The Sentimental Journey Program is a joint venture between Rice Hospice and Willmar Ambulance Service to grant one last journey to patients who require medical assistance in order to travel. The journey could be that last visit to the family homestead, the ability to attend a special event, such as a wedding, or an opportunity to say goodbye to something or someone dear.
How does it work?
When visiting their patients, Rice Hospice nurses, social workers, hospice aides, and volunteers, listen to them reminisce and talk about what doesn’t seem possible or what they can no longer do due to their illness. Staff ears especially tune in when they hear a sentence that begins with the words, “I wish.”
It may go something like this: “I wish I could see my granddaughter get married,” or “I wish I could spend Christmas at home.” It may be as simple as, “I wish I could see the crops in the field.” For one gentleman who had been a pilot, it was, “I wish I could fly one more time.”
When hospice staff hear a wish that seems beneficial as well as possible, they contact Willmar Ambulance Service whose crews help find a way to make that patient’s wish come true.
Who may take a journey?
Sentimental Journeys are available to Rice Hospice patients in Willmar, Paynesville, Benson, Montevideo, Granite Falls, Dawson, Appleton, and Ortonville. Patients must be unable to travel on their own or with family without advanced medical assistance. A Willmar Ambulance paramedic, an EMT, and an ambulance provide medical care and safe transport.
Are there restrictions?
Each journey is evaluated individually for its benefits and challenges to the patient, as well as the feasibility of granting the trip. Rice Hospice and Willmar Ambulance staff strive to provide positive experiences during a difficult time, and will do their best to grant every wish that may benefit patient care.
The journey could be that last visit to the family homestead, the ability to attend a special event, or one last trip to a favorite fishing hole. It is one more opportunity to say goodbye to something or someone the person holds dear. It is one more memory, one more positive experience during a difficult time.
The duration and complexity of the trip will be determined prior to departure and decided on an individual basis.
How does someone arrange a Sentimental Journey?
If you have a family member on Rice Hospice, and would like to arrange a Sentimental Journey for your loved one, please contact his or her hospice social worker or nurse. Rice Hospice and Willmar Ambulance will determine the feasibility in granting the trip, as well as whether family members and/or friends may ride along.
How much does it cost?
There is no charge to the patient or family. Expenses are paid through memorials and donations made to Rice Hospice.