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 Health  Russia Project #26098

Support Hospices in Moscow

by VERA Hospice Charity Fund
Support Hospices in Moscow

Every day in our hospices there are many amazing events: concerts, workshops, animal therapists and a lot of warmth.
In this report, we decided to share with you the everyday stories of several of the Moscow hospice.

Hospice Butovo
Once it was difficult even to think - you can come to the hospital with an animal, and now it is impossible to imagine a hospice without dogs, cats, rabbits and other fluffy joys. True, some residents are still surprised and strive to hide the dog under his bed, so that none of the medical staff did not see and did not scold. And when you joyfully report that the doctors have just themselves amicably hugged our guests, surprised and smiling.
Recently I already wrote, that our patient T. A. has lost staunch friend and very grieves, misses. When volunteers learned about it-the real duty began. Volunteers distributed among themselves days when and who will arrive about the Pets. And every day they visited and pleased her.


Hospice Kurkino

Young future doctors, honey. College # 1. Came with a cart of course, but how else to meet and communicate. Awkward and embarrassed. But with an open heart and youthful fervor. It is important to tell first about how to properly serve the cart with treats so that it was beautiful and caused a person to want to treat himself. About how, that need necessarily put so trolley to and from position lying down was all in sight and was opportunity choose on their own. Don't talk loud and fast. See everyone, even if the person is not treated to anything. To respect the desire and reluctance.
And let's go!
I notice every time when children or teenagers come, that they are always accepted with more joy, gratitude and interest than adults. Until not has found the answer why. Though probably because they are more bright, not muddled, even without the experience, but because they are easier and more honest.
After introduced them to the books that publishes the publishing project of the Foundation. We conduct educational work. They took the books with them.


Hospice Tsaritsyno

"It will be remembered for a lifetime. It is impossible to convey in words. It's super!!!

Many thanks. Tell all. We were treated to tea with sweets. No one was in a hurry. Gifts presented. They helped me get in and out of the helicopter. Everyone was smiling. Laughed.

So it all attention.....".

Tatiana, a patient of the hospice "Tsaritsyno", flew by helicopter .

Tanya (as Katerina Chekmayeva, the hospice coordinator, affectionately calls her) first came to the hospice a year and a half ago-then she was lying on the bed, motionless. Thanks to competent care, she gradually "came to life", and now even walks independently, leaning on a stick.

Tatiana fell in love with the whole team of volunteers. And she loved the hospice so much that she became its "Ambassador": once she told doctors from an ordinary polyclinic for 40 minutes about how cool and not scary it is in the hospice.

And in March, Tanya threw a party — with beer, pistachios, roach — in honor of the anniversary of her hospitalization.

Now Tatiana receives help at home from the visiting hospice team.

When she was offered a helicopter flight, Tanya immediately asked for one thing — to call a volunteer Marina to share this joy with her. It was important to both of them.


Our foundation has been spending the average of 157418$ to cover for the following needs of Moscow hospices:

01.07.19 through 30.09.19

Meals – $1542

Equipment consumables – $18413

Coordinators’ work – $108757

Financial help to medical staff – $22937

Other expenses - $5769

 Dear friends! We're happy to share our news for the last three months.

Since April, the Fund started helping another Moscow institution: the Palliative Care Unit of the City Clinical Hospital no.15, located in Vykhino.

The unit takes up two floors. 20 adult patients share five rooms.

Now it has a Fund coordinator: Svetlana is a microbiologist and an artist who will have to take a blank canvas and create an atmosphere of home in this hospital unit. It's not just about small details that make life more comfortable — ficus plants, coffee, blankets, and napkins—it's also about relationships with medical staff and patients.

The patients here were not at all used to playing bingo, going outside for walks, or saying what they want. But we are slowly getting them used to the fact that palliative care unit can be cozy, that it can have people who care, that you can be yourself and do what makes you happy even among the bleak walls of a government facility.

 Sveta tells us:

 “Yesterday I went over to Zoya and offered her to watch a movie on a tablet. She was surprised... “I'd like to,” she said.

