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Hospice Volunteer News & Events
Volunteer Focus Newsletter • July 2019
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Happy 4th of July!

A favorite holiday for many-participating and celebrating patriotism!  “National pride” or patriotism is the feeling of love, devotion, and sense of attachment to a homeland and alliance with other citizens who share the same sentiment. This attachment can be a combination of many different feelings relating to one's own homeland, including ethnic, cultural, political, or historical aspects.  This “PRIDE” resembles the devotion our hard-working Volunteers have.  Their attachment to our patients who are traveling their end-of-life journey is incredible.  The love they show with no discrimination to staff, other Volunteers, community neighbors, and most of all our patients is something to celebrate! 

Heart ‘n Home is blessed to have so many caring Volunteers and many of these Volunteers are Veterans adding an additional, very important and valuable dimension to our Volunteer Program. We love watching all our Volunteers show their PRIDE being a hospice Volunteer.  It warms our hearts when their volunteering shows their passion and love for our country, too!  Many of our Volunteers will be devoting time at community events-helping their neighbors celebrate the Fourth of July.  Parades, rodeos, park events, lawn mower races, cook-offs, BBQ challenges, musicals, and ending the celebrations with a big BOOM – red, white and blue fireworks that wouldn’t be able to go on if it wasn’t for community Volunteers.  Heart ‘n Home is honored to have you as a member of our team!  We appreciate all the gives you give, large and small.  YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE.   May you have a wonderful 4th of July... making many wonderful memories! 

Diana Hergenrader, RN
La Pine Executive Director



Braxton Rea
Destiny Marshall
Emily Black
Savannah Brown
Yvette Clemens

Allison Sattinger
Bob Singer
Deborah Carroll
Robin Meiners
Susan Walker

Caroline Mecham
Emilie Morales
Jerika Surbrook
Rebecca Mecham

Alexandra Gomez
Clark Mahler
Jimena Cisneros
Jocelyn Alvarez
Logan Lloyd

Cristian Escamilla-Ramirez
Kelly Hood
Kimberly Chandler
Natalie Bogart
Virginia Fisher

Angie Hoffman
Kent Hane
Linda Bauman
Michelle Stover
Rose Axe-Velez
Sharon Crites
Susan Harmon



Kyra Bake                     $1500                 Fruitland High School
Emilly Perez                  $1000                 Weiser High School
Jaquelin Delgadillo         $1200                 Weiser High School
Allison Church               $1000                 Fruitland High School
Amy Aguilera                 $1000                 Ridgeview High School
Josie Lasnick                 $750                   Fruitland High School
James Law                    $500                   Liberty Charter School


Kaylee Benear              $500                   Fruitland High School
Phoebe McGrath           $350                   Fruitland High School
Kimberly Wagner          $250                   La Grande High School
Abby Crews                 $150                   La Grande High School

Emmett Volunteer Coordinator

I was born and raised in Utah, but have lived in four different states. I love the mountains.  I am extremely fearful of snakes and heights, but I LOVE hiking in the mountains. I come from a big family which consists of five brothers and a sister (and an adorable niece and nephew who are the apples of my eye). I wear my heart on my sleeve and love to see those around me succeed. I’m happy when I’m surrounded by the people I love most, or when I’m up in the mountains where my head is clear from all the commotion below.

I find inspiration in a variety of people and things. I would have to say that the person who has most greatly inspired me has been my mom. She bends over backward to take care of my family. She is a well-respected individual in our community and always gives more than she receives. I try to live as she does as much as I can.

 I’m a list kind of girl, so I will make “to-do now/later” lists. I don’t want my list to be daunting, so I keep it simple. I make a list of what needs to be done now, and a list of what I can accomplish if I have extra time.  I surprise myself every time at how much clearer my mind is when I eliminate all those distractions and can solely focus on the tasks at hand.

Volunteering can seem scary, but you will be surprised at how much your mood is adjusted once you do. You see the world differently; you appreciate the people close to you more. 

