A Publication of Hospice Compassus
Some days I laugh. Some days I cry. If I can help a person smile or think positive, I think that’s good medication, too.”
– Virgalene Mallett Hospice Compassus Nurse
Everyday Compassion This issue of Everyday Compassion is a tribute to the Nobility of Nursing. “Noble” is but one descriptive term for the multi-faceted profession of a hospice nurse. Not that long ago, nurses were largely responsible for developing hospice as a new area of healthcare in the United States when skeptics failed to recognize or accept its purpose and value. Today nurses are still the embodiment of the hospice promise. They are anchors in the bridge connecting high-quality clinical care with the compassionate physical and emotional support we provide to our patients and their families. They are the front line in our cause, moving confidently between the “thinking” role of medical expert and the emotionally taxing “feeling” role of comforting people at their most vulnerable moments. Sometimes working with heavy hearts and weary hands, they carry on, building more meaningful relationships in a few weeks or months than some of us cultivate in a lifetime. Their selfless dedication is manifested in their ability to anticipate and understand another human being’s needs, and to meet those needs more meticulously than they would meet their own.
We’d love to hear what you think about our Company and our Colleagues. Please contact us on our website at www.hospicecompassus.com
Virgalene Mallett’s quote on the cover sums it up well—hospice nursing is anything but easy. Those who minister in this special way do so not for prestige. They see their profession as a personal calling and have a mission to serve others. It is an inspiration for me to work with so many nurses who, by their actions, represent the everyday compassion for which this magazine is named, and by which our Company is driven. Indeed, there is Nobility in Nursing. And much more.
Jim Deal Chief Executive Officer
6 Featured Articles A Halloween Wedding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Gone Fishin’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Out of the Mouths of Babes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Tea for Two...or Three . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 The Branson Belle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Ant T’s Tall Tales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 The Boys of Summer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Hugs Remembered . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 A Salute to Caregivers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Congratulations! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Hospice Is a Hit with the Ava Lady Bears . . . . . . . 21 You Get a Lot More Than You Give . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Matt and Mr. D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Hero Nominee Matt Rendo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Payson Steps Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Heroes Among Us . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Ruth’s Eagle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 A Labor of Love . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Cancer Patient Takes Flight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Hospice Compassus Locations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
14 Nobility of Nursing Half a Century of Nursing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Long Days on the Road with a Hospice Nurse . . . . 11 Laura’s Story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Hospice Nursing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Making a Difference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 The True Value of Hospice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Shining the Light of Compassion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Extraordinary Days . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 A Big “Thank You” to Our Hospice Aides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Back cover
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 EDITORS: Jan Shaffer, Senior Human Resources Consultant Dan Reeder, Tallgrass Studios, Inc. CONTRIBUTORS: Br. Roger Flint, Pepper Whitehead, Christy Steelman, Peggy Pinnell, Peter Pinnell, Dannette Reid, Twlya Lemons, Marlene Brumbaugh, Sherry Buttram, Debra Buckler, Morgan Chilson, Sarita Fields, Tera Hess, Karla Mieser, Robert Dees, Sandy Shattuck, Teresa McQuerrey, Dale Willis, Lois Atkins, Donna Fronk, Randi Petre, Vicki Brown, Mitchell Petty, Dannette Vidrine. CREATIVE: Tallgrass Studios, Inc. Copyright © 2012 Hospice Compassus. All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced in any manner without the prior written consent of Hospice Compassus.
A Halloween Wedding
appointment for the initial spiritual assessment. At the time of the call, George and Joyce both felt that they had adequate spiritual support from family, friends, and Joyce’s own community of faith. I told them that if they should need chaplain support, or any additional spiritual involvement, I’d be a phone call away. Several months after the admission, I received a phone call from Joyce with a simple request. “Would you be able to perform a marriage ceremony for our son and his fiancée?” The engaged couple arrived at my home the next night. After a two-hour session, the Halloween wedding was on. At the conclusion of the meeting, I felt one more question needed to be asked. “By the way, why Halloween?” To my relief, Russell replied, “It will be a date I’ll never forget.” I smiled and said, “For your sake, I’m glad you didn’t say, ‘Because I’m marrying a witch.’” Laughing with both of us, De Anna doubled up her fist and said, “Yeah, don’t you forget it!” From all the Hospice Compassus family, we wish the very best of God’s blessings upon Russell and De Anna; and may God continue to touch all our patients, families, and staff with His ever-amazing grace.
alloween is noted for ghosts and goblins, carved pumpkins, lots of candy, and dressed up trick-or-treaters. But for one particular Hospice Compassus patient, it was all about a bride and groom that stole the cake for this year’s trick-or-treat. Even though he couldn’t leave his bed, George Smith and his wife, Joyce, had the joy of witnessing the marriage of their youngest son, Russell, to De Anna Ruiz Smith. As Chaplain, I stood along with the bride and groom and about 20 other witnesses in front of George’s bedroom window while he listened and watched. As George said, “This is a day to remember! After all, how many people – Brother Roger Flint, Chaplain get married on Halloween?!” George and Mountain Grove, Missouri Joyce are thankful to have been there to see the outdoor wedding against the fall-colored background. “It made for such a beautiful day,” said the mother of the bride, Bobbie Dimond. “Hospice Compassus has been such a blessing to us with our nurse, Lindy Henry, and all the other staff members that have supported us throughout George’s illness. We don’t know where we’d be, had it not been for them.” says Joyce. When George was placed on Top: De Anna Ruiz Smith and Russell Smith prepare to Hospice, I called to arrange an walk down the isle. Bottom: Russell, Joyce and De Anna
gather around George.
R.T. Freeman and Pepper Whitehead
Gone Fishin’ Mr. R.T. Freeman had the best time today. He was surprised by his nurse, Jenny Jo Pepper, RN, who took him fishing. Mr. R.T. loves to fish and be outdoors. With the help of his wife and daughter and Jenny Jo’s family, they were able to plan a surprise fishing trip for him. He caught a cooler full. He used to go fishing with a friend, but the last time they went, his defibrillator activated, so they had not gone since. Mr. R.T. will always remember the fun he had on the day that his nurse and his family surprised him with a fishing adventure. Never discount the value of life’s little pleasures. – Pepper Whitehead, RN Bereavement Coordinator McComb/Brookhaven, Mississippi
Out of the Mouths of Babes I
was about six months into my new RN Case Manager position with Hospice Compassus. Having worked in Hospice before, I was familiar with the Hospice philosophy, yet still naïve about the colorful situations that awaited me. I will never forget walking into our office one morning and hearing my supervisor ask me to come to her office. Questions ran through my mind: “What did I do? What didn’t I do? Am I in trouble?” What I learned was shocking. A patient who lived in my coverage area was coming to Hospice, she said. He was an 11-year-old boy who had a 4-yearold brother. I could hardly believe my ears. The difficulty level of my job jumped instantly from “I’m confident” to “I can’t do this.” I told myself, “This just can’t be.” All I could think about was my own two children, ages 11 and 4. That afternoon I met my sweet patient; his strong, beautiful mother; and his little brother. His mom showed me how she cared for her son so he could be at home instead of in the hospital. The truth is, she taught me more than I could have taught her. Leaving their house that night, crying all the way home, I had a new outlook on motherhood. I hugged my kids extra tight as I tucked them in that night. By the third or fourth visit, we became so comfortable with one another that I could have taken off my shoes when I came into their house. The little brother always greeted me with a gummy bear snack. As my young patient slowly declined, I knew each visit could be the last. The morning I got the call from his mom that he “seems different,” I knew this would be the day I’d say goodbye. When I arrived at his home, several friends and family were already there. All during the day, people were coming and going, showing support for the family. I kept telling myself, “Stay strong, don’t let them see you cry.” But after 3 hours I gave that up and wept with my young patient’s mom. The little guy passed away about 10 p.m. My heart broke for his mother and his younger brother, as I remembered my healthy children at home. I felt so inadequate at consoling the four-year-old. Finally, I suggested that he go outside to the patio and ride his bike, one of his favorite things to do. I waited until the family called the funeral home. I could feel the sadness in the air when the mom gently lifted her son’s little body from the hospital bed and placed him on the gurney to be
rolled outside and loaded into the hearse. I bent down to talk to the little brother and share my “wisdom.” “Now, I want you to know your brother is not hurting anymore, and you will miss him a bunch,” I said. “But he is now in heaven.” With big eyes, he looked up at me with confidence and said, “No, he’s not. They just put him in that big white car and went down the driveway.” And off he rode on his little bike. – Christy Steelman, RN, Director of Clinical Services Columbia, Tennessee
Tea for Two... or Three Acting on the memories of patient Pam Filey, center, Chaplain Pat Underkofler, left, and Marilyn Snead, RN, right, created an afternoon tea for the patients and staff of Yuma, Arizona. After explaining that the proper time to add cream is before pouring the tea, Pam remarked, “You couldn’t have done anything nicer for me.” “Comfort for the Heart and Soul” tea parties now provide social opportunities for those giving and receiving hospice services. “I look forward to future events as a means of providing pastoral care to our patients,” Chaplain Underkofler says.
