Everyday Compassion - December 2009

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A Publication of Hospice Compassus

The Gift of Giving Our Volunteers Help Make the Difference

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Celebrating Compassion Everyday


he holidays are a time for giving, a time for sharing and a special time to be with family and friends. During the holidays, many of us will celebrate the cherished memories of our past year while enjoying quiet moments with one another. For some, however, the holidays can be a difficult and lonely time, especially when it’s the first one after a loved one’s death. If you find yourself in this circumstance, the colleagues of Hospice Compassus would like to extend a warm embrace of care and support to you as we truly understand. At Hospice Compassus many of our cherished moments come from the connections we share in caring for terminally-ill patients and their families. In this third edition of “Everyday Compassion” we are pleased to have compiled a selection of stories that acknowledge and highlight some very special acts of compassion and love. I am both humbled by these stories and proud of the impact our colleagues and volunteers have with our patients and in our communities at large.

We’d love to hear what you think about our company and our colleagues. Please contact us on our website at www.hospicecompassus.com

As you read these stories, my hope is that you will find that hospice care is more about the celebration of life and the Gift of Giving. From special holiday memorial events where communities remember loved ones to the quiet visits our volunteers make to provide comfort and support when and wherever it is needed, these are the true stories of hospice. Hospice can help make the most of every moment this holiday season while allowing the celebration of life to continue. The opportunity to be home for the holidays while receiving medical care we consider priceless as there are memories yet to be created for future generations to share. From all of our colleagues, Hospice Compassus would like to especially thank all of our volunteers this holiday season. These special individuals freely give of their time throughout the year. They give generously and unselfishly but they commonly feel that they receive more than they give. If you are a caring, compassionate individual who has a calling to help others, becoming a hospice volunteer may be the perfect opportunity for you. Volunteers can assist with a variety of activities—from listening, visiting patients, providing grief support, running errands, making items for comfort, or many behind-the-scenes activities.

At Hospice Compassus, our team of professionals and our many volunteers are dedicated to Serving with Heartfelt Compassion. We invite you to join our team to make a difference in your community by sharing your gifts with others in need. Come celebrate life with us by honoring and offering hope to individuals facing a life-limiting illness—I can assure you that your life will never be the same. On behalf of our entire Hospice Compassus team, we would like to wish you Happy Holidays. May your Gift of Giving bless you throughout the New Year.

Jim Deal Chief Executive Officer

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volunteers God’s Timing is Perfect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Small Blessings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Angel Watch Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 A Nun, A Financial Advisor, An Angry Man and a Bird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Cakes of Compassion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

the shared experience The Littlest Fireman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Together Again . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 An Everyday Hero . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15


family rights Why Would He Stand in the Way . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

care-team spotlight A Higher Calling - Dr. Michael Austin . . . . . . . . . 19 A Man of Many Riches - Dr. Tom Harris . . . . . . . . 20 Everyday Compassion is published periodically by Hospice Compassus. Please address any comments or questions to: Editor, Everyday Compassion, Hospice Compassus, 12 Cadillac Drive, Suite 360, Brentwood, TN, 37027.

hospice life Reaching for the Hero’s Heart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Even the Homeless Deserve a Home . . . . . . . . . . . 24

lessons from the field PUBLISHER: Hospice Compassus EDITOR: Matt Feller CONTRIBUTORS: Carol Davison, Daniel Blackwell, Corrie Cusimano, Heather Blanchard, Perrian Locke, Linda Morris, Dot Bennett, Peggy Brown, Patty Kaufman, Kimberly Bodenmiller, Darin Fenger, Debbie Wells, Diana Selken, Mary Fussell, Steve Yeatts, Jan Granger, Roberta Bayles, Dr. Michael Austin, Janet Gard, Beth Hanley, Richard Tankersley, Sandi Hebley, Linda Ojajarvi, Sharon Blackwell, Mike Lamb

The Unexpected Hospice Death . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

in the news We Remember . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Getting Around . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

CREATIVE: Tallgrass Studios Copyright © 2009 Hospice Compassus. All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced in any manner without the prior written consent of Hospice Compassus.

hospice compassus locations . . . . . . . . 29


A Celebration of Life T

his time of year usually brings sadness to those who will be spending their first holiday season without the loved one they lost. This year Hospice Compassus of Payson, Arizona will once again be organizing an event to help the bereaved celebrate the lives of their loved ones. December marks the 14th consecutive year that Hospice Compassus (with local sponsors) has brought some light back in to the holiday season. The Celebration of Life usually gathers nearly 200 people from our community in a cheerful holiday setting with insightful readings, beautiful music and great food. With the lights dimmed, a slide show begins with pictures of loved ones that the family choses to share. As each name is called, the family member walks toward the darkened holiday tree to receive a personalized ornament and then turns on a bulb on the tree. By the end of the slide show, the tree illuminates the room exposing the smiles and the tears of those sharing in the Celebration of Life. While there is no charge for the event, attendees are encouraged to bring a can of food which is donated to the local food bank. By generously donating over 300 pounds of food each holiday season, they have helped the less fortunate in the community. Hospice Compassus hopes that being there for the families of the community during the holiday season is a tradition that will live on for many years to come. – Carol Davison, Executive Director Payson, Arizona

“Love is as much of an object as an obsession, everybody wants it, everybody seeks it, but few ever achieve it, those who do, will cherish it, be lost in it, and among all, will never... never forget it.” — Curtis Judalet 2

They Never Forget A

s the Bereavement Coordinator for Hospice Compassus of South Carolina, I am privileged to perform memorial services for the bereaved. It is my honor to give encouragement and support to those who have lost someone they love. Sometimes that may be a close friend or a roommate in a skilled facility. The majority of the residents in these facilities have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. These diseases cause us to forget things that are normally routine in everyday life. Our Chaplain is very talented. He plays the guitar and sings at our memorial services. On the other hand, I cannot carry a tune in a bucket, so I usually sit and listen to the precious elderly residents sing along. The


one thing that never ceases to amaze me is their capability to sing words to songs that they learned as a child. Sometimes they will request a song that we just finished singing but they sing word for word the songs they grew up singing in church. One day, after hearing the residents sing songs from memory, the Activities Director stated, “The things of the world we forget, but the things of the spirit we never forget.” In reality, they never forget the love that is given from the people in their lives. After every memorial service at a facility, I leave encouraged and uplifted because I know ... they never really forget. – Daniel Blackwell Bereavement Coordinator Sp artanb urg, South Carolina

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Finding Their Own Way

Building A Solid Foundation Jenna Butler, right, a Hospice Compassus nurse in Yuma, Arizona, arranged to bring back a brick from Cobb K-12 School in Oklahoma where one of her patients graduated from high school in 1948. Butler and her hospice patient are from the same small town in Oklahoma. He was unable to attend his 61st High School Reunion so Butler presented him with this small memento from the school. Sandy Franks-Melendex, a Hospice Compassus CNA, is pictured on the left.

Take Some Time For You!


t has been said the average woman will spend 18 years of her adult life caring for an elderly loved one. In life, there is always a need but so often we don’t always take time to care for ourselves. The other day I was doing some lawn work in my backyard when I came across a beautiful, fragrant red rose. The bloom was breathtaking. It really caught me off guard because last year, I had totally chopped it down. Last fall, I was tired of this ugly, mostly dead, thorny, puny rose bush. I got out a

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saw and hacked down this monster of an overgrown bush. The roses were the size of quarters and I decided that the little beauty it was producing was not worth the space in my backyard. And in doing so, I had forgotten one major gardening principle! What you cut back, what you prune…will grow! As a teenager I worked in greenhouses and one day my boss asked me to cut all the blooms off the geraniums. My first thought was ‘no way’, they are blooming beautifully! Although I was hesitant, I followed his instruction and much to my amazement, they grew back with stronger trunks and larger blossoms. In our lives, so often when we cut back and take time to care for ourselves, we actually have more beauty to give to others! Let go of the guilt, take some time for you and see what beautiful things will grow in your life! – Corrie Cusimano Director of Marketing Dallas/McKinney, Texas everyday COMPASSION


uring the week, my mother-in-law watches my 5-year old twin girls. Several times a week Nonna takes them to visit her mother, Granny, on the Alzheimer’s hall of a local nursing home. For the past two years, my girls have enjoyed their special time with their great-grandmother and the other residents, likely because they always attract plenty of attention. A couple of weeks ago, I got a 6 a.m. phone call to learn that Granny had died, peacefully, in her sleep. When Lillian woke up I told her that Granny had died. “Why?” she asked. “Well, Granny’s heart stopped working and so now she’s in heaven,” I said. Lillian, our busy-body child, realized her sister Celeste didn’t know this yet. Lillian ran into their room and told Celeste, very matter-of-factly, “Celeste, Granny died last night and is in heaven because her heart stopped working.” I listened to them as I walked into their room. Celeste, our philosopher, gave a big sigh. “Well, at least Granny is in heaven with…uh…,” Celeste paused here, trying to remember a name. “You mean Granny’s husband, Nonna’s daddy?” I said, trying to prompt her memory. “Well, yes, but also that man that Jagan (her cousin) dances to all the time,” Celeste said. “Michael Jackson?” I asked. “Yes, Momma. He died, too.” And so I know, that no matter how much we try to manage our children’s “big experiences,” they seem to always find their own way. Our girls’ first memory of death will be their Granny…and the King of Pop. – Heather Blanchard Executive Director

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Prayer-N-Squares H

ospice Compassus Chaplain Reverend Patricia Underkofler serves at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Yuma, Arizona where there is an on going ministry of prayer quilts. These quilts are individually stitched and assembled by members of the Prayers-NSquares Ministry. Currently, almost 900 quilts have been made by this chapter and sent all over the world. Requests come from many sources including Hospice Compassus. The quilts are made with prayers and blessed at the alter during each Sunday service. Then, the congregation, the community, friends and family add their prayers by tying a knot in the threads of the quilt. Each recipient is asked if they would like a prayer quilt as a symbol of the many prayers being said for them. Far right: Reverend Patricia Underkofler, Chaplain, is holding a prayer quilt. The hanging strings on the quilt are where individuals go, say a prayer and then tie a knot.


