In the News

Making Memories for Those in Hospice Care

Verena Shiflett, a 48-year-old Cincinnati-area mother in hospice care for a lung disorder, had one final dream: to see her 18-year-old daughter, Rhonda, graduate from high school. Hospice of Southwest Ohio’s Make a Memory program made the dream a reality with the help of Rhonda’s school, Hamilton High School, and Jeff Tanner, the local representative of Jostens Scholastic, the nation’s leading supplier of high school and collegiate gear. Family members, classmates, teachers and hospice staff gathered to watch Rhonda, a developmentally disabled child with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, receive her diploma and celebrate the milestone achievement on February 22, 2019.

Read the full article

Hospice of Southwest Ohio’s Joe McDermott receives Hospice Award of Excellence

The Ohio Council for Home Care and Hospice (OCHCH) presented the Hospice Award of Excellence Joe McDermott, LPN for his compassionate dedication of more than 7 years of service to the patients, family members and staff at Hospice of Southwest Ohio.

This award recognizes a licensed professional who is outstanding in their field. Joe received his award at the OCHCH Annual Conference luncheon in Columbus joined by our CEO David Walsh.

Joe has a way of bringing a smile to everyone he meets and demonstrates the Hospice of Southwest Ohio Difference by putting patients at the heart of all he does.

When asked how he felt about being nominated and receiving this award, Joe stated:

My father used to tell me,”Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I’ve found that in hospice, I don’t go to work every day, I go to Care every day!

With sincere excitement and appreciation, we congratulate Joe and feel fortunate to have him on our team!

Honor Flight

Hospice of Southwest Ohio is proud to have one of our volunteers, Paul Carlson, honored by Honor Flight Tri-State. Paul is better know around our community as Santa’s Elf “Sparkles” during the holiday season. Paul was escorted by his son Erick. HSWO thanks Paul for his service!

HSWO’s Tabetha Morelock receives Aide of the Year Award

The Ohio Council for Home Care and Hospice (OCHCH) presented the State of Ohio Hospice Aide of the Year to Tabetha Morelock, STNA for her dedication of more than 6 years of service to the patients, family members and staff at Hospice of Southwest Ohio.

One of Tabetha’s Nurses that she works closely shared, “Simply put, the level of care/doing what is best for the patient is higher when Tabetha is involved. I recognize her strengths, acknowledge and act on her input regarding patient care. There are numerous time that she has responded to “the extra need” that has proven invaluable beyond measure to the patient and family. I am glad to be a part of the “Tabetha Team” – she keeps me on my toes!”

“Tabetha is 100% dedicated to her patients and their families. Tabetha is always willing to be creative, to try to problem solve, always tilling to think outside of the box to do whatever her patient’s needs. She is so very patient and kind. I am so grateful for her willingness to be such a fabulous team player. She is always keeping us in the loop, letting us know what we can do to help our patients. Tabetha represents who we are as an organization, completely demonstrating our mission to provide wise and compassion care to every patient, every day.”

Hospice of Southwest Ohio has increased their home patient territory because of Tabatha’s hard work, dedication and patient choice. There have been several patients who have requested Hospice of Southwest Ohio Services, just to ensure they have her as their aide.

“Tabetha demonstrates the Hospice of Southwest Ohio Difference by putting our patients at the heart of all we do”, said David Walsh, CEO “Tabetha, with others on the Hospice of Southwest Ohio team, care for our patients with compassion and kindness.”

Congratulations Tabetha for receiving the Hospice Aide of the Year Award and for proving the patients and their families at Hospice of Southwest Ohio – peace, clarity and understanding at a time when they need it most.

About HSWO
Hospice of Southwest Ohio is locally owned and operated since 2006. With helping hands and open hearts, Hospice of Southwest Ohio provides the care, comfort and compassion for those facing a life-limiting illness. We have a dedicated team of nurses, caregivers and volunteers whose main goal is to keep your loved ones at peace – in a place surrounded by care and compassion.

Hospice of Southwest Ohio serves five counties, with the highest reputation for treating patients with the care, dignity and the respect everyone deserves.

