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Hospice Volunteer News & Events
Volunteer Focus Newsletter • April 2019
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After fifteen years, we are releasing a new logo! Be watching for our new logo on our website, social media, and in time, our vehicles and building signage. Our new logo is clean and simplified.  This concept aligns perfectly with our recent endeavor to structure and simplify what we do in hospice, after all, it’s all about how our patients and their caregivers “feel.” We do hospice and nothing else, we think about how a patient feels every day, every time.  Do our patients feel loved, do they feel confidence from us, do our patients feel comfortable, do their caregivers feel confident in caring for their loved one?  

Our new logo has a modern feel, which pairs well with our focus of executing a modern approach to hospice. Our logo is made of three leaves. Everything in nature is hard-wired with predictive ability … including us, as humans.  Since the very beginning, Heart ‘n Home has focused on doing right by the patient, our focus going into the future is still, “doing right by the patient;” however, the difference will be we will eliminate all distractions so that we can meticulously zero in on the feeling we are creating for our patients and loved ones.  

Our logo has our company-branded colors of red, black, grey, and white. The three leaves serve as symbolism of the holistic aspect of hospice care – meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of a patient and their loved ones.  Leaves depict hope, renewal, and growth.  

The logo redesign and typeface are part of Heart ‘n Home’s rebranding strategy to create an exceptional, consistent, and meaningful care experience every day, every time. Even though a new logo brings a new look, we have the same management and same life-affirming mission! We are privileged to be a part of our patients’ story; as their teachers, a support system, and their experts in end-of-life care. 



Clystie Gustafson
La Pine Volunteer
Volunteer of the Quarter
Volunteer of the Quarter, Clystie Gustafson, is a person that embodies the Family Core Values of Heart ‘n Home.  Gustafson is fully committed to the purpose of hospice in her 9th year as a Volunteer.  She states “I’ve always loved people and find human behavior very fascinating.  I am not afraid of death or being around those who are getting ready to pass over. With hospice, I found a way to satisfy my need to help others, it feeds my soul.”

Gustafson has an intuitive way of building meaningful relationships with her patients and their families.  She enjoys a challenge and has learned that her mantra is “stop, observe, and listen to the patient, family, and caregivers without judgment... solutions can often be found in difficult circumstances.”

Her most memorable moment was during an 11th Hour visit.  The patient sat  upright, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, looked at her and said, “Well, hello.”  She asked him how he was doing. He replied, “Just fine,” smiled and popped back down on the bed.  He was out the rest of the time she was with him and earned his angel wings soon after.

Gustafson is an inspiration to us all with her respectful and compassionate attitude.  Her advise to new Volunteers is simple.  “Be respectful of patient, caregivers, family, and their homes.  Leave your own standards and judgments of cleanliness, behavior, religion, etc. in the vehicle you arrived in.  If you have concerns, call or stop by the office and let staff know.  Don’t argue with dementia patients, distract them.  Enjoy the honor of being invited into a home when folks are at their most vulnerable.”


Bend Volunteer Coordinator

We’d like to introduce you to our new Bend Volunteer Coordinator, Rebecca Singer.  She’s a wonderful  addition to our team!  She graciously shared a little bit about herself:

“A quick rundown about me!  I like to bake, don’t do any outdoor activities, hate to exercise, love to eat, love to shop, and love to sit and watch endless hours of English tv!  I was an RN years ago back in the old country (England), owned a bookshop/café, have three incredible daughters and an elderly, diabetic blind dog!  

I recharge by watching English baking shows then trying (mostly unsuccessfully!) to emulate them in my own kitchen! People would be surprised to know that I am a trained birth and post-partum doula.  Oh, and I’m arachnophobic! I am at my happiest when I am with my family in our favorite vacation spot in Akumal, Mexico. This is going to sound cheesy, but my current source of inspiration is my boss, Billy.  He makes me want to be a better person both professionally and personally.  He is one of the most positive, loyal, uplifting, and loving people I have ever met. 

If I was to give any advice to anyone on the fence about volunteering it would be, “Your legacy shouldn’t be how great a lawyer or sales person you were, but rather for how you made a difference, however small, in someone’s life. To me, it is as important to make a difference; at the end of someone’s life as it is at the beginning.”
Marce Martin, La Grande Volunteer Coordinator

In an article published by John Wiley & Sons, ltd., titled “Music Therapy for End-of-Life Care,” it shows that based on the results of studies, “music therapy aims to improve a person’s quality of life by helping relieve symptoms, addressing psychological needs, offering support and comfort, facilitating communication, and meeting spiritual needs.” The La Grande Heart ‘n Home office gained two new Volunteers who aim to do just that.