Cancer Patient Makes A Splash

he routine of nursing home patients needs a little thrill at times — a little excitement. When Wilma Flanagan, 75, a resident at Colonial Manor, would look across the street at the young people swimming in the Columbus Junction community pool, she would ask: “Why can’t I do that?” Flanagan, who was diagnosed in March with breast cancer, got her wish one night, thanks to the efforts of her family, hospice caregiver, Chaplain, nursing home caregivers and their children. “I have always enjoyed swimming, especially as a young girl growing up in Council Bluffs,” Flanagan said. “I remember going to Crystal Pool. I told the ladies here at the nursing home, ‘We should go swimming.’ ” She then mentioned the idea to Anita Zemba-Schadt, a care consultant with Hospice Compassus. The Cedar Rapids-based company serves 28 counties in Iowa. “I thought, ‘Why not? This is important to Wilma,’ ”


Zemba-Schadt said. “I do have to admit, at first, when Wilma spoke of her idea, I thought if we don’t make this happen she and her fellow residents would, leading me to envision a headline, ‘Nursing Home Women Gone Wild.’ ” When the time arrived, a nurse pushed Flanagan’s wheelchair from the nursing home and everyone walked across the road to the pool. “It seems funny watching her be pushed in the wheelchair,” Kim Henningfield of Columbus Junction, said of her mother. “She likes to be in control and have a say in everything, and she made up her mind and wanted to do this, just like wanting to be baptized recently.” Said Steve Hayes, Chaplain at Hospice Compassus: “She has come to terms with her life and her diagnosis and wants to make peace with her soul. It was a big party when she was baptized, a celebration, as it should be.”


– Courtesy of Perrian Locke Muscatine Journal Correspondent

December 2009

Angels in Disguise M

y name is Linda Morris and I have worked for Hospice Compassus as a Hospice Aide in Payson, Arizona,“God’s Country,” for five years. In those years, I have come across some very interesting patients who have touched my life in a way I will never forget. I could tell you some great, terrific and tear-jerking moments, but today I want to talk about the entire Hospice Compassus Team with whom I work. These wonderful people go out every day and show their love, compassion and integrity. They give all of themselves to each and every patient they touch and I want to share how they were there for me. March 14, 2009: My dear sweet sister, Peggy (age 60) passed away. She went to the hospital thinking she had an upper respiratory infection only to find out she had Stage 4 cancer and had six months to live. I was very close with my sister and we, as a family, were just devastated to lose her. April 25, 2009: My sweet daughter-in-law, Becca (age 34) passed away. This was another unexpected shock. May 27, 2009: My “Precious Angel” daughter, Joy (age 29) also went to Heaven. I felt like my life had ended, my heart had stopped and I couldn’t breathe. In two and a half months, I lost three people whom I dearly loved. My colleagues showed such an outpouring of love, kindness, gentleness, care and compassion to me and my family. Carol Davison, my Executive Director, went out of her way to help make my life easier. Jean Ramsey, Bereavement Coordinator, called and came by every day to make sure I was OK (something I will never forget). Patty Kaufman, Volunteer Coordinator, also called me constantly. There are so many others who have been family to me in so many ways from Directors of Clinical Services, Chaplains and Social Workers, to Nurses, CNAs and my office colleagues—far too many to mention. Many drove a great distance to attend my daughter’s funeral and give support—Cathy Pirtle, Mari Sickles, Vanda Alexander, Marilyn Benzel, Charlie and Brenda Wilcox, Linda Miller and Jean Ramsey. All are angels in my eyes. My colleagues have been amazing. God bless each and every one of them. So, as you can see, “Our Little Town” of Payson, Arizona is lucky to have such wonderful, amazing people working here. Not only are we there for the community but also for each other as well. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the support of “My Angels in Disguise.” – Linda Morris, Hospice Aide Payson, Arizona


Hospice care affirms the belief that it is important to make every moment of life as meaningful as possible, from the first days of a life-limiting illness to the last...to validate the quality rather than quantity of life...and to provide care to the patient and family reflecting a living expression of love, warmth, and compassion. Hospice Compassus provides services to relieve symptoms, manage pain, and give emotional and spiritual support. Hospice Compassus advocates and respects the right of the patient and family to: • Enjoy the best possible quality of life • Experience dignity in their care • Know what to expect

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• Have their values and wishes honored • Receive care in their environment of choice • Receive continued support



At Hospice Compassus, our volunteers give their time, talent and hearts generously and unselfishly—yet commonly feel that they receive more than they give.

God’s Timing is Perfect


Dot Bennett, left, and Bernice Sears share a special moment.

s a hospice volunteer, we often deliver dinner plates on Mother’s Day to our hospice patients. On that particular day in May, I had no idea the unexpected turn of events that would occur. One of the families on our route had become especially dear to my husband and I. We became involved with the Seals family as Marcus, our hospice patient, and his family needed more assistance. His wife, Bernice, and I formed a special bond over the weeks of phone calls and visits. She especially appreciated my husband in his capacity as a hospice volunteer as he sat with Marcus. And I, not in the role of a hospice volunteer but as her new friend, drove Bernice to her doctor appointments in Hattiesburg, which is about 50 miles away. Those times together gave us an opportunity for mutual respect and trust to grow. Their daughter, Kaye, who lived in Hattiesburg, frequently met us to assist with her mom, so I was able to meet and learn to appreciate another member of the family. Little did I know that God’s timing would allow me to arrive at the Seals home to deliver the plates during the last few moments of Marcus’s life. I was blessed to be with Bernice and another daughter, Faye, as Marcus took his last breaths. Bernice and I had built a friendship that seemed to provide comfort, hope and encouragement as she grieved the end of the physical life of her mate of 62 years. I stayed with Bernice as Faye made phone calls and took care of immediate needs. I thank God for his perfect timing and for His sovereignty over the events of our lives. The family’s gratitude was obvious when they invited my husband to be an honorary pallbearer at Marcus’s funeral, and when Roland, their son, expressed appreciation during the funeral service for the assistance we had given. Several weeks later, we were again blessed when Bernice and Faye attended our 50th wedding anniversary celebration. The friendship continues with phone calls and visits. When I became a hospice volunteer, one thing that was important to me was to get to know the families of our patients so we could minister to their special needs. I thank God for the opportunities He has provided through hospice to be His servant. – Dot Bennett, Non-Medical Volunteer McComb/Natchez, Mississipi



December2009 2009 December

Small Blessings Volunteers are an Integral Part of the Hospice Team


reparing to care for an aging parent facing the end of life has many of us wondering how we would cope with the responsibilities and pressures on our time. One such family who received care from Hospice Compassus of San Antonio, Texas, was the Andrews family. While they knew it would be difficult, they felt they were prepared to cope with the time constraints and the pressures of balancing a busy career with the stresses of caring for an ailing parent. Needless to say, they were overwhelmed. Sacrificing one’s social life for time needed to care for a loved one is one of the many issues caregivers face while caring for a terminally ill parent. Celebrations that typically occur on a regular basis such as birthdays, dinner parties, movies with friends and church activities are just a few of the events that have to be deleted

Some of our volunteers have experienced hospice care through a loved one. Others use their giving heart to serve and touch a life in its final chapter. Volunteers can assist with a variety of activities—from listening, visiting patients, providing grief support, running errands, making items for comfort, or many behind-the-scenes activities. For more information on how you can become a volunteer, contact your local Hospice Compassus office or visit our web site: hospicecompassus.com.

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from your daily schedule in order to make sure your parent is not left alone. This can take a toll on our emotional well being. Fortunately, the Andrews took advantage of hospice volunteers. This gave them time to spend with friends and the opportunity to take “breaks” and to bring some normalcy to their lives. The Andrews were able to spend New Year’s Eve with friends and Valentines Day out by themselves. This gave them the ability to “recharge” their batteries so they could be better prepared to care for their mother. It also helped the mother who was grateful that her children were able to enjoy themselves and maintain a seminormal social life. Knowing that trained volunteers were on hand to care for their mother made the evenings out much more enjoyable and guilt free. Adult children of hospice patients frequently care for parents and children simultaneously. Hospice volunteers are an integral part of the hospice experience and are often able to fill in gaps in time, for which families as well as patients are extremely appreciative. It is not uncommon for volunteers to become a part of the “extended family” of our patients. Most experience fulfillment from knowing that they are helping families cope with their situation. Volunteers often become long time friends with hospice families and are truly an integral part of the hospice team. The Andrews were able to cope with their busy lives and responsibilities at home one day at a time. Having occasional “breaks” in their routine made this journey easier and much more tolerable. Furthermore, making new friends along the way was a “small blessing” at a time they needed it most.