Volunteer of the Quarter

Robin joined the Volunteer team in Caldwell in August of 2014.  He does pet therapy and Veteran-to-Veteran volunteering. He has always been a Volunteer who truly goes the extra mile to provide legendary service to his community.  He is so dedicated. He takes his dog to see patients in different homes and facilities. The positive feedback we have received from this pet therapy has been exceptional - it makes a huge difference in the quality of our patient’s day. Robin also helps with our flower program. He picks up flowers from our Albertsons store in Caldwell every Tuesday and brings them to the office so they can be delivered to our patients.  

Robin understands the worth of each person he meets regardless of background, abilities, or level of illness. Robin affirms lives in our community by building meaningful relationships while always demonstrating compassion and integrity. He has spent many hours volunteering and never complains about the time he has given.  Robin is someone we can always count on. We love hearing about his patient interactions and how they have “filled his bucket.” His heart is in the right place and he inspires our team to be better in our daily lives. We are lucky to have such an amazing community member on our team!

The best way to express our appreciation and show him the tremendous gratitude for what he does for our patients is by making sure he has the information and tools he needs to do what he does so well as a Heart ‘n Home Volunteer.  In return, he rarely misses a visit, always submits his timesheets right away and communicates issues or concerns.
Thank you Robin Morante, for your dedication! 

Kaiza Rea, Baker City Volunteer Coordinator

Volunteers are wonderful because they lighten burdens.  Whether it be to weed the flower beds that are driving the caregiver crazy, to change the light bulb on the front porch, or to sit and chat so no one is alone. Their care for others and willingness to give makes them comfort creators.
One of our patients was a lady that was as sweet as could be.  Her Volunteer would visit and they would talk about her childhood and her family.  This lady’s caregiver noticed that when the Volunteer had visited, she was much more relaxed.  As her hospice journey drew to a close, the caregiver requested that a Volunteer come in once a day to hold her hand and comfort this sweet lady.  For five days in a row, Volunteers were able to provide reprieve for the caregiver and provide comfort to this patient when her family was unable.  

To truly understand the value of Volunteers as comfort creators, one must look at all those affected by their presence.  When a Volunteer visited, not only was the patient calmer, but the ones who took care of her had the opportunity to relax.  It also brought comfort to the lady’s children knowing that their mom was taken care of and not alone.  There is a ripple effect with volunteering and it helps more than just the person that you see. It helps everyone that cares about them as well by keeping them secure in the knowledge that their loved one is well supported. 

Nicole Wilding, Emmett Volunteer Coordinator

Comfort care is an essential part of care at the end of life. That care helps soothe a person who is dying. The goal is to prevent or relieve suffering as much as possible and to improve the quality of life while respecting the dying person's wishes. This is where you come into play. You are the comfort creators! Each of you has an important role in providing the best possible care. You make a difference in each of your patient’s lives. 

At the end of life, each story is different. Death comes suddenly, or a person hangs on, gradually fading. For some older people, the body weakens while the mind stays alert. Others remain physically strong, but cognitive losses take a huge toll. Avoiding suffering, having your end-of-life wishes followed, and being treated with respect while dying are common hopes. Generally speaking, people who are dying need care in four areas—physical comfort, mental and emotional needs, spiritual issues, and practical tasks. Their families need support as well. Always remember to check with the Heart ‘n Home team to understand what your patient's wishes are. 

As a Volunteer, strive to be patient, compassionate, open-minded, dependable, mature, and understanding. Here are some questions you can ask your patients or caregivers to help them feel peace during a difficult time: How are you doing? Do you need someone to talk with? Would you like to go out for an hour or two? Do you want me to work with others who have offered help to coordinate our efforts? Actively listen once you ask. Providing quality care is a team effort. Volunteers are a crucial part of the hospice experience and are valued for the personal touch they bring.


Rebecca Singer, Bend Volunteer Coordinator

A much-beloved patient in Bend recently passed.  Her only daughter was vacationing in Hawaii at the time of her passing.  When our team knew she was transitioning, we collectively knew that she could not be alone.  We staggered our shifts with her and combined with some amazing 11th Hour Volunteers we were able to be there for her.  A young Volunteer, pregnant with her first child sat with her for 6 hours, holding one hand on her growing belly, feeling the new life moving inside of her and the other holding the hand of the lady who was ending her journey here on Earth.  Instead of feeling sad; she felt honored to experience the true circle of life.

