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Hospice Volunteer News & Events
Volunteer Focus Newsletter • Spring 2018
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Dearest Volunteers,
When you think of a guardian angel, what comes to mind? Do you think of protection during danger? A guide? Someone watching over you? Who is your guardian angel? Terri Guillemets said, “Volunteers wear working boots, but leave a trail of angel footsteps.” To me, you as our Volunteers, are a very special kind of guardian angels. Throughout 2017 our Volunteers have left their angel footsteps in homes across the Treasure Valley, Eastern Oregon, and Central Oregon. Minute by minute, hour by hour, mile by mile, each of you have changed lives and watched over our patients as they take their final journey in life. From the bottom of our hearts at Heart ‘n Home, we say thank you. Thank you from each of us that lead, from those of us that serve our patients alongside of you, thank you from all of us in the office that are moved and inspired by your compassion. This month we have an opportunity to recognize you with National Volunteer Week – know that we do not think of you in anything, but angelic terms. I treasure the moments I get to visit with you and hear your stories. We love you. We honor you. We are privileged to watch your impact and know we could not do this work alone.


Tina M. Tubbs
Senior Vice President of Programs
Alvin Schnell
Barbara Ross
Coral Schnell
Frances Cortez
Itzel Alvarez
Lee Lent
Leroy Ross
Lynne Lent
Serena Hurles

Abigail Buller
Angelina Buller
Bradi Davis
Khalexius Burgess
Lynette Buller
Marilyn Gatley
Parker Lloyd
Samantha Flores 
Stella Kirkeby
Kathi Karnowksi
Larreau McClain
Susan Procsal

Clariza Arteaga
Kylie McGhee
Makaela Bournazian
Jillian Heiduk
Sydney Phillips
Leroy Cortez
Mindy Hanway

Bob Seidenberg
Joe Zehrung
Rose Walker
Rachelle Arrowsmith
Skyler Haller
Vint Gordon
Danielle Kaufman
Volunteeer Coordinator Coach

Who inspires you? I’m inspired by a lot of people! My parents, husband, co-workers, and the amazing Volunteers I work with. People who lose themselves in the service of others are also big inspirations for me. 

If you could visit anywhere in the world you’ve never been, where would you go? I would love to go to the Maldives! I love being on the beach and near the water so this would be a dream place to visit.

How do you recharge? I love watching movies, baking, cooking, and going on walks or bike rides. This is how I recharge and huge stress relievers for me. 

When are you the happiest? I am happiest when I am with my family! My family is my rock and support system and they are my everything.  

What advice do you have for those on the fence about volunteering? I would tell anyone on the fence about volunteering that it’s okay! My job as a Volunteer Coordinator is to be your advocate and support system. I will ensure that you feel you have had enough training and education before you make that first visit. We want you to enjoy this experience and will work with you to make it a positive experience for you and for the patient. Also, if you have any questions or just want to come talk about volunteering, we are happy to sit with you and answer any questions you might have.

Ella Downing, Fruitland Volunteer
Volunteer of the Quarter

With eight years of service, countless donated miles, and an inspiring desire to be helpful to others, Ella Downing made it easy for us to highlight her as Volunteer of the Quarter! Her Volunteer Coordinator, Gwen Bennion, says, “If I was to describe Ella I would say she is the perfect Volunteer. Always willing and ready - whatever the need may be. She is so dependable, compassionate, and always willing to help other people. She is a friend to everyone and always finds the positive side of every situation. We love her smile when she walks in the office. I could never thank her enough for what she has done for the Fruitland Heart `n Home Volunteer team and staff.”
We called Ella late one afternoon and asked if she could provide a respite visit so a patient’s wife could go do funeral planning. We told her they would like her to come at 10:00 a.m. for a couple hours. The next morning, we had a snow storm and the roads weren’t good. Ella arrived at the patient’s home 30 minutes early so the wife had time to make it to her appointment and not be late. It was still snowing and she told the patient’s wife, “Don’t worry, take the time you need. I will be here until you get back.” She proceeded to have a great conversation with patient, cleaned the house, and the kitchen was spotless when the wife returned home. They couldn’t believe that someone would do this for them. Ella called when she got home and said my time is in and the visit went really well. We then got a call shortly after from the patient’s wife thanking us for having a Volunteer that would do so much for them. 

Our staff comes back with stories each week of how Ella has been at someone’s home delivering flowers or in a facility helping a patient who has no family - holding her hand, rubbing lotions on while they talk. The stories are endless of the examples of her service for our patients and community. 
Theraputic Benefits from Music
Danielle Kaufman, Volunteer Coordinator Coach

