A Publication of Hospice Compassus
Vol. 2 • No. 1
Growing Strong Helping Patients Live Life Fully, One Day at a Time Vol. 2 • No. 1
or several excellent reasons, hospice is a shining example of everything Americans want from their healthcare system. First, hospice is available to all who need it. Second, hospice carefully applies the proper resources to the exact needs of a highly vulnerable population. Next, it holds the provider/patient relationship to be sacrosanct. And, most importantly, it focuses entirely on the individual patient’s quality of life. It comes as no surprise that those who experience hospice universally acclaim its wonders and benefits. Indeed, the only troubling part of hospice is that many who need its services either don’t know it is available or ultimately receive its gifts much too late in their journey. In a world obsessed with communications technology, round-the-clock messaging, and 24/7 newscasts, this heart-wrenching disconnect is unconscionable. Our responsibility, as caring humans and fellow caregivers, is to strive in every way possible to bridge this gap.
We’d love to hear what you think about our company and our colleagues. Please contact us on our website at www.hospicecompassus.com
Echoing these sentiments in a recent communication to a group of nationally recognized hospice care experts, Bill Frist, Majority Leader of the US Senate from 2003 to 2007 and a practicing physician, expressed his firm belief that end-of-life services are essential to a properly functioning healthcare system. He went on to say, “The way a society chooses to face death and how it honors and cares for its dying are measures of its strength as a civilized culture. I am concerned that we, as a country and a society, have much to do to live up to our traditions of valuing the individual and supporting those who are least able to support themselves, especially at the end of life.” That is why we are compelled to tell and re-tell the story of hospice. That is also why we are drawn to personal stories of real hospice experiences. Personal stories, such as those included in this edition of Everyday Compassion, reach us when other messages become lost in the fray. They reach us because they are real and because—to paraphrase Jan Roselman, one of our Directors of Clinical Services in Springfield, Missouri—they reveal the most important and fundamental truth of hospice: that the end-of-life experience is not so much about dying all too soon as it is about living as well as we can with the time we have. This is a message of universal importance, applicable to everyone, and worthy of our full attention.
We hope you enjoy these stories. We also hope you will be inspired to share your story with us and with all those who need so much to hear and to understand what is possible.
Jim Deal Chief Executive Officer
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the shared experience A Walk of Compassion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 You’re Not Behind the Plow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 For Mr. Pete, The Dance Goes On . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 A Time Given Back . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Season of Hearts and Flowers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 A Gentle Soul . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 The Grief Diet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
lessons from the field Full Circle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
hospice life-volunteers Walking Through the Front Door . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 A Helping Hand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
care-team spotlight This I Believe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Dreams Do Come True . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
in the news Celebrating 30 Years . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Keys for Healthcare Providers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 In Loving Memory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 A Special Thank You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
16 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.
PUBLISHER: Hospice Compassus EDITOR: Brooke Legnon, Marketing Director ASSISTANT EDITOR: Jan Shaffer, Senior Human Resources Consultant CONTRIBUTORS: Arthur W.Gradillas, Jimmy England, Sara Ballard, Catherine Hughes, Callie Clark, Janine Bonner, Kimberley Sundberg, Dr. Magdalene A. Long, Cecilia Alvarez, Jan Granger, Anneliese Ellis, Dannette Moore, Jessica Wiley, Lyndsey Adams, Deborah Musick, Kimberly Bodenmiller, Betty Bricker, Dr. Zachary White, Dr. Cristina Gilstrap, Nikki Patrick, Dr. Clay Anderson, Richard Grim, Linda Tillery, Tara Chandler, Stephanie Gonzales, Patty Kaufman, Karen Peet, Connie Kelley CREATIVE: Tallgrass Studios Copyright © 2010 Hospice Compassus. All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced in any manner without the prior written consent of Hospice Compassus.
Arthur T. Gradillas
To Ever yone at Ho
here are no words to adequately describe the hospice experience. “Angels without wings” is how one person described it to me while I was searching for answers. Answers. There were none. Dad’s battle had been ongoing for five years, and now the consequences of a continued battle meant giving up one’s dignity. My father was determined that he would face “his” death “his” way. “Cancer can take my life, but it won’t take my dignity.” The biggest concern my father felt was that he would not have a say in what is one of the
ath of my beloved niversary of the de an st fir e th be ll ian cancer. I March 1, 2010, wi ear bout with ovar r-y fou a er aft ed di ek before she wife, Dianne. She ganization the we or ur yo m fro t or pp iled to call, started receiving su team has never fa ur yo , ar ye ole wh this the grief process. passed. Throughout to help me endure n io at m for in nd se write, and help et of information to d that special pack ive ce re uch I , m ys w da ho ot tell you In the last few anniversary. I cann nt rta po sI im rd is wo th the exact me prepare for g Go Prayer” said in ett “L e Th so s t. ar wa y own. It it touched my he ess in words on m pr ex t no d ul e co t “Th s” and felt in my hear t, bu e Through My Tear M e Se se lea “P es ds piec frien helpful. Also, the to share with my actly what I needed ex re loss of we e o” th ed to Cr ng s Afterlos lt time adjusti cu ffi di a d ha ve o ha and family. They to . ne an our sweet Di y m the bottom of m and thank you fro u yo ite wr is th to h d lle ug thro I just felt compe ve provided to me nder ful help you ha wo e th ink I am as th all I d for t an ar w, he doing well no am I d. rio pe l fu difficult and pain 1 date. n be for that March prepared as one ca God bless le like me, and may op pe to e ar d an you do Thank you for all y case. hers as He has in m ot th wi ts your effor Sincerely, Jimmy L. England Garland, Texas
most private and personal moments all of us will eventually face, our death. He had come to grips with his own mortality and his faith was unshaken, and he did not want an outside entity telling him what he needed to do. So when I breached the subject of allowing hospice into our lives to help, he was understandably hesitant. I understood this as well; it had taken me three months just to walk in the doors of Hospice Compassus to talk to someone regarding my father. I was sold, but it wasn’t my decision. The first thing that impressed me was the interaction between the Hospice Care Consultant and my dad. Numerous times in the myriad of doctor visits, I had to direct the caregivers to speak to my father and not me; Dad was still alive and capable of making his own decisions. The Hospice Care Consultant made it perfectly clear that Dad was in charge. He would decide when he was ready. Dad found himself ready about six weeks after that first visit. After that first visit, Dad was not forgotten simply because he hadn’t signed up that first day. He’d receive visits simply to say hello and check in if there was anything needed. Christmas Eve, at 3:00 p.m., my dad entered into hospice care. Because of that care, my father was able to enjoy a Christmas Eve with his family and friends, a bigger gift for those who saw my father smile. Christmas Day Dad fell asleep. The Hospice Compassus nurses and nursing assistants provided care to Dad and the family around him throughout the day. That evening, Dad peacefully took his last breath, and within minutes of being called, the Hospice team was by our side. Angels without wings…it fits. – Arthur W. Gradillas on behalf of the family of Arthur T. Gradillas
Yuma, Arizona everyday COMPASSION
Elmeretta Sprinkles’ Birthday
ir thdays are a time for reflection, especially for patients with a terminal illness. Hospice Compassus of Casa Grande, Arizona, ensures our patients and families have something to celebrate and someone to listen to those reflections. It takes a team effort to develop a tailor-made birthday for each patient. Everyone makes suggestions and Standing next to her lovely lemon trees, signs the bir thday card. Cake, balloons, Elmeretta enjoys her birthday celebration. flowers, or something related to a person’s hobby are all ways the staff reach out to their patients. Recently Elmeretta Sprinkles celebrated her 78th birthday with cake and by sharing her life stories with Volunteer Coordinator Catherine Hughes. Mrs. Sprinkles shared that she was “one of those Arizona natives,” having been born in Casa Grande at the old Lehmberg Hospital in 1932. Her parents were cotton farmers and also raised cattle. She had five siblings. Fishing and going on picnics were some of her fondest family memories. She went on to raise a family of her own and has four children, ten grandchildren, and one great-grandchild, “all which are beautiful and successful.” While she was raising her family, she also worked for 40 years in a local grocery store. Elmeretta proudly shared that she knew every regular shopper in her store. She still likes to go to the store with her son and make sure the shelves and freezers are in order. Mrs. Sprinkles showed off her beautiful lemon and pomegranate trees, which are a favorite of the neighborhood kids. Walking near her garden, Elmeretta reflected on the changes she had seen in her lifetime and what they meant to her. Her pride in her family was apparent throughout the visit, and her wit and humor always brought a smile. On this beautiful sunny Arizona afternoon, Mrs. Sprinkles enjoyed her celebration, and Catherine enjoyed sharing it with her and learning about her life. Abraham Lincoln said, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” The bir thdays our patients celebrate aren’t just about the cake or presents; they are about memories, moments, family, hard work, change, and acceptance. These bir thdays are about the lives of our patients—and that is what the staff at Hospice Compassus in Casa Grande celebrates. – Sara Ballard, Hospice Care Consultant – Catherine Hughes, Volunteer Coordinator Casa Grande , Arizona Vol. 2 • No. 1
Grandpa Is in the Hospital He kissed her softly Their love still strong Always the one and only He is drifting away slowly She plans to hold on A love like theirs stays strong Throughout the years he was her own Now, tonight, conflict rises to its throne Her love is no longer enough She has done her best But, it’s time for him to go home She must let go She kisses him softly Their love still strong He’s always her one and only By Callie Clark Cabool, Missouri 3
Mamou’s Sugar Babies A
nn Kearney joined us as a volunteer on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi in June of 2007. She visits with numerous patients in their homes and frequently goes to local nursing homes and visits our hospice patients. Ann is an excellent storyteller and a listening friend. She also helps out in our Gulf Coast office by answering the phone and filing, when needed. But Ann, who is an artist, has further utilized her talent and degree in fine arts to bring joy to others. She has created what she calls “Mamou’s Sugar Babies.” These special dolls, made with love by Mamou (Ann), are intended to be comforting, huggable, and appropriate for all ages. Often when Ann has spent time with a patient, she not only gives them a hug but also leaves them with a Mamou Sugar Baby to hold onto. Ann’s artwork is treasured and collected throughout New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She also created an ornament that was accepted at the White House in Washington, D.C., for display on the national Christmas tree. Ann resides in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, with her husband, Bill. – Janine Bonner, Volunteer Coordinator Gulf Coast/Waveland, Mississippi
Sharing One Goal
Quality Care A Special Thank You to Hospice Compassus I wanted to send a note to thank your employees for the quality care they provided my stepmother, Debbie Tyers, during her final weeks on this earth. Michelle Hansen, RN, was absolutely fabulous and a Godsend for our family. She has a wonderful personality and knew exactly what each family member needed at any given moment. Lyndsey and O.J. were also exceptionally helpful to me while I was gathering information about your company and with admitting Debbie to your service. It has been a long road, but thanks to the quality care provided by your professional staff, we managed to arrive at our destination with dignity and peace. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Kimberley Sundberg, RN, BSN
Nursing Facilities and Hospice Share One Goal
ursing facilities have the task of providing well-rounded care to the residents they serve. Facilities are charged with providing appropriate resources which contribute to meeting all the needs that residents may present. Hospice is one of those resources that provide invaluable services. Hospice integrates into the interdisciplinary network within facilities and enhances the service the staff provides. Nursing is beneficial through the provision of extra hands-on care, objective observations and suggestions, and the resource of on-call services. Hospice Social Workers offer extra support, providing insight for the plan of care as well as extra eyes and ears for resident and family concerns, which they can share in a safe, accepting relationship. The Social Worker can collaborate with
the facility’s Social Service team, creating a continuum of care. Hospice Aides are invaluable in addressing the physical comfort of the residents by supplementing direct care, while also providing opportunities for outside social interaction. Finally, Hospice Chaplains offer the opportunity for the residents and family members to address spiritual needs such as prayer, scripture reading, and end-oflife issues. The goal of the interface between nursing facilities and hospice is to provide services that are focused on symptom management for the residents, and caring guidance and support for the families, resulting in an enhanced quality of life.