About The Ohio Council for Home Care and Hospice
For nearly 50 years, the OCHCH for has been the “Voice of Home Care and Hospice in Ohio”. OCHCH supports the home care and hospice provider industry and serves it members and other stakeholders through advocacy, education, information and research. OCHCH is one of the nation’s largest and longest serving state trade associations for home care and hospice. OCHCH is a member of both the National Association of Home Care & Hospice and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Pictured from left to right: Hospice of Southwest Ohio Staff – Natasha Patton, Sharon Smith, Olivia Nelson, Tabetha Morelock and David Walsh

Hospice Frequently Asked Questions

While we understand that everyone’s situation is unique, many frequently asked questions are answered below.

What does hospice really do?

Hospice of Southwest Ohio provides specialized care services (patient care including symptom management, emotional support, spiritual support and psycho-social intervention), addressing issues most important to the patient’s needs and wants at the end of their life focusing on improving the individual’s quality of life.

How do I know when it is time for end-of-life care?

Patients are eligible for hospice care when they have been diagnosed with a terminal illness with a prognosis of 6 months or less. At that time, comfort, care, and symptom management become the primary focus, and curative treatment is no longer the patient’s choice or option.

When should hospice be called?

Hospice should be called at any time the patient has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. It is appropriate to discuss all of the patient’s care options, including hospice.

Where is hospice care provided?

Hospice care is provided in a setting that best meets the needs of each patient and family. The most common setting is the patient’s home. Hospice care is also provided in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals according to patient care needs.  Hospice of Southwest Ohio also provides an inpatient facility at our Madeira headquarters.

Are all hospices the same?

No. “Hospice” is a medical specialty like pediatrics, geriatrics, oncology, etc. Each hospice provider is a different company. All hospices have the same general philosophy but their services often differ.  In Ohio, it is your right to request the hospice of your choice if more than one hospice serves your area.

Can my pain and symptoms be controlled at home?

Yes. pain and other symptoms can usually be controlled in the patient’s home. If a symptom (i.e. pain, nausea or vomiting, or difficulty breathing) becomes a problem, the hospice nurse can be reached 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. Great advances in pain management and symptom control occurred during the past few years. Most symptoms can be controlled without the use of injections or IV medication. Hospice of Southwest Ohio nurses assess each patients’ pain and symptom control at each visit. Hospice medical directors are always available to adjust medications.

Does Hospice provide 24-hour in-home care?

No. Hospice provides intermittent nursing visits to assess, monitor and treat symptoms, as well as teach family and caregivers the skills they need to care for the patient. Team members are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer questions or visit anytime the need for support arises.

Can I live alone and still receive Hospice services?

Yes. Hospice of Southwest Ohio accepts patients who live alone, however, part of the admission and ongoing care process is to plan and prepare for the time in a patient’s illness when 24-hour a day care will be necessary.

Can a hospice patient choose to return to curative treatment?

Yes. Receiving hospice care is always a choice. A patient may leave hospice and return to curative treatment if that is their choice. If the patient later chooses to return to hospice care, Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance companies permit re-activation of their hospice benefit.

Can I go back to the hospital and still receive hospice care?

Yes. However, many symptoms that would normally require hospitalization or an emergency room visit can be successfully managed at home by the hospice team, thus preventing the stress of hospitalization. Hospice patients generally only have the need for short hospital stays to stabilize a symptom and then are able to return home.

Is the decision for hospice care giving up hope or waiting to die?

No. Hospice is about living. Hospice of Southwest Ohio strives to bring quality of life and comfort to each patient and their family. Our successes are in helping a patient and family live fully until the end. Often patients will feel better with good pain and symptom management. Hospice is an experience of care and support that is different from any other type of care.

Does hospice do anything to bring death sooner?

No. Our goal is always to alleviate suffering and manage symptoms. Hospice does nothing to speed up or slow down the dying process. Our role is to lend support and allow the disease process to unfold as comfortably as possible.

Do I have to be homebound to receive hospice services?

No. Hospice is about living fully. We encourage patients to do what they enjoy as they are able. The hospice team assists patients and families in achieving their goals and dreams as much as possible.

Does hospice provide support to the family after the patient dies?

Yes. Bereavement Services follow family and caregivers for a year following the patient’s death. These services may include personal visits, providing information concerning the grief process and offering periodic opportunities for group support. Bereavement Services provides information and referral to other area resources when needed.

How To Look Out for a Relative in a Nursing Home

The best ways to make sure your loved one gets the care that was promised.

