Volunteer Spotlight: Lori Loos

Name: Lori Loos

How long have you been a volunteer? 

Seven years

What areas do you work in/what tasks do you do? 

Direct patient care in the Care Center. Her and her husband, Mike, also work the Tree of Life and have done the Walk of Remembrance since it began.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?

A number of years ago our family experienced losing some family members. They were not here at Angela Hospice, but when it was all done it was a little troubling for me and someone told me there was grief counseling here. So I came to that and it gave me an opportunity to talk through things with somebody. I was a little skeptical at first, I think as most people probably are, until I actually got here and looked forward to coming. So when I felt like I didn’t need to do that anymore I kind of still made that connection to Angela Hospice and decided that I wanted to go to the volunteer training.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?

I think working with the families and the feeling you get of maybe being helpful. Some nights are quiet. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’ve done much but you can’t always look at it that way. I think you always get something done just by being a presence sometimes. And just assisting the families and getting them what they need, and also assisting the nurses and staff who are often so busy. If I can be that go-between person or alleviate some of the pressure off of them by getting the family member or the patient what they need then I feel like I’m being helpful to them too.

I enjoy doing Tree of Life. My husband and I have done it for the last couple of years and we always sign up for as many sessions as they need. I enjoy that a lot because my husband and I always say everybody has a story. So if that person comes to the table and wants to make a donation, oftentimes it prompts them to talk about somebody or something that’s happened to them. It’s good to be able to just lend an ear, especially around the holidays. It doesn’t really matter how much time has passed, it’s still hard for people.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?

A couple of things. I do enjoy that aspect of working at the Tree of Life because you know, it is around the holidays and everybody is thinking about somebody who’s not going to be there. I enjoy that aspect of volunteering in that regard, to just talk to people or let them tell their story.

Also, some of the patients on B-wing have some previous military experience and a couple months ago they started the We Honor Veterans program. There’s been family members in my family and my husband’s family that have been in the military, so it’s kind of nice sometimes when you’re looking for a way to begin a conversation and you notice their service memorabilia or their certificate. It kind of prompts them to be able to talk about it even if it was long ago. I enjoy listening to those stories because we kind of have a background too in our families.

Free Seminar: Symptom Management ELNEC MODULE 3

Symptom Management

Wednesday, February 18
8:15-9:15 a.m.
Tuesday, March 17
9:00 -10:00 a.m.

Choose date to attend.
ONE contact hour will be provided.
*Please arrive 15 min prior to start of program 
for registration

Presented at:
Angela Hospice
Day Room A & B
14100 Newburgh Rd
Livonia, MI 48154

Faculty: Karen Cafeo, RN, BSN, CHPN

Cost: FREE

To register or for more information contact: Karen Cafeo at (734) 953-6040 or kcafeo@angelahospice.net
The faculty and planning committee have declared no conflict of interest.
Copyright City of Hope and American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2006; Revised 2014.
The End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) Project is a national end-of-life educational program administered by City of Hope (COH) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) designed to enhance palliative care in nursing. The ELNEC Project was originally funded by a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with additional support from funding organizations (Aetna Foundation, Archstone Foundation, California HealthCare Foundation, Cambia Health Foundation, Milbank Foundation for Rehabilitation, National Cancer Institute, Oncology Nursing Foundation, Open Society Institute/Foundation, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs). Further information about the ELNEC Project can be found at www.aacn.nche.edu/ELNEC.

Volunteer Spotlight: Dottie Wait

Name: Dottie Wait

How long have you been a volunteer?
Since 1992

What areas do you work in/what tasks do you do?
She used to do patient care, now she does bereavement, mailings, and works the events.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
When my husband was ill -- he had MS -- I had him enrolled in a hospice over in Dearborn Heights; that’s where I lived. I didn’t even know about Angela Hospice. But after he died, I’m a former RN, and I said, you know, that’s something I could do. All my kids were in college or out of college, and I thought, I don’t have anybody right in town, you know, and I needed to be involved because I have too much energy to sit at home and do nothing!

Why Angela Hospice?
Because I saw it in my church paper after my husband died, and I called and they were filled up for when I wanted to go. So they said to call back, so I did. Then I took the regular class for the eight weeks and then they were talking about the bereavement class and I took that.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
Just knowing I’m helping people. That’s part of my nature. 