– Dr. Magdalene A. Long, Magnolia Manor of Inman Gre e nville /Sp artanb urg, South Carolina everyday COMPASSION
Connecting with Others
At the End of Every Season, I Packed His Clothes ~ Millie’s Story ~
y husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1989. In 2002, his condition was considered terminal. I really did not need a doctor to tell me that. I just knew. See, when you become a long-term, 24/7 caregiver for years, your loved one need not speak with you or to you. After they cannot speak, their body speaks to you. The weight loss—only the caregiver sees it. The distant view—only the caregiver sees it. The body life energy—only the caregiver senses as it diminishes. By the time hospice came into the picture, we were in his final season. I knew this. It was Summer 2002. In my husband’s closet, I had the final season of his clothes. Since the previous summer, I had known the end was near. At the end of Fall 2001, I packed up his clothes from the season and gave them away. I did the same for winter, and for spring. I knew he wouldn’t need them anymore; I just knew. At the end of every season, I packed his clothes. Now I only need to pack away summer. Oddly, he will die during his favorite season of the year. As Bereavement Coordinators, we learn from working with many different patients. We bond with their stories and their struggles; and along the way, we learn how to do our job so much better. Millie was one of those people. She wrote the beautiful memoir above and gave me permission to share it with you. Unfortunately, Millie has now passed away; but I learned so much from this very wise, “bereaved” woman whom I knew about five or six years ago. When I met Millie for pre-death bereavement, she was a wife of 60 years and having to face the harsh reality that dementia was taking her husband’s life away. She talked extensively about the painful struggle in having to “place possessions” of her loved one while he was still alive. In that journey, she told stories of his possessions as she “categorized” them to transition them onward. In her heart of hearts, she knew this would be his final year and began to pack his belongings, season by season. I “escorted” her through the emotions of guilt, sorrow, and anger. From this process, I developed a hand-out on the theme of placing possessions and now share it with the bereaved. I think the bereaved know best what they need on their grief journeys, and I believe they need to know how valuable their experiences are for further teaching. – Cecilia Alvarez Bereavement Coordinator San Antonio, Te xas
Vol. 2 • No. 1
Hospice Compassus of Payson, Arizona, hosted the quarterly meeting of the Bereavement Discipline Community of the Arizona Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (AHPCO) in August. AHPCO is a nonprofit membership organization representing hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in Arizona. It is dedicated to advancing quality end-of-life care and serving as a voice and resource for its members and the communities they serve.Theorganizationprovideseducation, information, and advocacy to members and nonmembers. There are four discipline committees led by volunteers: Volunteer Coordinators,SocialWorkers,Bereavement Coordinators, and Chaplains. Meetings are quarterly and open to anyone in the state workinginthesedisciplines.Meetingsarean excellent opportunity for growth, keeping abreastof newdevelopmentsandresources, and networking with peers.
Back row: Marie Fradette, Executive Director of AHPCO; Kristen Hanson-Deller, Valor Hospice Care; Cheryl Orr, Highway Christian Hospice; Jean Ramsey, Hospice Compassus; Steve Graybill, Sojourn Care. Middle row: Alicia Wills, Odyssey Healthcare; Cynthia Loucks, YRMC Hospice; Marilynne Loonsfoot, Tohono O’odham Hospice. Seated: Barb Moskow, Hospice of the Southwest-West Valley and Barbara Joy, Hospice Inspiris.
the shared experience
of Compassion A Local Fundraiser Helps Support the Hospice Compassus Foundation and Recognizes Some Loyal Companions
ith the support of Hospice Compassus, Janis Yokley, 83 years of age, was able come home from the hospital and spend the precious time she had left with her son and Lyric, her four-legged companion. Her memory was honored on March 6, 2010, at the Sylvan Rodriguez Park by a fundraiser for the CHA Foundation. (Community Hospices of America–CHA–is a predecessor of Hospice Compassus.) The Walk for Compassion with Companions raised $7,000 dollars for the Foundation. Janis Yokley’s constant companion, Lyric, is featured in the picture above, held by Ms. Yokley’s daughter-in-law, Jan Yokley. Lyric led the dog walk in Janis’ honor. Lyric’s love for her was unconditional; and even knowing all Janis’s secrets, he never once judged or betrayed her. He remained her faithful companion forever, happy to just be by her side. Janis died and left Lyric to carry on without her, and he does; but it is clear that every day he keeps a watchful eye out, hoping for her return. On this sunny March Saturday, Lyric’s canine community came out to support him in the loss of his human companion. The dogs rallied around him and offered him encouragement as he held his head high and trotted around the park in celebration of a lifetime of loyalty to Janis. The park was filled with laughter from the children who were all happily participating in the walk with their faithful canine companions. The successful fundraiser ended with the release of balloons in Janis Yokley’s memory. Jim Deal presented a crystal glass heart shaped in the Hospice Compassus emblem to Janis’ family, who warmly received the gesture. It was an eloquent realization for all in attendance of just how fragile our lives are and how a heart of compassion gives us all a life with honor. By Jan Granger, RN CHPN Regional Clinical Director— Houston, Texas Top right: Jan Yokley, daugher-in-law of Janis Yokley, and Lyric. Top left: Lyric. Right: Jan Yokley receives a crystal glass plaque from Jim Deal, Chief Executive Officer of Hospice Compassus.
CHA Foundation assists hospice patients and their families during the difficulties of terminal illness by making financial grants for services and products not covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance. We... • Help patients live more comfortably, access quality care, strengthen involvement with loved ones, and keep their dignity. • Help caregivers, health professionals, and the public better understand the role of hospice. • Recognize and thank volunteers for their many hours of unselfish service. Grants are made in the following categories: PATIENT CARE
We have helped patients pay for utility bills, medications, mortgages, electric heaters, wheelchair ramps, and personal grooming items. FAMILY SUPPORT
We have helped families pay for funeral expenses, temporary caregivers, and travel expenses to visit patients. COMMUNITY EDUCATION
We have helped fund health fairs to recruit hospice volunteers and workshops to inform healthcare professionals, volunteers, and the public. VOLUNTEER ENHANCEMENT
We have helped fund attendance of volunteers at workshops, seminars, and conferences, and helped purchase educational materials. For more information, go to www.chafoundation.org. Grants are provided without regard to age, race, color, gender, national origin, disability, religion, or sexual orientation.