By Kurtis Hiatt,  US News

Finally, after ticking off the last item on a lengthy list of must-haves, you think you’ve found the best nursing home for your Dad. The staff seems caring and professional. It’s comfortable, homey, and Dad is OK with it. He might even come to like his new life.

But your work isn’t over. You want to make sure Dad gets the care you were told he’d receive—and the care he deserves. “The resident’s needs should be met by the facility, rather than having the patient meet the facility’s needs,” says Barbara Messinger-Rapport, director of the Cleveland Clinic‘s Center for Geriatric Medicine.

How do you make that happen?

What to ask:
Start with your loved one. Isn’t Dad going to be your best source of information on his own care? “Ask the questions you would want to be asked if the roles were reversed,” says Cornelia Poer, a social worker in the Geriatric Evaluation and Treatment Clinic at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. Questions such as:

  • Are you comfortable?
  • Is anything worrying you?
  • Do you feel safe?
  • Do you feel respected?
  • If you need help and you push the call button, how long before somebody comes?
  • Have you gotten to know any of the other residents?
  • Do you like the staff—and any staff member in particular?

That last point may seem small, but whether your loved one clicks with a specific caregiver is important, says David A. Nace, chief of medical affairs for UPMC Senior Communities, a long-term care network in western Pennsylvania that is part of UPMC-University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. It shows he’s making connections, growing in new social relationships. The trust that develops may also mean Dad takes his medication more reliably, or if behavioral issues stemming from dementia are a concern, it may be easier for one nurse than for another to manage them, says Nace.

Show interest and concern and identify major problems, but don’t go overboard. “Inquiries are important, but try to avoid turning every phone call into an interrogation,” Poer says. “You will be able to determine if there are areas of concern in normal, everyday conversation.”

Some questions will be better directed at staff members, particularly if your loved one has a cognition problem such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. In the first days and weeks, the focus should be on the initial adjustment. Does Dad’s nurses see any signs of depression? Does he appear to be making the transition smoothly? If not, what, specifically, is being done to help him?

Then drill down to his day-to-day routine:

  • When does he get up?
  • Are his meals appropriately prepared—soft or pureed food if he has trouble chewing, low in fat and salt if he has a heart condition?
  • Is he taking his medications when and as often as he should? (The timing of each medication should be documented.) If there’s been a consistent problem, how is that being addressed?
  • Is there a reason to change any of his medications?
  • Is he exercising or participating in other physical activities?
  • Is he social?

“I like to see if the patients are usually in their rooms,” says Susan Leonard, a geriatrician at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. “Not being in their rooms means they are participating in activities, dining, or in the hallway socializing with others, which may suggest a better social environment for residents.” But you’ll want to see for yourself whether empty rooms might only mean residents are parked on sofas and in wheelchairs elsewhere in front of TVs.

Don’t be afraid to broach more sensitive topics. If you were recently alerted of a behavioral issue or medical emergency, talk to both Dad and the staff to figure out whether it was handled properly. You want to know what the staff did and what changes in care they’ve made.

It’s helpful to have a main point of contact during the day’s various shifts. You should feel like you can call at any time, but Nace observes that it’s good to know up front what the best times are for getting general updates. And don’t settle for less than you need to know. If you don’t get an answer, head up the chain of command to a unit supervisor, assistant director, or director.

What to inspect
Getting a feel on your own for the overall environment goes a long way, says Audrey Chun, associate professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. Are common areas, rooms, and residents’ clothes clean? What about lighting and temperature? These are especially important to older adults, says Poer. Does the room feel homelike? If you send cards, are they hanging on a bulletin board in the room?  If cards and drawings are up and Dad couldn’t put them up herself, that’s a great sign. “It means the staff took the time to do it for the resident,” Nace says. “The staff cared enough to do this.”

Look around. Do you see any safety hazards—a hanging TV that isn’t strapped down or blocked exits? What about bruises, such as on the upper arms where staff may have handled Dad too roughly? Watch the staff—are they affectionate, genuine, and helpful?

Read more.