Branson Belle By Peggy Pinnell as told to her son, Peter Springfield, Missouri
y life with Hospice began after a series of falls, a long stay in a hospital, and a horrible four-week stay in a nursing home. My son, Peter, called the Springfield Hospice “angels” to arrange care for me. I could come back home and begin to live again. I’m so grateful to know my “angels” are only a phone call away. One day in a casual conversation with my special nurse, Beth, I happened to mention that there was one more thing I hoped to do before my life ended. After all, I’m almost 87. I wanted to go to the Branson Belle Showboat. Many years ago my husband got tickets for me, and our young grandsons took us, both in wheelchairs, to the wonderful show. I have never forgotten that day. Beth mentioned it to the “powers that be,” and apparently the wheels began to turn. Some weeks later, I received a call saying I was going to have my wish
Peggy and her son, Peter, on the Branson Belle Showboat where they enjoyed dinner and the show.
fulfilled. I could have a caretaker of my choice accompany me on my journey, and of course I chose my son. The tickets finally came, and we made our plans. You can’t imagine the excitement for both of us! On the day of departure – wouldn’t you know it? – here came a summer shower. We wouldn’t let that dampen our spirits. If there had been a monsoon, we would have rented a rowboat to get to our destination! It rained only periodically, so we knew God had turned off the faucet so we could get down to that beautiful boat. Everyone made us feel so special. We had great seats on a center aisle. There was one drawback, however. A man who must have been nine feet tall sat in front of me. My son would try to rearrange my chair so I could see around him. After our delicious meal, Peter finally moved my 4’-10” body out a little into the aisle. When the show began, the man moved out in the aisle, too. I restrained myself and remembered I’d been raised to behave like a lady. But if looks could kill, that man would have been in trouble. The show was everything I remembered it to be. The band was wonderful and the emcee was personality plus. The girl who was the headliner was delightful. She radiated joy and laughter. She sang beautifully and played her “half” violin – music you can’t believe. On our return trip, Peter drove by the old Galena courthouse where I had spent so many hours with my wonderful “special judge” who for 27 years served the 39th judicial circuit. He was the Hon. Judge William H. Pinnell. Thank you, Beth, for making my dream come true and for giving us such an enjoyable day. And thank you, Hospice Compassus. Know that whatever time is left to me on this earth, you’ll all have a special place in my heart. I’ll remember all my “angels.”
Ant T’s Tall Tales By Dannette Reid
Social Worker – Mountain Grove/West Plains, Missouri
rom a small child’s letter and a pencil box, big ideas and national awards grew for Ms. Twyla Lemons, a 67-year-old patient of Hospice Compassus. Ms. Twyla attended Glendale School. When she was six, she wrote a letter to Santa Claus, opening the door for a lifetime of ideas and emotions to flow freely onto paper. As a reward for her letter, the little girl received a shiny new pencil box, filled with multicolored pencils. Thus began the love for writing that has brought her multiple honors and national awards. Whether it was poems, children’s books, or songs of praise, Ms. Twyla could entertain audiences of all ages. She says her favorite love was poems. “Sometimes when I couldn’t express my emotions in my early years of adulthood, I would sit down with a pen and paper and write. The poetry I write has been a release.” Through her writing, Ms. Twyla has also enriched children and young readers, authoring stories and cartoon comics such as “The Mavin Ravin,” “Milking Old Bossy,” and “The Bird’s Nest Express.” Ms. Twyla developed the pen name Ant T, which became a well-known mark on many publications. Some of her writings were published in the Mountain Grove
News Journal and Christian church magazines. Ms. Twyla has also won Golden Poet awards, Editor’s Choice awards, and National Poetry Association awards. She is a member of the Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators organization. Ms. Twyla has a wide collection of writings from the past 60 years. Many are divided between her children, and a number are framed on their walls as a reminder of the love she put into her work. To hear a story of a little bee or a stubborn cow named Bossy is truly a delight. Whether making a tiny toddler laugh or a grown adult cry, Ms. Twyla was always putting her hand and her heart to work to share memories, stories, and laughter with others. Some of her writings were based on fiction, but Ms. Twyla says she took everyday happenings and things she saw in nature as inspiration for many of her tales. As a Hospice patient and, more important, an amazing individual, Ms. Twyla always has a smile and a hug awaiting her Hospice staff and family. When asked to tell a story, her face simply lights up, and for a brief moment she forgets her discomfort and lives to recite her favorite tales. The poem with this article is special to Ms. Twyla. It relates to her son and her pride of watching her little boy turn into a man as he joined the U.S. Marines.
Green Machine and My Marine Riding down the road in this green machine, Its owner is now an elite Marine. That ol’ pick-up’s quite a sight, It stands out like a neon light. Like my son, this truck’s a saint, With dents and rust and peeling paint. Antennas on top rocking all the time, With Marine stickers, flags, and “No Poaching” signs. That boy and this truck covered a lot of ground, Football games, hunting, and cruising town. “Mom, going hunting with Allen and Buck,” His ol’ hound Henry would hop in the truck. “Use my old truck Mom while I’m away, I’ll see you again graduation day.” His misty eyes were seeing clear, He gazed at his truck and things he held dear. I showed no emotion nor made a fuss, I kissed his cheek as he boarded the bus. Before his bus was out of view, My tears were spilling, “Son, I love you.” Both are faithful, my son and green machine,
Artwork and awards of Ms. Twyla Lemons, pictured above.
Both keep on plugging, that truck and my Marine. — Twyla Lemons
The Boys of Summer I had been a nurse for approximately and without hair. His casket and its By Marlene Brumbaugh 20 years when my youngest child enclosed pillow were comfortable, Executive Director turned 10. He was enjoying the last and messages were left inside. His Casa Grande, Arizona few months of summer baseball with uniform was clean and pressed, his close friends. The boys had been together through programs were printed and distributed, flowers were preschool, T-ball, basketball, summer camp, and delivered, the music and services were conducted in Boy Scouts. They had shared their dreams, victories, proper order, the food was prepared as specified. All disappointments, and, most of all, their unconditional preparations were completed and expectations were love for each other. met. As they attended the graveside service and the One of these exceptional boys had been diagnosed casket was lowered, they all watched to make sure with leukemia and had battled the disease since the their friend was lowered slowly and at a level angle. age of 2. Tripp had been through various treatments Each boy placed a flower in the grave and watched and had enjoyed long periods of remission, which as the site was covered. There were few tears, as allowed him to participate when feeling up to it. Often each felt a sense of relief and accomplishment that he would be able only to attend a game, which was he was able to honor his friend’s wishes. all right with the group. They knew that his presence It has been 12 years since Tripp’s passing. Every meant he was having a good day. year these young men reconnect on the day before That summer would be his last; all treatments had Thanksgiving to share their lives’ adventures with one been exhausted, and the grim news was delivered another. At least one of them participates each year that Tripp had less than six months to live. The boys in the baseball tournament named for their friend, to immediately began to prepare for how they were going help support childhood leukemia research. to send their friend to his final journey. They met with I can only marvel at what these kids did in their him to discuss the newspaper obituary, service, casket, efforts to honor Tripp. It did not matter to them clothes, program, music, flowers, food at the recepwhether they agreed with the “care plan.” It mattered tion, and graveside service. Each boy had a specific only that his wishes were followed. assignment, and every detail was discussed with Tripp This is why I’m passionate about Hospice and proto ensure that all his wishes had been addressed. After viding the best possible experience for the patients a few months, they had their “care plan” developed. and families we have the privilege to serve. I hope, Shortly thereafter, their friend passed peacefully at in our difficult moments, we’ll remember these boys night in the arms of his parents. and the unconditional love they demonstrated. I hope The boys quickly sprang into action. Each executed we can all honor our patients’ and their families’ his assignment with great attention to the exact specifiwishes. I hope we can offer them the dignity and selfcations that had been agreed upon. They ensured that determination that these young men gave their friend. the newspaper article included pictures of Tripp with
By Sherry Buttram RN Assistant – Springfield, Missouri
Lori Walker created Hugs Remembered, a home-based business that turns the clothing of loved ones who have passed on into keepsake memory bears. What a blessing! Lori, how did you come up with the idea to make the bears? It was at the request of a friend whose father had recently passed away. She wanted her one-year-old to have something special from her grandpa, since she would not actually remember knowing him. I shared the idea with another friend who had lost both her parents, and she was excited about having a bear made from her parents’ clothing. I created a pattern and made one from my own old clothes before using the sentimental pieces. The second bear I made was from pieces of a quilt my granny had started but was unable to complete. That bear is how Hugs Remembered began. How long does it take to make a bear? A basic bear, made from one piece of fabric with no embroidered message, takes about two hours to make. The more fabrics that are included, as well as embroidered messages or other personalization, take longer. The longest it has taken to make a bear was about five hours. That bear was almost three feet tall – made from several different pieces of clothing. What kind of special personalization beyond clothing is available? I can put a picture on the bear’s foot. I can hand-embroider messages on the foot or back, or in a heart on the chest. I have also made bears holding fishing poles or items such as a cinnamon roll or hammer. The possibilities are endless, depending on what reminds you of that special person. Howdoyoumakethepictureonthepaw? It is made by printing it on printable canvas and then sewing the canvas onto the foot. Pictures can either be emailed or sent with the fabric. Higher resolution pictures provide a much better result than pictures at low resolutions. Do you have any characters you make other than the bear? I have made frogs, a monkey, and a dolphin so far. However, I do have ideas for other
animals, including dogs and chickens. Before using your special fabric on a new design, I always practice with scrap fabric. How much do your creations cost? A basic bear is made from one fabric and is 12 inches from top of the head to its bottom. The bears do sit down, so legs are not included in height. A basic bear is $20. There are many options, however, so there is a wide range of prices. DoIsendyoutheentirepiecesofclothing/ blankets/etc.? Yes, you can send entire pieces of clothing or whatever fabric you would like to use. However, if you have bits and pieces, I can use those. I can typically get one bear from a single shirt or pair of pants. If desired, the scraps of fabric that are unused will be returned with the bear. What is the process for ordering a bear? To place an order, first contact me. You can access the website, www.hugsremembered. webs.com, use email at hugsremembered@ gmail.com, connect through Facebook at www.facebook.com/hugsremembered, or call me at 816-265-0363. After you contact me, I will know what you want and will provide shipping information. Once I receive your items, I will make the bear uniquely yours and return it to you. In most cases, it will be less than two weeks before your bear will arrive at your door. Larger orders and those placed near the holidays may take longer.