Vol. 2 • No. 1
You’re Not Behind The Plow
You’re In The Army Now By Anneliese Ellis, CNA Dannette Moore, Social Worker Mountain Grove, Missouri
enzil and Imajean Greene, known as Chet and Imie by their friends and family, reside on their farm in Mansfield, Missouri. Chet is now 88 years old. When we visit the couple, they have a way of brightening our day, whether it’s Chet’s heart-warming smile or the smell of homemade bread baking in Imie’s kitchen. The couple live a simple way of life with a big story behind their struggles and triumphs. Chet and Imie were high school sweethearts. While attending Fordland School in Fordland, Missouri, Chet and Imie met on the school bus when Chet graciously scooted over to let Imie sit down. Little did they know that this act of kindness would result in 64 years of marriage. As the oldest of 14 children, Chet already had a lot of responsibilities on his hands; but he made time to ride his black horse two miles across two 8
creeks in order to court Imie. Chet graduated from high school, and in 1941 he was drafted into the United States Army at the age of 20. When Chet went off to the Army he had to leave his sweetheart behind, with the promise from her that she would wait for him to return. When Chet reached boot camp at Fort Bliss in Texas, he was told, “You’re not behind the plow; you’re in the Army now.” This quote still rings loud and true as Chet shares his experience. Within six months of being drafted, Chet was shipped overseas to North Africa. During this time his beloved Imie was still in school, anxiously awaiting Chet’s return. Fighting for our country during World War II and facing all the challenges of being a military man, Chet became a corporal in the 533rd Battalion. When he and his troops were attacked by the enemy in Naples, Italy, Chet’s legs were nearly blown off by a 500-pound bomb. “The bomb dropped right in front of me,” he said. Chet then became a patient at Winter General Hospital in Topeka, Kansas, for 16 months, where he underwent multiple surgeries and procedures to restore his legs. When Imie heard the news, she went to Chet’s side. She rented an apartment in Topeka and rode a bus daily to visit Chet at the hospital. During this time, Chet and Imie decided to make their love official and get married. Since Missouri had a three-day waiting period for blood tests, Chet checked out of the hospital, and the couple went to Arkansas and got married. Chet and Imie were united in marriage by an Arkansas judge, who briefly stopped shoeing his horses to marry them. The couple chuckle as they tell about getting the judge out from behind the courthouse to perform their ceremony. Once the nuptials were complete, Chet found himself once again a patient in the hospital, as he was still under a doctor’s care from the combat wounds. Chet was released from the Army in 1945 with a combat disability discharge. After a trying journey thus far in life, Chet and Imie decided to move back to the Ozarks where they bought their first home—a farm—in 1950 for a mere $8,000 and began raising a family. They decided to start a dairy with 30 head of cows. The Greenes sold milk in 10-gallon cans in order to make a living for their family. The couple raised two sons on their family farm and today have four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Chet and Imie quit milking in 1974; and even though it was no longer used, Imie swore that her barn would not look like the other barns around. She insisted it would not have a sagging roof and look abandoned; so the everyday COMPASSION
barn has received a new roof, and Imie sweeps the floor on a weekly basis. Over her lifetime, Imie has also been a hard worker. She worked at MFA Grocery, later known as Town and Country, until she was 80 years of age. To this day, Imie still uses an old ringer washer to wash clothes, even though she has a newer ringer washer for back up in case the old one breaks. The couple still resides in their original home in Mansfield. Chet and Imie are surrounded by friends and family, and they enjoy sports and family get-togethers. Chet receives hospice care for a congestive heart failure condition, while Imie spends most of her days taking care of him and his needs. They look forward to seeing hospice staff who come to visit them. Due to Chet’s combat injuries, he has had five total knee replacements and still carries a small amount of shrapnel in his back from the bomb. Chet received his Purple Heart on November 5, 2007, during a short stay in the hospital after a fall. Chet and his family are very proud of his accomplishments. He was a Legionnaire for 35 years; and amazingly he has met General Patton, General Eisenhower, and former President Bill Clinton. We would like to honor Chet Greene and recognize
every other veteran soldier and their families. Hospice Compassus thanks you for all your hard work and dedication to our beautiful country!
For Mr. Pete, the Dance Goes On N
oice “Pete” Begnaud lived to be 89 years old, and in his last days he was surrounded by family and friends. His home was filled with affection for him and with love and pride, qualities Pete reflected himself: “I’m proud of my life and I love to help people.” Mr. Begnaud—who preferred to be called “Mr. Pete”—was a WWII Army veteran and served as a game warden, retiring after 30 years. Then he became assistant chief of police. He had a passion for his work and said, “I loved law enforcement; I enjoyed it.” Mr. Pete recalled a time when he risked his life while serving as a game warden: “I came upon some poachers and was shot at. I jumped and the bullet hit me in the leg instead of my stomach.” His law enforcement days also included personal risk when he was shot three times in the Vol. 2 • No. 1
head during a robbery while drinking coffee at a local store. Mr. Pete recalled, “I heard three loud bangs and when I woke up, I checked on the store clerk (who had also been shot). He was injured badly. I went outside and drove to the police station and reported what happened.” His actions saved both his own life and that of the clerk. He had a scar on his cheek and a hole in the hat and jacket where the bullets entered and exited to prove it. Mr. Pete had a love of people, as evidenced by the continuous flow of visitors he received daily and welcomed openly. He was not afraid to express how he felt, from admitting his current struggles to
By Jessica Wiley, LCSW Social Worker — Lafayette, Louisiana
recalling favorite memories. All the while, he taught others how to live their last days with dignity. Fiercely independent, he would cook his own food when he felt up to it (with supervision of family), and he would have done more if he’d been allowed. One final thing Mr. Pete liked others to know was how much he loved Cajun French dancing. He was such an accomplished dancer that just last year, at the age of 88, he and his wife, who is 92, won first place in a dancing championship competition. Mr. Pete’s spirit was strong and contagious, and he continues to live on in many people’s hearts. Now, he dances with the angels. 99
A Time Given Back
first met Cecil as the result of a phone conversation. We had arranged a meeting in a local restaurant to talk about his entitlement to federal dollars because of his particular cancer diagnosis. When he walked through the door, I knew him immediately. You know how there are privileged occasions when we are given a glimpse into another person’s past and the life story that is just begging to be told? Well, this was such an occasion. He was dressed in his “Sunday-go-tomeeting” outfit; and though he was an elderly man, he made quite the handsome picture. A freshly starched “cowboy shirt” accented his lean frame, a clean pair of jeans helped to show off his extralarge silver belt buckle (which I knew told a story), and his boots were obviously those worn for special occasions. As he strode across the restaurant, I met him halfway and introduced myself. He tipped his big white cowboy hat to me, and we made our way to the booth where we sat down opposite each other. He folded his hands in front of him and stretched them across the table as we began to talk—a gesture that indicated to me that he was nervous. Our conversation was pleasant, but the subject was not. Yes, he said, he did have cancer; but he “didn’t pay much attention to it.” And whether he was nervous or not, he produced the smile that I came to know so well. It was a quirky, little, mischievous smile—slight and deliberate. It led me to believe it was given on those occasions when he had something to say, and he figured he might or might not want you to understand its meaning.
By the time our meeting was finished, I felt we had the beginning of an extraordinary friendship. He must have sensed something along that line also, for it was he who asked when we could meet again. When I invited him to join me for coffee the following week, he replied, “I’d like that mighty fine, ma’am,” and tipping his hat, he left me to smile in response. The following week I arrived early to find my new friend waiting for me. As I stepped from my car, he clambered from his shiny new pick-up, once again dressed in his cowboy best. He explained that he got up at dawn each morning and he had plenty of time, so waiting for me was no problem. He held the restaurant door, and once again we sat opposite each other. Cecil wanted to know all about my reasons for helping him, and when I explained that my family had also been touched by cancer, any barriers he may have held simply and quickly fell to the floor and were stomped on by his big boots. From that point forward, our conversations were between two friends that time and age had forgotten. There was so much I wanted to know about his life, but I waited my turn as he directed our conversation. His story would be told in his own timing, and when at length he gave me the cue, I waded cautiously into his life. There wasn’t much to tell, he said. He was married, had a son and several grandchildren he was proud of. I could sense his love of family as he spoke of them, and yet there was a longing attached to them I did not immediately identify. He was particularly fond of horses and over the years had many that he found “worth their salt.” The one he owned presently was his “best ropin’ horse of many years,” and as he described
By Lyndsey Adams
Hospice Care Consultant Sedona, Arizona
the animal to me, I felt as though I had just been reunited with a long-lost companion. “Sparks” was his family as well. I asked about his belt buckle. “Yes,” he had won this one at a rodeo “for ropin’ a couple years back.” It was his favorite of several. He had been going to the rodeo for as long as he could remember and was not going to let his 81 years get in his way. His next event was the following fall. He and Sparks practiced weekly, and the fact that they both were getting slower bothered him. The rodeo too was changing, as more and more of his rodeo friends were no longer there. What came through as we spoke that day was a far stronger and deeper love than even family had burned into his soul. It was the unmet longing I had first spotted when he had described his family to me, a longing for the life that modern times had taken from him. He was a genuine cowboy, and there was not much room left for his kind. I understood that day that his need for reminiscing was deepseated and unmet. And so I listened. For over a year and a half we met on the second and fourth Wednesday at 7:30 a.m.— “too late in the day (by his definition) for coffee,” he would say, as he flashed that famous smile. He always dressed for the occasion and was always the perfect gentleman. At each convergence, I waited expectantly for the next chapter of my friend’s amazing life. He usually would start by letting me know there was not much to tell about himself, and then he would stare off to a time and space I was not privileged to witness.
From that point forward, our conversations were between two friends that time and age had forgotten.
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And as I waited patiently for his return, he would suddenly launch into another adventure just for me, his trusted friend. His many amazing stories read like a great western novel. His cowboy life on a hundred-acre ranch and his vivid reenactments often carried me there with him. Horses and outlaws, storms and love, death and rebirth, passion and peace—it was all his story. I witnessed it all, his beloved time and place, now lost forever. When we parted ways, I would long ponder his words. It became painful for me to imagine living in a world that could no longer be understood, and in a place where one was unable to find his way back to the place he belonged. I came to understand what so many of my patients must experience and how difficult a path they unwillingly find themselves upon. I truly came to appreciate each and every one of them on a deeper level. Cecil’s life had blessed me deeply. Cecil died in the late summer not long before his beloved fall rodeo, and so I went for him. As I watched the roping event, I searched each face, perhaps in the hope of seeing my friend reflected there. The action and adventure caught me up in the magic Cecil’s life had been for me. “Hey, Cecil,” I said, “I came to see you ride.” And in my mind’s eye, I saw that mischievous smile as he tipped his hat to me.