By Peggy Brown

Executive Director San Antonio, Texas


Angel Watch Program Added to Volunteer Services By Patty Kaufman Volunteer Coordinator — Payson, Arizona


It had been a year since her mom’s death when the lthough we consider all of our volunteers “Angels,” Hospice Compassus of Payson, Arizona, Angel Watch Program training came up and she felt she is excited to announce that we have implemented the was ready to get back to being with the patients and “Angel Watch Program” within our regular volunteer attended the training. Almost within hours of getting it program. The first priority of the Angel Program is to all put together, an Angel Watch request was received provide extended support during the last hours of living for one of our hospice patients who was actively dying. to patients having only one, or no primary caregiver at all. He had been a long time resident of a care facility Seven Angels, both active hospice volunteers and col- and was pretty much alone with no family or friends. Terry had requested to be put at the leagues, have completed the additional top of the Angel Watch list and was training and are ready to provide that called to take the first four-hour shift. gift of compassionate presence to After just a short period of time on patients who might otherwise have to her Angel Watch, Terry phoned to spend the last few hours of their say she did not want or need relief journey alone. and wanted to stay with the patient Terry Broce is a four year Hospice through his journey. She was with Compassus Volunteer. Terry became him over eight hours, staying until the a volunteer about a year after losing early hours of the morning. her father who had received hospice Terry states, “It feels wonderful to services. After the experience with be back doing what I truly love. I feel her father, she fell in love with the TERRY BROCE so honored to be given the opportuhospice philosophy and wanted to give back. She completed the 30+ hour volunteer nity to be with them on their final journey. To be able to training program and helped with patients in their witness the passing of life leaves me in awe. I love hospice homes, as well as working one day each week at our with all of my heart for all the wonderful things they did in-patient unit. When her mom became ill and began for my parents and for all that they have done and conreceiving hospice services,Terry felt an emotional need tinue to do for me. It brings joy to my life to be a part of to back away from direct patient care and donated the hospice team. It’s truly one of my life’s rewards.” We are so grateful for all of our dedicated hospice all of her volunteer time to administrative and office tasks. Terry also serves on the board of directors for volunteers and are excited to have this extended service available to those we serve. our Rim Country Hospice Foundation.



December 2009

A Nun T

here once was a nun, a financial advisor, an angry man and a bird. One day they were taken into hospice service and became my patients. When you get a phone call from your Volunteer Coordinator, you agree to visit someone you have never met. I always get excited at the chance of meeting someone new. Does it always go well? Not always, but eventually it gets better as you learn about the different personalities and how to visit with each patient. The Angry Man My first patient was angry. His family told me they couldn’t stand to visit him and they weren’t sure I could stand it either. I took it as a challenge and did my best to distract him from it. After weeks of very little success, I brought in a magazine with lots of strange pictures. When he saw what I had, he announced he wasn’t interested and wouldn’t be looking. I said, “Well I carried it all the way here so, I’ll just look at it myself.” As I thumbed through the pages I made comments along the way. It was then that I saw his eyes slant in my direction. His glance was my chance; I had finally hooked him! I asked him if he had ever seen anything like this before and he said he hadn’t. He continued to look as I turned the pages. It took time but he eventually started to talk to me though his anger never totally left. I really wanted his family to remember his former self and not the angry man of the last few months. I am hopeful that with time this happened. The Nun I had never met a nun in my entire life until I was asked to sit with Sister Mel. At school, I had heard catholic students say how mean the nuns were but as an adult, I figured this was only the babble of deserving kids. Sister Mel was very ill when I met her and I was certain she wouldn’t last long. Her tracheotomy was Vol. 1 • No. 3

A Financial Advisor An Angry Man


A Bird

By Kimberly Bodenmiller Volunteer Coordinator — Detroit, Michigan

a little startling for me at first because I had never seen one before. I visited twice a week and she slowly got better. I know how badly patients want to remain independent so I didn’t jump in when she tried to feed herself. I learned to put the spoon in her hand and gently guide the rest of her arm to her mouth. Yes, she was still feeding herself but with a little help. I could tell how much she appreciated it by the smile in her eyes. We had great conversations and I called her My Nun. We discovered things in common like music and teaching. I told her my horror stories as a substitute teacher which always made her laugh (she had been a high school principal). Hospice discharged her six months later but I continued to see her. The next year she was back on hospice. Her weakened condition made speaking with a tracheotomy impossible. She became the silent nun. I told her God wanted to see how good of a listener she could be. She groaned at that one. Luckily, I became good at reading lips and when I got it wrong, her face would definitely let me know. We tried a card with words that she could point to and form sentences. This became harder since I had to help move her hand to the words she wanted. Sometimes I would spell out crazy sentences just to get a rise out of her. She would everyday COMPASSION

laugh because I had the nerve to tease a nun. She also wondered why she was still around at age 93. I explained it was for me. I needed the chance to know her. Slowly, she declined back to the bed-ridden state in which she’d been when we first met. She’d become like a grandma to me. The Financial Advisor The financial advisor was my self proclaimed non talker. I had hardly said hello when he announced he wasn’t much of a talker and would probably just watch T.V. I said that’s OK. I brought my check book to work on and it was a mess. He watched as I laid out all my stuff. It took about sixty seconds before he started to give out financial and organizational advice. This non talker talked for four hours straight! He turned me on to the food channel and we had lots of lengthy conversations. The Bird The bird was tiny and cute. She had a bubbly personality that spilled out through the happiest blue eyes. What a joy she was. She was always laughing, partly because she was often in the midst of telling a joke or a funny story. Sometimes she wouldn’t start at the beginning but I could always tell that the story must have been hilarious by the big belly laugh she would let out. If music was playing, she would seat dance. She was always happy to see me and often called me her other daughter. I think she was happy until the day she died. You will have many types of patients and they deserve the same amount of respect and love. Even when you never see their eyes open or they never utter a word, do your best to show your compassion to them. Turn on their favorite music, read a book, touch their arm, hold their hand, straighten their room, fix the bed, and support their loved ones. Finally, always remember that sitting in silence doesn’t mean something isn’t being heard. 9

Cakes of Compassion A Local Volunteer Bakes For Patients of Hospice Compassus


ome local hospice patients can attest that one of God’s sweetest blessings comes covered in frosting. Every time a patient with Hospice Compassus celebrates a birthday, a yummy cake arrives on the scene that’s specially decorated to match the recipient’s favorite color or hobby. But these sugary creations are heavenly in more ways than taste. The cakes are the work of Diana Elliott, a local woman of faith who calls the birthday surprises her very own kitchenbased “cake ministry.” “I just want them to know someone cares,” Elliott explains. “These folks are still on Earth and going through some

awful things, so anything that can brighten their day is a good thing.” Elliott, an ordained minister, has been baking cakes for Hospice Compassus since late 2008. Some months only call for one cake, but other months may demand a dozen. So far she’s made about 30 cakes. There has been an Elvis-themed cake and one shaped like a baseball. One cake looked so much like a real pot of flowers that hospice colleagues wondered why it was in the office’s refrigerator. “Diana is an amazing woman and just loves to give back to the community,” raved the Volunteer Coordinator for Hospice Compassus. “Her cakes are just gorgeous and they have gone over so

Courtesy of Darin Fenger Features Editor, Yuma Sun — Yuma, Arizona



December 2009

well. I knew patients would be excited, but families are just thrilled to see their love ones receive the cakes. It’s amazing the reactions we get.” The Elvis fan loved her cake so much that she suggested preserving it somehow and hanging the fabulous creation on her wall. Elliott’s cake ministry was born during a pastor appreciation event hosted by Hospice Compassus. Elliott serves First Church of the Nazarene as an administrative pastor and as minister of music. During that event, Elliott heard a strong message about volunteering and got to thinking about the various talents she might be able to share. “They didn’t mention cakes, but it just popped into my brain. I thought ‘Who doesn’t like getting a cake,’ especially when it tastes good!” Elliott is a veteran of all things baked and frosted, too. She’s been making and decorating cakes for 37 years. Her very first cake was for her daughter’s first birthday.

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“I really enjoyed it. For one thing they let me be creative, let my creative juices flow,” she said, adding that personalizing a cake for each recipient is very important to her. “It’s not just some cake off the shelf. I include something about the person in the cake. If there is a precious 90-year-old grandma who likes flowers and lace, that’s what I’ll do. They know it was made just for them.” Elliott bought her first set of highquality Wilton baking pans while she was living in Korea, where her husband had been stationed. Her most expensive pan cost her a whopping buck fifty. Since that first birthday party, Elliott has faithfully pulled cakes out of her oven for everything from graduations to weddings. But her favorites just might be these cakes for hospice patients. “My cakes are just a reminder to hospice patients that they are still extremely valuable. The fact that they are ill doesn’t detract from their value as people. These are just wonderful people! I know they are laying there ill and feeling useless sometimes, but I know they are valuable not just to family and friends, but also to the Lord.” The cakes have demonstrated something important to Elliott, too. Miracles can come from small things that are given with great love. “Sometimes we feel that we have to do big, grandiose things to help somebody. If people are sitting at home right now thinking ‘I wish there is something I can do,’ there is! There are plenty of everyday COMPASSION

organizations in town they can help, and Hospice Compassus is one of them. “Today they just need to look down at their own talents, take a good look at their talent bank and go spend it on someone else.” 11

the shared experience

The Littlest Fireman How a Family Copes with a Rare Disease With the Help of the Hospice Compassus Team of Care


By Debbie Wells Team Coordinator Osage Beach, Missouri


olton Thurman loves his brother Blake, his mom and dad, being an Honorary Lake Ozark Fireman, an Honorary Black Belt, an Honorary Doctor of Hospice Compassus and he loves Happy Meals. Colton went to Disney World thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation but he’s not your average 4 year old. He’s experienced more in his young life than most adults do in their entire lifetime. On January 13, 2009, Colton was diagnosed with a rare type of brain cancer. Colton was 3 years old at the time. He’d been ill for awhile and his pediatrician chalked it up to childhood illnesses, until Dad mentioned that Colton was having headaches. Within a week, Colton, Mom, Dad and Grandma were on their way to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. He’d been accepted into a clinical trial that had shown great success so far, with the hope that


Colton would be another success story. At St. Jude’s, Colton was introduced to every department in the hospital. He was also introduced to “Child Life,” a group of specialists who teach children and their families coping skills. Colton was “Doctor’d up” as his grandma said, preparing him for what was to come. The news was not good. Colton had an inoperable, rare brain tumor called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, DIPG for short. There had only been 200 diagnosed each year worldwide at the time. Colton would be put on high doses of chemo, along with radiation in hopes of shrinking and breaking down the fairly large tumor. His first treatment was February 2, on his 4th birthday. He received chemo seven days a week and radiation five days a week on an outpatient basis for six weeks. The family settled into the “Target House,” a home away from home for families and