It’s clear you’re providing a valuable service to those who have lost loved ones, Lori. Thank you!
A Salute to Caregivers By Debra Buckler, D.O. Medical Director – Joplin, Missouri
uring my 20 years of medical practice, I have seen patients suffering from a variety of issues. It’s difficult for anyone to face a severe illness, especially with potential loss of independence. So here, today, I want to recognize the sacrifice of their caregivers. These often-unrecognized heroes give so much of themselves to care for their loved ones. And too often they serve with little reward. Let me tell you about a few of these heroes I have met along the way. The first is a middle-aged lady who had spent most of her adult life caring for her brother. He suffered a neck injury as a teenager and was paralyzed from the neck down. At the time I met the caregiver, she had faithfully been there, for more than 20 years, to get her brother in and out of bed, cook for him, give him his medications, give him his bath, and dress his wounds. She was also now also caring for her mother, who had become dependent on her due to an amputation of her leg and progressive memory impairment. She was not paid for her help, nor were many of the people who drove by the house every day aware of what she was giving to help her family. I salute her. I recently met another hero who had taken in her mother, who had terminal breast cancer and was becoming too weak Debra Buckler, D.O. to take care of herself. The caregiver, a woman in her 30s, made sure her mother was as happy and comfortable as possible. This care was being offered despite the personal grief that resulted from watching her mother suffer. I salute her. I also remember a man in his 40s who put his life on hold to live with his aging mother after his father died. This gentleman did not want to see his mother go to a nursing home and be cared for by others. He spent several years being there for his mother as she worsened from Alzheimer’s disease. He was there when she became bedbound and when she no longer even recognized him. He served in that role for a number of years until his mother died. I salute him. Then there was the elderly lady who herself was suffering from arthritis and needed a walker to get around. However, she still took care of her husband with Alzheimer’s disease as much as she was able. This was in spite of the fact that her husband
outweighed her by over a hundred pounds and would often strike out at her because he had forgotten who she was and did not understand what she was doing. She cared for him even though he often was up most of the night trying to leave the house. She was exhausted. She cared for him until she could no longer physically do it. I salute her. There are so many caregivers out there. They come in all ages, sometimes being mere teenagers themselves. They are daughters, sons, husbands, wives. Sometimes, they are dear friends. Recently I met a caregiver who took in a stranger, a middle-aged man with medical and social needs. Frequently the caregivers are middle aged and dealing both with aging parents and teenage children at the same time. Sometimes the caregivers don’t share a residence with the patient but stop by several times a day to take groceries or a hot meal. Sometimes they miss work and lose pay to take a relative to appointments. I recently met a younger woman who had to cancel her 3-year-old son’s birthday party to take her aunt to the hospital for tests. Caregivers perform their duties for love or out of duty. They are selfless. They give of their time, their money, their personal lives. They usually perform their duties without pay and, often, without even any thanks from others. They give with little given to them in return. If you know caregivers, thank them! Offer to give them a break by staying with their relative. Give them a day at the spa or a couple of hours to go to the store every week. Support them with friendship, with a phone call, or with a special lunch. If you are a sibling of a caregiver, perhaps you could take the relative into your own home for a few days, or stay with the relative so the caregiver can get away. Perhaps you can offer to clean or buy groceries. Each situation is different, so be creative. If you are a caregiver, thank you for your sacrifice and time. Your giving of yourselves may be unrecognized. Many people don’t know what you go through. You are my unseen hero, and your sacrifice is part of what makes our society great! Thank you.
Half a Century of Nursing F
By Morgan Chilson Contributing Writer
ifty-two years ago, Margaret Covington nurses come in and out of the nursing home. She was pulled to walked out of nursing school into a the job right away. hospital job, working for $75 a week (before “People ask me, ‘How can you deal with all that dying?’” taxes). Even in 1960, that wasn’t a grand wage. Margaret said, repeating the question heard by most Hospice “I figured out why the old hospitals had nurses. “You dealt with it in the hospital, but you were frustrated rooms for the nurses – they didn’t pay ’em,” because you couldn’t get them comfortable. You didn’t have time to Margaret said, laughing. spend with the patient and the family like they But the profession called to really needed. With Hospice, if I’ve got one that’s her heart. On career day in high going bad, I call in and say, ‘Could somebody school, Margaret had walked Building relationships else see the rest of my patients today? Because around the room with no idea I’m needed here.’” with patients and of what she wanted to do. Building relationships with patients and “It was like an inner voice, families makes the challenges of nursing for families makes the God speaking to me saying, Hospice Compassus worthwhile, Margaret said, ‘Go there.’ I’m looking, saying, challenges of Hospice adding, “You become part of their family; they ‘But that’s nursing.’ ‘Yeah, I become part of your family.” know, go there.’” Margaret Like most people in helping professions, nursing worthwhile. recalled clearly the inner Margaret made light of the dedication it takes dialogue as she stood near the table full of to do her work. “We’re just doing our jobs,” she said. And yet, information about nursing. when pushed, she admits that it takes something extra to do what And when she went home, her mother was they do, day in and day out. skeptical. “You can’t be a nurse. You can’t stand “It’s thinking of others more than yourself,” she said. “At the to see anybody hurt.” end of the day, you’re tired. You just want to go home. And that is From 1960 to 1995, Margaret spent her the time somebody wants finally to talk and really tell you things. days in hospital nursing before retiring. Well, You just keep a smile on your face and sit there like you’re not almost retiring. She tried retirement on for size tired. It’s putting them and their needs ahead of your own. If you and then went right back into nursing, this can’t do that, then you don’t do well in the profession.” time for Hospice. At Hospice Compassus, Margaret said she knows that everyone “Hospitals were getting where they’re more takes the time to look at the patient, to determine the patient’s paper-oriented,” she said of her career switch. needs and also those of the family. “I like being ‘hands on’ with the patient more. “The machines are nice but they’re not the end of all of it. It I’ve done administration about three different all goes back to using your five senses about people,” she said. times – I have a degree in it. But I go back to “What they’re saying is not always necessarily what they’re the patient because it’s hands on. I enjoy making meaning. Communicating. What do they need? Do they just need sure my patients at Hospice Compassus are comtheir hand held? Do they need medication? Prayer? It takes time fortable and the families are comfortable, not because you’ve got to build a rapport.” only physically but emotionally and spiritually.” The rapport between family and patients is critical as well as the Hospice nursing came to her attention rapport among all the caretakers at Hospice Compassus. Being during one of her forays into administration. part of that team, reaching out to make the last months and days As a nursing home administrator (the job of someone’s life better—that is why Margaret Covington stood lasted 22 months, which was 20 too long, at the nursing table and heard God’s voice speak to her heart. Margaret admitted), she watched the Hospice Today, she is doing what she was meant to do.
Long Days on the Road with a Hospice Nurse By Sarita Fields Bereavement Coordinator – Columbia, Tennessee
started my mission with Hospice in 2002. For the first six years I served as the social worker, and I have had the privilege of working with a number of Hospice nurses along the way. I have spent many hours with them on the road. They kindly cleared a spot for me in their cars, which became medical offices on wheels. Among the things I learned from Hospice nurses is to be prepared for the unexpected. I hadn’t known that a coffee can could be used as an emergency mobile toilet. It seemed as if some of those days lasted an eternity, because the nurse was so methodical and thorough with each patient. She would inform the patient of every touch or procedure, leaving no stone unturned. Morning would turn into evening and, often, night. The nurse supports, encourages, listens, and advocates. Watching her work with a patient is a wonder. Well seasoned, she might sing while performing bedside duties. On occasion, she and I prepared the deceased for the first viewing in the home – clean and shaved, lotioned and creamed and groomed. The nurse treats the patient and family as her own. Sometimes, she cries for her patient. I watch her struggle with challenges such as having to watch and do nothing, or stop a treatment because that is the patient’s preference. I am honored to be her shoulder to cry on, her listening ear. While a family member and I sit and watch the nurse perform her magic, I often think about whom I would choose to care for me if I were dying. It would be the one who advocates for my rights, the one who pats and encourages me, the one who is soft-spoken and calming. It would be the one who stays with me and takes her time, the one who tells me the truth so that I can make informed decisions, the one who listens to me because I matter. It would be the one who says, “The hearing is the last thing to go. Keeping talking to her – she can hear you.” It would be the one who tells my family to give me permission to go, the one who knows that above all else, I am a valuable human being. It would be the Hospice nurse.