The goal of an 11th Hour Volunteer is to give the gift of presence. It is an act that honors and affirms life. This can be a life-changing experience. An experience that will teach you to focus on what is truly important in your life and help you embrace each and every moment of your life. If you would like more information on becoming an 11th Hour Volunteer, contact one of our Volunteer Coordinators.


Theresa Hane, La Pine Volunteer Coordinator

Bereavement, a state of intense grief, deprivation or loss by force, desolation.  Like family, our staff and Volunteers experience a loss whenever a patient passes away.  La Pine Personal Care Assistant, Peggy, has a unique way of dealing with the death of a patient.  She was first inspired to become a caregiver in her 20’s with the death of her grandfather.  She says, “That experience gave me the feeling that no one should die alone.” 

Peggy adds, “I see a lot of people transition to death.  The earlier they get on hospice, the better I get to know them and know what they want when they are no longer able to communicate effectively.” To honor those who have passed she finds a way to remember them. “I deal with patents passing by having something special to remember them by either in my yard or in my memory.” she says.  For one patient she found a wind chime that is the exact replica of a patient’s wind chime that used to be outside her window. A couple she took care of loved flowers, especially purple periwinkles. She ended up planting periwinkles in her back yard when the husband died and in her front yard when the wife passed away.  Recently, a patient gave her pieces of a quilt that Peggy will finish and hang in the office.  Songs she listened to with patients like, “See You on the Other Side”, and Elvis songs can bring a sense of peace and joy when thinking of the good times spent with the patient.  

Honoring a patient’s wishes before they leave this earth helps with the bereavement process.  Whether it is donuts and chocolate peanut butter milkshakes, gambling one last time, or getting to a parade to be Grand Marshall, Peggy has helped fulfill those wishes. Knowing she has done all she can while they are alive has helped her accept their death. She is happy to see them pass peacefully knowing they are free of their tired, diseased body.” 

Kaiza Rea, Baker City Volunteer Coordinator 

Having a terminal illness is emotionally difficult for patients and their families.  Grief happens before and after they pass.  Loss is very personal, for each person has a unique relationship with the loss, a unique support system, unique coping mechanisms, and unique feelings. An important part of working with bereaved is to remember that there is no set process with grief. The grief experience has been likened unto a roller coaster with highs and lows that consistently switch until they begin to even out over time.  It could be months or years that the roller coaster takes to ride. It differs per individual.  

As bereavement Volunteers, we can aid during that difficult time.  We can help to provide support for someone who is facing the feelings of loneliness that grief often causes.  It doesn’t have to be guided counseling that Volunteers provide.  They are the essence of a Volunteer: another person who cares.  This could entail a monthly phone call or visit.  “How is your garden doing?” and “I heard you’ve got a new grandbaby” are just a couple ways to show that you care, and they are not alone.  It is another way to show that they have been heard.  

Since our bereavement Volunteers provide a different service than our general Volunteers, it requires additional training.  It includes education on grief and loss.  Making sure to include that there is no “normal” for grief and how to respond when they express their feelings.  The training shows when to encourage them to get more professional help and what signs of complicated grief to look out for.  Bereavement Volunteers make a huge difference in reducing feelings of loneliness and reminding bereaved that someone is out there thinking of them.  


Gwen Bennion, Fruitland Volunteer Coordinator

We have an elite Cicely Ambassador Team made up of nine junior and senior high school students from around the Treasure Valley. They have made a commitment to visit a patient each week for one hour and do two service projects in the next nine months.

June 10-11th was our Cicely Ambassador Retreat held at the College of Idaho in Caldwell Idaho. On Monday, they went through Volunteer training in the morning and then had training in the afternoon on family core values taught by Adam Stice, Senior Vice President of Human Resources. Then they had a great couple of hours of training with Heart ‘n Home Care Navigator, Sharla Phelps, on death and dying and how we all are so different.

