Program helps terminally ill

Howard County General Hospital has recently started a Compassionate Companion Program to help terminally ill patients and their families. Volunteers stay with the patient when members of the family are not able to be present.

"It's the integrity of that person's life that's honored," said Barbra Swann, director of Volunteer Services.

Volunteers receive training in the history and philosophy of hospice care, stages of dying, reactions to loss, communicating with a non-responsive patient and patient confidentiality. They must commit to a specified on-call time and come in to be at a work station each week.

Information: Barbra Swann, 410-884-4580.


NAMI -- NAMI Howard County is offering three support groups.

A peer-based group for people living with mental illness meets from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the last Tuesday of each month at Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, 10431 Twin Rivers Road, Columbia.

A support group for parents and caregivers of children and teenagers with serious emotional or behavioral problems meets from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the last Wednesday of each month in the Patuxent Room of Faulkner Ridge Center, 10598 Marble Fawn Court, Columbia.

A group for family and friends of adults with mental illness meets on the second Tuesday of each month in the day room at Harmony Hall Retirement Community, 6336 Cedar Lane, Columbia. The groups are free and are open to non-NAMI members. 410-772-9300.'Quit Kit' -- The American Lung Association of Maryland is offering a "Quit Kit," a free packet of material to help smokers stop smoking. The packet includes a booklet of tips, a summary of nicotine-replacement therapies, strategies for weight control and a list of local smoking-cessation programs. To order the packet or find a smoking-cessation group: 800-LUNG- USA (800-586-4872), or www.mary Freedom From Smoking Online, a free smoking-cessation program, is available at

Breast cancer -- The Center for Breast Care at Howard County General Hospital will offer a new support program for women with breast cancer. Survivors Offering Support matches volunteer breast cancer survivors with newly diagnosed women for support throughout each patient's treatment. The center is recruiting breast cancer survivors to serve as mentors. Volunteers must provide a release from two doctors attesting to their emotional readiness to mentor, and they must attend an SOS training session that includes information on therapeutic listening and communications, diagnosis and treatments, patient advocacy and resources. Mentors must also attend two of four yearly training sessions on breast cancer research and treatment. Tina Beerman, 410-884-4650, or Denise O'Neill, 410-884-4574.

Mayer center -- Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource and Image Center, a service of Howard County General Hospital, has extended its hours and is now open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays. The center provides educational resources for cancer patients and their families, and aesthetic services for cancer patients. Visitors are invited to drop in. 410-740-5858 or


Aquatic fitness classes -- Aquatic fitness classes are offered by the Central Maryland Rehabilitation Center at the Howard Community College pool. Sessions are held Monday and Friday afternoons. The cost is $5 a class. 410-312-9000.

CPR courses -- The Central Maryland Red Cross will offer a course in adult, infant and child cardiopulmonary resuscitation from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 5 and Aug. 19 at First Presbyterian Church of Howard County, 9325 Presbyterian Circle, Columbia. The cost is $45.

Adult CPR will be offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 5 and Aug. 19 at the same location. It will be offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 12 at Owen Brown Community Center, 6800 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. The cost is $40.

First-aid basics, a course focused on the care of victims of illness and sudden injuries, will be offered from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 17 at First Presbyterian Church. The cost is $35.

Adult CPR and first-aid basics, a seven-hour course teaching skills useful with victims ages 8 and older, will be offered from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 12 at Owen Brown Community Center. The cost is $45. Information or registration: 410-624-2060, 800-787-8002 or

Send health-related notices to or fax to 410-715-2816.

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