Laura’s Story O
ne day I received a call from By Tera Hess, MSW she was bathed, dressed in clean clothes, Laura Elam, a Registered Nurse Hospice Care Consultant and appeared comfortable. Case Manager, who was at a local Laura took the daughter’s hand and Flagstaff, Arizona assisted-living facility. “Tera, hurry and both sat at the bedside. Laura spoke get over here,” she said urgently. “We need to have sweetly to the patient, alerting her to her daughconsent forms signed for a patient.” ter’s presence. Together, they began to say goodbye. On my hasty drive to the facility, the radio Within half an hour, the mother died. blaring, I thought about how many visits to referral As my tears began to fall, I thought to myself, “This sources I still needed to complete before day’s end. is it. This is the difference that Hospice makes.” As I pulled up to the facility, Laura was waiting After months of calling on doctors and community outside with a young woman whose mother appeared members, I had a renewed understanding of my role to be dying. The medical director was unsure of her as a Hospice Care Consultant. I could now approach diagnosis or why she was declining so rapidly. my job with a story in my heart. After the consent forms were signed and the The next day I thanked Laura for making a difpaperwork completed, for some reason I decided ference in my life. She laughed gently, still unaware to go to the patient’s room. Usually I steer clear of that I had witnessed her work with a patient who the patient until the nursing assessment is done. had only minutes to live. She reminded me that she To my surprise, I witnessed a most heartfelt scene. does this with every patient. The difference here, Laura had already assessed the patient, noticing she said, was that she had to work a little faster. unfocused eyes; sweaty, hot skin; and abnormal Several days later I met with the daughter. She skin color. Our Certified Nursing Assistant, was pleased with the services her mother had Melissa, was talking softly to the non-verbal lady. received and wanted me to give Laura a hug for a Nobody noticed me standing at the back of the job well done. room. I could not take my eyes off the elderly Thank you, Laura Elam, for making my job woman, who didn’t appear to know what was more meaningful. I witnessed a gift that you give going on. Laura and her newly formed assisteddaily. Our common mission is to guide the patient living team removed the patient’s dirty clothes, and family through the illness, making sure their changed her soiled briefs, and began bathing her. passing is as spiritual, comfortable, peaceful, and Laura’s soft voice comforted her, gently telling dignified as possible. her what the team was doing. Within 20 minutes Even if we have only minutes.
HOS P I CE NURSING
sometimes, the patient or family Dina Bacon came to Hospice doesn’t want to talk. They don’t nursing on a heartbreaking path. have to talk. They just walk in and She was introduced to Hospice do what needs to be done and when her 8-year-old stepson was take that burden off the family.” dying from brain cancer. Dina Bacon Talks About The loving spirit and compassion of “He had Hospice the last eight Her Experiences and everyone on the Hospice Compassus weeks of his life,” she said. “When What Lead Her Here team in Lafayette, where Dina is I saw what they did for Jake those Executive Director, constantly amaze last few weeks, and how they cared her. She recalls an older man who for my husband and his ex-wife and called her at 5:30 one morning, myself as well, it changed who I was.” saying he needed her. Dina came, As an emergency room and and called in Jill Cranfill, RN Case intensive care nurse for 12 years, Manager, who had been caring Dina was no stranger to caring for him. After the gentleman died, for her patients. But through her Dina left to go pick up his son. work at Hospice Compassus, she “When I came back, Jill was discovered a new depth in nursing. sitting on the side of his recliner, “It made me look at nursing rubbing his hair,” she said. “To me, and ‘caring’ for people in a totally that was so special. He passed away different light,” she said. “I felt that with us at his side, giving him what God opened my eyes to what I was he needed. You only get one chance really supposed to be doing in life.” at that. You don’t get do-overs. We Her belief was solidified when her don’t want anybody to ever have a beloved grandfather was diagnosed poor experience with Hospice.” with pancreatic cancer just six It so often comes down to the months after Jake’s passing. “My family refused to let me do Hospice with him,” little things, Dina said. “We want everyone to have the she said. “I watched a great, great man die in horrible fullest, most comfortable, special days—no matter how pain. I swore right then that I would never let anyone many there are left,” she said. “It’s the little things, the little bitty things. One woman couldn’t stand to have else suffer like that as long as I could be involved.” Hospice work is about living, not dying, Dina said. dirty dishes in her sink, and wiped everything down with Every member of her staff has had experience with a bleach. Her husband was the patient; but Miss Gwen loved one going through the hospice dying process, and [Fontenot, Certified Nursing Assistant] came in every day it’s something Dina thinks is critical to understanding and wiped down everything with Clorox for his wife. It wasn’t part of her job duties. It was not something that patient needs. “They say you never know how to be a really good had to be done to make the patient comfortable. But nurse unless you’ve been a patient, because you don’t Hospice is about the family, not just about a patient.” It’s all the little things that are truly big things. know what it feels like to be vulnerable and under “I can gladly say, and I just turned 40 this year, that someone else’s command and control,” she said. “I think it makes us so special and so different because we without a doubt I know I am doing in my life exactly what God’s plan was for me,” Dina said. “And that know what it’s like, and we’ve been there.” That awareness helps all the staff go into someone’s feels good. Knowing that, I’m able to do it 100 percent home and do what needs to be done. “They don’t have to every day. The passion that I have for it shows through be told every day,” she said, “that the pan is underneath because I believe in it.” the sink and the soap’s over there. They walk in and
By Morgan Chilson, Contributing Writer
Making a Difference Virgalene Mallett chose Hospice nursing for the patient contact and the good she believes she can do.
arly in her career, Hospice nurse Virgalene Mallett sat in the kitchen of a patient’s
home, surrounded by boxes of cucumbers and green peppers. Puzzled by the quantity, she nonetheless focused on her patient and family members, talking about the care Hospice offered.
By Morgan Chilson, Contributing Writer
But soon an odd noise filtered through the house and demanded an explanation. The family rushed to assure Virgalene that the monkeys and gorillas were all caged and she was safe. Unnerved, but professional to the core, she plowed through her work, and then went to the car to get supplies the family needed. Once in her car, however, the experience of being so close to wild animals completely overwhelmed her. When the patient’s daughter knocked on the window a few minutes later, Virgalene started screaming. Recalling the story years later, Virgalene laughed about her reaction. “I rolled down the window and said, ‘I am so sorry I screamed. I was a little tense.’ I rolled my window up, locked my doors, and left. The patient was safe and secure. It was a very clean home, and the animals were a rescue situation. I noted for the next nurse who would visit, ‘You might see a monkey when you go.’” Welcome to the world of a Hospice nurse.
Left: Virgalene Mallett as a young nurse. Bottom left: Virgalene today.
Virgalene entered nursing in 1969 when she graduated from high school and started nursing school. Degree in hand four years later, she strode into the world to take care of patients, a path that many refer to as more of a calling than a career. It’s easy to put labels on nursing, particularly Hospice nursing. Noble. Hard. Challenging. Self-sacrificing. Impressive. But to the many nurses who do this work daily, it’s just what they do. They don’t think of themselves as noble or self-sacrificing. To Hospice Compassus nurses like Virgalene who, each day, don their uniforms and show up to help patients and families facing life-ending situations, those words don’t matter. Helping matters. Making a difference matters. Easing burdens matters. “With Hospice, you don’t really see people get better very often,” Virgalene said. “But you set short-term goals one day at a time to help people improve as much as they can, knowing that tomorrow is a new day and your goals will change. Maybe I’ll meet a person who has just been told that morning he has cancer. Yesterday, I met a patient who was told because of his weight, he couldn’t have a triple bypass surgery that might save his life. The first thing I do with patients is let them talk. I let them tell me their story.” The patient’s personal story, Virgalene said, guides her in working with the family, creating a picture of their goals and the best way to help. While nursing is about medical knowledge, obviously, those listening skills that Hospice Compassus nurses have mastered are critical to being good at what they do. It was a lesson
Virgalene had to learn, and she still struggles day that the Lord will give me the words with it sometimes. It’s easy to walk into to say,” she said. “Because a couple of someone’s home or a nursing home and start weeks ago, I had a three-year-old child re-organizing and making choices for the who had a brain tumor. Now, what can patient, she said. you say to comfort that family? Here again, “There are times I go in and I think, I let the family talk, and try to steer the ‘Oh, you need a hospital bed and we conversation toward what their needs are. need to provide this service for you.’ But “It’s really challenging,” she said. “You when we ask what they would like, they go home at night, at the end of the day – say no. Some families are very limited in you doubt yourself. Not that I doubt myself what they want. It’s not what my thoughts medically, but I want to be helpful. Each are for them; it’s what they want. Out of family and each person is so individual – respect, I let them take control. I always 100-year-old person or newborn baby.” tell a family that we’re guests in their And the hard parts? It’s all in how you home to help in whatever way we can, and look at it. that we all work as a team.” “I tell you, what an honor, it’s an honor,” Challenged to think Virgalene said of working of the nobility in her with families during the profession, Virgalene difficult times in their considered the traits While nursing is about lives. “I’ve been asked to and qualities that make sit in the front row of a medical knowledge, graveside funeral. I cried a good nurse. “You have to have along with the rest Hospice Compassus right a calmness about you of the family. Some days in nursing, because it nurses possess critical I laugh. Some days I cry. really reflects on what We’re all human. If I can listening skills. you’re doing, no matter help a person smile or if you work in ER or think positive, I think psych,” she said. “You have to have a very that’s good medication, too. Some days, listening ear, because you’re not going to if you get a smile from a patient, that just go anywhere if you can’t listen to what makes your day.” the patient is telling you. You have to be Virgalene works hard to recharge at somewhat assertive, because you have to let night. them know that you are in control in the “Not everyone can do this job,” she sense that you’re there to help in whatever reflected. “Sometimes, at the end of the way you can.” day, you have to be able to go home and And then, almost as an afterthought say, ‘I’ve done everything I can.’ You have because it’s such a standard part of her to be able to function with your family, world, Virgalene added, “Gentleness, and sometimes that’s not easy. But if you compassion, of course. Those are big.” keep work in your mind all the time, it can Turning a philosophical eye on her really drain you.” choice to be a Hospice nurse, Virgalene Originally a nurse for medical-surgical said she’s often asked how she handles the units in hospitals, Virgalene said she chose to emotional strain of her job. (Continued on next page) “I’m a Christian and I just pray every
stay in Hospice nursing for the patient contact and the good she believes she can do. “None of us knows about tomorrow, but if we can help today, and make things better today. . . that means something,” she said. “Hospital nursing has become so chaotic in the sense that you go in to talk to your patient, and it’s such a hurried situation. As a Hospice nurse, I have more time with my patients. I can give a backrub. Years ago, when I started nursing, everybody had backrubs in the hospital. You had the time to listen and talk at the bedside. “That’s why I like my Hospice nursing,” she said. “If I want to give a backrub, if I need to put lotion on someone’s legs. . .sometimes that’s the only way you can communicate is by touch, and touch is so important. When I’m assessing dementia patients, they can’t talk a lot of times, but if I put lotion on their arms and legs, a lot of times I’ll see them smile. I helped in some little way to make them feel good.” That ability to talk to patients is critical for her work, according to Virgalene. “We have gained a lot in knowledge, with medications and procedures. But I think we’ve lost some of the communication skills that we’ve had and some of the compassion, maybe. Are you concentrating on their records or are you concentrating on what they’re saying, what their real needs are? With Hospice nursing, I have more time to spend with the patient one on one.” Being in the home often means working alone, which is another skill Virgalene said Hospice nurses need. “We’re alone a lot when we go into the homes. We’re just a phone call away from having help, though,” she added. “You have to make some major decisions in the home. You’re asking people tough questions, especially in the area of ‘do not resuscitate’ orders. As an Admissions Nurse, that’s one of the questions we have to ask. “I carry Kleenex because I make people cry.” That one statement – “I carry Kleenex because I make people cry” – is perhaps the beauty and the heart of Hospice nursing. Virgalene, and the thousands of other Hospice nurses worldwide, ask the tough questions, face the beauty and heartache of what they can and cannot do, and then they do what they can. Even if that’s as simple as offering a tissue when tears fall. Virgalene, like most nurses, shies away from the spotlight and all those labels – noble, self-sacrificing, impressive. The labels don’t matter. That, in and of itself, may be why they deserve to be called noble.
