Sharon’s Story: Becoming a Hospice Volunteer

I became interested in becoming a volunteer with hospice after both my mother-in-law and father-in-law passed away. Both parents were able to stay in their own home during their last months of life because of Premier Hospice. Everyone affiliated with Premier is caring and dedicated to ensuring patient needs are met. They go above and beyond, equipping family with the resources they need to care for their loved ones and themselves during the grieving process.

Becoming a hospice volunteer is rewarding—lending support to the caregiver and family members of your patients. Something as simple as sitting with a patient so a family member can run errands is appreciated—not only by the patient’s family but also the entire hospice staff.

Premier’s volunteer program is thorough. The coordinators are always available to answer any questions or concerns you may have. You can contact the volunteer coordinator or fill out an application.

One of my most memorable visits to a patient was at a private home. Her daughter, in her young twenty’s, was caring for her mom in her last few months of life. As her mother’s passing became more evident, she was having a difficult time saying goodbye. She did not want to be alone with her mom when she took her last breath. I went to the house to sit with the patient and provide support to her daughter. As we sat at the patient’s bedside, her daughter told me several childhood stories. “My friends thought my mom was the coolest,” she said beaming. “She would drive us to the mall, the movies, and then she’d drive us home too. She was so present in my life—it’s hard to know what to say, now that she’s unconscious.” I explained to her that even though her mom was in a deep sleep, she could still hear her words. I told her I would step out of the room for a few minutes so she could have some time alone with her mom. She should just say what was in her heart. My sweet new friend did just that, and she told me afterwards how relieved she was!

I am so thankful that I chose to become a volunteer with Premier Hospice. It’s experiences like this that make life so rewarding.

Sincerely,

Sharon

Music Therapy: More the Merrier

Cheryl has the ability to help clients avoid depression and anxiety, thanks to music therapy. She says a husband/wife duet began asking family members and neighbors to join in their music. Numbers grew each music therapy session. By Thanksgiving, 40 family members had rearranged their holiday schedule to participate in Cheryl’s music therapy session. They showed up with their favorite musical instruments, ready to jam and enjoy each other.

“It was an activity they could all do together! It really stuck with me,” says Cheryl. “ I told them the more the merrier and they took me to it.”

Cheryl uses music therapy to ease her patients’ anxiety and reduce pain. I ask my patients questions like: “How can I help you socialize with other people in this new facility?” “How can I help you make friends?” If I have a patient who is not responding to me, I’ll use family as resources by asking for the patient’s favorite childhood song or lyrics that hold special meaning.

For more information on Premier’s services, call us, anytime. We’re available 24/7.
(317) 844-8700

Meet Mike: A Day in the Life of a Hospice Nurse

It’s 5 p.m. and Mike is off to work for the day. Mike is a night nurse and part of the intake process for Premier Hospice Indiana, educating patients and their families on hospice services: counseling, medical services, and postmortem care. “It’s an important job because people often don’t like the word hospice,” says Mike. “I  tell people that hospice care isn’t like hospitals. It’s not about curing the ailments that patients have but bettering their livelihood while they have them so that way they stay comfortable and content.” Premier Hospice creates comfort kits for the patients. The “comfort kit” contains medications used only when needed to relieve symptoms that commonly arise in terminally ill patients.

As an on-call night nurse, time goes quickly because no evening is ever the same. Mike’s goal is simple: he ensures the patient’s needs are met by visiting frequently and spending time with loved ones to make sure the entire family is comforted. Mike appreciates Premier’s philosophy, the Golden Rule: treating others how we all want to be treated.

“They’re long hours, but at the end of the day, seeing how my team makes the lives of patients and their families brighter in their difficult times makes the job all worth it.”

As we continue to grow and expand, there is no better time to join the Premier Family. Contact us for more information on careers. Or send a resume. We will let you know when jobs open up.

Premier Pet Therapy Team: Sue & Chip

Premier Pet Therapy

Sue & Chip greeted guests at a recent 50+ Expo in Bloomington. The 50+ Expo featured free health screenings, plus an expo hall filled with exhibitors with information about products and services for seniors and their families.

What’s New with Premier Home Health?

Looking for a career in home health? Check out our job listings on Indeed.
Email your resume to: jobs@premierhomehealthin.com

Seema

Seema’s favorite part of being an occupational therapist is the one-on-one patient care.

“Premier uses technology that makes my life easier,” says Seema. “We can provide better patient care and be more efficient at work and home because of it.”

