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Hospice Volunteer News & Events
Volunteer Focus Newsletter • Fall/Winter 2017
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Hospice-Volunteer-Newsletter
Leadership-Link

To the best Volunteers in the world,

It is a humbling thing to address people who sacrifice their time and energy so willingly.  As the CEO of Heart ‘n Home I become involved in many things that are regulatory in nature and required by the government to stay in business. However, I am still very aware of the many wonderful things you do to support the sick and dying patients we serve. Your service is so important to our patients and their families as they struggle on this journey we call life. I often read in emails the amazing things you have done. For example, an 11th Hour Volunteer stayed with a patient as they were actively dying; a Volunteer is doing a patient’s laundry or doing some cleaning for a family; or reading to patients and the list goes on and on.  Some people might think that these acts of service are not that big of a deal, I say they are wrong! It is the little things we do every day that make the biggest differences in peoples’ lives. I realize that, “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart,” to serve others to seek out the needy and help them with whatever they need. 

I fondly remember when Heart ‘n Home started out and we had just a few Volunteers. They were engaged in working alongside of me as I nursed our patients.  One Volunteer was serving almost all of my patients and I passed him frequently coming or going from patients’ homes. Always smiling, always caring, and always loving the work he was doing! He lightened my load, filled in the gaps that time restrictions, job responsibilities, and boundaries did not allow for me to do. I would pass him and think those patients are in good hands. He will help them and take care of their needs. What a blessing each of you are to Heart ‘n Home. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do for OUR patients, yes, yours and mine. I love them and the work we do and I know you do too! Thank you for that.


Sincerely, 
Cindy Lee, RN, CHPCA, CEO & Owner

Featured-Faces-in-Hospice
Joelle Brown
La Pine Volunteer Coordinator

Who inspires you?  Our patients who can find humor and joy even when life is painful. 

What is the best meal you have ever had? The best meal I’ve ever had was from my best friend! She is Puerto Rican and made me some authentic food her grandmother used to make. So good!

If you could visit anywhere in the world you’ve never been, where would you go?  I can’t wait to visit Machu Picchu one day!

How do you recharge?  Nature. I like to be up high on a hilltop surrounded by trees. It doesn’t matter the season! Hiking boots or snowshoes, that’s where you’ll find me. Physical activity automatically makes me breathe deeper, which helps to reduce stress and clear my mind. My heart beats faster which helps to circulate that oxygen quicker – giving me more energy. The extra blood flow helps to heal any kinks or soreness from a stiff neck or sore back from working at a desk. I also like to bring my doggy companion, she loves hiking and snowshoeing too.

When are you the happiest?  When I’m surrounded by people I love, my pets, and outside.
Volunteer of the Quarter
Ed Campbell, Emmett Volunteer

Ed has been a Volunteer with Heart ‘n Home since 2012. He currently serves as an 11th Hour and Veteran-to-Veteran Volunteer.  Last quarter, he donated over 30 hours of his time. Ed also volunteers five days a week at the Warhawk Air Museum in Caldwell; Drug Court for Veterans who are having a difficult time coming out of the military; and he also volunteers in AA groups as a mentor for Veterans. Even with all of that keeping him busy, Ed always keeps his commitments to his Heart ‘n Home patients, two of which he visits weekly and he has just taken on a new patient!

During June, we had several patients breathe their last breath.  We knew Ed would just be driving home from his day at the Museum. Lois called Ed with every need and he always said yes.  In fact, we had to tell him, “No Ed, you can’t volunteer 24 hours a day.” We love that Ed is so willing to put his comfort aside for others, but we want him to take care of himself too.

He enjoys being there for patients and families during those last hours. Ed says, “When you wake up in the morning you got to have a purpose, Heart ‘n Home is one of mine.”
Comfort-Creators
Birthdays: Big Milestones for our Patients
Danielle Kaufman, Meridian Volunteer Coordinator

I love celebrating birthdays! That is what led to my idea for the Birthday Program! For our patients, birthdays are often a big milestone. I wanted to make sure we could celebrate them on their special day. After I had a plan in place it was time to get supplies and start the celebrations! I collected quite a few different birthday presents including puzzles, card games, coloring books, candy, cards, and stuffed animals. Each month I have our staff sign a birthday card for our patients and pick out a present for them. I make sure to tie it with colorful ribbons so it is a special gift for them to receive. The best part of this program is delivering the presents to the patients. We have Volunteers or employees deliver and I hear that every patient lights up when they see the present. The size of the present is irrelevant; it is the thought behind it that brightens their day. If you are interested in helping with this wonderful program, don’t hesitate to contact the Meridian office today! 
 
Fidget Blankets to Benefit Alzheimer's Patients
Haily Shigeta, Cicely Ambassador & Gwen Bennion, Fruitland Volunteer Coordinator

A ‘what’ blanket? That’s right, a ‘fidget’ blanket. Earlier this summer at our annual retreat, Cicely Ambassadors enjoyed learning about Heart ‘n Home, but also sat down to discuss what would become their fall service project. A fidget blanket, which consists of random fabrics and materials stitched onto a simple blanket, serves a larger purpose, particularly to patients affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia. It gives them something to do with their hands - a way to not only improve dexterity, but also minimize boredom. 

