members gather in a large house, make decorations, decorate the house and do cleaning. At the same time, they enjoy spending time together and prepare for the climactic event in a relaxed atmosphere.

Such a friendly gathering and celebration of life would be the best gift on the birthday of the founder and first chief doctor of the First Moscow hospice!

We were worried that it would be empty — and even wet, unpleasant snow. But there were almost as many guests as registered. This is wow! After all, the First Moscow hospice is the warmest house in which it is not scary, because people love each other here.

Volunteers, neighbors, employees of Vera Found, doctors, hospice residents and their relatives all gathered under one roof. Among the guests is Yulia Karabanova, who 25 years ago became one of the first hospice volunteers. This holiday is special for her. Flipping through an album of archived photos, remembering faces.

Someone washes the Windows outside, someone washes the walls in the food hall inside. One of the hospice residents is Smoking in the hallway and petting a huge Labrador. Someone changes records, someone is invited to dance. Here and there flash "Want and help" t-shirts, children make chocolate candies, and the candles on the cake burn out by themselves.

It was an amazing double holiday-the anniversary of the First Moscow hospice and the birthday of Vera, who would have turned 77 on this day.

 

 

All these three months we held hands, were close, talked about important things and tried to fulfill our wishes. And we got even closer to hospice patients – our colleague Olga even celebrated her birthday there.

"I don't really like my birthday. I just don't like it.

When my friends asked me how I would celebrate it this year, I remembered that I had celebrated my 33rd birthday at the Tsaritsyno hospice (I worked as its coordinator at the time) — and realized that it was actually my dream birthday.

I decided to celebrate my birthday at the Rostokino hospice.

It was scary. You come to a hospice with a personal holiday, you don't know how people will react. In addition, I was warned that the hospital is "heavy" - when residents are not able to sit and, especially, walk; someone, for example, sleeps almost all day. I thought two or three people would be fine. But on the appointed day, a crowd gathered! Someone went into the hall in a chair, someone on the bed. One patient said, " I'll sleep here, but I'll Sleep with you."

I called my friends, and everyone did something to make the holiday happen: I bought cheeses, fruit, ice cream, flowers, cooked fragrant Uzbek pilaf, and cooked compote. They brought Monya, a volunteer dog.

Every hospice resident wished me well: "I Know what's most important."

The coolest thing is that Sergey and Irina arranged a concert.
Imagine what the relatives of those people who are being prepared for hospitalization thought: they go to the hospice — and there Galanin plays the guitar and everyone around him smiles. Even the guards.

One patient at first sat on the sidelines, her arms and legs barely noticeably twitching in time, and then as if she went into a dance! No one wanted to leave — they wanted to live and dance."

 

Thanks to the help of volunteers and benefactors, hospice residents had an amazing autumn — with its rustling leaves, baked apples and short walks. And after the fall came the pre-holiday, cozy winter time and a magical New year.

We want to tell you about the little things that made the residents of different hospices happy this year — about a rowan branch, Dickens, the black cat Herman and the orange horse Tolyunchik.

The interactive postcard contains 12 stories from different hospices — https://www.fond-vera.ru/ny2020 — lick on the asterisks and read the stories that happened because of you.

Thank you for being with us all this year and filling hospices with light.

 

 

Our foundation has been spending the average of 159889$ to cover for the following needs of Moscow hospices:

01.10.19 through 31.12.19

Meals – $2129

Medical equipment and its service – $6338

Medical equipment and its service - $19716

Coordinators’ work – $123393

Other expenses - $8313

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Organization Information

VERA Hospice Charity Fund

Location: Moscow - Russia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Maria Bakhtina
Moscow, Moscow Russia
$19,207 raised of $75,079 goal
 
283 donations
$55,872 to go
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