Volunteers to assist in transforming Wellmont Hospice House grounds into inspiring space

hospice healing garden
hospice healing garden

     BRISTOL – Bringing an extra measure of comfort to patients and their loved ones, local volunteers will continue this week to transform the grounds at Wellmont Hospice House into an inspiring and even more peaceful space.

     A new healing garden is well on its way toward completion at the hospice house, which is located on the Bristol Regional Medical Center campus. Replete with raised beds, flowers, plants, trees and covered walkways, the garden will give those who rely on the hospice house for high-quality, compassionate care a remarkable place to gather their thoughts and share precious moments with family and friends.

     On Thursday, June 27, myriad volunteers will visit the grounds to put their green thumbs to work. It is their opportunity to remember those in their lives who might have needed hospice care or to make a positive difference for patients who avail themselves of this beneficial service for end-stage illness.

     “Our patients have benefited greatly from the extensive community outreach that has enabled this facility to serve patients effectively during this special moment in their lives,” said Jackie Everett, clinical leader for Wellmont Hospice. “The community has a special bond with Wellmont Hospice House and has repeatedly elevated the level of service we can provide with its generosity.

     “We are grateful for this latest group of volunteers and all who preceded them for showing our patients and their families they have the community’s support.”

     Volunteers will arrive at 9:30 a.m. One group of volunteers is the Hill and Dale Garden Club of Bristol, which is making a $1,000 contribution in memory of Cindy Gentry, a master gardener and the late wife of Dr. Rick Gentry, a radiologist at Bristol Regional.

     Katy Sikorski, director of development for Wellmont Foundation, which is overseeing fundraising and development of this project, said the group is also honoring her memory by participating. If Mrs. Gentry were alive, she would have joined other volunteers in working on this heartwarming initiative, Sikorski said.

     The project contains a number of features that are expanding the healing environment that pervades the hospice house. Spread throughout the grounds are six concrete raised beds, four of which are located outside patient rooms. Each bed is irrigated and contains flowers, trees and flowering bushes that invoke the beauty of nature.

     The four flower beds by rooms include a covered walkway, and a covered patio provides shelter adjacent to the two beds at the rear of the hospice house.

     One of the highlights of the garden is a sitting area with two concrete benches and an angel between them. This section is located by a newly constructed wall that provides additional privacy.

     The remainder of the grounds features attractive landscaping that includes plants, more trees and mulch.

     The foundation has successfully guided the project to this point with beneficial donations from donors. The garden has also received valuable support from Anne and Dr. Ben Cowan, who are riding their bicycles on The Northern Tier from Western Washington State to Bar Harbor, Maine. The Cowans are matching up to $25,000 of donations to their Great Bicycle Adventure 2013. Individuals interested in backing this two-wheeled trip are still welcome to donate by logging onto www.wellmontfoundation.org.

     “We appreciate the Cowans and all other donors and volunteers who are leaving a legacy by supporting this healing garden,” said Todd Norris, Wellmont Health System’s senior vice president of system advancement and the foundation’s president. “We are entrusted by patients throughout the region to deliver superior care, and the financial backing we receive from our community partners enables us to produce outstanding results for our patients.”

     For more information about this project, please call the foundation at 423-230-8550.


     The new healing garden's features include six concrete raised beds, including these two at the rear of Wellmont Hospice House, and a covered patio and covered walkways.

     The new healing garden's features include six concrete raised beds, including these two by patient rooms at Wellmont Hospice House, and a covered patio and covered walkways.

     One of the highlights of the garden is a sitting area with two concrete benches and an angel between them.


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Jim Wozniak
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