Starting in mid-fall, boxes will be put out at businesses across the Treasure Valley, some as far as Boise, to start collecting supplies: whole blankets, fabric, buttons, zippers, string, and other various items will be needed to make the blankets. Cicely Ambassadors will hold a community wide event on Saturday, December 2nd at 9:00a.m. The blankets are rather easy to make and do not require a great expertise in sewing, so anyone and everyone is invited to come down and put these blankets together or simply bond in the seasonal spirit of giving. As the time draws nearer, the Cicely Ambassadors are preparing to rally on the different communities they live in. The fidget blankets will go to Heart ‘n Home patients during the Christmas season.
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11-Hour-Volunteers
11th Hour Volunteers: Allowing Family to Be Family
Lois Russell, Emmett Volunteer Coordinator

The 11th hour should be a peaceful time for families. It is the winding down of physical life.  Families come to the bedsides to be “there” for their loved ones. It’s a time to remember good times, reflect on relationships, and say goodbye.

Every experience and family is different.  Our 11th Hour Volunteers are trained to adjust and adapt to the needs of the patient and family.  Here is a story of how Heart ‘n Home Volunteers were able to help just by being present.

Harold, a Heart ‘n Home patient, had cancer  (name changed for privacy purposes).  He was in the middle of radiation when his health declined to the point of hospitalization.  At that time, the family was made aware that the cancer was throughout his body. His wife and grown children elected to take him home to die. They knew death was only hours away. They called Heart ‘n Home for help and when the ambulance arrived, Heart ’n Home was waiting for him at his house. Everything was in place – medications, medical equipment, etc. Volunteers stayed throughout the night which allowed the family to just be that … wife, daughters, sons, etc.  Harold was pain-free and relaxed.  The daughter said, “The angels came.”  The Volunteer quietly called the Nurse who came out and made arrangements with the mortuary, the bed to be picked up, and all the supplies and medication taken out of the home. The family grieved and shed tears. It was peaceful and beautiful.  

An 11th Hour Volunteer can do as little or as much as the family needs, in this case they needed someone to quietly be present and take over when the time was right. 
 
Tips for a Successful 11th Hour Visit
Kandice Dickinson, Public Relations Specialist

Hospice is about a relationship at the end of life. 11th hour volunteering goes back to the very roots of hospice care – that no one dies alone. Our Volunteers provide that special touch, bringing a sense of calmness and comfort into the home when they arrive.  11th Hour Volunteers help to reduce anxiety and calm what is sometimes a highly stressful situation.  Giving your AIDET during your introduction will set you up for a successful 11th hour experience. While it may seem irrelevant to you, it is comforting to the patient and/or family. Put yourself in their shoes. Who is this person coming into my home? I have seen them here before, but can’t place them or their name, etc. etc.  

Acknowledge the individual.
Introduce yourself.
Duration of how long you will be there.
Explain what you are doing.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you.
Do you have any questions? I have the time.
 
Bereavement-Brief
Helping Others Heal
Chris Rupp, LMSW, Medical Social Services & Anita Bergquist, Caldwell Volunteer Coordinator

Bereavement can be a rewarding and challenging experience to walk a person through. I find that when we look at grief from a holistic perspective, we find that grief doesn't begin and end with the loved one lost. We find that experiences and loss from the past may be triggered as well. That being said, I love when I am working with someone who is grieving and they begin to see themselves within an entire system. They work to make changes to their ‘entire person’ and not just the part that is grieving the loss of a loved one. They begin to see their healing as an opportunity to redefine their lives and find their inner strength to continue forward.

I believe this is why bereavement is so important. We carry a great responsibility to help others heal and we hope in turn, they may be able help others along their journey. What we do has a ripple effect and we may never truly know the impact we have when we help just one person heal. 

Our patients’ families are so grateful for this program. It helps them to heal and appreciate themselves during their bereavement process.
 
Find a Grief & Loss Support Group Near You
What Comes After
Chris Jahrling, Bereavement Counselor

As Volunteers we participate in the wonderful mission of helping our patients affirm life, supporting both them and their families in a most profound way.  Eventually our patients do die, but our work and care does not end there.  Medicare requires that bereavement support is offered for up to 13 months following a patient’s death. At Heart ‘n Home, we provide that care in several ways. Family members receive regular mailings that provide education about what is normal to expect during grief, helpful information in preparing for the many “firsts” such as holidays or anniversaries without the loved one, and information about the importance of self- care during grieving.  Our six week Grief and Loss Support Groups are offered several times throughout the year, providing a structured way for loved ones to tell the stories of their loss, gain support through hearing the stories of others, and use various techniques, such as journaling, to work through their grief. It is that process of retelling our story of loss in various ways, whether writing it out or sharing with another that allows us to heal and finally adjust to the reality of the loss and move forward.  In addition to grief groups, Heart ‘n Home offers to stay in touch with family members through phone calls or visits during that first year after a death. Simply having someone who is able to listen, who can normalize the many feelings and experiences of grief can be helpful and it is here that our Bereavement Volunteers serve. 