I turned on “Belye Rosy” (“White Dew”). I love this film too, so I sat down and started watching it with her, completely entranced :) Suddenly, Zoya turned around and looked at me in a somewhat militant way: “I want some sausage!” I exhaled. “Just a moment, I'll get you some,” I said.

 - What kind of sausage would you like?

- Wait, I can have some?..

- We'll ask, no problem!

 I brought her some sausage and helped Zoya sit up more comfortably. We got to talking (as you know, eating sausage inspires small talk).

And then Lenochka said: “I'd like a summer fruit salad... a real summer one!”

 Oh, and Marina watched “Afonya”.

Marina is a beauty, and she is so clever; she listens attentively while I read her “The Book of Culinary Stories”, loves music, thanks me. I have yet to see her without a smile on her face. I always look at her and think that she smiles with her whole internal, giant sun, and there is no bigger smile in the world... But as it turns out, there is— after seeing “Afonya”! :)”


In one of the rooms of the Center for Palliative Care (CPC), in the evening, patient Vlasta is reading “War and Peace” out loud to her roommate Olya.

Vlasta came to CPC in July last year, and the doctor's prognosis was discouraging. It's been almost a year since, and Vlasta still has the fourth volume to read.

Olya and Vlasta met at the Center for Palliative Care and became friends; both are our patients. They've spent many days together, sharing the same hospital room. They've been talking a lot and supporting each other. Vlasta has been taking care of Olya, and Olya has been supporting Vlasta spiritually and psychologically.

They have been reading “War and Peace” together, attending events organized by volunteers together, and once decided together that Olya's poems shouldn't be written “for the drawer”, that they can help some people who are having a hard time, who are in despair, who really need some support. Thanks to the volunteers and donors of the VERA Fund, it became possible.

For months, every evening, Vlasta and Olya were reading, choosing, discussing. This was a focused, meticulous effort of two friends, two patients, two young women who found a purpose and a goal, who found each other, who had a mission. Later, they discussed the title, design, color, and artwork. And then they waited for the collection of poems to be released. In discussions, Olya often said:

“Let Vlasta decide. This is for her. It's all for her.”

And Vlasta used to say:

“I didn't appreciate life before. I never thought that I could be loved. And only here, in CPC, I met so many good people who grew to love me!”

Finally, the book was released. By then, Olya was discharged. The Fund’s volunteers and staff, together with Vlasta, came to visit Olya and were given a warm welcome at her home. Together with Olya and her parents, they drank champagne, had tea and cake, and celebrated the fact that there are so many good and caring people in the world who can move mountains, get the moon and the stars—achieve something that seems impossible.

Olya and Vlasta gave two copies of the book to CPC and each of the hospices so that anyone facing hard times could take this book, see the Light, and feel the Love!


At the Tsatitsino hospice there is also a patient who is in love with literature, who recently told our coordinator Katya about her dream coming true:

“You know, Katyusha, when I found out 11 months ago that I didn't have much time left, I decided to fulfil my dream.

I thought long and hard and then realized that most of all I wanted to read all of Dickens’ books.

So, I went to the library, and they only had two editions of his collected works: one in 30 volumes, from 1957, and another one in ten volumes, from 1970s. Of course, I chose thirty volumes.

I thought that it wasn’t in the cards for me to finish it, but I did it in just three months.

Dickens is such a lively author, there are so many emotions in his work! And he is wise—he can teach you so many things. When you read everything that an author wrote during his time on this Earth, it's as if he becomes your friend. Can you imagine: it turns out that it's so easy to find a friend...”


All these stories happen in hospice care thanks to the help of volunteers and donors.

Thank you for your trust and support!


Our foundation has been spending the average of 118876$ to cover for the following needs of Moscow hospices:

01.04.19 through 30.06.19

Meals – $2074

Equipment consumables – $5243

Coordinators’ work – $103510

Other expenses - $8049


*We thank Veronica Demichelis for her generous help with rendering this text from Russian into English.

On March 17, amendments to the Federal Law on Fundamentals of Health Care for Citizens of the Russian Federation, which cover issues of palliative care, came into effect.

Earlier the federal law explained palliative care as a combination of medical interventions. However, at the end of life a person requires much more than just medical care. Palliative care is seen worldwide as medical and social care provided not just to the ill person but to his or her entire family. The new definition introduced into the law brought us as close as possible to such a systematic approach.