December 2009

patients of St. Jude’s. At the end of six weeks, the tumor had shrunk. Colton was feeling better and there was hope. He would be on this clinical trial for two years. He could go home and take the chemo orally. Colton and his family arrived home March 19th. He was so happy to be back home with his little brother. The following week, he was admitted to St. Mary’s in Jefferson City. He stayed there for a week with “tummy problems.” The family hoped and prayed that these weren’t reoccurring symptoms of the tumor. On the upside, they started planning for their trip to Disney World. Enter Tony Ward, Hospice Care Consultant with Hospice Compassus in Osage Beach, Missouri. He met Colton’s mom, Amanda, by chance one day in April at Chili’s where she worked. Tony and his wife stopped at their favorite local eatery for dinner and he and Amanda struck up a conversation. Amanda told him that they were preparing for their trip to Disney World. Tony asked if it was appropriate to ask of her son’s diagnosis. She replied and described it to him. She asked Tony what he did for a living. He hesitated but Amanda asked again. To Tony’s surprise she replied, “Well, we don’t need hospice now, but we might later,” and asked for his card. So Colton, along with Blake, went to Disney World and got to talk to the “real”

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Mickey Mouse. After he came home, he was awarded the title of Honorary Fireman and Honorary Black Belt. He was in karate before he became too ill, and now he was too weak to continue the program. After the Lake Ozark Fire Department took him under their wing, fire departments from the States and beyond started sending their patches. He has quite a collection. Since then, there have been many ups and downs, several returns to various hospitals. Amanda and her Mom (G-Ma) have been keeping a journal on http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/colton thurman/journal, since Colton was first diagnosed with this disease. Amanda’s favorite saying at the end of each log is “Cherish each moment.” Through all of the journals, both Amanda and her mother are trying to help other families going through this same turmoil. She sends website addresses and other information that they can use to help their little ones who are suffering. So many emotions, good and bad, so much love, prayers and thoughts are logged there. And so many people are helping this family just for the satisfaction of doing something good. It’s amazing! In August, the worst possible news came. The tumor was back to its original size and was bleeding. All this and his age make him ineligible for protocols that the family was hoping for. The doctors in Memphis sent him home on hospice and that’s when Amanda called Tony. Mary Fletcher, Osage Beach’s Director of Clinical Services has taken over Colton’s care. She comes back with many stories about Colton and Blake. She bought them both “Doctor Medical Kits” from Playskool. They always want to see what’s in Mary’s bag when she visits. She was hoping this would help but it didn’t. They still needed to see what’s in her bag. We made a Hospice Compassus identification badge for him, with “Dr. Colton” on it. Mary said he loved it. everyday COMPASSION

Colton and Mary Fletcher, Director of Clinical Services.

Blake is staying with his grandparents off and on, so we may have to make him one when he gets back. Colton and Blake had a Christmas in September at one of our local restaurants. Santa came from the North Pole and brought lots of presents. Several local companies contributed that day and many people came to share in the celebration with Colton and his family. As G-Ma says, “A good time was had by all.” The family also had Christmas at their home. Poor little Colton was worn out in September. Who is he? He’s a special child who brightens the heart of the Hospice Compassus team every day, and reminds them that this is why we do what we do. It’s an honor to be a part of his life and his family’s during this time. Both Tony and Amanda believe it was not a coincidence that they met at Chili’s that day in April. Call it what you will, but divine intervention is what we believe. Every one of our patients’ are very special in their own way, and then there’s Colton. Colton earned his angel wings when he passed away on October 31, 2009. A special note from Colton’s mom: “There is no awareness for this disease. We desperately need awareness and funds to find a cure.”


the shared experience

Together Again One Nurse’s Mission to Reunite a Family By Diana Selken Director of Marketing Columbia/Macon, Missouri Daughters DeAnn Pope and Kimberly Snyder stand behind their parents,


Joyce and Gale Billington at the Kirksville Manor Nursing Home.

eAnn Pope’s best friend worked at a convenience store in Kirksville, Missouri, where one day in August, she noticed the Hospice Compassus badge on one of her regular customers. She struck up a conversation with the HC nurse, talking about how DeAnn’s mother was just diagnosed with end-stage lung cancer with mets and about her father who was also in a hospital in St. Louis on a ventilator and taking dialysis, unaware of his wife’s diagnosis. She said her friend, DeAnn and DeAnn’s sister, Kimberly Snyder were desperate for help. They wanted to reunite their parents before their mother passed but didn’t how they could care for their parents’ critical needs in Kirksville. Sheila Manuel, our Director of Clinical Services at the Hospice Compassus office in nearby Macon, Missouri, jumped into action after talking with Gale and Joyce Billington’s daughters. Sheila called the social worker at the St. Louis hospital to see if Gale could survive the trip to Kirksville. She said it was iffy, and was mostly concerned about continuing his care in Kirksville. Sheila informed Joyce, DeAnn and Kimberly about the decision and they agreed to bring him home and give him the bad news in person. This would also allow him to spend time with Joyce before she passed, as she was too weak to travel. 14

Sheila’s task was challenging, but she accepted it willingly. She called the Kirksville Dialysis Clinic to find a doctor who would accept Gale as a patient. She also needed to find a nursing home that would accept a patient with a trach collar who needed dialysis and would be sharing a room with his wife. Luckily, she found both, and after several tough weeks of arranging, Gale was transported by ambulance from St. Louis to Kirksville. He was greeted at the Kirksville Manor Nursing Home by a parking lot full of family and friends, all thanking the Hospice Compassus team for helping bring Gale home. Joyce was able to give her husband her bad news in person, as she had wanted, and the two spent three wonderful days together before she passed. DeAnn and Kimberly said they don’t know how they could have done it without Sheila’s help. Sheila also went the extra mile by convincing DeAnn and KImberly’s employers to hold their jobs while their parents were both in crisis. DeAnn and Kimberly have become good friends with Sheila. They update her regularly on their father’s condition which has greatly improved since he returned home. Now off of dialysis and missing his wife dearly, Mr. Billington is so grateful that he and his wife were able to be together again in her final days.


December 2009

An Everyday Hero By Mary Fussell

Non-Medical Volunteer Branson/Monett, Missouri


ebster defines a hero as: “A person of distinguished valor or fortitude; a person regarded as a model.” This writer met a hero not long ago. Oh, not the kind of hero you’d expect but rather a hero who wakes each day hoping she will have the strength for a good day with her family. A day to make more good memories with her five-year-old daughter, Emily. Kristi is the name of this hero. She is a soft-spoken young woman, just 30 years of age. As she speaks, you notice there is no bitterness in her voice—only strength of character. When asked where she gets her strength, she replies: “From my belief in God’s infinite love and wisdom. Also from the example set by my dad. He taught me to be compassionate; not selfish or wrapped up in yourself, but to always put family and others first.” This is the type of woman she hopes Emily will become. Questions Kristi wants her daughter to have answered include: ‘Do I look like my mom? Do I have her smile? Her strength?’ “I have always been honest with Emily about the fact that I am going to die. She has been told that dying is not a bad thing. She knows that her grandpa died and has gone to heaven. When mommy dies, she will too.” Kristi is thankful for each good day and uses that day to make more memories with Emily. This mother’s only worry is when she has to leave Emily because she can no longer care for her. Kristi spoke about the closeness of her extended family and the important part that it plays in her life. Her father came from a family of 11 children—they all remain an important part of Kristi’s life. Very early on in our conversation, Kristi indicated she has never asked why

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she and her father got cancer. She was diagnosed in September, 2004. Her father quit smoking when he learned of her diagnosis. Just six months later, he received the same diagnosis as his daughter—cancer. Kristi also wants Emily to remember her mommy’s smile and strength. “I wanted to provide a ‘WOW’ memory,” said Kristi. That “WOW” memory came for Emily when she and her cousin, Chloe, became princesses for a day at Walt Disney World, Florida. The last week in May 2009, Kristi, her sister and the girls traveled to Florida in anticipation of making this memory come true.

From left to right, Kristi’s sister, Chloe, Emily and Kristi

Emily and Chloe received the royal treatment. Emily chose to become Belle from “Beauty and the Beast.” The girls were treated to makeup, a new hair style and, of course, a princess dress. As they moved through the park, visitors asked to have their picture taken with Emily. “After the trip, she would race home from school, put on her princess dress and play pretend,” Kristi stated. “This went everyday COMPASSION

on every day for three weeks,” Kristi said. Emily’s future memories, according to her mother, will be recorded in birthday cards and letters. “I am preparing a card to be sent to Emily each year on her birthday to let her know how much she is loved. There will be a card for each year until she is 18 or 21 years old. Plans are to include a small gift. But more importantly, a letter with clues to the character of her mother.” Kristi said. “I want her to become a strong, compassionate woman.” The hope is for Emily to be able to see her mommy’s smile and learn of the strength of her mother. Kristi said that she is so thankful to have accepted help from hospice. She first became acquainted with the hospice nurses as they helped her care for her dad. Also at this time, she was undergoing surgery and chemotherapy and trying to care for her dad. “I did have help from my extended family, but they had obligations of their own. At this time, I saw firsthand that hospice care was for the caregivers as well as the client.” When asked what she would tell someone who has been given a diagnosis of a terminal illness, she said, “Hospice doesn’t want you to die, but rather to live as long as possible. They give you hope for a quality of life that will enable you to live each day to the fullest.” As Kristi said, “Only God knows when that day will come. But until then, I’m going to live each day to the best of my ability.”


family rights


recently fielded a referral from a skilled nursing facility in the service area of our Columbia, Tennessee office. The nurse who referred the patient indicated that the family was on site and would like for us to meet with them. I told the nurse I would be there within 45 minutes. Upon arrival I met with the wife and the decision maker for an 82 year-old man who had advanced Alzheimer’s and a history of strokes. The wife responded very favorably to the information that was presented and indicated that she wanted to elect the hospice benefit on behalf of her husband. She told me she was very tired and had spent the night in his room the night before. She said, “I need the help.” During our question and answer session, I learned that her husband’s doctor was a local physician who is known for being hospice resistant. Knowing that, I asked the patient’s wife that if his doctor refused to sign an order for hospice, would she still pursue hospice care for her husband. She said, “Why would he stand in the way of my husband getting hospice?” Concurrent with my sharing information with the family, the physician was contacted to let him know that the family’s wishes were to proceed with hospice and an order was requested. The physician responded with “No, I will not sign an order for hospice. The patient is getting everything he needs at the nursing home.” I reported this information to the wife and she was very upset. She did not understand why the doctor would not agree to hospice for her husband. I told her that she has the right to contact the physician herself and request the order. She said that she would call the physician. She called me back a few minutes later and told me she had called for him, but he was busy with patients and could not talk to her at the time she called. She said, “I will give him 30-45 minutes to call me back and then I am going to call my doctor to see if he will agree to hospice for my husband.”

