Dear Friends of State of the Heart Care,
Perhaps the most important part of the holiday season is spending it with those that mean the most to us: Family. It seems during this season many of us find our days quickly flying by, checking tasks off our never-ending to-do lists and preparing for the many parties and gatherings we will be attending, only to blink our eyes and realize the holidays are already over. This year I challenge each of us to slow down and take a moment to pause and truly be in the moment. Sit and watch the snowfall, call a friend or family member you’ve been meaning to get in touch with, decorate a gingerbread house, go caroling. We should strive to set aside some time to unplug from our busy lives and reconnect with our families.
Unplug to be present to those around you.
The actual definition of Family is a group of persons of common ancestry; however, it means much more than this. I recently had the chance to speak with a few co-workers about what family means to them, and how by working at State of the Heart Care they have gained an even bigger sense of family.
Cassie Creech has worked at State of the Heart Care for four and a half years. She has held numerous positions including On-Call RN, Admissions RN, Care Center RN, and is currently our Care Center Manager since April of 2018. She truly enjoys working at the Care Center, located on the fourth floor of Wayne HealthCare, and believes it offers relief to patients and their families when they know they are going somewhere with 24-hour care to assist with their pain and symptom management. Often, patients become calmer and more relaxed during their stay. Family members are also encouraged to stay with the patients, and according to Cassie the staff and families often get close to one another during some of the longer stays. Cassie stated, “We still have family members that will come up to visit with us,” sometimes years after caring for their loved one. “We are part of a memory.” They not only develop a bond with the patients and families they care for, but also with the team members they work day-to-day with. According to Cassie, “We are tight as a family. We have intimacy on a whole new level because, after 12-hour shifts with the same people, they become your family.”
After working a few years at State of the Heart Care, Cassie got to experience the care we provide on a whole new level. Her grandfather was on our services in 2016 and spent some time at our Care Center. When reflecting on that time, Cassie shared, “Professionally, we can talk about hospice all the time, but when [it affects] a personal family member, you rely on co-workers to be your brain because you aren’t thinking in the professional sense. I was never more thankful in my life than when the people I stand next to everyday cared for my grandfather.”
I also spoke with Jodie Anderson, who has worked for State of the Heart Care for twelve years, starting as an Aide and currently working as Admission Assistant since June of 2018. Jodie said she loves working in admissions because you get a certain amount of satisfaction after getting the admission complete, knowing our team can get in and address the patient’s needs as quick as possible and a few days later we can see their anxiety and pain controlled and the patient feels better than they have in a long time. According to Jodie, “Making sure the patient’s needs are met is our top priority, and I feel we are all a part of this mission because we genuinely want to improve the quality of life for our patients and make them the best moments they have left, however few or far there are.”
None of us truly know how much time we have left to share with one another, so we need to make every moment count. “We would have never thought this would be the last holiday we spent with her. She was diagnosed in May and gone in July. We couldn’t have put her in better hands, and I knew that.” Jodie shared about how she knew exactly who to contact when her aunt Judy was diagnosed with her life-limiting illness this May.
According to Jodie, “To know Judy was to love her.” She was a happy, joyful, and silly person. Judy was also unique because she had two sets of families-her immediate family and her home caregiver team. One of Judy’s caregivers had been with her for 32 years, so both families needed to stay updated on her care. Jodie said of her aunt’s State of the Heart Care team, “They were amazing at home. Our team handled both families wonderfully, keeping everyone’s feelings in mind and were very respectful. Our nurses would stop to see me while I was at work to give me updates so I knew Judy was ok until the evening when I could go and see her.”
When Judy’s condition worsened, she was moved to the Care Center to receive care for the pain she was experiencing. Jodie shared, “It was a team effort. Dr. Hosbach did assessments and made recommendations and orders that helped her become more peaceful and calm. Jenna was our social worker, and was familiar with our family and caregiver family, making sure everything was as calm as it should be.
As a family member, they were so good to me and removed my employee hat and cared for me like a family member. The staff there teared up with me but were a good support and strong. We would have never been able to handle this situation ourselves and are grateful for the Care Center.”
Through the combination of music therapy, guided meditation, prayer, and recommendations from Dr. Hosbach, the Care Center team was able to control Judy’s discomfort, allowing her to be at peace when she took her final breaths. Our chaplain, Jacque Collins, provided the service at Judy’s funeral. Jodie said that Jacque had met Judy while she was still at home, and the two really connected. Jodie shared, “Jacque had asked me what I wanted to do [for the services] and I didn’t know. I couldn’t talk about her at the time without tearing up, and Jacque had asked me if I wanted her to bring Judy to the service. Jacque did just that by sharing her memories and talking about how she made her feel. One of my aunt’s gifts was that you left her feeling better and lighter. Jacque felt that meeting Judy had made a difference in her life.”
There’s only one thing more precious than our time, and that’s who we spend it on-Leo Christopher. We encourage you to reconnect with your loved ones this holiday season and discover what family means to you. Whether it be the family you live with, loved ones that are out of state, close friends, or your work family, if you hold a close connection be sure to share that with them so they know just how much they mean to you.
We want our patients to spend the moments that truly count making memories with their families. Since we are a non-profit agency, your support is what ensures we can continue to be there for any patient that needs us, offering them the best comfort and care possible. Contributions like yours allow us to fund the numerous programs we offer to our patients, their families, and even the community.
Your gift of:
$30 provides a day’s worth of meals for a camper during Camp Encourage.
$50 covers the cost of honoring a Veteran in a pinning ceremony.
$75 enables our Bereavement Specialist to meet with a grieving family.
$175 provides one day of hospice care for a patient without insurance.
$500 covers the cost of travel for one week for a Hospice Aide.
$1,000 can help cover the cost for three of our nurses to become CHPN certified.
No amount is too small; your tax-deductible gift allows us to continue with our mission to exceed the expectation of our patients, families, partners, and communities by always providing a high standard of quality care with dignity and compassion. Because of generosity like yours, we do not turn anyone away and we have provided this high standard of care to nearly 16,000 families since we started almost 39 years ago. We truly thank you for your continued support.
Business Development Specialist for State of the Heart Care