Season of Hearts and Flowers By Deborah Musick Volunteer Coordinator â€“ Sedona, Arizona
he big yellow bus pulled up to Sedona Winds Assisted Living
facility overflowing with laughing, excited third graders from Big
Park Elementary School. It was a few days before Valentineâ€™s Day, and these enthusiastic children were ready to share their crafted valentines, stories, and questions with the residents. Hospice Compassus of Sedona, Arizona, and I had conspired to create a social gathering with these third graders and the Sedona Winds residents. a The idea began 12
Left: Deborah Musick or “Apple Annie” greets the children.
to percolate when I asked the local elementary school to make valentines for our hospice patients. The school responded with over 200 homemade valentines. One third-grade teacher from the school saw an opportunity for her students to assist in a community outreach. She called me, and the idea was born for her students and Hospice Compassus to host a Valentine’s Party at the assisted living facility. As the Volunteer Coordinator, I began to prepare for this celebration by going to the school, sharing with the children about hospice and suggesting questions they could ask the residents. So on the day of the outing, the children were raring to go, with homemade Valentine cards clasped in their hands or tucked inside the pockets of their jackets; but more importantly, they were primed with listening ears and questions. As the big yellow bus stopped, the children tumbled out to gather at the door. The residents were waiting in the dining room. The sun was pouring into the room from the large windows, inviting us all to come into a welcoming garden of smiling faces. I greeted the children dressed up as “Apple Annie,” my storytelling character, to tell them a Valentine’s story I had written. The children gathered at my feet, and the residents sat in their chairs behind the children. As I began the story, I realized that the residents were smiling and laughing as much as the children; and one resident,
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who must have been a poet, began to finish the lines of the poem story with me. After the story, the children went to each resident to offer a valentine and a listening ear. As they began to ask questions, the atmosphere in the room started to change. Hearts grew closer, hands were touched, and hugs were given. One man was surrounded by four boys, who were listening to his World War II story. I knew by the look on one boy’s countenance that the story must be thrilling. And sure enough, with excitement the boys turned to me and exclaimed, “Apple Annie, he shot down 11 planes!” I leaned closer to hear that the man in the wheelchair had indeed been a fighter pilot and had shot down 11 planes, and when he landed he had 50 bullets in his plane and one in his back. I marveled at the story and told the boys that this veteran was a living history book. All of them smiled, and I knew
history had touched their lives in a new and special way. After a time of sharing, the children began to hand out punch and squares of Valentine cake provided by Hospice Compassus. The children served each resident thoughtfully, with patience and concern. As they shared punch and cake together, I witnessed a communion of hearts interwoven with stories, sharing, and sometimes silence. And, as I glanced at the doorways and hallways joining this room, I noticed caregivers, kitchen staff, and nurses enjoying the sight of children and their residents interacting together. The ending of the party was the children singing to the residents in chorus form. They chose the songs “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” “When You’re Smiling,” and “You Are My Sunshine.” Needless to say, the last song was the loudest, since most everyone chimed in to sing. When goodbyes were expressed, I caught a glimpse of joy and happiness, sadness and silence, and comfort and care as the children hugged and waved goodbye. As the big yellow bus pulled away from the facility, hauling its cherished treasure, I will always remember the images of faces, hearts, and hands interlaced between the loving children of Big Park Elementary and the residents of Sedona Winds Assisted Living during the season of heart and flowers.
A Gentle Soul Nala is the perfect choice for a Pet Therapy program By Kimberly Bodenmiller Volunteer Coordinator Detroit, Michigan
What a strange little puppy! That’s what I began to think about this five-week-old red golden
I have witnessed Nala seek
retriever puppy just as soon as we brought it home. This was my
out patients on her own. Once we entered
eleven-year-old daughter’s long-awaited dream, to raise a puppy
a day room full of 25 patients, looking for our new patient. When
on her own. But the more I was around this puppy, the more I
I was asking the aide where I could find the patient, she said,
began to realize she was unlike any I had owned before. She was
“Your dog is lying at his feet!” I turned around to see that Nala
strangely calm. Contentment seemed to be her middle name.
had already found him. She acted as if she had done this a million
Once she was lying on the steps just outside the door. Since she was now too big to step over, I used my foot to push her to
times, but she had never been in that facility before and we had never met him until that day! Goose bumps!
one side so I could use the step. To my amazement, when I
Do I still think she is a strange dog? We now call her special
returned 20 minutes later she was still lying in the position that
and a blessing. She approaches patients in such a gentle
I had pushed her into–half on the step and half off. I laughed
manner. If she spots unoccupied hands, she will slowly walk up
when I realized how uncomfortable that looked, but I was more
and gently nuzzle them to get them to pet her. She does this
surprised that she hadn’t corrected herself.
without direction from me. Her head fits perfectly into the lap
As Nala grew older, more of her gentle nature began to emerge.
of a patient in a wheelchair. Once she got tangled up in oxygen
You could put your cheek against hers and she would just stay still,
tubing and froze, waiting for me to help. I have seen patients
never licking or pulling away. Most dogs would have licked your
who hadn’t sat up straight all week sitting tall when we left.
face or bashed you in the eye with their nose. She was also smart
One man had stopped communicating with people but slid to
and quickly learned every trick my daughter could teach her. The
the end of his bed to pet her, if only for several seconds. The
breeder was right; we were getting a good dog.
caregivers were amazed!
I had been a hospice volunteer for five years when my
Nala just turned eight years old and has gotten a little gray.
Volunteer Coordinator announced she wanted to start a pet
She seems to still enjoy interacting with hospice patients and
therapy program. She asked if anyone had a dog that might fit the bill.
their families. I can tell by Nala’s face that she knows just how
It was then I realized why we had Nala. She was meant for this
important her visits are. We both leave our visits with our
work. We went through the training and passed with little effort.
hearts feeling full.
lessons from the field
Our goal with hospice is to be about the living, hroughout my life journey, I have made many not the dying; we focus on the difference between diversified choices. I now find myself having palliative care and curative care. While curing come full circle. My first real employment eliminates the disease, palliative care stays focused as an adult was with a funeral stationery company. on the peace and well-being of patients as they I moved to a child abuse prevention center, to a take the end-of-life journey. We understand that university, and then became a pastor in a typical death is natural and sacred. church setting. Now I have begun a new journey As this path is taken, chaplains lead the patients as I have accepted the role of hospice chaplain. to release any spiritual or emotional baggage they When I completed my undergraduate degree and have been carrying along their journey. We went on to seminary, I did not expect to be bring them to an understanding working with those who are in a that forgiveness is available life-ending journey. Many of for them, and they need to my friends ask me, “Why let go of that which has hospice? Why not a weighed them down. I church ministry?” It is believe God can then a complicated answer, offer them the grace and there is nothing that will transform them simplistic about the as they connect to the decision I have made to ultimate source of hope. follow this ministry. I truly As I attended my first believe God has prepared end of a patient’s life, I came me and called me to offer By Betty Bricker Chaplain to an understanding that this is hope and dignity to those who Shreveport, Louisiana a healing for the dying. As humans, have made the hospice decision. we who are left behind feel an intense sadness at It is an honor to collaborate with our patients their leaving. But as I stood there, the spouse of and their families as they discover the sacredness my patient offered a great gift of love by giving of this time of their lives. As a hospice chaplain, permission for the patient to go. The spouse’s life I have the opportunity to minister to a full range will be changed forever when the loved one leaves of religions. This includes those who say they have this earth; the grief carried will become a part of no religion and claim no spirituality, but who in who they are, and the memories become wonderful reality are very spiritual because they often invest gifts that were left behind. time and intense soul searching into being “not Chaplains themselves often receive a portion religious.” of those gifts as they listen, during the thirteen As our families come to the decision that they are months of bereavement, to the stories told by the ready for hospice, they know they are entering into family after the death of the patient. a time of care when medical interventions will be I find myself realizing it is a privilege to serve as symptom management, not curative actions. Our a Chaplain in hospice care. What better way to do focus as the hospice team is on acceptance, comfort, God’s work in this world than as a compassionate, compassion, and dignity that will include a sense of caring person of God. peace that does not come from the world but from the patient’s soul, the very core of their being.
Full Circle Thoughts From a New Chaplain
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hospice life - volunteers
Walking Through the Front Door The Top 5 Worries of First-Time Home Hospice Volunteers By Dr. Zachary White and Dr. Cristina Gilstrap
“I didn’t want to mess this up. I had no idea what I was going into. But there’s always this feeling of wanting to do it right. I remember being incredibly nervous, driving up to his house and my heart pounding.”
ur first experiences are difficult— the first day of school, a first date, the first day at work—let alone the first time you walk through the front door of a patient’s home as a hospice volunteer. Although training prepares volunteers for the rewards and challenges of being a hospice volunteer, novice hospice volunteers share common worries because their service takes them into people’s homes during one of the most stressful and difficult times in the lives of patients and their families. To better understand first-visit uncertainties, we interviewed hospice volunteers from nine different hospice organizations located in two midwestern states. As communication consultants in the healthcare field, we are interested in this topic because those concerns are largely a byproduct of less effective intrapersonal and interpersonal communication skills. When asked to recall their first visits, home hospice volunteers discussed five primary worries.
1. What If I Mess Up?
The most common worry expressed was the fear of the unknown. Volunteers worried about the uncertainty of what could happen when spending time alone with a patient who had six months or less to live. One volunteer stated, “I was just worried that something might happen to him [the patient] and I might not know what to do. And I’m not a doctor. I was just worried that he could get hurt and I might not be able to prevent it.” The uncertainty of being alone with a patient was foremost on the minds of first-time
volunteers, prompting self-doubt in the form of questions such as these: What if the patient dies when I’m present? What if I panic? What if the patient gags or stops breathing? What if something happens I don’t know how to handle? In sum, this fear reflects an inherent challenge of the home hospice volunteer experience. Unlike most volunteer endeavors, being a good home hospice volunteer does not necessarily require any specific knowledge base or expertise other than a willingness to be present and provide company to the dying.