“Why Would He Stand in the Way of My Husband Getting Hospice?”



She called me back about 30 minutes later and said that she had talked to her husband’s physician and told him that she wanted the Medicare hospice benefit for her husband and that he had given in to her request! We admitted the patient the same day. While it is disappointing that at a very stressful time for this family, the wife had to go the extra mile to access her husband’s right to his Medicare hospice benefit, it is encouraging that she was not going to take no for an answer when she knew that he and his family needed the scope of hospice services. Unfortunately, her husband died just a few days later, but now this courageous octogenarian and her family will receive the followup bereavement services and support they would have missed out on had she accepted the physician’s refusal at first to sign a hospice order. This elderly woman convinced a stubborn physician that hospice was her husband’s and her right for end-of-life issues. A few days after the patient died, one of our nurses came to me and said that the lady told her to tell me “thank you” for helping her. The wife is really the one who should be thanked because without her standing up for her husband’s right to his hospice benefit, the admission would not have been possible. This is a success story for patient and family rights and inspires me to continue educating everyone in my sphere of influence about the blessings and benefits of hospice for terminally ill patients and their right to experience those services.

By Steve Yeatts Director of Marketing Columbia/Tullahoma, Tennessee

December 2009

A L e t t e r t o T ho s e

On the Journey W

alking in the cool of the morning by the lake is my favorite time of day. I find him by the lake in the mornings. He makes that our special time; he is my father, my friend, my everything. He is gorgeous, funny, and charismatic. I bask when I am in his presence. When I am with him, I feel so completely alive and happy. Every little thing is perfect in my universe when I walk by the lake and talk with my father. The red birds prance around and chirp out a beautiful strong melody for our enjoyment. It is good to live in paradise. Paradise is home, and I am safe and very happy here. Today I am uncertain and it is a new feeling for me. My father says it is now my time to be tested and he says that I will grow because of these experiences. He says there are lessons my soul will need to learn and that is all I need to know for now. My father tells me for a time, we won’t be together here in our world. I will be leaving for awhile. He says I won’t remember living here when I am born into my journey life. I will be born with a blank memory and will have many lessons to learn before I can come home again. I don’t understand any of this, and the only thing I know for sure is that I don’t want to leave my home and my family. My family here in paradise is huge and we are all as one. We can talk to each other if we want to talk, but we have an understanding that surpasses all words. Words are not necessary for us to share our feelings and our love for each other. We are separate, but we are one. Father says he will always be with me in my new life, but there will be times when I won’t realize he is with me, and I will feel very alone. He says I am going to have a difficult life on earth because he is training me to be a warrior. He tells me I will make many wrong decisions on

my journey and I will be in pain much of the time while I am living my “journey life.” There is so much Father wants me to understand before I leave our home. He tells me that I will be the same as I am now, just in a different form for awhile. I will come home again when my journey has ended and I will be wiser and understand much more than I do now. When I come back home I will bring the wisdom of my journey back with me. I will meet many people on my journey and I will befriend some and make enemies of others. There will be many that I will help and many that I will hurt. It is all part of the journey. It will be through my greatest pain that I will find my greatest triumphs. Because I will have no memory of my life here in paradise, I won’t miss my home and I won’t yearn for it. I won’t really have a strong desire to come back again, because I won’t miss the things I can’t remember having. As my father explains this all to me, I do not totally understand what he telling me. This new experience is beyond my ability to comprehend. It is sad for me that I have to go, and I can see the pain in my father’s eyes as well. He will miss me while I am away, because he loves me very much. He tells me I will have pain that will cause me to cry tears, and for every tear I cry, he says he will feel my physical pain and it will make him hurt as well because he loves me so much. As hard as this all is, he says without the pain I won’t become a strong warrior. My father tenderly holds me to him today, because tomorrow my journey life will begin. We will be separated for a while, but I will come home again. My father made me this promise, and he always keeps his promises. So it is with great trepidation that I begin my journey….

By Jan Granger, R.N., CHPN Regional Director of Clinical Services Brentwood, Tennessee

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Those Were the Days By Roberta Bayles, RN

Director of Clinical Services — Payson, Arizona


hose were the days—or were they? Nursing team members at Hospice Compassus in Payson, Arizona were prompted to ask themselves this question as they perused the display of nursing memorabilia during Nurses Week. Prior to the celebration of Nurses Week, colleagues were asked to bring in pictures, nursing uniforms and caps, and other memorabilia that they might have stashed away from their training days. In large part, the artifacts displayed were compliments of Cathy Kesterson, RN Case Manager with Hospice Compassus in Payson. Says Cathy, “My mom was a collector of nursing paraphernalia for years, and my dad used to shop all the garage sales and pick up medical stuff for her.” Cathy’s mom, Bernice Gurd, was a registered nurse for many years and was Cathy’s inspiration for entering the profession. Bernice ultimately became a hospice patient and Cathy was able to apply her hospice expertise to attend to her mother in her final days. Among Bernice’s treasures were items such as enamel bedpans and urinals, glass syringes, red-rubber enema bags, “donut” cushions and a wooden, high-backed wheelchair with caned back that had a cut-out seat for those “special needs.” There was an assortment of caps, a wool nurses cape brought in by Frances Porter, RN, IPU nurse, currently in her twelfth year with hospice, and a very special graduation photo from one of our very own patients who is a retired nurse. As the team looked over the unique assortment of nursing paraphernalia, some of which looked rather archaic and even a bit scary, we all realized how far we have come, and how grateful we are to those who forged the way in this most valued profession. We take that look back for inspiration, then look ahead with anticipation, striving always to be the best hospice nurses we can be. Thanks to all who contributed to our unique display, and a very special thank you to Cathy and her mom. We dedicate this article in her memory. Thank you, Bernice!



December 2009

care-team spotlight

A Higher Calling Dr. Austin on a trip to China with the Great Wall in the background.


received my medical degree at the University of Western Ontario and moved to Texas in 1978. My choice of destinations was influenced in no small part because I am an avid birder and my wife hates the cold. Since then, I have had an eclectic career as a solo practitioner, member of a small group practice, an H.M.O. executive and finally, for the last ten years, a full-time geriatrcian. I have worked out of my home since selling my family practice in 2000. My interest in geriatrics probably stems from hours spent talking to my great-grandmother who, as a pioneer to Canada from Great Britain, came in an ox-cart with her husband to carve out her homestead from the swampy Ontario forest. My interest in hospice probably came from nurturing my 43-year-old mother while she was at home dying from colon cancer. My passion for hospice has developed over the seventeen years I have worked in the field nurtured by the wonderful, dedicated people with whom I have associated. I have no formal training in the field and learned by doing, particularly from two charismatic and experienced hospice nurses that I have been fortunate enough to work with. I particularly like the collegial atmosphere of I.D.T. where I have learned to respect and appreciate the expertise each discipline brings to the table. As my colleagues at Hospice Compassus will tell you, a team meeting with me is never dull, Vol. 1 • No. 3

Dr. Michael Austin finds insight to the many challenges of providing hospice care.

full of anecdotes and quips. This seems contagious since no matter what the company, my teams always develop the same sense of levity. One particularly interesting and gratifying part of hospice care for me is performing a home visit on every new admit. From 7,000-square foot mansions on the shores of Galveston Bay to tiny pastel hued homes in the barrio, I find great insight into these people’s lives by making a personal visit. As one patient quipped, “I’ve tried to get a doctor to do a house call for thirty years. You’ve got to be DYING to get one!” Finally, I would not be as successful in hospice or my professional career as a whole were it not for my practice’s ex-business manager who has helped and encouraged me. Although we come from different social and business backgrounds, after twenty years we seem to complement each other’s styles perfectly. She is available virtually twenty-four hours a day to triage calls and, most importantly, answer family questions which frees me to deal with the clinical problems. As Hospice Compassus’ C.E.O. recently remarked, “You finish each other’s sentences.” Hospice for me is the highest calling I can imagine and, although my medical colleagues said it would be depressing work, I find it very challenging and satisfying. By Dr. Michael Austin, League City, Texas



care-team spotlight

Life begets life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.