Joi Lake and Dave Young met each other at a local memory care unit while sharing music with the residents. Joi put on a regular show in the facility called “Camp Rejoice” where she would set up a tent and sing. Dave joined her and together they shared their enjoyment of music with the residents. They perform some of Dave’s original songs as well as Joi’s faith pieces. When they partnered with Heart ‘n Home, doors opened for them to play at the bedside of patients who were nearing end of life. 

These two are blessing the lives of many. I have seen Alzheimer’s patients who are not able to form complete coherent sentences, sing along to “Jesus Loves Me” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.” It was such a beautiful sight and sound to hear. It is truly a beautiful affirmation of the impact that music has on the brain allowing people to feel love, connection, and it helps promote quality of life. 


Kaiza Rae, Baker City Volunteer Coordinator

An important aspect of hospice is the inclusion of families and caregivers in care.  In our mission statement, Heart ‘n Home promises to “affirm life by providing physical, emotional, and spiritual support to our patients and to those who love and care for them.” In an effort to do this, Volunteers can be utilized to bring comfort to families as well as our patients.
We had a patient that was experiencing terminal restlessness. He was constantly attempting to get out of bed and his caregivers were exhausted.  Thankfully, a Volunteer was able to sit with him, read outdoor magazines to the patient, and be present.  It allowed the caregivers to relax and take some time for themselves as they knew their loved one was not alone.  

This comfort through presence can be manifested in different situations and all are so important.  For example, sitting with a patient while a caregiver runs to the store, helping with around the house clean up, and companionship are just a few ways to help loved ones from being overwhelmed. All of these make a big impact in the lives of those that we serve.  

Kaiza Rae, Baker City Volunteer Coordinator

11th Hour Volunteers are present during the final moments of a person’s life to provide support for patients and their family.  Their goal is to provide peace and to be present in this transition.  It is truly an honor to be welcomed to a bedside, especially in this vulnerable time, and it is important to remember that presence and peace are most important.
When someone is passing away, often their hearing is the last thing to go.  Do not be afraid to introduce yourself and talk to them.  It is a good idea to describe the conditions outside and speak in a soothing voice that reminds them they are not alone. Another tip is to be prepared. bring yourself a water bottle, tissues, and possibly something to read. If you feel comfortable singing or playing soothing music, that can be of great benefit as well.  If you ever need more ideas, just ask your Volunteer Coordinator. 
Desiree Dowling, Meridian Volunteer Coordinator Coach

People experience loss and grief for many different reasons.  In hospice, we usually encounter grief due to the loss of a loved one. For this type of grief, Heart ‘n Home offers 13 months of bereavement services to families and caregivers after a patient passes. Our Bereavement Program includes our wonderful Bereavement Volunteers. However, in a way, all of our Volunteers can act as bereavement support. This is because sometimes grief begins before the patient passes away. This type of grief is called anticipatory grief. 

Anticipatory grief happens when a patient and family/caregiver begin to experience the grief of the patient’s death before it occurs. This can look differently for each person and doesn’t always happen. But when the patients and families we volunteer for are experiencing anticipatory grief, we can help. Some signs that they are grieving can be crying, restlessness, constant worry, anxiety, or sleeplessness. Of course, everyones’ grief is an individualized experience and doesn’t look the same for everyone. 

As Volunteers, we can help by just being present, and actively listening to them and their concerns. Letting them know that their feelings are okay and normal. We can remind them that they’re not alone and they have a whole team to support them including social services and spiritual care. Encourage them to begin or continue good self-care practices like eating healthy foods and getting enough rest. Perhaps, most importantly, we can remind them that this is the best time to say things to their loved ones like, “I love you,” “I forgive you,” “Please forgive me,” and “Thank you.”

These are just some of the ways our patient and family support Volunteers can act as Bereavement Volunteers even before the patient passes. If you would like more ideas or information on how you can help, or how you can become a Bereavement Volunteer to assist the family after the patient has passed, please contact your Volunteer Coordinator.  

Anita Bergquist, Caldwell Volunteer Coordinato

At Heart ‘n Home, we often take time to “Connect to Purpose.”  We share stories that affirm the fact that what we are doing for our patients and their families make a difference in their lives and our own.  Our bereavement services are in place to help families cope with their loss.  Here is a bereavement Connect to Purpose story.

After providing comfort care to a husband and father in his 40s who passed away last year, Heart ‘n Home Care Navigators have had the privilege of offering grief support to his wife and three children in their home. Heart ’n Home Care Navigators have met with his wife and kids each month to do activities together. Care Navigator Frankie has learned about some great activities at a play therapy certification program. Some examples of these activities are board games that have been adapted and other modified toys. These specially designed games prompt the kids and their mom to answer questions together about their dad, his life, and their loss in a safe environment. The mom has said that she enjoys hearing what the kids are thinking and how they are processing their loss. We are grateful for the opportunity to meet this amazing family, well supported by their family, friends, and church, yet who are open to additional support to specifically address their grief.