Now the law guarantees each patient the right not just to medical care, but to psychological assistance and involvement of social services in providing palliative care.

This means that our patients have got the right, at the end of life, to preserve their identity and their usual way of life even if the terminal illness took away their independence.

For us the adoption of this amendment means that patients under home care now have the right to receive complete palliative care, including medication and a social worker. In other words, a patient gets the right to stay with his or her family and receive all the necessary care at home.
This also means that patients in medical facilities now have the right to receive palliative care even if they can't express this wish themselves and sign a consent form. At the moment, it is enough that patients confirm their consent for care with a gesture. If they are unable to do even that, their doctor can gather a medical council and make a decision on this case.

 We have more fantastic news about the new opportunities for our patients! The Department of Respiratory Support, which opened at the Palliative Care Center a year ago, discharged the first patient with a lung ventilator, Pavel.

Why is this so important for us and sounds as if he were the first person who landed on the Moon?

The reason is that now people who can no longer breathe on their own and have to stay in intensive care for a long time due to a severe, progressive disease, these people can return home!

From the intensive care unit, patients are transferred to the Moscow Multidisciplinary Center for Palliative Care where their families are trained in providing proper care and controlling the device. Patients are not scared to go back home, because now their families are confident in using the device and have the support of the mobile service team which visits them regularly. How cool is it that everyone who needs constant respiratory support will get a chance to live at home!

 But even if a patient stays at the hospice clinic or at the clinic of the Palliative Care Center or its Department of Respiratory Support, family can visit round-the-clock. So, the time spent there will be interesting and eventful for patients and their relatives. For example, at the Moscow hospices, during the last three months, our volunteers not only organized numerous master classes, concerts, and “joy carts”, but also celebrated the traditional holidays: the Defender of the Fatherland Day when hospice patients and their families were congratulated on their courage and perseverance in the face of their illness; Maslenitsa, or Pancake Week, when hospice residents made pancakes, laughed at the jokes of Skomorokh the clown, and recited witty and mischievous verses to the volunteers; the International Women's Day when hospices smelled of fresh tulips and were full of smiles of their female residents and employees.

The memory that stands out the most is the one of Alexander Bembeyevich, a patient of the Degunino hospice. He asked his daughter to buy some tulips and gave a flower to each nurse, aide, and coordinator who entered his room.

 All of this is possible thanks to your regular support. Thank you so much for contributing to the work and development of our fund and, together with us, giving the gift of life to hospice patients—life for the rest of their life.


Our foundation has been spending the average of 121759$ to cover for the following needs of Moscow hospices:

 01.01.19 through 31.03.19

Meals – $1528

Financial support to hospice staff – $12164

Coordinators’ work – $78872

Other expenses - $29195


 *We thank Veronica Demichelis for her generous help with rendering this text from Russian into English.

Today we want to share our main achievements over the past three months.

We received a Grant from the Mayor of Moscow for one of the largest and most complicated projects of the Fund — a project to support hospices and their patients. This project is the heart of VERA Fund. Our Fund started with this project 12 years ago. Most often we tell you about hospice events organized within the framework of this project.

The Grant covers more than 10% of the project costs (total project budget for 12 months — 23 583 240 rubles), which will help us feel a little calmer.


We has restarted the web portal "Pro Palliative". It’s like Wikipedia about help at the end of life.

When a person learns about an incurable disease, he becomes afraid. And it’s important to give him the opportunity to easily find reliable information collected in one place and presented in an accessible language.

This place will be an educational portal "ProPalliative", which collected everything we know about palliative care: from simple materials for seriously ill people, their loved ones, and just interested — to highly specialized, which will be useful to hospice managers, doctors and nurses.


VERA Fund received a Presidential Grant in the amount of 13 295 525 rubles for the project "The Right to assistance at the end of life".

We often write that terminally ill people and their relatives don’t know where and how to get help. They rarely explain what will happen to them next, how to relieve their condition, how to get painkillers and protect their rights. They are confused, scared and don’t understand how to live. We try to make information about the right to assistance as accessible as possible.