—Sarah Bernhardt

A Man of Many Riches I

By Janet Gard Executive Director Branson/Monett, Missouri


f what Sarah Bernhardt says is true, then Thomas Harris must be one of the richest men alive. Tom Harris, MD, Medical Director for Hospice Compassus in Monett, Missouri, is by his own admission, no couch potato. This very busy physician spends much of his life giving his time, energy and expertise to help not only those who live in his own community but also those in need in other countries. Most days, Dr. Harris shares a very busy family practice with his partners, Dr. Michael Payne and Dr. Norman Tullis, at Cox Health Clinic in Cassville, Missouri. He makes weekly rounds at two area facilities serving as Medical Director at one. In addition, he heads one of the clinical teams at Hospice Compassus in Monett. Making a difference by leading, these medical teams are not enough for this energetic guy. This past year, Dr. Harris completed the educational requirements and passed his Hospice and Palliative Medicine subspecialty exams. By completing this process, Dr. Harris joins a group of only 1,200 physicians nationwide to achieve such certification. Beginning in 2008, the discipline of hospice and palliative medicine was formally recognized by the American Board of Medical Subspecialties (ABMS). ABMS is the organization that formally recognizes specialties and subspecialties in allopathic medicine and concerns specialty and subspecialty status. everyday COMPASSION

Although certification is sought and earned by physicians on a voluntary basis, it is widely recognized by government, health care systems, insurers and patients as an essential tool to judge that a physician has the knowledge, experience and skills for providing quality healthcare within a given specialty or subspecialty. It is considered the gold standard because of its unique physician-directed approach to assessing qualifications. Hospice and palliative medicine is the medical discipline of the broad therapeutic model known as hospice and palliative care. The discipline and model of care is devoted to achieving the best possible quality of life for the patient and family throughout the course of a life-threatening illness through the relief of suffering and the control of symptoms. Hospice and palliative medicine help the patient and family face the prospect of death, assured that comfort will be a priority, values and decisions will be respected, spiritual and psychosocial

December 2009

Left: Dr. Harris treats a child in La Palma, El Salvador. Below: Kicking back in his office in Monett, Missouri. Right: Competing in a bicycle race in Wichita Falls, Texas.

needs will be addressed, practical support will be available and opportunities will exist for growth and development. Hospice in the United States is an organized program that provides palliative care for terminally ill patients and supportive services to patients, their families and significant others. Dr. Harris’s passion for helping those in need does not end with caring for families facing end of life issues. He also has a passion for caring for those who have no medical care available to them. Four times in the past five years he has accompanied the Church of Christ Medical Missions team to La Palma, El Salvador where he has provided medical care for the many underserved living in this impoverished country. Even with those incredible accomplishments under his belt, Dr. Harris still finds time to serve his community as a board member for the Cassville Park Board, making sure that young and old alike have the facilities they need to safely enjoy the beautiful Ozark countryside.

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For fun, he is an avid bicycle enthusiast. He competes in bicycling races all over the country. “Enthusiast” doesn’t quite describe Dr. Harris’s passion for bicycling. Most days when the weather is good, he bicycles to the office from his home fifteen miles away (the long way). I can recall the day, nearly five years ago, when Dr. Harris interviewed for the position of Medical Director. Arrangements for the interview were originally made in Monett and I suggested that he drive over from Cassville (20+ miles away) to see the office he would work from. Dr. Harris agreed and promised to be there on time. On the day of the interview, one of my team members reported that there was “some guy” out in the waiting room in bike shorts wanting to know where he could change clothes. To everyone’s delight this “guy” turned out to be their future Medical Director who had biked over the many Ozark hills and mountains from Cassville to the office in Monett for his interview. This action alone inspired several of the Hospice Compassus colleagues to dust off their own bikes and enjoy this wonderful exercise. Most important to Dr. Harris is his family. He has been married 35 years to Betty [Stubbs] Harris and they have two


children that they are very proud of. Thier daughter Mariah [Harris] Harp is a pharmacist in Siloam Springs, Arkansas and is mother of Tom’s two grandsons, Harrison and Winston. These beautiful toddlers are his pride and joy. Dr. Harris is also proud of his son, Jeremiah, who just finished his sophomore year at University of Arkansas. Jeremiah is majoring in computer engineering and is a talented musician who performs in the Christian rock band “Lost in Honesty.” This band performs regularly at the Lowell First Baptist Church and frequently performs throughout northern Arkansas at youth fellowships. One can imagine how busy Dr. Harris is in supporting his very industrious children and grandkids. Sarah Bernhardt’s famous quote literally summarizes the life of Dr. Tom Harris. As a physician, he gives his time and talent to assure that those he cares for have a better quality of life. Whether he is focusing on prevention and wellness, geriatrics, pain and symptom management, or bandaging the wounds of those with few resources, all who know him are benefiting from the life he has chosen to live. He is a man who understands that energy creates energy. He lives a busy life and yet takes the time to enjoy the beauty of the world around him. By spending of himself in caring for others, he is indeed a rich man. 21

hospice life

Reaching for the Hero’s Heart By Beth Hanley, RN

Director of Clinical Services — Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina


t seems that every day, whether at church, in the grocery store, or at a neighbor’s house, someone will ask me where I work. No matter the mood or the surroundings, I proudly hold up my head, smile, and quickly reply, “I’m the Director of Clinical Services for Hospice Compassus.” The reply I get is usually something like, “Oh!” or “How do you do that?” Then they realize that I probably stay in an office most of the time, so they offer me some relief: “Good, then you don’t have to go out and see the patients.” I always announce my job title, because I would never want to lead people into thinking I was one of the “heroes” that actually make a difference at the most natural time in a person’s life—death. It is true that most of the time you’ll find me in front of a computer or on the phone with a doctor, patient, or family member, or just listening to the staff. I enjoy all of that; but I too, want to make a difference. The last time it came up, I spent time that day praying and meditating, asking God how my job impacts the patient’s life. I didn’t sleep well that night, trying to answer the question, “What makes me so proud to be a part of hospice, if I don’t actually get to see or touch the patient?” I never get to hold them, care for them, or teach them anything. I am never there in a crisis. I want to believe that my job makes a difference somehow. After all, I am a nurse and my job is to help people in need. Nursing Team of Care After that restless night, the answers just came to me. God did not send me an e-mail or write it down, He just answered me. I thought about the nurses that I interact with daily, both in person and on the phone. They go out into 22

the community every day, sometimes on nights, weekends, and holidays; and they provide comfort, hold hands, teach family members the stages of dying, and sit hour after hour, holding the hand of someone who has come to the end of life. They hold tight to a grieving family member and many times cry with them. They too, suffer the loss of a friend they met sometime within the last year. They remain steadfast during the crisis, helping the family in the immediate hours after a death of a loved one. When the family is stable, and all of their tasks are complete, they go out the door, get into their car, and do it all over again. I recently read about research proving that patients on hospice actually live an average of 29 days longer than those who aren’t. Our nurses have a place in that. They’re in charge of helping someone live his or her life to the fullest, right to the end. The same nurses may spend time during their day just making people comfortable, finding the right supplies or equipment, ordering the medications, or just putting a bandaid on a scratch. Whatever is going on that day, they know that at any time the phone can ring, and once again they will be holding the hands of the dying friend or holding up the bereaved. At the end of their day, they go home with a smile on their faces and tend to needs of their own families. Social Workers Our social workers spend their days finding relief for the weary caregivers, making funeral arrangements with the patients and families, and many times just listening to the intricate dynamics of family members. Sometimes these relatives have not spoken in years, or everyday COMPASSION

they have different ideas of what should be done after the death of their loved one. The social worker patiently guides them on to the next step. Many times she will bring together families and their loved one at a time when it is most needed. Sometimes the only impact she makes at all is just being there to listen. I do wonder how they can leave the office every morning with a smile on their faces, knowing that today they will be helping some patient make his or her own funeral arrangements. They frequently carry the burden of families that need money to pay for their homes. They search community programs on a daily basis trying to find help for well deserved families. Bereavement Coordinators Our bereavement coordinators spend day after day, helping families get through life while dealing with a death of a loved one. They hold meetings, guiding families through the year following the death of their loved one, helping them to adjust and working through the grieving process. Many friends and family members will show up for the funeral or memorial service, but the days following a loved one’s death can be lonely and troubling. The bereavement coordinators are available for these caregivers and offer support when everyone else has gone back to their normal lives. Hospice Aides The one discipline that provides more to the patient than any other is from hospice aides. They have the hardest and most important jobs out there. They see patients more than anyone else as they help them bath, fix their hair, paint nails as well as many other everyday activities. Many times the patients call their hospice aides their nurse. They are the first to know when their patient is declining or if a family member is having a hard time adjusting. They see and touch the lives of patients in ways that many of us will never have the opportunity to do. It is not always a clean job, but it is the job that people remember and appreciate the most. When a patient passes away, December 2009


In Honor of Hospice Caregivers There are heroes in our midst Who do not wear uniforms. They give of their time, Their strengths, their hearts.

the hospice aide loses someone that has become a personal friend. They don’t always have the opportunity of being there to say goodbye at the end. They have to deal with the grief by going on and offering care for someone else. I sometimes get the impression that they are the happiest people I know. I don’t always understand how they do it. They not only help the person, they help drive the emotional support as well. Volunteer Coordinators Our volunteer coordinators spend many Saturdays training people from our community to assist with patients and families. You can find her at nursing homes, fair grounds, poker runs, or even beside a patient herself. Some of the volunteers that she trains sit with patients, make quilts, or do filing in the office; but all of them make a difference in the lives of those we care for. She frequently makes it possible for our patients to get that extra touch. Chaplains No matter where a person is in his or her spiritual life, our chaplains are there to meet the needs. They see every patient at least once, and after that initial time, they visit as often as the patient likes. They have a true love for every human being that comes their way. If a patient doesn’t want a chaplain, they will oftentimes just be their friend and visit. Many times while working late in the office, I see that same chaplain Vol. 1 • No. 3

here, just listening to team members tell their story. They not only support the patients, families, and the community but they also support our whole team of care. If a crisis becomes too much for one of us, they guide us peacefully through the situation. Now, as I reflect on those heroes, I find it even more important for me to find my place in the care of patients. It is clear—I get to listen to their stories, or orchestrate the care from behind a desk. I even get to motivate my colleagues when they are down. I am in charge of keeping us compliant with all mandated guidelines. But I have learned that the greatest thing I can do is offer support and guidance to those heroes that touch the lives of so many people. It is more like supporting the hearts of those who hold the hands of the dying. Even though I don’t get to take care of the patient, I get to take care of those who do. I am not only okay with that, I am proud to work with this group of heroes. They impact my life as well. I have spent a great of deal of time thinking about this; and from now on, when someone asks me where I work or what I do for a living, I am going to hold my head up high as usual, put a big smile on my face and tell them boldly, “ I work for the ‘heroes’ at Hospice Compassus.” Because at the end of the day, not only are all my colleagues heroes, but also the patient, who is the biggest hero and the one who blesses us all. everyday COMPASSION

These loving souls Are courageously caring For loved ones Who are dying. A sister brings her Brother into her own Home for care that Is needed day and night. A husband drives Many miles a day To be at the side of The love of his life. A wife moves a cot Into the nursing home room Of her husband Who gets anxious at night. A friend moves out Of his own house To help a friend Stay at home. These heroes sacrifice Time, energy, and comfort To give to ones Whose time is short.