Myths and Facts about Health Care Advance Directives

Myths Fact Hc Ad.authcheckdam

Cincy Obscura: Miniature Therapy Horses at Seven Oaks Farm

Hospice of Southwest Ohio is pleased to offer Therapy visits from Seven Oaks Farm Miniature Horses. We are the only Hospice in Greater Cincinnati providing loving visits from these miniature horses for our patients and their families.

by Linda Vaccarielloo, Cincinnati Magazine

A horse is a horse, of course, of course. And Lisa Moad’s miniature therapy horses are no exception. Sure, they’re tiny: Measured ground-to-withers (that’s the shoulder area, in horse parlance), 9-year-old Buckeye is just under 27 inches tall. But the li’l guy is proportioned just like a sleek steed, and—as with a big horse—Mother Nature has endowed him with skittish tendencies.


So Moad’s barn at Seven Oaks Farm near Hamilton is where Buckeye and others learn to do what doesn’t come naturally: to climb stairs and cross slippery tile floors; to remain chill despite sirens, balloons, careening wheelchairs, and kids who don’t exactly respect their personal space. Basically, Moad says, “They’re trained not to be freaked out.” What kind of “therapy” do these diminutive dobbins offer? Moad’s miniatures have trotted alongside cops in the city and nuzzled nervous college freshmen at Miami U. In other settings, their presence helps to draw out children struggling to read and lifts the spirits of listless nursing home residents.

Soothing ‘Spiritual’ Pain

A chaplain at a New York hospital has designed a board that lets the critically ill communicate their spiritual pain and needs.

by Lucette Lagnado

When William Campion was in the intensive-care unit this month after a double lung transplant, he felt nervous and scared and could breathe only with the help of a machine.

Joel Nightingale Berning, a chaplain at Mr. Campion’s hospital, New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, stopped by. He saw that Mr. Campion had a tube in his neck and windpipe, which prevented him from speaking. The chaplain held up a communication board—not the kind used to check a patient’s physical pain and needs, but a “spiritual board” that asks if he or she would like a blessing, a prayer or another religious ministry. The board also lets patients rate their level of spiritual pain on a scale of 0 through 10, from none to “extreme.”

Chaplain Berning with William Campion, a patient who was unable to speak while recovering from a double lung transplant. The chaplain used the ‘spiritual-communications board’ to help Mr. Campion express himself and convey his spiritual needs.

Chaplain Berning with William Campion, a patient who was unable to speak while recovering from a double lung transplant. The chaplain used the ‘spiritual-communications board’ to help Mr. Campion express himself and convey his spiritual needs. PHOTO: NEW YORK-PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL

Mr. Campion, a 69-year-old Catholic, indicated his spiritual pain was acute: 8. Using the picture board, he signaled that he wanted to pray. The chaplain recited the Lord’s Prayer as Mr. Campion followed silently.

Read more.

‘I’m 90 years old, I’m hitting the road’


  • A 90-year-old woman has opted out of cancer treatment to spend her remaining days on a once-in-a-lifetime road-trip with her family.


  • The woman’s name is Norma and she is from Northern Michigan. Just two days after loosing her husband Leo, she found out she had uterine cancer.


  • When her doctor explained that they could operate on the tumor and then put her through radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Norma politely declined.


  • Instead of treatment, Norma decided to spend her last days on the road with her son, Tim, and his wife, Ramie in an RV.


  • Ramie says she hopes the story will encourage other families to discuss end-of-life options.


Ramie and I had had fifteen opportunities to talk to my parents about their wishes. That is the number of times Ramie had joined me on my yearly pilgrimages to their rural Michigan home. The first year she came with me, Mom and Dad were in their mid-seventies—perhaps a little too young then to have this talk. Honestly it never dawned on us. They were still very self-sufficient and vibrant, after all. But as they aged into their eighties, I began to see a shift in my parents’ capabilities. They moved slower. Mom could not manage the stairs to the basement anymore, so Dad had to do the laundry. Cooking healthy meals became a hassle for Mom. Getting the mail from the box across the street became more of a chore for Dad. But they soldiered on. Read more.


Blog Categories

Recent News

Mission Statement

At Hospice of Southwest Ohio, we are dedicated to providing quality comfort care and support in meeting the medical, emotional, spiritual and psychological needs of our patients, families, caregivers, staff and community in a way that affirms life and supports choices in an environment of dignity and respect. HSWO’s caring employees and volunteers are empowered to fulfill this vision…with every patient…every day.


Interested in volunteering at the Hospice of Southwest Ohio? Find out how to apply and volunteer today.

Learn More

Help Support Our Foundation

The Hospice of Southwest Ohio Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. Find out how you can help today.

Learn More