Seema says she takes great notes because her cases are often complex, making her feel like a problem-solver, connecting all the caregivers involved. Premier holds regular interdisciplinary meetings to get on the same page.

Seema’s first patient could not stand or even sit up; he only spoke Spanish, adding more complexity. Seema worked to improve her Spanish and opened up communication with family members and doctors. They discovered his right shoulder was also out of socket and he had poor muscle control. Within two to three months, the patient was able to use right arm with no pain or limitation. He could walk and shower by himself. His self-diabetic-management was much improved. “He’s my success story,” says Seema.

Premier promotes work and family life balance. Seema is able to attend her son’s activities and has flexibility with her schedule when her son is ill. “This company is transparent and empathetic towards our needs. It’s been a good fit for our family.”

 

A Note from a Patient

The last weeks have passed in a blur. However, one fact remains, Premier Hospice was a blessing to my little momma and to me. My prayers were answered through this journey because of your hearts for those passing from this life.

There is no doubt you are all angels sent to us from heaven. Looking back at our steps together, it’s easy to see God’s mercy and grace orchestrating our journey. You have all touched my heart, humbled my soul, and showed me God’s light working. All my love and prayers always…

Premier “Volunteer Spotlight”

Name: Vince Punzo
Occupation: Professor of Psychology at Earlham College
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy running, reading and am a big baseball fan. My favorite team is the Chicago Cubs and I’ve seen a baseball game at over 35 different Major League stadiums.

What made you interested in hospice volunteering? I started teaching a class on death and dying at Earlham College. I realized that being a hospice volunteer would allow me to better understand the philosophy and practice of hospice care and then I could pass that knowledge along to my students.

What is your favorite thing about volunteering? The chance to get to know some truly remarkable people and those times when I am able to ease a patient’s loneliness or anxiety and bring a smile to their face.

Advice for new volunteers: Realize that each patient is different in terms of their personality, needs, and sociability. So a “one size fits all” approach to being a hospice volunteer does not work. You need to listen carefully to each particular patient and adapt yourself to what works best for that individual.

For more information on volunteering, contact Premier Hospice Or email us at: info@premierhospicein.com.

Vince Punzo

Premier Hospice Music Therapy

“Still Music Within” written by one of our talented Music Therapists…

In his last month of life, *Bob became very anxious, sensitive to touch, and began to withdraw. His ability to interact was diminishing. One day when I arrived, his eyes were half closed and drool was being tenderly wiped off his lips by one of his concerned daughters. With my guitar in front of him, I began to sing his anthems. After a few minutes, he lifted up his hand ever so slightly and began knocking his knuckle on the guitar in time with the music, and then occasionally strumming a few strings along with me. His weak voice offered quiet, mumbled words of song. His body was beginning to fail, but he still had music left to play. Watching our interactions, his family members became more relaxed and began sharing positive memories, laughing together.

Our final visit together will stay in my mind forever. Bob was resting, as most of his time was spent near his final days. I slowly introduced music to help him become more alert, and his wife joined us at his side. Bob couldn’t keep his eyes open, nor his head up for more than a few moments at a time. Bob’s wife and I sang the songs that initially fueled our connection months prior. Our session was brief, as I could tell he was very tired. As I was about to say goodbye, those big eyes opened once again as he smiled and began to sing on his own “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine / You make me happy when skies are blue / You’ll never know dear how much I love you / Please don’t take my sunshine away.”

Music Therapy in Hospice

As a music therapist working in hospice, each day holds a different experience. The experience above is just one tiny portion of the work I am privileged enough to be a part of on a day-to-day basis. Music therapy services range from brief, one-time sessions, a few months, or even over a year, and continues to be available to the patient and their family through bereavement after the patient passes. I strongly believe that “music therapy can make the difference between withdrawal and awareness, between isolation and interaction, between chronic pain and comfort, between demoralization and dignity” (Barbara Crowe, MMT, MT-BC).

At Premier Hospice, we provide valuable care for those facing life-limiting illnesses, and maintaining dignity is of the utmost priority. A credentialed music therapist works alongside physicians, nurses, home health aides, chaplains, social workers, and volunteers – who are each dedicated to maintaining comfort and quality of life.

Music therapy is an evidence-based healthcare profession where the credentialed therapist uses individualized, live-music interventions to address the unique physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Our unique training and education in music and the human experience enables us to work with individuals at an intimately therapeutic level.

*Names have been changed to protect PHI according to HIPAA regulations.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 10.07.55 AM