Medical Director for all the Heartland Hospice agencies in Minnesota, Dr. Nancy Miller, MD, talks about how the Minnesota hospice teams are supporting patients and their families during this difficult time.Show More
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Words Of Appreciation
Our agency frequently receives recognition for the care we have provided to a patient or someone’s loved one. Many tell us they don't have the words to describe their appreciation and simply say "Thanks." Below are comments and letters from patients and family members sharing their gratitude.
Minnesota Medical Director Discusses Hospice Care During Pandemic
Medical Director for all the Heartland Hospice agencies in Minnesota, Dr. Nancy Miller, MD, talks about how the Minnesota hospice teams are supporting patients and their families during this difficult time.
Heartland Hospice serving Minnesota North recently received a touching thank you letter from the parents of a hospice patient who were thankful for Heartland's support for their daughter.Show More
Heartland Hospice Receives Touching Thank You Letter from Patient's Family
Every day, Heartland Hospice receives thanks for the care they have provided to a patient or someone’s loved one. Many say they don’t have the words to describe their appreciation and simply say “Thanks.” Heartland Hospice Serving Minnesota North recently received a touching thank you letter from the parents of a hospice patient:
"When we received word that our daughter would die in 6-9 months from Pancreatic Cancer, we looked at each other and said, 'Now what do we do?' We felt helpless and had no idea how to proceed. After a very desperate time, we learned about Heartland Hospice. I remember during our initial meeting with the hospice team, we kept thinking, 'This can't be real! These people are listening to us and are already preparing a plan for our daughter.'
Our daughter also suffered from an anxiety disorder and thus did not appreciate new people or situations, so she entered into Heartland's services with great hesitation. The staff from Heartland Hospice persisted even when the going got tough. Sandy emerged as the head nurse with Laurie and it was a match made in heaven. Sandy's approach accomplished so much more than we, as her parents, could. Sandy eventually became a member of the family; she even spent a bit of time helping us fix Laurie's bathroom door... I am pretty sure that is not included as part of Heartland's hospice services. The messages we received from the staff we encountered was always, 'Call us anytime; we are also here for the family.'
The thing that most impressed us, however, was the approach that the staff, especially Sandy, Abigail and Breanna, displayed. They seemed to share a philosophy of respect and peacefulness toward our daughter that persisted throughout her care. It was a beautiful thing to see. Also, the communication between those three and the rest of the team was outstanding. Sandy's direct communication with Dr. Miller had no comparison with what we could achieve as consumers without hospice care. During that last month when Laurie lived with us, we observed and learned from each staff member, as they each taught us things in their own way.
During Laurie's last days, Sandy was there to guide and support us all, including Laurie, through the process. Her oldest sister, Julie, who had shared caregiving responsibilities with Laurie's friend and caregiver, Dez, we, her parents and the hospice team were all there to say goodbye. Needless to say, without Heartland Hospice, we could never have gone through the process of carrying out Laurie's wish to die at home.
Jerry and Mary Lou Lenz"
"I just wanted to write to tell you how happy we are with your care for my mother-in-law."Show More
Words of Appreciation for Heartland Hospice Services of St. Cloud
I just wanted to write to tell you how happy we are with your care for my mother-in-law, Karen. Jen from Heartland Hospice was her hospice nurse. Jen helped guide my family through this process. She helped anticipate our needs and kept my mother-in-law comfortable throughout this process. Our biggest fear was that she would suffer and be in pain in her last days. For my mother-in-law’s last days, Jen was available constantly and helped arrange for the hospice chaplain to be present and pray with our family.
I cannot thank Jen enough for helping us through this difficult time as a family. As an RN myself, I never anticipated how hard this would be to watch my loved one go through this. The caring and compassion expressed from Jen and our nurse aide, Heather, were above and beyond my expectations. If you need a referral, please let me know, as I would be happy to do so.
“Our hospice team was approached with an idea to ‘Adopt a Patient’ during the holidays in hopes of making that patient’s Christmas a little brighter. Immediately a team member mentioned a hospice patient who she thought could use some special attention this holiday season."Show More
Heartland Hospice Team is Reminded About the Power of Giving
Cyndi, the Administrator at Heartland Hospice serving Minnesota North, was excited to share a holiday experience that her hospice team participated in reminding us about the power of giving:
“Our hospice team was approached with an idea to ‘Adopt a Patient’ during the holidays in hopes of making that patient’s Christmas a little brighter. Immediately a team member mentioned a hospice patient who she thought could use some special attention this holiday season. The team agreed.”
“Victor had not felt appreciated and loved since his wife passed away nine years ago. Even though his daughter visits often he misses that special relationship that he had with his wife. He has a deep faith that waivered at times but has endured and remains strong.”
“Our Heartland team decided to organize a holiday dinner for Victor and his daughter, Amy. They inquired about their favorite foods, and then arranged for the meal to be catered by Kay’s Kitchen, which happens to be the place Victor would take his family for dinner as well as the first job Amy had for many years. The team kept the dinner a surprise.”
