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Hospice Volunteer News & Events
Volunteer Focus Newsletter • July 2018
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From Adam Stice, Senior Vice President of Human Resources & Volunteer Services

Hello Volunteers,

It is a privilege to work alongside each of you. I can speak for all of the Heart ‘n Home employees when I say ... you inspire us with your dedication, commitment, and willingness to serve. Heart ‘n Home Volunteers have a different perspective on serving the community. Each of you understands that there are two simple truths that exist with any thriving and successful society found in today’s world. The first is how we as adults take care of and teach our children. The second is how we respond and take care of our elderly population. 

Those at the end of life have a significant impact on all of us through their stories. Through you volunteering, you are ensuring that those who have come before us are not forgotten. Also, that those who helped us get to where we are today, are still valued. These brave individuals also provide us the opportunity to forget about ourselves and serve them. They are truly inspiring.

I am grateful that we can work together to serve these wonderful family, friends, and community members. We are pleased with the compassionate care you provide to our patients and how well each of you represents the Family Core Values of Heart ‘n Home. Please continue to spread the love of service and volunteering. 




Gwen Bennion
Fruitland Volunteer Coordinator

Who inspires you? I have had many people inspire me to find and fill my dreams or overcome my fears. From my family, to teachers and coaches, to co-workers and friends, and from the people who lived in the neighborhood that I grew up in. I look at people all around me and try and find good in everybody and something I like about them that I can add to my cup to become a better, more passionate, loving person. I believe we all have a choice every day to give back to those we are around. We can each make a difference no matter what we are doing in life. 

How do you recharge? I listen to a lot of music. I also enjoy cooking and going on walks.

What advice do you have for those on the fence about volunteering? I believe if you have a question about being a Volunteer talk with a Volunteer who is doing what you think you might like. I have never met a Hospice Volunteer who has said I wish I wasn’t volunteering for hospice. Usually, it’s just the opposite. Or “I wish I could have done this years ago.” Or “These kids are so lucky to have this opportunity at this age. I wish this program had been around when my kids were
in high school.”

People would be surprised if they knew: I have a pontoon boat and love to be out on a lake fishing or floating down a river. 

Bob Seidenberg
Volunteer of the Quarter

Bob Seidenberg has been a La Pine community member for just over a year. In that time, he’s made huge strides as a member of the La Pine Band of Brothers, a community-minded organization of Veterans helping other Veterans. Bob also volunteers with one of the local cub scout troops, among other neighborly projects he takes on. In March of this year, the Volunteer Coordinator finally got Bob to consider volunteering for Heart ‘n Home with one phrase, “Bob, we need you.”

Since then, Bob has not missed a single Veteran Pinning Ceremony for our Veteran patients. His special attention to the importance of honoring fellow Veterans, as well as their spouses, has transformed the ceremonies from a small, quiet meeting of a few staff members into an event ending in pinning the patient not only as an appreciated Veteran, but as an honorary member of the Band of Brothers. 

The passion and empathy Bob shows to our Veteran Hospice Patients is anything but the expected stoicism one might imagine. Instead, Bob brings a tenderness to his patients. As a La Pine Volunteer, Bob doesn’t mind traveling more than 60 miles round trip to visit a Bend patient for an hour every week. Although his account of the visits is simple, it’s easy to read between the lines. They “guy talk” he provides is exactly what his patients need. You might hear Bob say, “Well that’s what I would want if I were in his position.” Bob is a walking talking example of the golden rule and we at Heart ‘n Home are honored to have him on our team. Thank you, Bob!
The Voice of An Angel
Abbie A., Fruitland Hospice CNA

I had a patient that was an amazing singer, in fact, he sang at Carnegie Hall. I’m definitely not a singer ... unfortunately, I was not blessed with that gift. This gentleman would sing his favorite song to me after every shower. It was ”In the Garden - He Walks With Me” and he knew every word. If you do not know this song, listen to it, it’s very hard to sing. 

Fast forward two weeks as this patient was starting to decline, he tried to sing this song, but was unable to remember how the song went. Therefore, I pulled the song up on my phone and cued my patient with words and sang along with him so he could sing his beloved song. When we finished the song, I had not realized my patient’s son had recorded this whole performance. The look in his son’s eyes was filled with gratitude. I learned that day that legendary service is more than what we think it is. It’s stepping out of our comfort zones to bless our patients. 

This patient was very dear to me and as I write this story I can still hear his voice singing this song. 
Joelle Brown, La Pine & Bend Volunteer Coordinator

I was singing to her, describing the surroundings, telling her she was beautiful and how her eyes were sparkly … I was giving my all. But this advanced Alzheimer’s patient sat in her chair, staring at me, grinding her teeth with an expression I would describe as concern, anxiety, and confusion all blended together. I realized after about ten minutes that my charm was getting me nowhere and might be causing agitation, which is the last thing I wanted to do. When we have patients like those who appear to be trapped in their disease, it’s up to us, the Volunteers, to build even the smallest bridge to connect to them. 