It was a few months ago when I got to meet Mary (name changed for privacy). She came onto our services late last year and quickly became the talk of the office. Her pleasant demeanor and happy (and sometimes sassy) attitude made her a joy to visit. I have been lucky enough to visit Mary on multiple occasions. Each time is like the first time since she does not remember me, but she is always so happy to have visitors. Mary has multiple Volunteers assigned to her because of her love of company. A few of her Volunteers have discovered Mary’s joy for music. Since then, her Volunteers have spent their visits singing songs. During Christmas, they sang Christmas carols and now they have been singing some of Mary’s favorite “old timey” songs. Even though Mary has severe Dementia, she remembers every word. Studies prove music therapy can help the memory of Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. Neurologist, Oliver Sacks, states that “Music evokes emotion which can bring with it memory. It brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.” By pairing music with every day activities, patients can develop a rhythm that helps them recall the memory of that activity. Music can do amazing things for our patients; it’s something we have seen time and time again. It’s quite amazing to see in person how such a simple act can make a huge difference in the life of our patients. 
Valentines for Veterans
Joelle Brown, Bend & La Pine Volunteer Coordinator
Our Volunteers in La Pine and Bend decorated 300 Valentines for Veterans and spent the week of Valentine’s Day with the Band of Brothers and American Legion. We passed them out to our patients and their Veteran family members; and even individual Veterans that are friends of friends of staff members. The vision was very simple: if you are a Veteran, we want to tell you we love you and we are thankful for your service, and we want to bless you with a Valentine. 
When we handed out the Valentines we had mixed reactions. Some of these Veterans were caught off guard and weren’t sure what to think. Others thanked us for their Valentines. And some had a much more emotional reaction ... I could see tears in their eyes as they saw red, white, and blue hearts and stars painted and stamped across a simple card that read, “A Special Valentine for a Special Veteran.” 

Veterans of Central Oregon, thank you for allowing us to be a part of your day. You made our Valentine’s Day unforgettable. It touched me personally and I feel encouraged to keep finding ways to bless our community. Giving without wanting anything back is what it really means to give love. With this experience I see how our staff and especially our Volunteers, bless our patients, their families, and our entire community. 
Keeping Vigil With Patients
Gwen Bennion, Fruitland Volunteer Coordinator

One of our 11th Hour Volunteers, Sarah Poe, shared the importance of keeping vigil with patients. She said, “As an 11th Hour Volunteer, I have had the privilege of keeping vigil with patients at their bedsides at the very end of their lives. The term vigil comes from the 12th century Old French term vigile, meaning “to watch or guard.” I embrace that implication that I am keeping watch over our patients. Other 11th Hour Volunteers have told me poignant stories from their service keeping vigil. Our experience with patients as they are actively dying is incredibly rewarding. What a honor it is to be a presence when they are most vulnerable. Hospice teaches us about what truly matters and how to live bravely and transparently.

Cicely Saunders, who launched the modern hospice movement, said this of our calling in hospice, Watch with me, means, still more than all our learning of skills, our attempts to understand mental suffering and loneliness and to pass on what we have learnt. It means also a great deal that cannot be understood. Those words did not mean understand what is happening when they were first spoken. However much we can ease distress, however much we can help the patients to find a new meaning in what is happening, there will always be the place where we will have to stop and know that we are really helpless. Even when we feel that we can do absolutely nothing, we will still have to be prepared to stay. Watch with me means, above all, just be there. 

This is what we do when we keep vigil as 11th Hour Volunteers. We are a crucial part of the team, even as we just watch. Being there is a great comfort to our patients, their families, and our Heart ‘n Home team.” 
Become An 11th Hour Volunteer
Grief: A Cultural Taboo
Marce Martin, La Grande Volunteer Coordinator

“Death is the last great taboo, and its consequence, grief, is profoundly misunderstood.”—Julia Samuel 

The death of someone you love is one of the greatest sorrows one can endure. Similar feelings of bereavement can also occur from other types of loss such as changes in an important relationship, a decline in your health or the health of someone you care about, etc.  

It is said that the more we love, the more we grieve. This may sound like a troublesome journey, but it is a necessary one. It is necessary to know that grief seems to be a cultural taboo. In a culture where “feeling good” is an aspiration, grief can make one feel secluded and lonely. Heart ‘n Home Grief and Loss Support Groups can be a great catalyst to the outcast feelings one may be experiencing. When a grieving individual is able to share their feelings with another who has also experienced loss, there is more of an understanding of feelings and the amazing healing power of empathy can take place. 

Grieving is as individual and unique as each person going through the process. Be patient with yourself. Allow yourself time to process the loss and over time (not a set time) you will eventually accept the loss. There are many reactions to grief and some people may feel they shouldn’t be feeling a certain emotion, but these emotions are normal. If you are concerned, consult with a professional.
A Family Experience
Lois Russell, Emmett Volunteer Coordinato

A family member of a patient who passed on our services shared her bereavement experience with us.  She said, “He took care of me my entire life with him. He treated me like a princess. Heck, I didn’t even know how to put gas in our car.  My husband was a gentle man. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer and also had Alzheimer’s Disease, but he was still the husband that loved me, and I loved him.  I was trying to do what was best for him and necessary for me. Things progressed, and he became weaker and more confused. However, with the help of Heart ‘n Home Volunteers and staff, I could still spend a couple of hours at the senior center doing volunteer work and I knew he was in good hands.