2. Will I Be Able to Connect With Patients?
The second most prevalent concern among first-time hospice volunteers was the worry of not being able to connect with patients. Specifically, these communication-related worries included the following anxieties: How will I communicate with someone who may not be well enough to talk with me or even respond at all? Will the patient be too sick to recognize me? What if the patient is sleeping when I enter the room? What do I say? How do I reassure the patient if he/she awakens? Will the patient like me? What if I can’t comfort the patient? Volunteers were apprehensive about what they might talk about with patients for several reasons. First, volunteers anticipated not being able to talk about the future with hospice patients (e.g., life after recovery, future vacation plans) and thus expressed anxiety of not knowing what they would talk about. Second, an unease about “not knowing what [the patient] needed” was common because volunteers worried that they might not be able to verbally communicate effectively due to the patient’s physical limitations (e.g., under the influence of pain medication, suffering the effects of Alzheimer’s). Finally, some volunteers indicated concern because of their own past experiences with death and dying. For example, one volunteer said, “My
mother spent nine years of her life in a nursing home. And I never felt that when I went to see my mother I was ever able to say anything comforting.” Clearly, not being able to comfort a patient through communication, a major aim of hospice work, was a typical volunteer apprehension because we so often associate interpersonal comfort with how well we communicate with others.
3. Will I Be Accepted By Family Members?
A central mission of hospice is to provide comfort to patients and family members. As a result, home hospice volunteers expressed worries about connecting not only with their first patients but also with the family members of patients. Specifically, volunteers highlighted concerns about the following issues: Will the family be accepting of my presence at this difficult time in their lives? Will family members welcome me? Will I be viewed as intruding on a personal matter? Have family members accepted the fact that their loved one is dying? One volunteer described the uncertainty associated with meeting family members by saying it was like “walking on eggs,” because he didn’t want to say or do anything that might be perceived as offensive, insincere, or uncaring. Unlike most people, volunteers walk into the homes of patients and caregivers when the dying process begins. In our culture, the dying process is typically conceived as a private matter that few witness other than family members and the closest of friends. As expressed in this particular worry, volunteers understood their role as visitors, and thus “walking on eggs” is an apt way of expressing their apprehensions about their ability to adapt to the unique customs and rituals of the family in the privacy of their homes. Finally, to illustrate the multi-layered dynamics of interpersonal communication with family members, one volunteer stated that she was initially most worried about (Continued on next page)
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• Remind yourself there are no perfect words for patients and/or families. Your presence most eloquently communicates your care.
how the patient would receive her on her first hospice visit. But she recounted that she quickly learned that “getting past her [the patient’s] sisters” turned out to be more of an obstacle than connecting with the patient, because when these family members initially introduced the volunteer to their mother, the patient, they said, “She’s here to talk to you about dying.”
• Recognize that what you think will happen may not correspond with what will happen.
4. Will I Be Safe?
To prevent healthy anticipation from becoming unhealthy worry, we recommend keeping in mind the following communication practices:
• Be willing to be flexible with your communication strategies with patients and family members due to the unique nature of each hospice interaction. • Print out directions to patients’ homes in advance of your visits, and/or drive by the home prior to the first visit. • Seek information from your volunteer coordinator about a patient’s physical and psychological condition before your first visit to reduce concerns about the patient’s ability to communicate. • To express empathy and care, use active listening techniques in interactions like establishing eye contact, giving others your undivided attention, resisting mental and environmental distractions, giving appropriate nonverbal feedback, and withholding judgments of others’ messages. • Ask your volunteer coordinator or member of the interdisciplinary team about any potential safety concerns. • Express care through nonverbal communication behaviors such as touch, smiling, and even silence. • Wear your name badge so family members can easily recognize you as a hospice volunteer when they greet you. • Respect the private space of the patient’s or caregiver’s home. • Understand most volunteers feel apprehension before their first patient visit, but additional experience creates more confidence.
The fourth primary worry of hospice volunteers before their first home visit focused primarily on safety issues. This concern is a byproduct of the unique context of care provided by hospice volunteers. Unlike the controlled environments of public healthcare facilities (hospitals, rehabilitation treatment centers, nursing homes) where variables are constantly monitored and regulated, few variables are constant in the home hospice care setting. Therefore, some volunteers expressed worry about the lack of perceived control given the informal, private context of home hospice care. One volunteer said she was not worried about being with the patient; rather, she was more concerned about “the environment I’m in. Am I going to be safe? Will I be in a remote place; and being female, who are the males that are around? I’m just conscious of that.” In addition, typical apprehensions about safety and control included worries about odors, lack of cleanliness, the remote location of a patient’s home, and the uncertainty of other safety factors such as the presence of dogs in or around the patient’s home.
5. How Do I Get There?
For hospice volunteers, driving directions are important because the home hospice volunteer’s role requires successfully navigating to patients’ homes. As one volunteer said, her greatest worry was “not knowing my way around [and] getting lost because I actually drove 30 miles [to the patient’s home].” At first glance, this worry might be viewed as a superficial concern;
however, locating a patient’s home was a legitimate logistical concern voiced by many volunteers who were either unfamiliar with certain parts of town or expressed dismay about having to drive many miles into rural areas to locate a remote home. Overall, volunteers who mentioned this concern also discussed the importance of making a good first impression with the patient and his/her family members. Specifically, they stressed the importance of arriving at the home of the patient or caregiver on time or early, which only added to their travel concerns, especially if they were unfamiliar with the specific location of the home. In conclusion, our study identified common worries experienced by hospice volunteers before their first home visits. Although volunteers frequently praised the training received by volunteer coordinators, they were often uncertain about how they would act or communicate once inside the home of their first patient. It is important to point out the important role experience plays in reducing uncertainties. While most volunteers credited the experience gained following their first visit as the primary means for eliminating initial worries, they also discussed the normal anticipations they still experience before each new patient. This delicate line distinguishing healthy anticipation from unproductive worry was best expressed by a volunteer who, after years of experience as a hospice volunteer, said “And even today I sometimes get nervous because there is always that anticipation. So my heart beats a little bit. But that’s a good thing. I don’t want to ever think that I’m so complacent. I want to be totally there for the patient.” Dr. Zachary White and Dr. Cristina Gilstrap are health communication consultants. Dr. White is a newly appointed Assistant Professor of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte. Dr. Gilstrap is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Drury University. For more information, contact Dr. White at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Gilstrap at email@example.com.
A Helping Hand Volunteers Come In All Shapes and Sizes By Nikki Patrick The Morning Sun — Pittsburg, Kansas
n his own, Jerry is just a bundle of wood and rags. But with a little help from Bud Clapp, Jerry finds his voice and brings laughter to the young, the elderly, and the ill. Jerry is a ventriloquist’s figure—don’t call him a dummy—and he’s been a companion of Clapp for many years. Clapp is a Chaplain for Hospice Compassus and Jerry, who has his own ID badge, is an unpaid volunteer. “People have the idea that the goal of hospice is to help people die,” Clapp said. “Actually, we’re here to help our patients live life fully, one day at a time. Jerry helps me with that.” He said that he became interested in ventriloquism when he was 19. “I found a book on ventriloquism and practiced in front of a mirror,” Clapp said. There are some tricks to the art, which requires the ventriloquist to make it appear as if the figure is speaking, while the ventriloquist’s lips do not move. “For one thing, we can’t make the ‘v’ sound because you have to use your lips for that,” Clapp said. “We say ‘th’ instead.” Clapp has become so skilled that people have asked him if there is a recorder in Jerry. “That’s obviously not the case, because Jerry responds to comments people make to him,” he said. Jerry was built for him by a man named Spencer in Minneapolis who had also done some work for famed ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. “I’m left-handed, so Jerry was made for a left-handed person,” Clapp said. “The thing that makes the difference in him is the movement he can do.” “I’m an old piece of wood,” Jerry said. In fact, he’s had one makeover. “A friend of mine is a carver, so he redid Jerry,” Clapp said. The two gave their first public performance at a Christmas party at the old B.F. Goodrich in Miami, Oklahoma. “Ididmyfirstministryat Welch,Oklahoma,”Clappsaid. He taught 12 years at Ozark Christian College, Joplin, and was dean of students there for eight years. “I had to resign to care for my wife when she had cancer,” Vol. 2 • No. 1
Photo by Brett Dalton
Bud Clapp, Joplin, Missouri, is a Hospice Compassus Chaplain, working from the Pittsburg office. A ventriloquist, he is assisted in his work by Jerry, who also goes with him to perform at area nursing homes.