By Sandi Hebley, RN, CHPN, LMSW Director of Clinical Services Dallas, Texas 23

hospice life

Even the Homeless Deserve Hospice


Evidence of Everyday Compassion

atients come to us in all manner of circumstance. Fortunately, most have homes, families, friends and support systems. For a recent patient admitted to Hospice Compassus in San Antonio, Texas, this was not the case except for the friends and support system. You see even though ‘Miss Joyce’ was homeless, she was nevertheless, an integral member of the downtown community for over 25 years. The residents of scenic river walk apartments, employees of neighborhood eateries and office workers all knew Miss Joyce and all had many stories of her eccentricities and means of survival. Joyce was known and respected by many. Meeting people from all walks of life and learning to hone your survival skills are just a few of the perks that accompany life on the streets. Whether it was mental illness or fear of attachment, it remains a mystery how Joyce came to this lifestyle. Former San Antonio Express-News Publisher, Charles Kilpatrick and his wife Margie, longtime downtown residents, were so touched by Miss Joyce that they memoralizd her with an essay quoted in the Express-News in her honor. While Joyce was not always easy to befriend, due to her inability to shower routinely and her demeanor, she became a significant and steadfast member of her community. Between the generosity of Shilo’s Delicatessen and a nearby McDonald’s (as well as countless others) Joyce

received a steady diet of double burgers (no lettuce or tomatoes, thank you), patty melts and yes, black coffee. Her love of reading was just as particular, with a bias for Atlantic Monthly. Over time, the community came to support her with gifts of money and clothing in addition to food and things to read. Cancer and life on the streets finally took their toll, and after a brief stay in a nearby hospital, she was admitted to Hospice Compassus. Known for our resourcefulness and love of a good challenge, we welcomed Joyce to our census. Following her admission, which took place at Shilo’s, our staff set up regularly scheduled appointments to meet Joyce at this legendary downtown delicatessen. Staff members sat with her for many hours in attempts to manage her pain and attend to her increasing needs without the luxury of the normal trappings of hospice care. After a few weeks, it became evident Joyce was becoming more critical and would have to be placed in a more traditional setting. Our Social Worker facilitated the placement in a nearby nursing home. Joyce soon passed but not before she touched our staff as she had touched her many friends from all walks of life. She died with dignity and on her terms. Joyce may have been homeless but she mattered. Here’s hoping all the Joyces (and Jonathans) of the world receive the care they richly deserve in their time of need.

By Richard Tankersley

Director of Marketing — San Antonio, Texas



December 2009

lessons from the field

The Unexpected Hospice Death By Linda Ojajarvi, RN, MSN, DCS Director of Clinical Services — Sedona/Flagstaff, Arizona


he “unexpected hospice death” sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? A person on hospice care is clearly facing end of life on this earth, but, as we know, death occurs in so many ways. Recently, we experienced the “unexpected.” That is, none of the signs of active dying were evident. The patient had been functionally independently, had been in no pain, and had just begun to use oxygen. All of us, including the patient, her husband, and those of us with knowledge of her medical history, expected she still had some quality time left. In fact, she had been admitted to our program just days before and was still getting used to the thought of being on hospice care. She did not want morphine in her home and was not inclined to take medications. Her decline and death came suddenly, over a span of less than six hours. During that time, she had been up to the bathroom and had spoken with our on-call nurse by phone. She was having trouble catching her breath but did not sound short of breath. By the time I arrived with medication, she was gone. The effect on her husband was devastating. He was grief-stricken, angry, and in shock.This was not the way it was supposed to go. In the previous hours he had been alone and helpless to do anything but monitor the pulse oximeter, turn up the oxygen, and watch his wife as she lay dying. There is much we can learn from this sad event. Had I arrived earlier with our “emergency” medications, I feel strongly that the outcome would have been the same; though the act of administering medications may have been comforting—if not for the patient, then maybe for her husband—just being able to feel there was something he could do. Our patient had end-stage cancer, but something else clearly happened: a cardiac event, a pulmonary embolism—we can speculate about the exact cause, but will never know for certain. I stood there with medications in hand, helpless to console a man whose life would never be the same. I can only hope that he is able to find peace through the love they shared and through his faith. As he spent some time alone with his wife, I stood in the living room, hearing his grief as he wept, and glimpsing

Vol. 1 • No. 3

evidence of their life together in treasured photos, cards, and the objects carefully chosen that make a house a home. The dogs that barked on my arrival were silent and seemed to look at me knowingly. I offered what support I could, and did as much as he allowed. I notified the funeral home and left when asked to. It seemed only natural that our patient’s husband would direct his anger at us: for not being there, for not knowing how this happened so quickly, for simply not knowing. I am sharing this with you as “food for thought.” Writing is therapeutic for me, a balm during times of questioning “what if?” No matter how much I have seen or how much I think I know, there is always something new to be learned. I am hoping we can all consider what there is to learn from this particular patient’s death, and from each person who touches our lives through this work we have chosen to do. We are all at different places in our experience with hospice. We study, learn, and practice compassionate end-of-life care. We strive to assist our patients to have a “good” death, to support each of them and their loved ones in the choices they make.We give information about what to expect in the dying process, and we see many “textbook” examples of patients going through that process. That Saturday, I was reminded that we have no control over death and cannot change what has already happened. What we can do is continue to work toward educating and preparing patients and families for the inevitable. We provide booklets, guides, and medications. We start this process with our first contact, but we cannot force readiness to learn or timeliness of acceptance. We are often asked, “What will this be like, what should I expect?” Perhaps in our answers we need to share not only the general trajectory of a known disease process, but to also stress that the unexpected can still happen. None of us are immune to sudden, catastrophic medical events. We know that we cannot say for sure how much time someone has, or guarantee the prognostications of others. We must do what we can, and keep learning and supporting one another as we go on. At the risk of sounding trite or repeating a cliché, perhaps this is a reminder to each of us to “live each day as if it is your last.”

There is always something new to be learned.



in the news

We Remember By Sharon Blackwell


Bereavement Coordinator Princeton/Welch, West Virginia

ospice Compassus’s goal is to serve with “heartfelt by each family member and the hospice team members who procompassion.” We understand how important it is to be vide comfort and care during their last days. The gold represents happiness, wisdom and quests of the heart which gives the famof service to both the patient and their families. One way we reach out to our patient’s family is by hosting ily hope. As they experience times of happiness, they come to an Annual Memorial Service which allows them to remember understand that life continues on. Their loved one’s memories and honor their loved ones. This year, our Annual Memorial add to the quest of continuing on life’s adventures and forever Services were held at the First Presbyterian Church in Welch, keeping them in their lives. The positive and emotional responses from the families were West Virginia, on August 30th and at the Immanuel Baptist Church in Princeton, West Virginia, on September 27th. There overwhelming. They thanked everyone for the opportunity to “remember” their loved ones. It were approximately fifty family was really special to see our hosmembers at the service held in pice colleagues interact with the Welch which was held in honor families that they had served. of our McDowell county patients A lady asked me if her husband’s and over a hundred attended nurse was coming to the service. the service held in Princeton Shortly after our conversation, the in honor of our Mercer county nurse in question came in and the patients. smile that came across the womMarquinta Cox, Hospice an’s face was priceless. Compassus Chaplain, spoke at Several in attendance shared the first memorial service and their thoughts in regard to the Joshua Johnson, Associate Pastor memorial services. Mary Cline of Immanuel Baptist Church, reflected that the service “was spoke at our second service. Both really a blessing.” Vernieva Baker offered words of encouragement expressed that the service “was a to our hospice families and shared very moving experience.” She furCrystal Parks, RN, talks with a family member of a story about their own personal ther went on to say “the speaker loss. They said it was important of a former Hospice Compassus patient, Rada Terry. was wonderful and the singers to gain strength from one another and to continue onward. By continuing on, the precious mem- were beautiful.” Shirley Hunt commented that she “greatly appreciated the service” because it gave her an opportunity to ories of our loved ones become a treasure within our hearts. During the services, a slide show presentation entitled “We remember her sister. Anna Wesley also expressed that the serRemember” was shown. Each slide had a picture of a Hospice vice was “so great.” After each memorial service, families were invited to a recepCompassus patient who was depicted in a beautiful nature scene. As the patients’ names were announced, family members tion in their honor. As they enjoyed the refreshments, they were asked to stand in honor of their loved one. While the were able to mingle and share memories of their loved ones. family members were standing, a member of the family would This was a very special time not only for the families and but light a candle in memory of their loved one. After they lit the also for the hospice team. We would like to thank everyone who made these events specandle, they were given a long-stemmed, white rose with a blue and gold ribbon, representing the colors of Hospice Compassus cial and memorable. I especially appreciated our Non-Medical Volunteers who passed out our programs and served refreshtied to the stem. I shared the significance of our colors with the families. The ments during the reception. Again, it is our goal to serve our blue represents the compassion and love shown to our patients patients, our families, and our communities.