We discussed what we wanted at end of life and what to do with the body. I knew he always wanted to fulfill a purpose, but how could he do that now. I worked with the Social Worker and asked her to set up a whole-body donation for medical science.

When I lost him, it was peaceful.  We were all there - family, friends, and Heart ‘n Home staff.  The Social Worker arranged that he would be removed under the American Flag for his military service.  We all walked out together. Heart ‘n Home provided me with a bereavement packet and phone calls to check on me. I had made a lot of decisions on my own about how my husband was taken care of.  I prayed for just one sign that showed me he was okay with it too. I woke up one morning and looked outside at the beautiful sun on my grass.  Someone had driven on it.  It was two perfect hearts.  It was him, I knew it. Later, that day I was in a thrift store and found a necklace. The kind you can put a sprinkle of your loved one’s ashes in. It said, “I will always be with you.”  There he was again. I had prayed that he let me know he was okay with the decisions I had made and I feel without a doubt I got what I asked for.”
5,227 Hours Donated
National Volunteer Appreciation Week: APRIL 15-18, 2018

We could give you over 5,000 reasons why we appreciate and love our Volunteers! To name just one, our Volunteers donated 5,227 hours of their time in 2017 to Heart ‘n Home patients and their families. This is incredible! The amount of positive impact made in the thousands of hours given is astounding. The stories and gratitude that we hear from patients prove that our Volunteers are making a difference in our community’s capacity to compassionately care for one another.  We recognize the consistent patient visits made, Veterans honored, last minute requests filled, emergency needs addressed with patients, diversity of personalities to understand, office assignments, and vast array of communication styles our patients require. Most of all, we recognize you and the commitment you have made to fulfil so many of these requests and needs. We are indebted to your willingness to serve and be a part of our team. The compassion you show to the individuals we serve is an inspiration for all of us. There is no judgement, just love and kind-heartedness. Please know, you are critical to the success of Heart ‘n Home and the legendary service we provide our patients and families. You are also an integral role in increasing patient engagement and communication, as a result increasing quality of care. 

We also want to welcome aboard all our new Volunteers! You’ll notice we have had several from recent trainings join our Volunteer team! Thank you for choosing to volunteer your time and energy with us, we are thankful!
Honor Veterans' Service
Anita Bergquist, Caldwell Volunteer Coordinator

Our Veterans have done everything asked of them in their mission to serve our country and it is never too late to give them a hero’s welcome home. Hospice staff often provide the last opportunity for Veterans to feel that their service was not in vain, and that they are appreciated.  Particularly for those Veterans who were never welcomed home or thanked for their service. Here are tips our staff use to engage, honor, and recognize the Veterans we serve:

 • Give Veterans an opportunity to tell their stories.
 • Respect Veterans’ feelings, service, and any suggestions they might offer.
 • When approaching Veterans, consider bringing another Veteran with you.
 • Show appreciation for the families of Veterans.
 • Always be sincere and compassionate and ready to listen to what a Veteran or 
    his or her family member has to say about what they are dealing with.
 • Be supportive and non-judgmental and validate their feelings and concerns.
 • It takes longer for some Veterans to trust you. Be patient and listen.
 • Expect the Veteran’s sharing to occur over a period of time.

I have several great Veteran Volunteers that are always willing to go visit our Veteran patients. They are honored and ready to go and do the pinning ceremonies. We are proud of these Veterans for the love and support they share with each other.  
“We don’t know them all,   but we owe them all.”
Veterans Matter
Gwen Bennion, Fruitland Volunteer Coordinator

We have such a wonderful program of honoring our Veterans here at Heart`n Home. I have had the privilege to go to several of our Veteran Pinning Ceremonies where we have had the opportunity to present the Veteran with a certificate of appreciation in a beautiful frame, a flag pin, and most of all we get to share with the family and friends some of the stories of the service that these Veterans gave to our country. It is sometimes very emotional and it is most definitely a special moment for everyone who gets to participate. In the Fruitland office, we have Veteran Volunteers who go with us dressed in their uniform to assist with the presentation. It’s so neat to see the bonds when they connect and meet each other. When their journey is over, the funeral home may also carry the Veteran out under the American flag. If that is their wish. 

I have been working with some of the Veterans organizations in the Treasure Valley and it’s so humbling to hear their stories. So often they have never been THANKED for the service they gave and their sacrifice for others have been forgotten.  Heart `n Home makes it part of their mission to honor these brave men and women. 
Everyone's A Leader
Marce Martin, La Grande Volunteer Coordinator

The Heart ‘n Home Family Core Values are centralized with staff and are incorporated into the care of our patients and their families. I recently had a new Volunteer share a story in my Volunteer Training. Her mom received two years of our care. This new Volunteer gave me the great privilege of hearing firsthand from a family member how Heart ‘n Home services improved the quality of life for the patient as well as the family. She shared that her family received lots of support and care, which continued after the patient passed. I was inspired that she, as a family member, was so compelled and touched by our services that she now wants to be a part of our mission and serve as a Volunteer. There are many Family Core Values tied to this story, but from where I stand, I see that our work inspired and influenced this family member to be a leader to take action. 
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