Clapp said. “My wife’s illness changed my vocation.” He was a pastoral care chaplain at St. John’s Medical Center, Joplin, for 15 years, and did his doctoral work on hospital chaplaincy at St. John’s. Clapp has been with Hospice Compassus for nearly three years. “We serve patients within a 50-mile radius of our office in Pittsburg,” he said. Jerry has been with him through all of this, assisting in youth ministry and now visiting area nursing homes and hospice patients. “Jerry sings songs to people; but at a nursing home in Prescott, a woman patient wanted to sing to him,” Clapp said. The two recently aided a hospice patient who had difficulty in speaking and used an alphabet board to communicate. “They had his funeral last Monday, and the family asked if Jerry could be there,” Clapp said. “A cousin of the patient was there, and Jerry and I did a little thing with him.” His work is very gratifying to him. “What I do is a great help to patients and their families.” 19
This I Believe
By Dr. Clay Anderson Medical Director Columbia/Macon, Missouri
n unknown author wrote, “Unless we hear each other singing and crying, unless we can comfort each other’s failures and cheer each other’s victories, we are missing out on the best that life has to offer. The only real action takes place on the bridge between people.” This is what I believe. I believe in the transformational power of human relationships. I am a cancer doctor and a palliative care specialist. I am also a hospice medical director. Most of my patients die within days to a few years after I meet them. I believe I was put on this earth to do this work, and I find great satisfaction in helping people who many feel cannot be helped. I do this work with a committed team of other like-minded folks. What I have learned in my life and my work is that the most potent tool that a healthcare provider has is their spirit (the heart and the brain, specifically), and the very best way to apply that tool is in the context of a caring relationship. I come from a family that is half Yankee and half Dixie. I believe my parents’ relationship in many ways saved both their lives. Their individual struggles were made livable and their lives bountiful by the merging of their values and hopes into a loving, topsy-turvy, enigmatic life partnership. This was on-the-job training for me as I grew up in suburban St. Louis, Missouri, right on the line between the North and the South. We would all get in the station wagon and head, in alternate years, to Alabama or South Dakota for summer vacation and see the “other culture,” along with wonderful outdoor experiences, mainly of the piscatorial kind (trout up north, bass down south). In either place, I witnessed loving, devoted relationships along with strained and broken relationships, amidst hard lives and oddball family histories—all this at impressionable times in my personal development. As the youngest of four children, I had the privilege to be a bit naive and simple-minded, but what I saw at home was an incredibly committed, loving relationship between my Southern Belle homemaker/bridge wizard mother and homesteader Yankee engineer father that seemed to overcome both potent differences between the two as well as some
incredible life challenges that I was aware of at times, but only vaguely. It was far from a storybook upbringing; but it was, for me and my siblings, an example of love and commitment set by my parents that imparted the best values of devotion, kindness, courtesy, respect, forgiveness, and humor. As I proceeded through my formal and informal education as an adolescent and young man, I was primed to value and orient toward the humanistic and personal aspects of relationship. Not just girlfriends in sixth grade and fishing buddies in junior high, but in many ways all people of all ages, of my generation and other generations. Besides books and music and fishing, my main emotional sustenance was people—being with them, talking with them, helping them. Not lots of friends, but intense relations with a few. As a budding scientist, I could see that the science of people was going to interest me much more that the science of molecules, cells, minerals, forces, or the cosmos. College, medical school, residency, fellowship, and my early years in academic medicine seem to me to have been just an ongoing preparation and defining of my core being—to be in my calling of fostering therapeutic relationships when they are the very best medicine for a person living precious days. Similarly, in my personal life, my journey has been one of fostering meaningful connections between people, both personally with other people and also helping others make mutual connections. Why does this matter so much to me? Because I believe that connections between people—even more so than connections between a person and their dog or a person and nature or creation—are a
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reflection and symbol of the connection between humanity and God, ultimate truth, and the transcendent. Whatever we leave here when we are gone, the biggest imprint is the positive influence we had on others that then in turn spreads to still others. We are at once and irrevocably and forever changed by the shortest, smallest meaningful (good or bad) interaction with another, whether in an elevator, on a stream, or in a physician’s waiting room or office. More
in the transformational power of human relationships.
in-depth encounters and relationships only have a more potent influence on us and the world. A short story might help illustrate the point. Ten years ago, I cared for a young man I will call Toby. I only knew him for six months. He had lymphoma that had come back after what was hoped to be successful treatment. He decided to forgo further treatment. This is not what I recommended or wanted for him. He had a shot, albeit a low chance, at a cure with an autologous bone marrow transplant. But his choice was reasonable, and it was
his choice, based on his values and goals. So I supported his decision, begrudgingly at first. We talked on the phone a few times, and I got him plugged in with his local hospice agency in rural southern Missouri. It was mutual love at first sight: this young, brave man accepting his fate, sure of his course, wanting help to wring out all the good the bit of life he had left could offer, and this local small band of hospice staff wanting to make that happen. Where did our relationship come in? He asked me to come down and fish with him. Which I did. He drove the gravel river bottom road in his old truck to get to our spot, and we waded out together into the cool, clear, flowing water of this Ozark stream. I carried his oxygen tank while he fished, he held it while I fished, he sat on the bank and watched me fish some, we talked and caught up, caught a few small lovely fish, and he talked about living and dying and how being here with his mom meant so much to him. Before he died, his little Ozark village had a big party in celebration of Toby’s life. He had a great time. He changed me forever, to my eternal benefit. He changed that hospice and that town forever and gave them experience, knowledge, and memories that can never die. And I hope I changed him a little by helping him and talking to him. His mom stayed in touch with me for a number of years after, as if he weren’t really totally gone, which he wasn’t...and still isn’t. Because the relationships live on and continue to transform. People need people to live, grow, transform, and flourish. The connection between people is a stunning and awesome and blessed power. It is where God lives and breathes. This is what I believe in the most.
Dreams Do Come True Branson/Monett Dream Team Is Busy Granting Wishes for Hospice Clients
R By Richard Grim Volunteer Branson/Monett, Missouri
ecently I had the privilege of traveling around southwest Missouri with the Dream Team from Hospice Compassus to grant wishes to patients. It was my job to take pictures of each dream as it unfolded, some of which are included in this article. The Hospice Compassus Dream Team was formed to serve their patients in southwest Missouri. Clients are asked if they have any unfulfilled dreams or wishes in their lives that the Dream Team could turn into reality. The Dream Team, led by Branson Social Worker Diane Hasler, meets monthly to go over each unfulfilled dream. Not all clients have unfulfilled dreams, but in March I had the pleasure of going on a day-long outing with Diane Hasler; Ginger Harrison, the Volunteer Coordinator; and Chaplain Larry Kackley.
Tommie’s Dream Above: Diane Hasler with patient Shirley Wilcox, as she presented Shirley with the airline tickets to Portland, Oregon.
The first stop of the day was for Tommie Schulz. Tommie’s unfulfilled dream was to visit Australia.To accomplish this dream, the Dream Team brainstormed and decided to bring an Australian experience to Tommie. Launching the experience was Branson’s
Outback Steak and Oyster Bar, who donated authentic Australian cuisine for the family. The meal consisted of alligator, quail, red deer, different kinds of prepared clams, and all the sides to go with it. When Diane and Ginger arrived at Tommie’s house with all the food, an Australian hat was placed on his head. Australian entertainer Wayne Galley, who performs at the Branson Meadows Garden Restaurant, was already present and singing. A surprise to the family and the Dream Team was the appearance of Kevin Knudsen, one of the brothers from the Branson show “SIX.” Kevin was there to sing along with Wayne. Diane presented Tommie and his family with some oversized pictorial books on Australia. Wayne shared some stories about what Australia is like and described some of its beautiful sights. The singer bragged about the pictures from his homeland and the quality of the books. The family asked the Dream Team to autograph the books to commemorate the day.
Shirley’s Dream The next stop was the home of Shirley Wilcox to present her with two round-trip tickets to Portland, Oregon. Shirley’s dream was to see three great-grandkids for the very first time and to have a much-needed visit with the rest of her family. Senior Dreams in Springfield, Missouri, partnered with Hospice Compassus to provide the monetary gift to make this dream possible for Shirley.
Lee’s Dream Our last stop of the day was to check on a previously completed dream. Patient Lee Tarman loves to play games on the computer. everyday COMPASSION
Top left: Diane Hasler as we arrived at the Tommie Schulz home with the Australian Experience. Top Right: Steve Eggleton, a bartender at the Outback Steak and Oyster Bar in Branson, bagging up the meal for Tommie. Bottom left: Entertainer Wayne Galley, a native of Australia, is accompanied by entertainer Kevin Knudsen from the Branson show SIX. Branson Chaplain Larry Kackley is seated in the background. Bottom right: Volunteer Richard Grim, aka Santa Claus, at the nursing home where he donated a dulcimer to a patient.
As her disease progressed, it became more difficult for her to get out of bed and go to the computer desk located on the other end of the home. Her dream was for was a laptop computer that would allow her to stay in bed or sit in a recliner to play her games. Lee was not feeling well the day we stopped by; but her friend, a former Hospice Compassus patient, reported that Lee truly enjoys her dream computer. The computer was donated to Hospice Compassus, and a technical check-up was donated and performed by CyberStreet of Branson.
A Musical Dream While I was in Angel training at Hospice Compassus, I read the list of dreams filled and unfulfilled on the Dream Team board. One dream in waiting began to tug at my heart. Could I fulfill this man’s dream to learn to play a musical instrument? The only instrument I could barely play was a mountain dulcimer. A few years ago, I bought a second dulcimer at an auction Vol. 2 • No. 1
because the price was so low. With the second dulcimer I just might be able to fulfill a dream. After talking to Diane and Ginger, I agreed to give this gentleman the dulcimer and attempt to teach him how to play, to the best of my ability. When the Dream Team walked in to the gentleman’s residence, he was waiting for us at the door with a broad smile from ear to ear. He preceeded us to the dining room and sat down to learn to play the dulcimer, smiling the entire hour and fifteen minutes we were with him. Some ladies in the room with us began to sing “Amazing Grace” while we played together. I presented him with the dulcimer and a beginner’s copy of a songbook specifically written for the instrument. It was such a rewarding experience! Eventually we had to leave to get back to the office for a conference call of all the Dream Team members from the Branson, Monett, Joplin, and Pittsburg offices. I’ve been back for a follow-up visit to work with the gentleman and see how he’s progressing. This time we spent an hour and a half playing songs and enjoying each other’s company. Future practice sessions are on hold for now and will resume when the Dream Team feels it appropriate for the client. I’m looking forward to future Dream Team outings! 23
the shared experience
t is true: you are what you eat.
