Location: 17290 Jasmine Street, Suite 104, Victorville, CA 92395
Executive Director: Mary Hennessy-Fischl
Date Established: First patient in the High Desert taken on November 5th, 2007
Number local employees: 45
By Nolan Patrick Smith
(Victor Valley)–It is not something most would like to bring up or even talk about, but it is a part of life. When a family member or friend is terminally ill, it is an impossibly hard time to deal with. Hospice is a word that is almost always looked at in a negative light, but it shouldn’t be. Odyssey Hospice, with a branch located in Victorville, is aiming to educate our community about how important hospice really is.
“People always want to use the word depressing: its never depressing. It’s sad, sometimes it’s very sad, but it’s never depressing. It’s the most rewarding job I have ever had, and I have been a nurse for a very long time,” stated Mary Hennessy-Fischl, Executive Director of the Victorville branch of Odyssey. Odyssey Hospice provides palliative care to help in easing the pain and discomfort patients may experience. Also, they provide psycho-social and spiritual support for not only the patients, but for their loved ones as well.
“We are there for the family. As we explain to families when they sign up, we don’t just sign on the patient, we sign on the whole family. Then, we are there for the family for another thirteen months, so they go through all their firsts together, so they are not alone for the holidays and any anniversaries that may come up.”
Odyssey Hospice has been in the High Desert for four years now, having celebrated their four-year anniversary on November 5th. Odyssey, a Gentiva company, has been in existence since 1996, and is the largest hospice in the country. When looking at the statistics of hospice throughout the country and throughout our community, the numbers are staggering.
“In our country, over a little more than half die without hospice, which is a horrible number. In the High Desert, only a third of the people that die have hospice. So, one of our major goals is to educate the community so that people can have hospice at end of life. We all have to go, and a hospice death is a much more peaceful and dignified way to go. There are so many people that have no idea what services are out there, and it’s a Medicare benefit.”
For more information on Odyssey Hospice and the various services they have to offer, feel free to call the Victorville branch at (760) 241-7044 or visit their website at www.odsyhealth.com.