I assigned Jackie and her therapy dog, Glacier, to this patient. The moment that this patient laid eyes on Glacier, a champion racing Whippet with a beautiful silvery glossy soft coat, a long head with a wet nose, and the most darling, kind expression, the teeth grinding stopped. As the visit progressed, the patient began petting Glacier’s head and even verbalized. “This is Glacier,” Jackie said, “He’s a good boy.” The patient verbalized in agreement. She was calm. She was making eye contact. She even laughed a little.

Volunteers have the opportunity to create a link to the world for some of our patients who have lost theirs.  Central Oregon now has four Pet Therapy Volunteers and six dogs total.  There are many ways we could try to connect with patients and I encourage us all not to give up, even when that connection seems out of reach. 
I Want to Volunteer
11th Hour VOlunteers Played Music and Sang
Lois Russell

As all of us know, life is precious. In those last months of life, it is important to live, to re-live, to say, and to listen. We must treasure our time with those we love.  We must let others help us on our journey of helping our loved ones pass on to what is next for them. 11th Hour volunteering was implemented by Heart ‘n Home to allow family caregivers to remain just that … family.  Our trained Volunteers are present at the bedside to assist the family with a presence of just being.

I remember one night specifically, where there was a lot of family at the home of a patient who was in the last hours of life. We called out our 11th Hour Volunteers, who also play music with our Comfort Choir. The home was full of anxiety and fear.  The Volunteers sat at the end of the bed and played very softly, providing a calming presence. The patient’s behavior changed from restless to peaceful and was able to pass away comfortably. 11th Hour Volunteers have a gift for providing just what is needed during the final hours.
Bereavement Volunteers
Danielle Kaufman, Volunteer Coordinator Coach

Julie (name has been changed for privacy) lost her husband in December 2016. Losing a loved one is hard no matter the time of year, but around the holidays it seems to be even more emotional. I was fortunate enough to meet Julie’s wonderfully sweet husband a month before he passed. He enjoyed music and visitors, so I arranged for some Volunteers to spend time with him singing songs and listening to music. It is still one of my most favorite moments from this job. I remember tears coming to my eyes when we were all singing together and reminiscing on fond memories.

Julie was lucky to have incredible family support after her husband passed away. We also had a wonderful Bereavement Volunteer follow Julie for 13 months with monthly phone calls. Often times these phone calls were brief and to the point, but knowing there was an extra person checking in on her was much appreciated. 

I often tell my Volunteers that bereavement volunteering is one of the easier ways to volunteer if you have limited and busy schedules. Sometimes all it takes is a monthly phone call to let someone know we are still thinking about them and there for extra support. That little task is all it takes and it can make an everlasting impact on their life. 
Learn More About 11th Hour Volunteering
How To Help Someone Who Is Grieving
Marce Martin, La Grande Volunteer Coordinator

One of the heart pains of trying to support another person who has lost someone is knowing what to say. As someone who wants to be a helper and is not afraid to meet someone where they are at even if that place is a dark empty and painful condition, I find myself speechless and unqualified to comfort a grieving friend. Some of my fears trying to be in aid in grief is that I will be going back to my normal life and lose the empathy of helping the grieved and that their loss would be forgotten. I also fear saying the wrong thing or saying something in the wrong way. I also wonder what an appropriate way to speak about the one who is passed. Do I talk about them in past tense or present tense? For example, do I say our community loved him or do I say our community loves him? Because of course, the love has not gone away. Don’t allow words to be empty. Marilyn Mendoza, Ph.D. published an article in Psychology Today’s website titled The Worst Things to Say to Someone Who's Mourning. She talks about how sometimes when we try to help we can actually cause more pain.
She lists some of what the worst things to say, here are some: 
• Everything happens for a reason.
• She wouldn’t want you to be so sad.
• God will never give you more than you can handle.
• I know just how you feel

Some caring things you can say are:
• I don’t know how you feel, but I am here to help in whatever way you need.
• I wish I had the right words to say. Just know I care.
• I am sorry you have to go through this.  Let’s go have some coffee.
• I am just a phone call away.
• I’m bringing dinner over.

Additional helpful tips:
• There is no timeline for grief.
• Don’t be afraid to say the name of the lost loved one. 
• Showing empathy and compassion toward someone who has experience loss gives great support. 
Find a Grief & Loss Support Group
Volunteers Help Bring Spiritual Relief and Comfort
Tess Krueger, BCC, MAR, MDiv, Spiritual Care Coach

With Heart ‘n Home’s commitment to the wholeness of each patient, Volunteers are a valuable part of the team. While our Nurses and CNAs address all aspects of the patient - they primarily focus on the physical symptoms. The Social Workers, Spiritual Care Providers, and Volunteers address the social, emotional, and spiritual needs of the patient. Volunteers meet patient’s needs, often without seeing how effective they are.