By Linda Tillery Mother of former patient Columbia, Tennessee
A balanced diet is necessary to maintain a healthy body. Too much ice cream is not good, but neither is too much steak. We all know how important it is to eat a variety of each item from the food pyramid. Sometimes we do not pay attention to what we eat. Many bad things can happen to our bodies if that is the case. I am on a grief journey. It is not an easy road to travel. Emotions run from sadness to fear, from anger to despair during the course of a day, an hour, or a few minutes. A balanced diet is not on the top of my “to do list.” After dealing with cancer for seven years, my daughter died. It still doesn’t sound right to say that. Not my daughter. She was so beautiful, she was so young, she had her whole life ahead of her. She had so much to do. And yet, my daughter died at age 42. Her death closed the chapter on her life on earth. She was gone. In the following days and weeks, the sadness was allconsuming. I had a steady diet of it. I could not get past the utter despair of losing my daughter. Even though she had been sick for so long, most of this time I had believed with all my heart that she would get well. That she would not die. I latched on to the fact that if I were strong enough in my belief, she would be healed through some miraculous power. Her cancer would be wiped out of her body and she would live to a ripe old age. We decided that she would live to be 95 and die in a car wreck going shopping. Is it really possible that we made that joke? Even now I find that hard to believe, but we did. I just knew in my heart, deep down where feelings begin, that she was the one patient who would beat the odds and show the world how faith can move mountains, how faith can heal. So much did I believe in my faith that when her cancer came back after two years, I was devastated. Actually, it had never left her body; it only hidden until we got comfortable, then it reared its ugly head and took everything. With a vengeance, it racked through her body, contaminating all organs and destroying the beautiful life that was my daughter. I was overcome with hopelessness. Hopeless because there was nothing I could do. Even if I had a million dollars, I could not buy her health. I prayed tearfully. I begged constantly. I pleaded. I searched for scriptures. I searched for treatments, for foods, for anything that would help end this disease, help bring back her health, but it was useless. The treatments only made things worse.
As if hopelessness were not a plateful, I spooned on guilt. I felt so guilty that I was healthy and she was not. I begged to change places with her. I would take this disease and give her my health, but her body continued to go down and her strength and will were beaten by this disease we call cancer. Oh, how I have come to hate that word. And God—I hated him too, because he had let me down, he had turned his back. God, who is supposed to have this wonderful, all-consuming power, God, maker of the universe, and he couldn’t even heal one little girl. A girl who put her trust and faith in him, taught her children to obey, to trust, to believe, to pray. All those words were like ashes in my mouth, dust in the wind, meaning nothing. She was dead. Her children left motherless. What good had it done to have faith? My faith had been wasted on someone who would not do what the written, holy word had promised. Faith as the grain of a mustard seed. Knock and it shall be opened. Seek and ye shall find. Well, I believed. I sought. I knocked, and to no avail. So I became angry. And now, I had not only added hate to my daily diet, but I began to feast upon anger… it filled me up, and for day upon days. I screamed silently and aloud to God.
And that is when I discovered the grief diet. First I had eaten sadness and despair, then hopelessness—and those were bad. And hate. But this anger was so powerful that instead of me eating it, it began to eat me. This diet caused me to lose my appetite for food. I no longer needed it. I was energized and fed by this fierce, overwhelming new diet of mine. The anger fueled my body constantly, giving me all the strength I needed to do whatever it was that I needed to do. I never thought about cooking, about eating. I did not need food. I had an alternate power source. Anger. It surged through my body, filling me with more energy than I had ever felt before. I did not need sleep. The fuel from my anger somehow provided me with a silent resting period. I did not even know I was resting; but I must have been, because I never got tired. So I never slept, and that enabled me to work all through the day and stay up all night, scrubbing and cleaning walls and floors and corners of the bathroom that hadn’t been cleaned in months. I did my errands on the run, never stopping to rest, mowing the yard, trimming the hedges, giving the dog a bath—and, of course, doing my five-mile jog every day, rain or shine. I sat underneath the moon at midnight in my little garden, watching the okra grow in the pale light. I lit candles in the corner of the garden and sat there until dawn, wallowing in my anger. I let this wonderful, surging energy of anger burn brighter and brighter, higher and higher. When the sun finally rose over my back porch swing, I drank strong black coffee, hot and fast, eager to start the day with whatever task I found to do. Jogging over the hills of my community, talking to myself loud enough for my neighbors to hear, was an everyday occurrence. Of course, they told each other that I was in mourning. I was grieving. They waved sympathetically as I ran by, going faster and faster until my jog became a run. Some days I could not believe how fast I could make that five-mile route. I could get much more done since I Vol. 2 • No. 1
did not have to stop for food. It is amazing how much time is spent thinking, planning, buying, preparing, and eating food. That gave me many more hours to devote to my tree pruning, yard mowing and corner cleaning. My house was spotless, the yard was immaculate, and anger tasted so good. It was all I needed. And it roared like a wildfire, burning everything in its path. But how long could I keep up this pace? How long would I be able to let this fury rage inside my body? When I caught my reflection in the mirror, I saw a sad old woman. There was no light in my eyes, only sad darkness. There was a constant pressure in my heart, and it held no joy at all. I couldn’t feel my soul. The anger that had burned with such a vengeance seemed to have burned the soul right out of me. It had consumed me and there I was, just a shell…. And that made me afraid. I was so alone and so empty. I was so sad and defeated. My anger had fueled me, giving me strength and energy I never knew I possessed. It had been my constant companion, urging me to keep going. And now, it had turned on me and had burned my heart and soul, leaving me feverish and exhausted. I felt lightheaded and dizzy and I could hear my heart beating much too loud and much too fast. I wondered if I were having a heart attack, if I were about to die. I had realized that for months now I had eaten almost nothing but anger. And my diet of anger had pushed me to the brink of exhaustion. Anger and hate were my daily bread, and they had taken over and I was going over the edge. I realized that I had let it get out of control. It had burned too long, too hot, and too close to my heart. I must somehow learn to let it go. If I did not do that, I was going to die. That was as plain as the nose on my face. I would like to end by saying that I found all the answers and now I am fine. I would like to say I have worked through all my anger and hate and they are no longer on my menu. But I cannot say that, for I have not completed this grief journey. I am not sure that I ever will. It may be the path I am on for the rest of my life. But I have learned that a steady diet of anger, such as I have feasted on for months, may taste good at first but will soon consume you. I want my life back. So I have to change my diet. I have to add some peace, some joy, some happiness. And I must add surrender. I must surrender the things I cannot control. I must surrender my desire to “fix things,” surrender my attempts to understand the “why’s” and the “if’s,” trying to make sense of the senseless. Sometimes there are no answers. Just a dim light in the distance, and a whisper in your ear, telling you to take one step at a time. And eat your vegetables.
Anger and hate were my daily bread, and they had taken over...
in the news
Last November, Hospice Compassus in Springfield, Missouri, celebrated their 30-year anniversary with a ribbon cutting & open house.
Celebrating 30 Years of Service T
hirty-plus years ago, several caring volunteers had a vision of making a difference and promoting the highest quality of life for people who were taking the first steps of their final journey. Today, Hospice Compassus has grown to a nationwide company that has 50 locations and serves people in 14 states. From a handful to hundreds of colleagues, Hospice Compassus still has that same focus but has more hearts and hands to help achieve their mission. Hospice Compassus was the first hospice company in Springfield, Missouri, and was then known as Hospice of Southwest Missouri. As the community grew, so did the need for quality end-of-life and palliative care. Hospice of Southwest Missouri changed its name to Community Hospices of America in March 2001. In 2006 Jim Deal purchased Community Hospices of America, and the name transitioned to Hospice Compassus in 2009. “Hospice Compassus was chosen because it reflects our core mission and contains our organization’s values,” according to Jeff Paden, Executive Director. He explained that “compassus” is derived from the Latin root of compassion and is defined as “a deep awareness of the suffering of another, coupled with the desire to relieve it.” The new name captures the company’s core values of compassion, integrity, and excellence, while maintaining a community focus and belief that each person’s end-of-life journey or grief process is individual and distinctive. Hospice Compassus remains 26
committed to providing quality service, comprehensive end-oflife care, and grief support to patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families. At the heart of who we are stands compassion. True compassion is a very personal and private experience shared between caring people, and it is best expressed by those closest to you. This is why the people of Hospice Compassus live among you and have served you for years. “We wanted to invite the public to our 30-year anniversary open house to celebrate the compassionate care that we deliver to the community,” said Jeff Paden. According to Cindy Williams, a Director of Clinical Services, “The goal of hospice care is to provide comfort to the patient by assisting with pain and symptom management, and to enhance the quality of life for both the patient and their family.” Hospice Compassus provides care in the home as well as for residents of long-term care facilities. Hospice services may include nursing services, medical services, social services, counseling services, home health aides, spiritual support, and bereavement support. Along the way there have been twists and turns, but the destination has always remained the same: providing compassionate care and making the road more families are traveling as smooth and pleasant as possible. By Tara Chandler Regional Director of Sales, Southern Missouri
Keys for Healthcare Providers–Education and Information By Stephanie Gonzales Hospice Care Consultant Albuquerque, New Mexico
ospice Compassus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was honored to host the Hospice Foundation of America’s 17th Annual Living With Grief: Cancer and End-of-Life Care National Teleconference on March 24th at the nationally recognized University of New Mexico Cancer Center. Those attending the teleconference listened to leading national expert panelists share their professional experience treating and caring for cancer patients at life’s end. A local panel of experts from the University of New Mexico Cancer Center also spoke. The panelists included Lisa Feely, RN, OCN; Rosalinda Schanbarger, RN, OCN; Dr. Fa-Chyi Lee; and Dr. Aroop Mangalik,
all from the Cancer Center; as well as Diane Longeway, LMSW, a clinical social worker from the University of New Mexico Hospital and a hospice specialist. Attendees listened as patients and their families shared their experiences about hospice care. Some of these stories made the audience laugh, while others brought tears to many eyes. It was the personal stories that left an impression on the hearts of many people that day. Oftentimes, patients feel that hope is lost when a physician suggests hospice. By listening to the panelists and families, we learned that hope can be defined many different ways. Hope today may not be the same hope as tomorrow. Today a patient might hope to make it to a daughter’s wedding. Tomorrow that same patient may hope to be pain free. It is important to ask and listen to how a patient defines hope. One key message that was expressed many times was the importance of education on the options available to those with
a terminal illness. An important goal of Hospice Compassus is to educate and inform healthcare professionals, their patients, and families about the choices for care when facing a life-limiting diagnosis. Hospice is part of those informed decisions. Our focus on patients and families offers a comprehensive interdisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, social workers, spiritual counselors, personal care givers, and volunteers providing care in our patient’s own home, or wherever they reside. According to Michael Schmidt, RN, Executive Director and moderator of the teleconference, we see clients with many different life-limiting diagnoses, but cancer patients are the highest number. Our partnership with the University of New Mexico Cancer Center to provide this national teleconference to our community is representative of our commitment to serve the greater Albuquerque area and meet the need for education and information about the benefits of hospice and palliative care.