The True Value of Hospice By Karla Mieser Hospice Care Consultant Mountain Grove, Missouri
orrie Ebert of Kabul Nursing Home is a lover of Hospice. She says that when she tells people this, they don’t understand. Hospice staff get the same reaction from the general public. Unless people have had a personal experience with Hospice, they’re usually unaware of the benefits of the service, and they don’t understand the rewards. Lorrie herself was once in this category. In fact, at one time she even resented Hospice. Her attitude was that she did not want Hospice coming in during the final moments to work with residents she had cared for and invested in for a long time. She didn’t want Hospice to be seen as the “saviors or knights in shining armor.” Her attitude about Hospice has evolved immensely. Several professional and personal encounters helped her to recognize the true value in Hospice. Lorrie started her career as a nurse’s aide at West Vue Nursing Home. She loved every aspect of nursing, and it was then she knew she wanted to become a nurse. She had a hunger for knowledge and was fortunate to work under an LPN who allowed her to help with treatments. She then worked in labor and delivery, and she had a passion for this area as well. She is now able to use her experience to reflect on the intimacy of the life and death processes. She believes that “death is as intimate as birth.” We can control several things during the dying process, she says. We can control where the experience takes place, who is involved in the care, what medications (if any) are used, as well as many other factors. By tailoring these things to the patient’s preference, we can make death as individualized and unique as the person. Lorrie uses this philosophy as Director of Nursing at Kabul Nursing Home in Cabool, MO. Although she was initially resistant to using Hospice in the nursing home, she began to embrace the concept as a partnership. Contributing to her receptiveness was the fact that the Hospice team excelled
at identifying and addressing needs. She experienced this personally when her motherin-law passed away. One of the Hospice staff recognized her difficulty and gave her the book, Gone from My Sight. She also received Final Gifts, which changed her life. She had encountered some of the lessons that the book provided, she says, but she had not recognized them for what they were. The fact that the Hospice team “saw that need in me” left an impression. Lorrie’s fondness for Hospice grew to the point that she left the nursing home for a period to become a Hospice Nurse Case Manager. She liked the “hands-on, back-to-basics nursing.” The greatest compliment she received while working in Hospice was when she asked a family member if anything else was needed and the response was, “No, I think I can take it from here.” She knew she had done her job. Lorrie returned to the long-term care facility but brought her love for Hospice with her. She appreciates the value that Hospice adds to the lives of residents and their families, as well as the support Hospice provides to the facility staff. Lorrie no longer views Hospice as knights in shining armor. Rather, she now believes that the staff members of the long-term care facility and Hospice join forces to address end-of-life issues. She believes that, together, they are more effective.
Shining the Light of Compassion By Robert Dees Bereavement Coordinator – Houston, Texas
Miss Annie spends most of her day sitting in a wheelchair by the nurses’ station, hoping someone will stop and talk to her. She used to cry out to any stranger that passed by her chair, “Help me! Have you seen my son?” But she had given up on that. No one ever stopped. No one ever looked her way. She had given up on them and on herself. But Miss Annie is one of the fortunate ones. Every so often, someone shows up and brings a little light into her darkened world. It usually begins with the words, “Good morning, Miss Annie! I’m glad to see you this morning. Are you ready for your bath?” In those brief moments her world is opened up. A light appears in the darkened hallways of her thoughts. Even though she can no longer say it, her face lights up and her eyes shout, “Yes! Yes!” Miss Annie is now in the care of her Hospice Aide, whose devotion will not only clean her body but also re-awaken her soul. Hospice Aides are vital members of the Hospice care team. They provide the hands-on care that reminds our patients that they are human beings worthy of our respect, love, and concern. These special women and men offer a human touch to people who long to remember that they are more than a diagnosis. Aides bring light to lives that have been darkened by disease and disability. Yet, for all they do, few people could name a famous Hospice Aide. But there is a well-known person who chose to be a Hospice Aide above all other professions. She was the head of a successful religious organization. She came from a humble beginning in her native Albania but was destined for positions of power and authority within her organization.
In January of 1948 Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu asked for permission to leave the convent so that she might live in the slums of Calcutta and care for those who lived in “the dark holes of the poor.” Her heart had been changed when she saw the poverty and despair of the poor who lived in one of the largest cities on the subcontinent. She yearned to walk with them and to share her faith with them. Mother Teresa began her journey toward sainthood as a Hospice Aide. She wrote in her journal about washing the sores of her patients who were dying of TB on the streets of Calcutta. She moved from house to house, changing the dressings of long-neglected wounds. She gave baths to people who had not been washed in a very long time. She gave a cup of hot milk to people who were dying of starvation. Her hands, her eyes, her feet brought the touch of human kindness and respect to all, even the most untouchable in 20th-century Calcutta. She brought the light of love to people on whom love had not shone for many years. Our Hospice Aides can relate to the passion that led Mother Teresa to the “dark holes” of Calcutta. They take care of the “Miss Annies” every day. They brighten the faces of those whose lives are lived in the shadows of dementia. They shine the light of dignity on souls darkened by anticipatory grief, offering freshly shampooed hair and a clean set of clothes. They share the light of human kindness with women and men living in the dark holes of despair and grief. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Hospice Aides who beam the light of respect, dignity, and love on our patients each day.
Extraordinary Days By Sandy Shattuck, RN Director of Clinical Services – Springfield, Missouri
arly on my first day as a Hospice nurse, I was not sure it was the thing for me. I had just moved to the area, and I needed a job. The hospitals were not hiring, but Hospice was. That’s how my story started. Midway through my first day, with Synthia Cathcart providing orientation, I was amazed that such genuine nursing still existed. And by the end of the day, I knew in my heart that this was the kind of nurse that I wanted to be for the rest of my life. Later that evening, as I recounted this incredible service to my parents, they were surprised to learn the wonders of the Hospice benefit. I could sense their pride in what their daughter would become. Over the years I have been privileged to help many special people. Whether it was the last-minute birthday or anniversary party you throw because the patient’s loved ones cannot, or the pet you adopt because there is no alternative, the Hospice nurse simply does what needs doing when it needs to be done.
In the past 18 years I have ended up adopting three pets. First there were the two ducks I rescued from Jean’s backyard kiddy pool, and then came a lanky cat named Gizmo. It was so important to Evelyn that I adopt him. Gizzy is with me still, and I’m sure Evelyn is smiling. George wanted to see my Rottweiler, so on his birthday, I made a special trip to town with the huge dog to surprise him. I loved Nellie, who at 97 delighted in telling me about how her father had been to see her. “Sandy will believe me,” her daughters told me she had said. I helped Tressie celebrate her 100th birthday, and then her 101st. She called me her best friend. I have been mentioned in the newspaper as being “special.” David’s family called me “Dad’s little darling.” The thing is, it’s not me that’s special. The Hospice concept is special. Family and friends caring for their dying loved ones – that is special, as is the bond shared with these folks. I have had the honor of caring for my colleagues’ family members on several occasions. Words cannot describe the feeling when you hear, “They requested you as the nurse.” It was a challenge to return to Hospice nursing after I lost my dad to cancer, but I did so knowing how proud he was of my work. Minnie was my last favorite. I met her in the spring of 2005, and we clicked. I always left her home feeling better than when I’d arrived. Minnie was a gift. The most difficult time ever for me as a Hospice
Above: Minnie and Minnie the cat. Below: Sandy Shattuck, Minnie and Minnie.
nurse was the day I shared with my precious Minnie that I no longer would be coming to see her, since I had accepted a promotion. We both cried. I had contemplated turning down the promotion, but I knew it would likely be a long time for the opportunity to come again. Over the course of the next year or so, I periodically talked to Minnie on the phone but rarely saw her, except for the occasional after-hours visit with cats and dogs in tow. It was while I was on vacation that she began her journey home, but I was able to spend an entire day with her and her son, Greg, just before she died. While I was her nurse, I had named a sweet kitten after her, much to her delight. My little Minnie is still with me today, a frequent reminder of what a privilege it is to be a Hospice nurse. Minnie was my best, saved for last. Though no longer on the front line, I am eternally grateful for my experiences, beginning with that first day on the job.