We met after dinner and discussed what it takes to be a leader and started the process of planning our service project for this next year. We are very excited to be doing a mitten, scarf, and coat drive. We will have drop off boxes in each Heart ‘n Home office to collect donations. We look forward to seeing how many items we can collect to help others keep warm this winter. More details to come. Afterwards we got to go bowling at the Caldwell Bowl and found out that we have a very competitive team. They had lots of fun to just get to know each other.

Tuesday was a bright and early morning as we got to do a service project at the Idaho Veterans Garden alongside some of our Veterans and their families. We got to paint the garden boxes and benches. What a great place! We all wanted to stay and work and not have the retreat end.  

The Cicely Ambassador Team is for juniors and seniors in high school that would like to volunteer with patients. They also have a chance to apply for scholarships at the end of the year. Heart ’n Home gives out over $10,000 dollars to these awesome Volunteers. We want to thank everyone who helped make this year a wonderful experience. 


Amelia McCown, Caldwell Spiritual Care Provider

Each Veteran has a unique story to tell.  His or her service will leave an impact on their life whether for good, bad, or sometimes a little of both. As we serve Veterans and their families, we strive to give Veterans a chance to share their story.

A former patient and Veteran of the Korean War loved telling stories of his service.  He was a paratrooper.  He was so proud to send $50/month (a lot of money back then!) to his mom so that she could have anything she needed.  With that money, she was able to buy some of the conveniences of modern life, including a washing machine.  He and his mom were very close and one of his joys was getting to take care of her with the money he earned.  

Another story he told was about the day when he boarded the plane and saw a surprise visitor inside—a dog!  The dog was not very happy to be drafted as a paratrooper, but Uncle Sam decided he or she was needed.  The dog was fitted with a vest and someone was there to open the parachute for it.  The canine soldier made it to the ground just fine and was a real asset to the troop.  Although he didn’t like seeing the dog be so scared, the Veteran has never forgotten the surprise of that moment or that pup’s sacrifice.

Heart ‘n Home recognizes that each Volunteer is as unique as their experiences. We Honor Veterans and we know that each Veteran has a story to tell.

Marce Martin, La Grande Volunteer Coordinator

At Heart ‘n Home, we recognize Veterans are a population with a unique culture of their own, with personal experiences that shape their needs. It is our mission that every Veteran patient we serve is provided with the resources that are focused on their best care. Heart ‘n Home is a proud partner with We Honor Veterans, a program of National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Volunteers help us offer excellent end-of-life care to Veterans. 

As a Volunteer, you have front line communication with our Veteran patients, and it can be challenging at times to know how to connect. Typically, a conversation is the best way, but how do you know what questions to ask? One helpful resource is Story Corps. It is an organization whose mission is to strengthen connections and preserve stories. They use an interview process to capture stories and they share a list of questions to ask people of military background. Some of my favorites from the list are:

   •  What do you remember about the day you enlisted?
   •  How did you tell your family you were joining?
   •  How did you stay in touch with family and friends back home?
   •  Is there someone you served with that you remember fondly? Can you tell me about him/her?
   •  What are some habits you developed in the service that you like? What are some that you dislike?

Remember, it took courage for Veterans to serve something larger than themselves. They take pride in their service. Let’s continue to listen and thank them for all they have done. 

Desiree Dowling, Volunteer Coordinator Coach

One of our family core values at Heart ‘n Home is to Embrace Innovation.
We are always striving to find better and more efficient ways to do things. 
With that said, some big changes are coming! 

The program that we have been using for Volunteer timesheet entry is very 
outdated and in desperate need of replacement. Heart ‘n Home clinical staff use a program called KanTime to enter their time and patient visits. Volunteers will also start to use KanTime to enter their time. In KanTime, Volunteers will be able to log in on a computer or smartphone and see information on their assigned patients, their calendar, past and future visits, and will be able to enter their visits. 

We are currently working on the best plan to roll out these changes and training. All Volunteers will be trained on how to use KanTime before being expected to use it. Please bare with us while these changes are made. We know that this will simplify things greatly. As always, feel free to contact your Volunteer Coordinator if you have any questions or concerns. 

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