Tending to the Body, Mind & Spirit  

Hallmarks of Compassionate Hospice Care

Donna Bingenheimer of Journey Hospice
Donna Bingenheimer of Journey Hospice

“Dying is different for everyone,” noted Donna Bingenheimer, BSN, RN, LMT, CCAP, Registered Nurse, and Licensed Massage Therapist at Journey Hospice. “Some people are ready and accepting, while others may be concerned about leaving their loved ones or fearful of what’s on the other side. Our job is to create a safe space for whatever that person and family are going through—to allow it to happen and support them through their very personal experience. The goal is to have everyone be peaceful and feel like they’re ready for the next phase of their journey.” To help with this transition, the Journey Hospice team offers a holistic care approach, treating the whole person—body, mind, and spirit. Integrative therapies include massage therapy, reflexology, acupressure, aromatherapy, and pet therapy. All care is coordinated by a specially trained registered nurse and is performed by Journey’s caring and attentive team. The result is a complementary course of treatment specifically intended to relieve the individual patient’s symptoms.

Bingenheimer, who is also a certified clinical aromatherapist, integrates complementary and alternative therapies into traditional medicine. “If a person is experiencing pain, anxiety, nausea, or insomnia, we can use aromatherapy, massage, and healing touch (energy work) to help minimize these symptoms.” Explaining further, she noted, “Our body has an energy field just like it has a circulatory system; energy work helps to balance the energy field to create physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. Our nurses have been trained in healing touch and we use this for our patients from admission on.”

Journey Hospice’s care team provides treatments to offer relief for patients experiencing anxiety, depression, and insomnia, issues that are rooted in the mind. Journey Hospice social worker Madeline Martinez, LSW, said, “It’s important that we care for our physical and emotional well-being. The things that we cannot see are just as important, and for some more important, than the things we can see. We provide emotional support in many different ways such as one-on-one counseling, teaching techniques to minimize anxiousness, normalizing feelings, and verbalizing and identifying emotions. We have to be mindful of mental health because it can certainly affect us in other ways (physically and spiritually). This is not only for the patient, but also for our patients’ families. We consider it a privilege to be with our patients and their families throughout the journey, not just at the end. After a patient dies, we continue to provide support to the family for the next year.”

Chaplain Carol Hutchison, Journey Hospice Spirituality Care Coordinator, provides spiritual and emotional support to patients and their families. When discussing the intangible nature of the spirit, she explained, “Everyone has a spiritual component. Spirituality is whatever brings the patient to a center of inner peace. This is different for each person, and in talking and bonding with them, I help them realize what brings them peace and how to achieve that.”

For more information about Journey Hospice’s care for each patient’s body, mind, and spirit, visit journeyhospicenj.org.