CONGRATULATIONS! 20+ Years of Service Hospice Compassus is blessed to have a number of long-term Colleagues, and beginning with this issue we’ll be highlighting those with 20-year anniversaries each quarter. We asked each of them to answer a few questions to give us a snapshot of their time with the Company.
Pam Tribby, Director of Colleague Relations,
Janet Gard is the Executive Director of two
was first attracted by the benefits. She was
Programs composed of five locations: Branson,
Springfield, MO, came to us through an ad in
savvy enough to arrive early for her interview
Monett, Joplin, and Lamar, MO; and Pittsburg, KS.
the newspaper, thinking that the work sounded
and watch those entering the office. “They were
She was trying to help a friend find a director for
interesting. One of her fondest memories is “…
happy, smiling, and greeting one another. I
the new office in Branson, and Janet ended up
taking care of a 7-year-old little girl who had a
took that as a good sign that they were happy
being that person! Janet says, “I love our Dream
brain tumor. She always had a smile on her face.
with their jobs and the Company.” Pam has
Team and its focus on helping our patients meet
She was able to go on a vacation through the
fond memories of “…staff meetings where
a lifelong dream. One patient had always wanted
Make-a-Wish foundation, and she brought me
Colleagues shared their stories, and everyone
to fly a plane. The Monett team was able to
back a polished purple stone, which I cherish.”
laughed. One in particular stands out: I received
make that happen by contacting a local flight
She also loves “… being included in the family
the ‘Golden Bedpan Award’ for taking meds
instructor, who took the patient out for a day and
section at a funeral. So many families have made
belonging to Bud (the cat) instead of my own.
taught him how to fly a small plane. We have a
me feel like a member of their family.”
I swelled up and missed work that day. The
picture of that patient grinning ear to ear, sitting
Paula says what has changed the most is her
explanation for missing work was embarrassing
in the cockpit next to the also-smiling pilot. The
age! “When I started, my sons were 7 and 10.
for me but gave everyone else a good laugh.”
pilot thanked us the next day, saying that was the
Now they’re grown, and I am the proud grandma
RN Case Manager in
While the growth in the industry has been the
best day in his life.” The growth in the hospice
of granddaughters Peyton and Asa and grandson
biggest change, Pam says what’s changed the
industry is the biggest change she’s seen, and
Cannon. They truly are GRAND!” What’s changed
least is “…the caring, dedicated people who
what’s changed the least is that “…those who
the least is “… the focus on the patient is still
provide such wonderful care to our patients and
choose to work in hospice are the best of the
what it’s all about.” Paula has stayed at the
their families.” The Colleagues she serves are the
best—kind, gentle people with a passion for
Company for 20 years because “…my job is so
reason she’s stayed with the Company, and what
making life the best it can be.”
rewarding. I have gained patience and grown
she likes most about her job are her co-workers
What’s kept Janet here are the constant
spiritually.” And what are her favorite things?
and the service she and her team provide. Her
challenges and her mission “…to make sure
For the Company, it’s her team; and for her job:
favorite thing about Hospice Compassus is its
each patient receives the highest quality care
“Being a Case Manager in the community where
integrity in managing the business. Pam adds,
provided by a happy, healthy team of caregivers.”
I was born and raised and still live. I have cared
“Thank you to all my Colleagues for patiently
Janet says, “If I have a legacy to leave, I want it
for many friends and family members.”
answering my questions and for the care they
to be that I supported my teams and helped them
have shown me during life’s difficult times.”
learn the skills needed to help them to realize their hopes, dreams, and expectations.” She appreciates “…the culture of Hospice Compassus that focuses on our Colleagues,” and says she’s enjoyed every minute of her 20 years.
Hospice Is a ‘Hit’ with the Ava Lady Bears
the nurse identified goals of care early ara Sawyer got a great idea from her By Karla Mieser and helped to execute them. This was a daughter, whose college softball team Hospice Care Consultant big relief, since decisions had to be made participated in a fundraiser for breast cancer Mountain Grove, Missouri during a time that was emotionally hard awareness. “Why not do something local?” for her. In addition, she recalls feeling Sara wondered. While she didn’t know comforted by the Chaplain’s call every anyone who would benefit from this specific cause, she was aware that many people are faced with the month to tell her he’d been to see her mother, and illness and loss of a loved one. Because of this, along with to ask Sara how she was doing. Sara says the Hospice her desire for Hospice to be recognized for what they do, experience in its totality was “amazing.” The members of the softball team were touched by Sara recommended that the fundraiser be dedicated to Hospice. After gaining the support of her husband, coach Sara’s story. They agreed that their fundraiser should of the Lady Bears in Ava, MO, she rallied Rex’s softball support Hospice. They wore t-shirts that were navy team by educating them on Hospice and sharing her and gold because these are the colors in the Hospice Compassus logo, and each color has a special meaning. personal story. Sara became acquainted with Hospice Compassus The navy blue represents compassion, reassurance, during the care of her mother, Margie Greenwell, who trust, and inner strength; the gold represents happiness, was a resident at Rocky Ridge Manor. After a hospital purpose, attainment, and winning. Their coach liked the stay, Margie had been released with a recommendation symbolism of the colors and said these are all attributes for Hospice, and the family was informed of their right he wants for each of his softball players. The Ava Lady Bears were triumphant that day. They to choose a provider. Knowing little about the different companies, Sara sought advice from a friend, who said won their softball game and the fundraiser was a hit! The Hospice Compassus would be her choice. Sara took the team collected $260 in admission fees and donations advice and says, “It was a marvelous experience through and presented it to Hospice Compassus. The money was the end.” She met several of the Hospice team members placed in the Company’s Foundation, where it can be within the first three days and later commented, “They accessed to help meet the needs of local Hospice patients. The Ava Lady Bears intend to do an annual fundraiser were all wonderful in their different roles.” The nurses were informative and educated her on the progression to benefit their community. Hospice Compassus thanks of her mother’s disease. Sara also said the Hospice nurse the Sawyers and the Lady Bears for recognizing us during helped take the burden of decision making from her, as their first annual fundraiser, and for being fans of Hospice.
You Get a Lot More Than You Give Brenda Allison, left, a Hospice Compassus Angel Volunteer, has been visiting patient Phyllis Bloodworth for several months.
“You get a lot more than you give,” says Hospice Compassus volunteer Brenda Allison. A resident of Pine, Arizona, for the past four years, Brenda joined the special group of people who volunteer with Hospice Compassus a little more than a year ago. Most become volunteers to provide comfort to those in the last stage of life. Brenda retired from 26 years in real estate sales in June 2009 and became a volunteer with Hospice to give back to the community. A friend in her hiking group was involved and told her about the work, thinking she would enjoy it. “A lot don’t realize how much you get,” Brenda says. She currently is visiting Phyllis Bloodworth of Payson. They have been together for By Teresa McQuerrey. Reprinted with permission from the Payson Roundup. Photo: Payson Roundup Photographer, Andy Towle
about the past eight months. “I don’t know how much I give, but everyone I’ve met through Hospice is absolutely amazing. They have a real gem in Pastor Charlie (Wilcox), and the nurses do so much more (than just providing medical care). They are making dying easy and make it as comfortable as possible.” During their time together, Brenda and Phyllis read Daily Guideposts inspirational essays, talk about all kinds of topics, laugh a lot, and enjoy each other’s company. “Phyllis is a delight,” Brenda says. “We share lots of interests and can talk for hours.” Another project she enjoys with Phyllis is helping her rearrange the furniture. Phyllis worked as a caterer before retiring, so she also shares recipes with Brenda, who then makes the dish and brings it back to share. Phyllis has made her home in Payson for about seven years and says she absolutely loves it here. Her husband, Brad, works part time for Home Depot. “I have a fabulous husband who does everything— all the things I did he’s doing and not griping,” she said.
Phyllis is originally from Michigan, but when her sons were serving with the U.S. Marine Corps, they were both stationed in Yuma; one made his home there, and the other moved to Idaho. They brought her to Arizona, and a 30-day Harley trip brought her to Payson after she had heard about it from her son in Idaho; he had worked a fire in the area and told her about it. “We compared lots of places and it always came back to Payson, so we decided this was where we were supposed to be.” Phyllis has five children and 11 grandchildren, ranging in age from 10 months to 22 years. The closest of her children is the son who lives in Yuma, so most of the people she sees are from Hospice. Brenda was coming to see her five days a week; but once caregiver Dee Redfield was added to Phyllis’ team and began her twice-weekly visits, the volunteer now comes three days a week. “When you’re terminal, you can make the most of it or sit and waste. “I want to make the most of it. I try to make the best of a bad situation,” Phyllis says. “And she does a very good job of it,” Brenda adds. Phyllis finds Hospice gives her a very peaceful sense with its people being here and caring. “It’s a special group of people. They give so willingly and make people as comfortable as possible. I’d hate to think of someone going through this alone or with people not as caring as Hospice people are.” According to Brenda, “You get a lot more than what you give…they become (like) an extended family.”