Any Volunteer interested in helping with bereavement support is provided additional training. Contact your Volunteer Coordinator if you would like to serve in this most important role. 
When Nursing Interventions Are Not Required
From Your Nursing Department

11th Hour Volunteers’ responsibilities include providing emotional and physical support to the patient and family when nursing interventions are not required.  These devoted people carry solace and peace into homes where sorrow and heartache could be the dominating emotions.  

Cindy, Caldwell 11th Hour Volunteer, expressed that she is always blessed beyond measure as she participates in such a rewarding experience. She tells of a patient who was terrified at the process of approaching death. Unable to share her personal beliefs, she was able to direct him to the ‘light’ that we hear of at the end of life. This patient became peaceful, his face softened and his body relaxed. He died shortly after achieving this state. Cindy said, “Oh, wow. I’m glad I am part of the Heart ‘n Home Volunteers!”

Rikki is also a Caldwell 11th Hour Volunteer. She said that the Volunteer may be the hour break or that four hour nap so desperately needed for exhausted caregivers. You may be a listening ear in a late night conversation or you may be the one who brings closure of this experience to a grieving family. Rikki said this experience has given her a new perspective on hospice as well as how difficult it is to be family when someone is passing away.  Rikki also spoke of how rewarding it is for her to bring comfort to the patient and family through reassurance that ‘all is going to be okay.’

As Nurses, we appreciate the contribution that these Volunteers make to the peace experienced by the recipients during the end-of-life process.
Featured-Faces
Every Veteran Deserves a Thank You
Karyn Wallace, Baker City Volunteer Coordinator

It is such a privilege to be a part of the We Honor Veterans Program.  The pinning ceremonies that I have been present at have been meaningful to the patient and their family as well as rewarding for the employees that were in attendance. Vanessa, one of our wonderful Nurses was on a patient visit and in conversation learned that the patient’s husband was a Veteran. He had never been recognized for his service and until recently, he wasn’t able to talk much about his war service. Vanessa was on a mission.  She came back to the office with excitement, purpose, and passion.  She shared the story of this war hero with us. Her feelings of enthusiasm and eagerness were contagious. We scheduled a Pinning Ceremony and prepared our materials. When I arrived at the patient’s home, her husband greeted me at the door and invited me in.  His wife was sitting in her chair.  Two friends were sitting on the sofa.  Vanessa, a Heart ‘n Home Nurse and Joe and Tess, Spiritual Care Providers were also present.

When I asked this gentleman where he had served he answered, “Vietnam.” “You did not come home to a hero’s welcome did you?”  I asked.  He stated, “No.”  His eyes began to tear up and as he was trying to hold them back he said, “I came home and was called a baby killer.”  I apologized that his sacrifices had not been acknowledged and I thanked him and his wife for their service to this great nation.  I read the certificate and held it out for him, he accepted it with gratitude.  The pin was placed by Joe and the card was read. Finally, this brave war hero was given the appreciation and acceptance that he and his wife deserved.  His wife, our patient, passed less than two weeks after the ceremony.
 
Share Your Veteran Pinning Experience
Tips for Honoring a Veteran

Heart ‘n Home is passionate about the absolute necessity to recognize and honor members of our military, past and present. This civil duty goes far beyond only providing this service to hospice patients whom are Veterans. This should be second nature to all Americans and a regular effort made to Veterans, regardless of their role in the military. If they were willing to serve our country and dive into the unknowns, it should be our duty to thank them. It is because of them, and their willingness to protect our country that we and our children and their children are able to enjoy the freedoms we so often take for granted. It is actually quite easy to recognize a Veteran or active serviceman or woman. Here are a few ideas to do so:

• If you see a random stranger in the grocery store that is wearing a Veteran hat, shake their hand and say thank you. 

• Attend a Veteran’s Day parade or event in your community.

• Donate to an organization that is meaningful to you that supports Veterans.

• Talk to your kids and grandkids about our Veterans and what it means to them.  Let them draw or write a thank you card and mail it to them.

• Veteran-to-Veteran Volunteering!  Most times, a Veteran will want to talk about their military experience with another Veteran. This reduces or may allieviate emotional and/or spiritual pain. Talk to your local Heart ‘n Home Volunteer Coordinator for more information.

• If you work with a Veteran, thank them! Maybe have a special office potluck to recognize your Veterans.
Create Trust
Danielle Kaufman, Meridian Volunteer Coordinator

David Horsager from Forbes Magazine wrote a great article titled, “You can’t be a great leader without trust.” One of the strengths he recommends having in order to build trust is “compassion.” People put faith in those who care beyond themselves. 

As Volunteers, you have a unique opportunity with every visit or phone call to demonstrate respect and compassion. As you walk in to a room to visit your patient, or pick up the phone to check in with them, keep compassion top of mind and apply it with your interactions. They will notice it and feel affirmed. Also, watch the impact it may have on your life. Trust may be a small word, but it can make a world of difference.
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