As part of this project, we will continue to develop our Hotline to help terminally ill people, which works around the clock and seven days a week, free of charge, and ask questions about the care of the seriously ill, about painkillers, about hospices and so on. We will fill the educational resource about palliative care "Pro Palliative" with new information.

The Grant will help us to ensure the round — the-clock operation of the Hotline and decent work of the Pro Palliative - so that as many people as possible of our country know where to find answers to questions in the most difficult period of their lives.


Besides we had a race of Santa Clauses (when a half thousand people ran 5 km or 10 km), collection of Christmas gifts, concert of Nikolai Baskov and many other wonderful events.

VERA Fund's volunteers came up with a new Christmas tradition - decorate windows with beautiful winter paintings, so that there was a holiday everywhere.


Thank you for this year!


Our foundation has been spending the average of 157362$ to cover for the following needs of Moscow hospices:

 01.10.18 through 31.12.18

 Meals – $1971

Financial support to hospice staff – $19730

Coordinators’ work – $97513

Equipment consumables - $25326

Other expenses - $12822

Zhenya is 38. At the moment he is staying at the Nekrasovka hospice in Moscow.

In August Zhenya shared his dream with us, which was to celebrate his daughter Lera’s birthday with her. She is 13 years old and she lives at an orphanage in Cheboksary in the Volga region. Her birthday marks the beginning of the fall season in Russia (September 1st).

Cheboksary is Zhenya’s hometown as well, but since he was treated at the Blokhin Cancer Research Center he had to move to Moscow. Before his illness he took care of his daughter all by himself.

What a blessing it must be to have a thinking pattern like that of the VERA Fund volunteers who helped this patient’s dream come true:

It’s 700 kilometers away? Not a problem! One of the volunteers has a comfortable car and one of the doctors at the hospice is willing to accompany our patient 24/7 and make sure he has no pain.

Problems covering the travel fare? None at all, there are people willing to finance them.

Daughter’s birthday? The biggest gift was being able to hug her dad, who gathered all his strength to travel all the way from Moscow to Cheboksary. And naturally a birthday wouldn’t be complete without a teddy bear, flowers and a bracelet that will forever remind Lera of the most important encounter of her life.

No need for hesitation. One must simply act on it, as for some of us there may be no tomorrow.

Many thanks to all who helped with organizing this trip for Lera and Zhenya.

We believe that the smiles on their faces are “for the rest of life”.

Last week the Degunino hospice in Moscow welcomed a new patient, Liliya Ivanovna. She was an opera singer and is an Honored Artist of Russia.

Her son Leonid, an incredible jazz pianist who lives in the US, immediately took a flight home.

He was just on time to see his mother, stay with her, talk to her and give her a hug.

The following day she passed away.

Olga Tereshina, the hospice coordinator, told us the story:

“We were all hoping that we would be able to spend more time with them, but yesterday, while there was a flute and piano concert in the hall, Liliya Ivanovna left us.

Her son was still on his way at that moment, and I was worried that the music might be a little inappropriate and that it can make him even sadder.

But musicians are very special people.

After his mother passed away, we were spending time in the garden and Leonid was telling me about his mother, when suddenly, with tears in his eyes, he said the following:

“The girls were playing really well; mom must have loved it. It’s amazing when you think about it: even when leaving this world, musicians are surrounded by music”.

Friday, the day before the funeral, Leonid organized a concert for the patients, the nurses and the doctors of the hospice in honor of his mother.

“Mom asked me not to play too loudly. I did my best :)”.


These heartwarming stories would never have happened without your help. Thank you!



Our foundation has been spending the average of 151770$ to cover for the following needs of Moscow hospices:

 01.07.18 through 30.09.18

 Meals – $996

 Financial support to hospice staff – $83787

 Coordinators’ work – $64716

 Other expenses - $2271



*We thank Alexandra Goriounova for her generous help with rendering this text from Russian into English.


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Organization Information

VERA Hospice Charity Fund

Location: Moscow - Russia
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Maria Bakhtina
Moscow, Moscow Russia
$6,600 raised of $75,079 goal
140 donations
$68,479 to go
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