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:

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.

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Premier: A Better Care

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“As a caregiver, my mother-in-law has had experience with two other Hospice companies. She could not believe the difference in the care Premier provided over what she had seen previously. I know that the family was satisfied and appreciative of all of the support. They always had great things to say about Jessica and Tonia and the care they provided.”

Again, another instance of just doing what we do on a daily basis. Thank you to all who cared for “Uncle T”.

Premier Hospice Gives Back

second helpings

Premier Hospice gives back to the community by serving “Second Helpings.” Carmel Office featuring: Jessica Sullivan, Madison Mcleod, Jolene Mclaughlin, Caitlin Hantleman, Katresha Taylor, Denise Haverly, Rochelle Kinney.

The Second Helpings Culinary Job Training program trains disadvantaged adults for careers in the foodservice industry. Second Helpings volunteers and staff rescue prepared and perishable food from wholesalers, retailers, and restaurants and use it to create 4,000 hot, nutritious meals each day that is distributed to 80 social service agencies that feed people in need.

For more information on volunteering with Premier Hospice and the nonprofits we partner with, please contact Katresha Taylor (317) 844-8700.

“I Love My Job”

A story about how amazing team Premier Indiana is. Premier Hospice Kyla Powell worked for 2 days with St Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis on a cardiac patient who was out of network. The only way he could go home (his last wish) was to be allowed to go on a cardiac IV med. Kyla worked all day yesterday with the help of St Vincent’s and Rural Metro ambulance, along with a few of her Premier fairy Godmothers and long story short, the gentleman arrived home early yesterday evening, the nurse was there to admit him, and his comfort meds had been picked up by the family and were available in the home. We just received word that he passed away, comfortably, in his home, with his family. Premier helped fulfill his last wish. I am more than proud of the people I work with.
—Jolene McLaughlin RN

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Premier Wins Award: Excellence in End-of-Life Care

Premier Hospice Arizona Staff with Certificate

Premier Hospice and Palliative care of Arizona is the proud recipient of the 2015 “Excellence in End-of-Life Care” for Arizona. 
This prestigious award is given to a hospice provider that has developed and implemented an innovative end-of-life program, benefitting deserving hospice patients and their families throughout 2015.

Our award-winning, 11th hour program ensures our patients “never die alone”. Staffed by volunteers and assisted by all disciplines, our program provides around-the-clock assistance and emotional support for a patient approaching their final hours. Premier Hospice understands this time is precious to both the patient and their families.

Rush Memorial Hospital wins the Bridges Award for its collaboration with Premier Hospice to provide end-of-life care for its patients.

Premier Bridges AwardRushville, Indiana – July 15, 2015

On July 7th Hospital CEO Brad Smith and Director of Emergency Services and Medical Surgery Carrie Tressler were presented with the Premier Hospice Bridges Award. The award was presented by Premier Executive Director Jolene McLaughlin at Rush Memorial Medical Pavilion located at 110 East 13th St, Rushville, IN. “This award is presented to a hospice partner that has made a strong commitment to excellence in end-of-life care,” said McLaughlin. The facility was selected because they recognize patients who are hospice appropriate, educate their patients and their families on the hospice benefit, and work well as a team to coordinate care with hospice for their patients.

Rush Memorial Hospital, a part of the Rushville community from more than 65 years realized a couple of years ago there was level of care they wanted to expand more fully to service their patients. Brad Smith CEO indicated, “Rush Memorial Hospital is more than a healthcare facility; we are a community partner and leader in rural health. “ With this in mind Rush began working with Premier Hospice in June of 2014, to offer a General Inpatient level of hospice care within the hospital as well as coordinate hospice services within the community.

One example of the collaborative partnership that has developed between Rush Hospital and Premier Hospice is a discussion with patient Henry G who was coping with end stage lung disease. Henry and his family were overwhelmed by the thought of discussing hospice because they didn’t want to think about him being in the last stages of the disease process. However Rush Hospital’s Discharge Planner Janie Manning suggested an informational meeting because Henry’s symptoms were increasing dramatically, and she realized how difficult this was becoming for him and his family.   After meeting with Premier and the Rush staff, Henry’s wife Priscilla stated, “We felt more informed about the changes that had been happening with his condition and the care he would be receiving at home.” “The transition into hospice services was smooth and helped lessen the stress on both Henry and I,” stated Priscilla. Since being admitted to Premier Hospice in February of this year, Henry was readmitted to Rush Hospital for two short General Inpatient stays to manage the severe anxiety associated with lung disease and returned home.

Director of Nursing Services Carrie Tressler is glad they have added inpatient hospice to the services they provide to the Rushville community, “Hospice provides supportive services to the patient, family and to our staff; it’s a good alternative for everyone if a patient’s condition is advancing.”