“The big day arrived. That morning, during the home health aide’s visit, she made sure that Victor was showered and dressed nice. In fact, he had no idea why he was so dressed up. When the team let him in on the surprise, the look on his face was priceless and he smiled in awe! Victor opened some gifts from the team which included a book with pictures of tractors and 2 caps ‘Peterbilt’ which he loved. Victor worked his entire life on the road trucking to support and make a good living for his family”
“He said as he smiled, ‘You didn’t have to.’ Then everyone, including Victor, sang Christmas Carol’s: Jingle Bells, Deck the Halls and O’ Little Town of Bethlehem. After the singing was finished Victor was so overwhelmed that he shed tears! There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. We were honored to celebrate an incredible man that morning.”
“Victor shared that if it was not for Heartland Hospice, he would not be where he is at today. Giving him that one-on-one attention, working through his faith and being able to trust again has allowed him to be whole again."
"It was truly amazing to see the Heartland Hospice team impact his life in a truly beautiful way!”
"For me, having worked at Heartland Hospice for the past three years I have had the privilege of educating our community on the importance of planning for end-of-life."Show More
Making Choices: How Should One's Life End? A Difficult but Important Conversation
By: Heidi Hagen, Manager of Business Development for Heartland Hospice Serving Minnesota North
Life is about making choices, choices that our parents made way before we were born.
Today's society would appear that planning to have a child is becoming more of an art, an event that is illustrative of a story before conception to the actual birth day as couples pursue parenthood and what that life looks like to the actual day a child is born. Options for care, practitioners, testing, announcements, reveal parties, birthing, delivery, parental leave, and the list goes on. Notable is that our society in general does more planning for birth compared to death. The more important yet difficult choice is ... how do we want to die?
Allow me to share a story about my grandfather, a man of many lives, literally. I never thought Grandpa would die; he would live forever, right? I recall many times, Mom calling, "You better come to the hospital, Grandpa isn't doing well, and he might not make it today." Only to make the visit, say "I love you" and "See you next time" to learn the next day Grandpa was home, back to his normal self, living life!
This happened about 10 times in the last 12 years of his life. Never once do I recall our family having the conversation with my grandpa about his life, his goals and wishes, let alone what really matters ... when he is sick, really sick, and not able to make his own wishes known, what does he want for his life, or for that matter, his end of life?
This past September was another one of those times, I received the call from Mom, "Grandpa is in the hospital, you better stop by, doctors are not optimistic." And so it goes, I made a visit. This time, I was going to visit with my grandpa on the terms that I wanted to hear from him, I was going to ask him the difficult question, "Where do you want to die, Grandpa?"
It's not an easy question to ask, but it's an important question that everyone should be asked and discuss with loved ones time and again before a crisis arises, before a serious illness takes over, before loved-ones are not able to make their own wishes known to their family. This was a question that was not asked of my grandpa, nor was it discussed with the family. If ever the subject was brought up, the response was "Grandpa wants what his doctors want; as long as Grandpa can make his own decisions he wants everything done to keep him alive."
What does that mean to "have everything done?" What about the risks? What about Grandpa's goals and wishes for living life? What does that look like? How do we carry out those wishes? What if this and what if that? Do the doctors know best? Does Grandpa know best? Who knows best? At the age of 88, my Grandpa, with a heart condition and cancer, what would be his best life? What does Grandpa know about his illnesses and current condition? So many questions and really no answers or plans for a future life of living his best life with the life he had left to live.
Grandpa passed away February 7, at home, at the lake, comfortable, at peace and with loved ones by his side.
Was this the best option for Grandpa's end of life journey? Was it what he wanted? Was it what he expected? He shared that day in the hospital that he wanted to go home, to the lake where he loved to be, he wanted to be comfortable and he wanted to be around his family. It was that time in his life, at the age of 88, that an Advance Care Directive was completed, a guide to Grandpa's wishes for living his best life at the end of life.
Do you have these same questions, unsure of how to go about planning for your best life at end of life? Concerned about the what, where, when, how and why of having end of life plans. For me, having worked at Heartland Hospice for the past three years I have had the privilege of educating our community on the importance of planning for end of life.
On April 16, 2016, join us, in partnership with Essentia Health and Crow Wing Energized to learn about the importance of aging in place. For more details, visit Crow Wing Energized's website and click on the "Got Plans" banner to learn more and register for a free educational community event.
Heidi Hagen works at Heartland Hospice and is a Crow Wing Energized Community Leadership Team member.
To see the article on Brainerd Dispatch, click here.
Heartland Hospice Volunteer Salutes Veteran Patient at End-of-Life
Johnny, Veteran Volunteer with Heartland Hospice serving South Central Wisconsin, had been visiting with veteran patient, Robert for several months. When he heard of Robert's sudden decline, he knew he had to somehow visit him one last time to thank him for the time they spent together and for serving our country.Read the Full Story On Our Blog
The power of the individual, the importance of relationships and the value of respect and dignity to everyone at every stage of life are the backbone of our philosophy. We would love to work with you to help grant the wishes of your loved one. See some of the ways we have fulfilled our patients' heart's desires.Read On Our Blog