Theresa Hane, La Pine Volunteer Coordinator

For anyone that has owned animals, we know they are usually more than just pets.  To most people, their pet becomes an integral part of their family dynamic.  Now imagine you are a hospice patient and no longer able to care for your pet.  You have lost one more valuable relationship, just as you need companionship the most.

One of our most prized Volunteers, Shiner, is here to help fill the void.  He is a five-year-old, 60 pound, Silken Windhound.  Shiner is a trained and certified therapy dog.  He and his owner, Jackie Koski, visit patients in care homes where residents have had to give up their own pets.
Pet therapy, also known as animal-assisted therapy, dates back to the 1800s.  Florence Nightengale observed that patients exposed to animal companionship showed greatly reduced levels of anxiety and stress.  Today we have documented studies showing the benefits of close companionship with pets on those at their end-of-life journey.  Some of the documented physical benefits are reduced blood pressure, reduced pain, and an increase in overall comfort. Emotional benefits include decreased loneliness, depression, and anxiety.

Shiner has had a special connection with one of his first patients.  The patient was non-verbal.  One day while Shiner was visiting, she decided to say a few words, “beautiful dog.”  From then on, she would say a word or two whenever Shiner visited.  Shiner brought new meaning and peace into her life.  

For Jackie, the visits have a deeper meaning.  “My mother passed away from pancreatic cancer.  While caring for her, I realized there are so many people that could benefit from seeing a pet and having someone visit with them.”   

Heart ‘n Home is fortunate to have these wonderful Volunteers.

Rebecca Singer, Bend Volunteer Coordinator

I had the absolute pleasure of attending my first ever “pinning ceremony” last week. I had some idea of what to expect, but never having had any military experience in either my personal or professional life, I wasn’t quite prepared for the level of fierce pride, emotion, and patriotism I was to experience.

The ceremony took place in an Adult Foster Home which, incidentally, I had never encountered either! This in itself was quite an experience and enlightened me how much more personal and individual the care was in comparison to the much larger facilities I had only ever experienced in my career. My initial greeting was from that of two elderly, extremely amiable cats. Now, if you know me, you’ll know that any house with animals is a true home in my eyes! The patient himself was very happily ensconced in his armchair, reading his newspaper with yet another senior cat perched on his blanket-covered lap. Despite his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, he seemed quite cognitive and understanding of what was going on. I was very quickly joined by five Band of Brothers Veterans (and Heart ’n Home Volunteers!) all proudly wearing their uniforms and all with a story to tell. 

The client was quite taken back by all the attention and his emotions and pride were quite tangible when he was presented with the recognition we often forget to provide to our Veterans. When the Band of Brothers saluted him, I know I wasn’t the only one in the room to slyly reach for the tissues!

I think I’m going to ask to become an honorary member of the Band of Brothers. What are my chances?!!

Gwen Bennion, Fruitland Volunteer Coordinator

We have many Veteran patients on our services from all branches of the military.  It is such an honor for us as staff and Volunteers to be able to care for these men and women who have served this great country. We get to hear their stories and sometimes shed a few tears with them as we learn from each one of what they did to help America be a great place to live.

We have the honor of having pinning ceremonies for these dear Veterans to recognize their service. With this ceremony, we get to use some of our most loved Volunteers, Veteran Volunteers.  What a neat bond these Veterans have with each other. They share stories and experiences with each other and often find out that they have crossed paths before.

Our Veteran Volunteers have a special place in our Volunteer Program because they can offer companionship Veteran to Veteran. Because often they also have had similar experiences. They can help work through those past experiences to help the patients find the peace that they might not have otherwise. Veterans have a deep passion for service and continue to give back to the communities they live in. 

Thank you to all our Veteran Volunteers. 

Kaiza Rae, Baker City Volunteer Coordinator

Losing a loved one is not easy, and hospice exists to 
ease that transition.  We strive to support patients and their families as they undergo the dying process.  Creating legendary service is done by creating a predictable experience.  When caregivers are overwhelmed, they need to be able to depend on that support by knowing that we are doing the work on our end.  This enables trust and more confidence as families care for their loved ones knowing they have the consistent and reliable support of our team behind them. 
As a Volunteer, you are a huge piece of creating legendary service.  You ease a burden from the team and our patients by your presence alone.  There is so much that Volunteers do.  Deliveries, yard work, respite, companionship, and administrative help, only to name a few of the ways you help support our team and families.

Volunteers are truly the “cherry on top” of the hospice experience.  

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