Dedication ceremony held for new end-of-life care room at Porter

MIDDLEBURY— A dedication ceremony for the third “ARCH Room” (named the Addison Room) at Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center (HPHRC) on Dec. 7, was attended by board members from the two organizations as well as Helen Porter staff and residents, families and friends.
These beautifully furnished rooms, funded by ARCH, offer compassionate end-of-life care in a lovely home-like setting. In dedicating this new room, Daphne Jensen, the president of the Addison Respite Care Home (ARCH) board, said, “We would not be here today, if not for Neil Gruber’s vision of culture change. He opened the door for us. This new room in the Memory Care Neighborhood is special. The concept of this room was initially brought to our attention by the attentive staff that understands this unique environment and the individual needs of people residing here. We are grateful for the caregivers’ ability to navigate through the issues during this stage of life with flexibility, kindness and love. The people that work here are a gift to the community of Addison County and therefore we would like to dedicate this room to the staff of HPHRC.” 
The ARCH initiative, which started planning nine years ago for a way to provide the community with compassionate end-of-life care when home is not an option, has come a long way. After countless hours of conversations, research, meetings, organizing and fundraising, the ARCH board joined with HPHRC to achieve this dream.
In the spring of 2011 the first room — Green Mountain Room, dedicated to the Middlebury Lions — was created at HPHRC on Otter Creek Place. In the fall of 2012 the second room — Champlain Room, in memory of Milo Schaefer — was created, next door to the first. Then a request was made to the ARCH board by the remarkable staff at HPHRC for a third room. This room is unique in that it is located in the Memory Care Neighborhood. Many folks call this home, and the staff’s insight into the needs of these residents in their final days was compelling. Creativity on the part of both partners in this venture, ARCH and HPHRC, led to the newest room — Addison Room, dedicated to the staff at HPHRC.
Many people and organizations throughout Addison County have worked together to take care of those in the community who deserve compassion, dignity and respect during this final passage in life. ARCH, Hospice Volunteer Services, Addison County Home Health & Hospice, Helen Porter, Porter Hospital — including all the HPHRC staff, volunteers, residents and family members — have participated in raising awareness and hope for the dying and their caregivers.
Heather Quesnel, director of nursing at HPHRC, supports the ARCH mission. “I have seen the magic that occurs within the ARCH rooms. The caregiving process transforms from something that is provided, to a gift that is eagerly shared. The beautiful rooms bring pride to the staff, which enhances their desire to go above and beyond for the patient and their families. The room reminds them about the very intimate, special and once-in-a-lifetime moment they are part of and for that they feel privileged and honored to be included.”
ARCH is currently exploring new initiatives to further encourage ways to deliver what Dr. Ira Byock, palliative care physician, compels us to envision “the best care possible.” Members of the ARCH say they are grateful to all who have supported their efforts.

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