Matt and Mr. D. By Dale Willis
Volunteer Coordinator – Columbia, Missouri
Peter Davidson and Matt Rendo, Hospice Compassus Volunteer at the Missouri football game.
orean War veteran Peter Davidson lives alone in his Columbia, Missouri, apartment. When he was admitted to Hospice Compassus’ care, he welcomed the idea of having an extra visitor stop by regularly. Matt Rendo, Hospice volunteer, jumped at the chance. Since then Matt has spent many hours with Mr. Davidson, and he reports that the two of them have enjoyed some great times. Last fall, they reveled in an unusually fine day together: “When Mr. Davidson first told me he wanted to go to a University of Missouri football game, I was not sure how a volunteer like me could make it happen. I had no idea how to arrange transportation or obtain tickets. It turned out to be a lot easier than I had expected. “Zimmer Radio Group donated two
tickets, and everything seemed to fall perfectly into place. On a breezy autumn morning, we boarded a city bus that dropped us close. A golf cart transported us from the street into the bustling stadium, and a wheelchair was waiting to carry Mr. Davidson to our seats. Fans stopped to shake his hand and thank him for his service when they noticed his Korean War veteran baseball cap. “We dined on hot dogs, popcorn, and pretzels as we watched the Tigers battle it out on the gridiron. Mr. D. cheered loud with the crowd, often starting his own cheers that amused our fellow fans. It hardly mattered that our favorite team did not win that day. The true victory was in the quality time he and I spent together, and especially fun for me was the chance to give back to an American hero.”
Hero Nominee Matt Rendo By Dale Willis Volunteer Coordinator – Columbia, Missouri
att joined our team in November 2011, and since then he has visited several of our patients on a weekly basis to provide companionship and support. The first was a 55-year-old man who lived at a local care center. This gentleman had very few visitors other than our Hospice team. Even though I asked Matt to visit this patient once a week, Matt took the initiative to see him three or four days each week. The patient thoroughly enjoyed the time and attention Matt provided. Matt’s second assignment was similar: to provide support for a 50-year-old man, diagnosed with cancer, who also lived at a local care center. Once again, Matt went above and beyond the call of duty by visiting this fellow several days a week. Sometimes they would watch TV, or talk, or Matt would push his wheelchair outside so he could smoke. On one occasion, the patient was smoking a cigarette while receiving oxygen support, with his coat wrapped around himself and the oxygen tank. As Matt sat beside him, he suddenly noticed flames and smoke emanating from the man’s chest. Immediately leaping into action, Matt tore the tubing away from the tank, extinguished the fire, and subsequently helped calm the patient. Matt’s swift, level-headed actions prevented a disaster.
Last fall, Matt accepted an assignment involving an 85-year-old Korean War veteran who lived alone. Once again, Matt befriended the gentleman, giving freely of his time, chatting for hours. They watched the World Series and shared stories and ice cream. When Matt heard the patient remark that he would love to see a Missouri football game, Matt took it as a personal challenge [see story above]. Through it all, Matt exhibits a positive attitude and a winsome smile. His eagerness to serve and his willingness to make himself available are even more remarkable, considering that he’s a fulltime university student with a heavy class load. Matt recently was accepted into the Missouri University School of Medicine, where he plans to pursue a career as a physician, with thoughts of specializing in geriatric medicine. Not surprisingly, he credits his involvement with Hospice as a major factor influencing his decision. Because of Matt’s compassion and willingness to give himself fully to our patients and to the Hospice concept, he was honored with the Eleventh Annual Columbia Daily Tribune’s Hero Award as the ‘Outstanding Volunteer in Healthcare.’
Payson Steps Up The Hospice Foundation Helps Patients in Need
By Lois Atkins Social Worker Payson, Arizona
Left to right: Robin Chernault, Randy Seydel, Melissa Bruss and Bryan Seydel.
n our busy world of caregiving and in the difficult work we do every day, it’s nice to know that we have influenced a life and made a difference. In Payson, we’ve had that opportunity any number of times. Randy Seydel is one example. At the time of his admission, our community was in the midst of serious flooding, which resulted in Randy’s mobile home literally washing away. As his Social Worker, I was able to secure temporary housing for him, and eventually he received funds from the Hospice Foundation to cover move-in expenses for alternate housing. Randy shared with me that his biggest regret in life was the estrangement from his three children. He had had no contact with them for more than 30 years. On one visit I learned that he was elated to have received a card from his daughter, Robin, wishing him well. She stated, however, that she would maintain contact only by mail. Randy asked me to help him respond to Robin’s message. He expressed joy at receiving her card and relayed information regarding his medical condition. On my next visit, Randy reported getting an immediate response to his letter. Robin subsequently called me to say that she had spoken with her siblings and that the three were planning a surprise visit to see their father. Carolyn Yost, RN, and I were thrilled to be a part of that joyous reunion. HHH Another patient, suffering from respiratory distress while coping with financial problems, couldn’t afford his utility bills, which were high because of his 24-hour need for oxygen. His home, on the outskirts of Payson, required the constant use of propane. Once again, the Hospice Foundation stepped up and approved funding to cover utility and propane expenses. This generosity allowed the patient and his wife to remain in a warm and lighted environment, with power to run his oxygen concentrator and nebulizer to ease his breathing. HHH A Hospice patient living on a fixed income, with no funds for emergencies, had a leaky roof. Again, the Hospice Foundation approved funds for the roof repair. When he was told the owner’s situation, the roofer charged only for materials. As he was repairing the roof, he learned that the furnace had stopped working, so the house was cold. He immediately called a friend, and the furnace was repaired at no charge to the patient. The generosity of these individuals, as well as the Foundation, has provided peace, warmth, and comfort to the patient and his wife, and a renewed opportunity to remain in their own home. HHH As for Randy, he continues to enjoy a restored relationship with his children, and he sent a Christmas card to the care team with this message: “I have lived a more meaningful life in the past fourteen months through the care and friendship of my Hospice Team than in my seventy years of life. Love and God bless all of you.”
Heroes Among Us By Donna Fronk
he morning of May 2nd began as many others do with meetings, reports, team-building, and inspirational anecdotes. By noon, however, the skies over Ft. Worth grew increasingly ominous. Severe thunderstorms, golf-ball sized hail, and tornado warnings loomed. By 3 p.m. the area was engulfed in a full-blown storm system moving swiftly east across the metroplex, with a tornado sighting in Arlington. Christy Morris, RN Case Manager for the Arlington area, moved quickly to ensure the safety of one of her patients residing at Green Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a long-term care facility in the danger zone. When she arrived the tornado had already struck, leaving a trail of destruction. The south wing of the facility had been completely demolished; and residents were being evacuated via school buses to area hospitals. Christy volunteered to assist with the transport to Texas HealthArlington Memorial Hospital. En route, Christy contacted Theresa White Bear, Director of Clinical Services in Ft. Worth, to report the safety status of her patient and to describe her volunteer efforts. Being a humanitarian herself, Theresa decided to meet Christy at the hospital after enlisting the assistance of another team member, Kathy Sibley, RN Case Manager. Upon their arrival at the hospital, Theresa immediately assumed a leadership position for the wing serving the longterm care residents displaced by the storm.
Left to right: Kathy Sibley, RN BSN CHPN; Theresa White Bear, RN BSN DCS; and Christy Morris, RN BSN.
Christy and Kathy began caring for the arriving patients, who quickly outgrew the wing and were placed in the hallways. The hours flew by as more patients arrived. Theresa, Kathy, and Christy diligently attended those who were anxious, confused, or injured by this powerful storm system. A few volunteers arrived to assist with the feeding, bathing, and wound care. Even hospital staff fell under the direction of Theresa, with her exemplary leadership skills, and emulated the compassionate, outstanding care that Christy and Kathy provided. Hearing of the volunteer efforts of the Ft. Worth clinical team, their Executive Director ordered pizza at midnight to refuel the indefatigable energy levels of Theresa, Kathy, and Christy. The care continued until well after 3:00 the next morning. Our team was present until all patients were safe, secure, and settled. In honor of Nurseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Month, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fitting to recognize these heroes among us. It is an honor for me, as a Hospice Care Consultant, to work with team members like Theresa, Kathy, and Christy. Thank you for setting an amazing example!
Ruth’s Eagle Hospice Compassus Dream Team helps a patient meet a lifelong dream
uth Payton is an 82-year-old woman with hemolytic anemia, and she was admitted to Hospice in July 2011. But Ruth is much more than a terminal diagnosis. She is the matriarch of her family, a caregiver, a wife, a mother, and an individual who for years put others’ needs above her own. Now, Ruth is in need. Her role in life has changed. She struggles with the obstacles and emotions of being chronically ill. They don’t keep Ruth down, though; in fact, she’s always quick with a warm and genuine smile, bringing joy to those around her. I don’t believe I have ever heard her complain about the burdens she bears. Ruth enjoys nature in general and particularly birds. So it didn’t come as a great surprise when Ruth told Marcia Kothe, LPN, that her last wish was to see a live bald eagle before she passed away.
By Randi Petre Social Worker – Macon, Missouri
My research turned up Tracy Berry, Public Relations Coordinator for the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri, who put me in contact with two very special ladies—Elizabeth Groth, Raptor Rehabilitation Project President, and Marie Kerl, faculty advisor. It just so happened they had an eagle named Watson they were treating for lead poisoning, but the release date was unclear. We didn’t talk about it much, since we didn’t want to risk any disappointment. In January I learned that Watson was healed and ready for release.The wonderful Raptor Rehabilitation people had obtained permission to release the Eagle at the Long
Branch State Park—practically in Ruth’s backyard! Unannounced, I arrived at Ruth’s home to find her daughter with her. We all sat down in the living room, and I asked Ruth if she remembered her conversation with Marcia and her wish to see a bald eagle live and in person before she left this earth. She nodded her head, and I excitedly gave her the great news. They both had tears in their eyes and were momentarily speechless. The gratitude Ruth felt over this opportunity was palpable. We went over the details, and Ruth was ecstatic. She just could not believe that “people would do this just for her.” The day of the event was really gorgeous, with sunshine and mild weather. The community folks also turned out to support Ruth and see Watson released to his new
Left: Watson hops out of the cage, with Ruth Payton watching from the sidelines.
home. There were lots of excited children and numerous adults with their cameras, all anxiously waiting. Watson finally arrived, along with members of the Raptor Rehabilitation Team. They provided the crowd with a wonderful presentation on the eagle’s history and how he came to their attention. After the presentation they positioned Ruth right next to Watson’s cage—the Team had set it up so Ruth could actually do the release! Ruth wore a great smile the whole time. Finally, the moment had arrived. After some encouragement from the Raptor Team, the crowd parted to allow Watson a good flight path. Ruth took her place next to the cage, grasping the pull cord. The crowd counted down…3…2…1. Ruth opened the cage! Watson was shy only for a few moments, and then he turned around to face the crowd. He hopped out of the cage, only a few short feet from Ruth. He paused, as if for Ruth to get a very up-close look at her new friend. Watson then crouched and took flight. The magnificent creature circled around the crowd. It was perfect—everyone got a fantastically close look. Children and adults alike were in awe of Watson’s size and strength. With her dream fulfilled, Ruth reported she had never felt better and she will always cherish that memory. Having her family with her made it even more wonderful. Thank you to the Dream Team with Hospice Compassus, our Company that fosters a work environment which encourages us to go the extra mile for our patients! Without the support and encouragement from Hospice Compassus Leaders, this type of program would not be possible.