In Loving Memory H
ospice Compassus of Payson, Arizona, would like to pay tribute to Linda Lou Miller— colleague, volunteer, and friend. She passed on December 30, 2009. Linda Miller came to Hospice as a housemom/CNA in July of 2004. She then went on to work in the medical records department and was Program Assistant at the time of her retirement. Once retired, she completed the 30+ hour volunteer training and donated many, many hours back to Hospice Compassus, helping wherever she was needed. Linda was a very dedicated person who worked hard and was loved by her colleagues, her patients, and their families. She always had a smile and a friendly greeting. As housemom she loved to bake, and you could smell her homemade meals and desserts throughout the building. It was evident she truly loved her job as she doted on the patients and families that visited our inpatient unit. When in medical records and managing the front desk, Linda paid great attention to detail and made sure everything was organized and in its place. She was an honest, straightforward person; you always knew what she was thinking, and she expressed herself in the kindest way. Linda remained strong in the face of adversity, her “cup” was always half full. With her positive outlook on life, she was an inspiration.
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Linda loved to tell the story of how she and her husband Bob got together. They both belonged to a CB Club and met during a coffee break at one of the meetings. Bob asked Linda out and she accepted. She decided to bring her three kids along on the date, thinking it would scare him off. By the end of the evening, the kids wanted to call him “Dad”! They knew each other only two weeks before the wedding and were married 35 years! She was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother who enjoyed bragging about her “kids.” Her weekends were filled with family and church. Bob is also a Hospice Compassus volunteer. Since completing the volunteer training in August 2004, Bob has donated endless hours on various maintenance tasks around the facility, as well as visiting patients on a weekly basis and volunteering at the local senior center. The memory of Linda will always be with us.
By Patty Kaufman Volunteer Coordinator — Payson, Arizona
A Special Thank You to a Hospice Team of Care To Ted Eickerman’s hospice team: Where to start? There are so many things I want to say. I know now that I would never want to experience the dying process without hospice. When, in my heart, I feel that my time is coming, I will not hesitate to ask for hospice. There are so many blessings to experience through hospice, with a caring and honest approach to an event that each of us will go through. Glenna Shelden—in so many ways I’m sorry you weren’t able to continue with Dad to the end. You spent so much time with him, yet it was not to be. Bonnie Bertoldi did a marvelous job in your stead. She is a great hospice nurse and in the end, I relied heavily on her. Thank you, Bonnie, for letting me sit and talk even though I knew you had much to do. Thank you for going to bat for Dad and addressing his needs as fast and as well as you possibly could. Hospice Compassus is lucky to have you with them. Jan Massey—it’s interesting that you and I arranged to have a little visit when we did. As our visit was drawing to a close, I realized that Dad’s breathing had changed. Maybe as we talked and I reminisced about growing up, Dad realized that his work here was done and that he was free to move on. During that visit you mentioned a book, “Final Gifts.” I finally got a copy a few weeks ago. I wish I had read it a year ago. Thank you for recommending it. I have since read the book “Final Journeys” by the same author. I felt that both of these books had such value that I purchased ten copies of each for the staff at Glenwood. I have encouraged Pam Workman to have everyone read them, and to reserve a set for families of hospice patients to read. I’m hoping these books will help make your jobs easier and more fulfilling, and I wish to give comfort and hope to those who find themselves in the position of needing your services. There were times that, had I not had some inkling of what Dad was experiencing, I might have added to his frustration and anxiety rather than finding a way to help him. 28
Kole Carter—thanks for listening too. Not only to Dad’s stories and giving him one more person to talk to, but for listening to me as well. I’m sorry you were the one who called on the day that I had to put my dog down. What timing. What insult added to injury to be losing Dad and my dog at the same time. Thank you for not making me feel stupid for mourning my dog as well as my father. My Dad really enjoyed my dogs, so maybe she’s up there following him around and keeping him entertained. Chris and his Labrador, Shelby—thanks for being there for Dad. Dad loved dogs, so having Shelby come in was a real treat. Thanks for sharing your time, your dog, and your life with Dad. It helped lighten his days. Nicki Hensley—thanks for keeping Dad comfortable and clean. Beyond that, you gave him someone else to talk to and another pair of eyes to monitor his care. It takes a special person to do your job and do it well. Thank you for doing this for my father. Stephanie Scott—even though you weren’t officially assigned to Dad, thanks for finally addressing the pink elephant in the room. I knew Dad was dying. Dad knew he was dying. We just couldn’t say it out loud. Thank you for giving me permission to pack up his room, for making me see that it was what needed to be done and that Dad needed me to openly acknowledge that he was dying. Through that process, we began a much more open discussion about what was happening. That’s when the real mysteries and miracles began to be revealed to me. Dad was able to share things with me without being afraid that I wouldn’t understand. He knew that I was know willing to hear about what he was experiencing. Suzy Lynch—your spiritual guidance was wonderful. God is surely great in his timing. I know Dad benefitted from his time spent with you. We were both able to get beyond what was happening to him physically and delve into the unseen and what he needed to share with me. I can’t imagine experiencing what takes place as we die and not being able to share it with
those we love and must leave behind. I’m glad Dad was able to talk about these things with me because you and others at Hospice taught me to understand what was happening. I learned that while the body dies, we do not. I have learned that I needn’t fear this final rite of passage, and I’m forever blessed by what my Dad shared with me. What is on the other side of that thin veil was so beautiful that my poor Dad was simply unable to describe it. But the look in his eyes as he tried spoke volumes. And I swear, Suzy, the night he died, I could smell the air from there. I couldn’t fill my lungs full enough. If it smells that good, I can’t wait to see it. A big thank you also goes to Shirley Murr, Jenny Sowers, Paul Stanek, Shannon Crawford, Jamie Wood, and Katy Wilson. Even though I didn’t get to interact much with you, the point is you were there for Dad, and it brought me great comfort to know he was being cared for in so many ways. Thank you to Cindy Williams for making sure I had all these names. Thanks to all of you who took my calls at night and on weekends, who sat and talked with me as things got rough. You listened as I became upset with misunderstandings and misguided healthcare individuals. It’s hard enough to come to terms with death without dealing with those who’d like to continue to deny what’s happening, or who just don’t know how to handle a dying patient. At times, it diverted my attention from fully appreciating the time I had left with Dad and left me expending energy trying to educate those who should have been supporting and educating me. I hope the donated books will help others understand what a great service they can provide by knowing what is happening to their dying patient physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I hope the books can pave the way to a better understanding of what hospice can offer and the different needs these very special patients have. I had no idea how much I was going to need you when we all started out on this journey, and I thank God for each and every one of you. May God bless all of you,
Karen Peet Springfield, Missouri
Words of Hospice Compassus By Connie Kelley Accounts Receivable Assistant â€” Springfield, Missouri
Patient Family Home LTCF Assisted living SNF Inpatient Palliative care Core Values Compassion Integrity Excellence Comfort Friend Help Chaplain Room and Board Level of Care Routine Respite Needs Caregivers Volunteers Diagnosis Donation Pharmacy Peace Relief Fear Illness End of Life Care Doctors Nurses Aides Notice of Election
End of Month
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L O C AT I O N S 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 Circle 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 1850 East 53rd Street, Ste. 1 (601) 442-6600 Davenport, IA 52807 (563) 359-3666 141 Highway 90 Waveland, MS 39576 KANSAS (888) 667-2796 200 East Centennial, Ste. 9 Pittsburg, KS 66762 (620) 232-9898
MISSOURI 3044 Shepherd of the Hills Expy, Ste. 200 Branson, MO 65616 (417) 335-2004 3050 I-70 Drive SE, Ste. 100 Columbia, MO 65201 (573) 443-8360 600 Monroe Street, Suite 100 Jefferson City, MO 65101 (573) 556-3547 2650 E. 32nd Street, Ste. 100 Joplin, MO 64804 (417) 623-8272 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 4681 Highway 54, Unit 16 Kings Plaza Osage Beach, MO 65065 (573) 348-1566 270 Chestnut Street Osceola, MO 64776 (417) 646-2650 1465 E. Primrose Springfield, MO 65804 (417) 882-0453 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 711 N. York Road, 2nd Floor Willow Grove, PA 19090 (215) 659-5920 SOUTH CAROLINA 500 Jeff Davis Drive Spartanburg, SC 29303 (864) 542-2536 TENNESSEE 1412 Trotwood Avenue, Ste. 5 Columbia, TN 38401 (931) 381-4090 936 N. Jackson Tullahoma, TN 37388 (931) 455-9118 TEXAS 1610 James Bowie Drive, Ste. A105 Baytown, TX 77520 (281) 837-9200 12222 Merit Drive, Ste. 1240 Dallas, TX 75251 (972) 690-6632 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 100 Hilltop Lane Princeton, WV 24740 (304) 431-2000 66 Elkins Street Welch, WV 24801 (304) 436-2300
THIS PUBLICATION IS SPONSORED BY:
HOSPICE COMPASSUS 12 CADILLAC DRIVE • SUITE 360 • BRENTWOOD, TN 37027 • (615) 377-7022