All of us have the same ultimate goal for the patient: that they may die a good death, peacefully and pain-free.  Volunteers may unconsciously help the patient move from pain to comfort and onto that goal of peace through the tasks provided and interactions they have with patients and family members. Meaninglessness and lack of purpose can cause a patient great spiritual pain as they lose their independence and feel as if they are a burden on others. Volunteers help by listening to their patients' process what’s bothering them and letting them feel heard by someone who is compassionate. Spiritual pain can be diminished through connections with Volunteers and can make a patient feel valued. The trust that develops between patients and their Volunteers can help them overcome feelings of hopelessness and to experience the unconditional acceptance of people who are just there because they care.

Everybody wants to be seen, heard, and to feel valued and Volunteers are experts at each of these. Having those needs met brings spiritual relief and comfort. Patients often tell me what their Volunteer does and how much they look forward to those visits. Volunteers provide more than visits and tasks - what they do is therapeutic and contributes to the efforts of the rest of the team.  
The Unique Difference A Veteran Volunteer Brings
Anita Bergquist, Caldwell Volunteer Coordinator

Our Veteran Volunteers love to visit with our Veteran patients in senior communities or in their private homes. No one is better equipped to converse with our beloved Veterans than a comrade. Nationwide one out of every four patients in hospice is a Veteran, so there is a great need for Veteran Volunteers. No experience is required beyond a heart for a fellow Veteran. Our office does very well educating our Veterans during the Volunteer Training before matching you with patients in our community. Many Veterans have experienced more than most people in ten lifetimes. They may have experienced trauma.  When they feel that they cannot communicate with the civilian population they carry all that weight alone. However, when a Veteran Volunteer begins to visit with another Veteran and learn how to talk to let the other person speak their truth at their own pace, some of that burden can be shared. 

I have witnessed our Veteran Volunteers and they do an awesome job at being good listeners. They are skilled and capable to do tasks such as being a Bereavement Volunteer or 11th Hour Volunteer. They know how to build good relationships, how to relate to people, and so forth.  Veteran-to-Veteran communication is the most rewarding thing they share with each other.

Heart ‘n Home offices have outstanding Veterans that spend many hours at our Veterans’ bedside. We are so grateful for their service and graciousness to volunteer.    
Share a Story
The Essential Ingredient: Veteran Volunteers
Joelle Brown, La Pine & Bend Volunteer Coordinator

It’s impossible to overstate the change in Heart ‘n Home Pinning Ceremonies in Central Oregon since we gained Vint and Bob as Volunteers. Both of them live in La Pine and are members of the La Pine Band of Brothers, which is an amazing organization, made up of Veterans who want to support other Veterans. These guys have traveled to Bend to perform Pinning Ceremonies and have even come up with special ways to honor our Veteran hospice patients.

Our Veteran patients now become Honorary Brothers or Sisters in the Band of Brothers, and receive a special extra pin and certificate. Bob has added his special touch to the ceremonies by thanking the spouses of the Veterans, saying, “Your support made serving our country possible.” The way these two have shared their passion for honoring Veterans with Heart ‘n Home has made me tear up every single time we have a ceremony. They have only been on our team since March and they have helped to make these ceremonies something incredibly special. I am thankful for them. 

The volunteering they do for our Veteran patients is incredible. The brotherhood between Bob and Vint and their patients is something that nobody else could replicate. There’s an acceptance, a quiet knowing, and an understanding of the sacrifices and the loss that these Veterans have experienced. I hope that every Veteran patient gets to have a Vint or Bob at their side during their hospice journey. 
Inspire People
Danielle Kaufman, Volunteer Coordinator Coach

Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, and Gandhi. These people inspired hundreds of thousands of people in their lifetime and even continue to today. They inspired others by standing up for their beliefs, caring for those less fortunate, and for those who couldn’t speak for themselves. I would have to agree that these people are very inspiring and have had an everlasting impact on history. However, you know what names I would love to see on that list? Yours! When people ask me what I do, I proudly tell them I get to work with some of the most inspiring people I have ever met. I think people who volunteer are selfless individuals, but Hospice Volunteers take that to a whole new level and are the definition of inspiring. Every day our Volunteers are making an impact and a difference. They are affirming lives, bringing peace and comfort, and inspiring others.
Thank you for not only everything you do for our patients, their families, and Heart ‘n Home, but thank you for being my inspiration and reminding me why we do what we do every day! 

Congratulations to our 2017-2018 winners! We greatly appreciate your time, service, and commitment to our patients, staff, and community.

Sydney Miller - $1,500      Fruitland
Hannah Hardin - $1,000   Fruitland
Hailey Shigeta - $1,000    Fruitland
Caroline Olsen - $750       Fruitland
Jensen Seamons - $750    Fruitland

Kaiza Rea - $750             Baker
Dakota Olson - $500        La Grande
Parker Lloyd - $500          Fruitland

Lauren Hillam  $1500        Fruitland
Ryan Clements  $1500      Fruitland
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