A Labor of Love By Vicki Brown Volunteer Coordinator Springfield, Missouri
t had been a dream of our staff to complete and distribute a cookbook of recipes that we have enjoyed at our office potluck luncheons. We had no idea it would take six years. Originally, the project was going to be engineered by two capable volunteers. Health issues for one, and a long-delayed college degree for another, pushed the project to a back burner. Finally, with the help of a new volunteer, Connie Kelley, we were able to accomplish our dream. “Compassionate Cooking,” our recipe book, is now available for distribution to our in-house Colleagues. Our labor of love contains more than a hundred pages of prize-winning recipes and old family recipes passed down through multiple generations. The book features some cherished recipes from previous Hospice patients and their caregivers, treasured goodies from current and retired volunteers, as well as staff favorites. One of the original volunteers, Judy Ermold, offered her daughter’s assistance in designing our cookbook cover. Lisa Schwartzkopf created a beautiful cover for our final presentation. Here is our tried-and-true house recipe: Sift in a level amount of integrity. Season with a dash of contagious laughter. Blend in a more-than-adequate amount of dignity. Combine with a heaping amount of empathy. Mix with utmost care and kindness. Sprinkle with an indefinite amount of compassion. Serve with a warm heart.
Cancer Patient Takes Flight Reprinted, with edits, with permission from the Shelbyville (TN) Times-Gazette. Story and photo by Mitchell Petty. At 65 years old, Tommy Craig is checking ‘em off his bucket list while he can. Tommy’s doctors don’t know how long he has left, but they do know that the malignant brain tumor that Tommy has been battling off and on for the past two years has taken its toll. In April 2010, doctors had discovered and treated Tommy’s brain tumor. Only a year and a half later, however, the tumor returned. “They put Tommy on chemo pills this second time,” Tommy’s wife, Carolyn, explained. “He stayed with me at the hospital when I had surgery, and when I woke up, he looked like a monster.” “I did – I looked like a monster,” Tommy agreed. “I had broken out in welts all over my head, shoulders, chest and back. That’s when I knew I didn’t want to go through all of that [chemotherapy] again.” Tommy figured it better to live out the rest of his time in the same fashion he always had – living on love with his wife of 47 years. “I’ll have good days, and I’ll have days where I’m so tired that I just can’t go,” Tommy said. “But that’s what you have to expect out of it.” Tommy’s friend, Wayne Hitchcock, notes, ”For someone in his situation, he’s got a great outlook. He and Carolyn are prepared for what might come.” Hitchcock’s friendship is a contributing factor of Tommy’s satisfied mind. Recently, Hitchcock helped Tommy cross off one of the items that he had always
wanted to do. While Tommy had 28 years on the road as a truck driver for Roadway Express, he had never taken to the skies. An amateur pilot, Hitchcock knew that he could help get Tommy up in the air. He contacted a friend, Joe Roberts, who is the owner of his own plane. Roberts is a retired Air Force pilot who also worked for the Federal Aviation Administration as a flight inspector. “I was nervous before we got on the plane,” Tommy said. “When we’d hit an air pocket, I thought it might tumble over, but I thought it was a great ride.” If you’ve never flown low in a singlepropeller plane, just know that – while exhilarating – it’s a little different from the Southwest flights that depart from the Nashville International Airport. The fear factor is definitely reduced with a pilot like Roberts, though. Tommy was a true trooper as he floated over Bedford County for the first time. In fact, he grabbed the yoke a few times and steered. “I believe I could’ve landed it, too!” Tommy said, laughing. Carolyn and friends, Frankie and Janie Nelson, came out to the road to watch and wave as Tommy flew above the Craigs’ home. The Shelbyville square was another destination that Tommy wanted to see before he made it back to land. “I’m just glad he made it back safely,” Carolyn said. “What makes my baby happy makes me happy.” Seems that most of what makes Tommy happy is helping others.
A couple of the other things Tommy hopes to do include helping his sons cut wood and working on cars for the ladies at Eastside Church of Christ. “I used to change the oil and filters for the ladies at our church,” Tommy explained. “They’d get charged an arm and a leg, so I’d do it for the cost of the parts.” Tommy is finding it tough to do the things that he used to, though. Recently, he’s lost sight in one eye, and his balance is increasingly impaired due to his tumor. Hospice Compassus comes from Columbia to comfort Tommy, which the couple appreciates. One last trip that Tommy and Carolyn want to take is to the Smoky Mountains. “We go up there, turn our cell phones off, get in the Jacuzzi, and we pretend like we’re young,” Carolyn said. For the time being, Tommy and Carolyn are soaking up time spent with their friends and family – and there are plenty of them. “We have a lot of angels,” Carolyn said. They include two sons, six grandchildren, three greatgrandchildren, and the neighborhood youngsters who know them as “Maw and Pop.” It’s a sufficient number to help Tommy’s spirits soar.
Wayne Hitchcock, left, and Joe Roberts, right, helped Tommy, middle, find his wings for the first time.
LOCATIONS ARIZONA 1225 Hancock Road, Ste. 200 Bullhead City, AZ 86442 (928) 763-6433
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1000 N. Humphreys St., Ste. 220 Flagstaff, AZ 86001 (928) 556-1500 1789 W. Commerce Drive Lakeside, AZ 85929 (928) 368-4400 511 S. Mud Springs Road Payson, AZ 85541 (928) 472-6340 3033 N. Windsong, Ste. 205 Prescott Valley, AZ 86314 (928) 775-0103 70 Bell Rock Plaza, Ste. A Sedona, AZ 86351 (928) 284-0180 1025 W. 24th St., Ste. 15 Yuma, AZ 85364 (928) 344-6100 ILLINOIS 2205 E. Empire St., Ste. A Bloomington, IL 61704 (309) 661-0504 755 N. Henderson St. Galesburg, IL 61401 (309) 342-3007 2000 W. Pioneer Pkwy., Ste. 24 Peoria, IL 61615 (309) 691-0280 IOWA 4506 Chadwick, Ste. A Cedar Falls, IA 50613 (319) 291-9000 610 32nd Ave. SW, Ste. F Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 (319) 362-2500 1850 East 53rd St., Ste. 1 Davenport, IA 52807 (563) 359-3666 KANSAS 200 East Centennial, Ste. 9 Pittsburg, KS 66762 (620) 232-9898
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From left to right: Gwen Fontenot, Karen Smothers, Elizabeth Proctor, Lisa Stephens, Tricia Broussard.
A Big “Thank You” TO O U R H O S P I C E A I D E S I’d like to tell you about the wonderful Hospice Aides we have in Lafayette, LA. Each of them is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Karen Smothers was the very first CNA we hired when we opened this office in July 2007. A long-time CNA but without any home-care experience, she jumped right in and quickly became a favorite extended family member of our patients. Karen is the first to arrive at our office every day. Because of her we have fresh coffee when we arrive, and the supply room wouldn’t be the same without her daily dedication. At one point Karen had to leave to care for her own family, but she came “home” after a year. She says she’ll never leave again! Gwen Fontenot has been a loyal, hard-working Colleague from the day she walked into our office in October 2007. Her dedication to her patients, fellow Colleagues, and employer is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed. She amazes me every day! Her patients and their families have so much faith and trust in her. Gwen is also an incredible team member. If anyone has to take off for any reason, she gladly helps with their patients, and always with a smile. She’s famous for saying, “Don’t worry about the mule. Just load the wagon.” We could NOT make it without her!
Lisa Stephens came to us on a PRN (as-needed) basis more than a year ago. She attends school to become a Licensed Practical Nurse, and we are so excited for her. Lisa works very hard to see her patients and keep up with her studies. She’ll see patients on her way to class in the morning, between classes, and after school. Her patient families are very attached to her, and she provides excellent care. She is exceptional! Liz Proctor came to us about eight months ago as a PRN CNA. During her orientation, she realized that perhaps her mother would qualify for Hospice. After consulting with the physician, we were able to admit her mother to our Hospice. Liz has a good heart and a gentle touch that are so needed in the services we provide! Tricia Broussard is our newest team member. She had observed Karen taking care of our patients in a facility and realized that she wanted to work with people the way Karen did. We were finally able to make Tricia a part of our team, and it was a great decision. She walks in every day with a beautiful smile. She speaks to everyone as if she’s known us all her life. She’s always willing to help, she never complains, and the patients adore her! We are so lucky here in the Lafayette office to have such a wonderful team.
By Dannette Vidrine, LPN Business Office Coordinator – Lafayette, Louisiana