December 2009

Getting Around Business Neighbors Help Some of Our Most Needy in South Central Missouri


ospice Compassus (formerly Community Hospices of America) and the Walmart of Mountain Grove, Missouri, have partnered to create a special gift for people in our community with life threatening illness. Roger Flint, a Chaplain for Hospice Compassus, knew that Walmart periodically gifts money grants to good causes. He approached Chet Cornelison, Walmart store manager, late last year and asked for help in purchasing an electric scooter. The scooter would help patients who would never be approved for such an item through Medicare due to their terminal condition. The result was a matching gift for a brand new four-wheel, “all-terrain” scooter. ThesecombinedmonieswentthroughtheHospiceCompassuscharitableprogram,theCHA Foundation,whichdirectsallmoniestoactualpatientandfamilyneeds,includingsuchthingsas emergency food, utilities, clothing and essential household items. With this scooter, Hospice Compassus can lend it to patients who can no longer go outside without independent mobility and who aren’t able to get around in their homes without assistance.Thisscootercompletesasmall“fleet”of three.Thetwoolderscootersweredonated by previous hospice families. They appreciate that when their loved one can no longer use or benefit from the scooter, it will make its way to another patient who is able to make use of it. “The result is that we now are able to lend scooters to folks who would never have them, and tore-openawholeworldof beingoutinthegarden,innature,orjustaroundtheneighborhood,” said Mike Lamb, Social Worker with Hospice Compassus. There are many people who had a role with this project, and we’d like to express our appreciation to each one of them. Front row L to R: Chet Cornelison, Wal-Mart Store Manager, Mountain Grove; Janean Miller, Volunteer Coordinator; Anneliese Ellis, Hospice Aide; Carla Roberts, Executive Director; Amanda Conner, Director of Clinical Services. Back row L to R: Mike Lamb, M.S.W.; Freda McCarty, hospice volunteer; Willard

McCarty, hospice volunteer; and Roger Flint, Hospice Chaplain.

Vol. 1 • No. 3



in the news

Celebrating Our Name Change A special ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Aug. 20 at Hospice Compassus, formerly Community Hospices of America, in Macon, Missouri. Opening our first hospice in 1979, Hospice Compassus is a family of community-based hospices. Our nationwide network is a vast resource of information benefiting both patient and families. The affiliates of Hospice Compassus have a common culture around three core values: compassion, integrity and excellence. Our primary goals are to provide the highest quality hospice care and service in every community in which we operate and to be the hospice employer of choice.

How to Help a Grieving Friend During the Holidays The holidays, especially the first ones after a loved one’s death, can be especially difficult for a person who is grieving. Letting them know that you care is often the best way to help during the holidays. ★ Be supportive of the way your friend chooses to celebrate the holidays. ★ Offer to help with tasks such as baking, cleaning or decorating. ★ Invite the person to attend a religious service with you and your family. ★ Just listen if your friend wants to talk about the deceased loved one. ★ Remind the person that you are thinking of him or her and the loved one who died.

Hospices provide bereavement support not only to the families they serve but also to other members of the community as well. www.hospicecompassus.com



December 2009

L O C AT I O N S ALABAMA 3500 Blue Lake Drive, Ste. 270 Birmingham, AL 35243 (205) 970-3888

KANSAS 200 East Centennial, Ste. 2 Pittsburg, KS 66762 (620) 232-9898

ARIZONA 1225 Hancock Road, Ste. 200 Bullhead City, AZ 86442 (928) 763-6433

LOUISIANA 3212 Industrial Street Alexandria, LA 71301 (318) 442-5002

1675 E. Monument Plaza Drive Casa Grande, AZ 85122 (520) 421-7143

8280 YMCA Plaza Drive, Bldg. 3, Ste. B Baton Rouge, LA 70810 (225) 768-0866

1000 N. Humphrey’s Street, Ste. 220 Flagstaff, AZ 86001 302 La Rue France, Ste. 200 (928) 556-1500 Lafayette, LA 70508 (337) 235-8690 1789 W. Commerce Drive Lakeside, AZ 85929 2213 Justice Street (928) 368-4400 Monroe, LA 71201 (318) 322-0062 511 S. Mud Springs Road Payson, AZ 85541 2424 Edenborn Avenue, Ste. 230 (928) 472-6340 Metairie, LA 70001 (504) 834-1655 70 Bell Rock Plaza, Ste. A Sedona, AZ 86351 8660 Fern Avenue, Ste. 145 (928) 284-0180 Shreveport, LA 71105 (318) 524-1046 1025 W. 24th Street, Ste. 15 Yuma, AZ 85364 770 Gause Blvd, Ste. C (928) 344-6100 Slidell, LA 70458 (985) 639-8000 ILLINOIS 1640 N. Henderson Street MICHIGAN Galesburg, IL 61401 24445 Northwestern (309) 342-3007 Highway, #105 Southfield, MI 48075 2000 W. Pioneer Parkway, Ste. 24 (248) 355-9900 Peoria, IL 61615 (309) 691-0280 MISSISSIPPI 140 North 5th IOWA McComb, MS 39648 3409 Cedar Heights Drive (601) 250-0884 Cedar Falls, IA 50613 (319) 291-9000 725 Front Street Ext., Ste. 850 Meridian, MS 39301 610 32nd Avenue SW, Ste. F (601) 483-5200 Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 (319) 362-2500 300 Highland Blvd, Ste. G Natchez, MS 39120 2230 Jersey Ridge Road (601) 442-6600 Davenport, IA 52803 (563) 359-3666 141 Highway 90 Waveland, MS 39576 (888) 667-2796

MISSOURI 3044 Shepherd of the Hills Expy, Ste. 200 Branson, MO 65616 (417) 335-2004

SOUTH CAROLINA 500 Jeff Davis Drive Spartanburg, SC 29303 (864) 542-2536

3050 I-70 Drive SE, Ste. 100 Columbia, MO 65201 (573) 443-8360

TENNESSEE 1412 Trotwood Avenue, Ste. 5 Columbia, TN 38401 (931) 381-4090

2418 Hyde Park Road Jefferson City, MO 65109 (573) 556-3547

936 N. Jackson Tullahoma, TN 37388 (931) 455-9118

2650 E. 32nd Street, Ste. 100 Joplin, MO 64804 (417) 623-8272

TEXAS 1610 James Bowie Drive, Ste. A105 Baytown, TX 77520 (281) 837-9200

303 Missouri Street, Ste. A Macon, MO 63552 (660) 385-4400 845 Highway 60, Ste. A Monett, MO 65708 (417) 235-9097 807 N. Main, Ste. 1 Mountain Grove, MO 65711 (417) 926-4146 1191 Hwy. KK, Ste. 102 Osage Beach, MO 65065 (573) 348-1566 1465 E. Primrose Springfield, MO 65804 (417) 882-0453 270 Chestnut Osceola, MO 64776 (417) 646-2650 1406 Kentucky Avenue, Ste. 100 West Plains, MO 65775 (417) 256-4127 NEW MEXICO 6000 Uptown Boulevard NE, Ste. 104 Albuquerque, NM 87110 (505) 332-0847 PENNSYLVANIA 653 W. Skippack Pike, Ste. 12A Blue Bell, PA 19422 (215) 653-7310

9535 Forest Lane, Ste. 211 Dallas, TX 75243 (972) 690-6632 19221 I-45 South, Ste. 350 Shenandoah, TX 77385 (832) 585-0870 1770 St. James Place, Ste. 330 Houston, TX 77056 (713) 850-8853 1100 Gulf Freeway, Ste. 122 League City, TX 77573 (281) 316-7777 901 North McDonald, Ste. 200 McKinney, TX 75069 (972) 548-1600 7001 Boulevard 26, Ste. 500 North Richland Hills, TX 76180 (817) 590-9623 4204 Woodcock Drive, Ste. 240 San Antonio, TX 78228 (210) 731-0505 WEST VIRGINIA 1033 Stafford Drive Princeton, WV 24740 (304) 431-2000 66 Elkins Street Welch, WV 24801 (304) 436-2300

www.hospicecompassus.com Vol. 1 • No. 3



A quality hospice team of care provides a compassionate network of highly trained professionals and volunteers who work together as a team to assess and meet their patients’ and families’ needs. The team goes to great lengths to explore and evaluate treatment options in the context of each patient’s symptoms, values and wishes.

The Medical Director works in

Experi e Nurs nced es


e spic o H ides A


the basic needs of the patient. Services range from bathing and feeding to monitoring the vital signs of the patient.

e nt Trai vem n rea ators Volu ed n t e Be ordin ers

Hospice Aides or CNAs serve

Atten Physi ding cia ns

Trained Volunteers provide a variety of services for the patient, family, and hospice in general. Whether they serve by reading a book, writing a letter, or just providing a warm smile, volunteers are an integral part of the hospice team.

Spiritu al Cou n s e lor s

assess the patient’s health and needs to provide necessary care for ensuring proper pain and symptom management for the patient.

l dica e M ctors re Di

recommends the patient for hospice, establishes a plan of care, and follows the patient’s progress throughout.

cial So kers or W

Experienced Nurses

The Attending Physician


conjunction with the patient’s regular doctor to ensure comfort and quality of life for the patient.

Social Workers

evaluate the needs and advocate the rights of the patient to help the patient and family come to terms with the terminal illness.

Spiritual Counselors

provide spiritual and emotional guidance to support the patient and family regardless of religious beliefs.

Bereavement Coordinators address the phases of grief and acceptance. Support is offered to families for at least one year after the patient has died. Hospice Compassus also helps with funeral arrangements and can help guide family members through other issues necessary to address after death.


12 CADILLAC DRIVE • SUITE 360 • BRENTWOOD, TN 37027 (615) 377-7022 • www.hospicecompassus.com