Compassion sans boundaries
In some of the farthest reaches of Nevada, Yuba and Sierra counties, where paved roads, cellular phone service and grocery stores are luxuries only flatlanders enjoy, even the most basic health care services can seem out of reach.
To that end, a small band of Camptonville health care workers are looking to establish a hospice to handle the needs of the terminally ill in some of the Gold Country’s most remote areas.
The group is rebuilding an old restaurant to serve as a future thrift store to help pay for its endeavors and see the volunteer-based hospice through.
“We have a lot of work to do, you betcha,” said Georgeann Savage, assistant director of the Journey Home volunteer hospice as she looked up Monday at the peeling siding and honeysuckle and wisteria blocking the front entrance of the drafty building that will one day be called C’ville Thrift and Treasure.
Proceeds will also go toward a proposed animal shelter behind the store. Wags and Whiskers may one day house pets left behind by their hospice-bound owners, said volunteer Allie Birmingham.
“We’re going to give this place some volunteer TLC,” Savage said.
In fact, nearly the entire mission of the Journey Home Hospice center is based on volunteer care for as many as 10 terminally ill patients.
In partnership with Grass Valley-based Hospice of the Foothills, the Journey Home Volunteer Hospice and Retreat plans to use hospice-trained volunteers and retired nurses to help care for patients outside of Hospice of the Foothills’ service area, in places such as Pike, Alleghany, Camptonville and Downieville.
Services for the hospice are contracted through Hospice of the Foothills, said Joan Journey, director of the proposed Camptonville hospice.
“This is the essence of rural care,” she said. “We’re trying to have care where people can still stay in their homes, and we want to provide services to make that happen.”
Journey said she plans to increase available space at her Camptonville location, a converted home off Highway 49 up a steep dirt path. For now, the hospice survives on word-of-mouth inquiries.
Journey, a licensed registered nurse, said she wants to increase space at the Camptonville compound and provide cabins for families to be near their loved ones.
Journey said she feels confident in meeting the need for hospice care.
Camptonville is a town served by just two gas pumps. Shopping for anything more than a quart of milk or a sandwich means traveling 20 miles to Nevada City or Grass Valley, and the only pizza parlor serves as a meeting hall. The hospice facility and hand-me-down store are looked upon with equal parts wistfulness and hope.
Randy and Ron Rizzo, who own the future site of the store, hope the store brings in more jobs.
“We need businesses up here to succeed,” Ron Rizzo said. “And we hope the building will succeed, too. I guess old age has finally caught up to it.”
Birmingham, who plans to operate the pet sanctuary behind the future thrift store, hopes interest in the hospice, store and animal facility will increase as their work gets publicized.
“Hopefully, this will lead to the creation of some jobs up here.”
— For information about Journey Home, call 288-1234.
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