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering? 
I loved feeding the patients and all that when I used to volunteer in the Care Center. But I have sat with patients for compassionate care recently. I have done that so I don’t have to get involved with the computer.


Volunteer Spotlight: Esther Keeling

Name: Esther Keeling

How long have you been a volunteer?
Three years

What areas do you work in/what tasks do you do?
Receptionist, events, bereavement, and has served with the Ethics Committee.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I would administer for different nursing homes, so I’ve always given back to the community. Just a love of wanting to help people got me into volunteering.

Why Angela Hospice?
About five years ago I moved to Livonia so Newburgh was my traveling route. I could literally hear Angela Hospice saying, “Come on, come on, stop by.” I saw an ad in one of the local papers for volunteers and I thought, this is cool. So that’s where I started. I was literally just driving by.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
My favorite part about volunteering is actually the joy of seeing the patients as well as the staff. The help, the love. It’s just a loving environment and they are very appreciative, the staff as well. And just being able to help people that may feel like they are lost and don’t know where to turn. It’s just to be able to have the heart to help.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
My favorite memory just occurred this Dec. 7. It was my first memorial. I signed up at the bereavement meeting as a candlelighter. Little did I know two days later I would receive a letter saying that my aunt was also going to be honored at this same memorial. So I’m like, OK, this is cool.

What I saw at the memorial was just so beautiful because it was an hour for individuals that had lost a loved one to come together and really express their joy, their love, whatever they were feeling inside about their loved ones. I thought it was great because at that point my aunt had just died in August, and I didn’t realize there was still some more that I needed to do. So I really appreciated the memorial, being able to light the candles. It was just beautiful to be able to see people just pour their love out right there, it didn’t matter. We all were sharing the same thing. I thought it was so touching, and it was nothing like I’d ever seen before.

Angela Hospice announces new President & CEO: Margot Parr

Margot J. Parr
With the support and collaboration of our community and friends, Angela Hospice has established a solid reputation over the past 30 years for comprehensive, compassionate and Christ-like care we provide for our patients and their families. As we continue to build upon that tradition, we are pleased to announce health care and human services veteran Margot J. Parr will lead Angela Hospice as President and CEO, beginning February 9, 2015.

Mary Beth Moning, who has served as the organization’s interim President and CEO since March 2014, will resume her role as Executive Director of Angela Hospice, a position she served in for eight years.
Margot’s leadership and skills will help Angela Hospice build its capacity for care, bringing with her years of health care experience and faith-based organizational leadership, strong business acumen, financial expertise, and a passion for hospice care. In fact, she is a former Angela Hospice volunteer and once sang in the Angela Hospice choir!

In 2014, we implemented new efficient and cost-saving technologies while pursuing our long-term goal of expanding our services to help more patients who would benefit from hospice’s specialized care. Under Margot’s direction, we will take our efforts to the next level, positively benefitting patients and families, community members, and the staff and volunteers who serve this organization.

Margot comes to us from Evangelical Homes of Michigan, where she served in leadership roles for the past eight years, most recently as Senior Executive Director. She led a staff of more than 500 team members, managed a multimillion-dollar budget, actively engaged in fund development, created new programs, and successfully completed several multimillion-dollar renovation and construction projects. During this time, Margot also worked in a unique partnership with Arbor Hospice providing operational oversight and consultation for the Arbor Hospice Residence.

Prior to her work at Evangelical Homes of Michigan, Margot served as Operations Consultant with Trinity Continuing Care Services specializing in new business development and then as executive director for Jewish Home & Aging Services (now Jewish Senior Life). Over the course of her 12-year tenure, she increased the capacity of those served by the organization from 200 older adults to more than 2000 older adults in five counties annually.

As part of the organization’s growth, she developed new programs and services to better address the needs of those served and secured millions of dollars in endowments and gifts, exceeding the organization’s multimillion dollar capital campaign goal while reducing dependency on governance funding. Prior to that, Margot served as the Director of Operations for Mercy Services for Aging (now Trinity Continuing Care Services).

Your support is a vital component of Angela Hospice’s success, and we hope you will join us in welcoming Margot to the Angela Hospice family as we position ourselves to faithfully serve more families in the years to come.

Comfort Food

By: Carolyn Arlen, Angela Hospice Volunteer

Mary Anne Ralko has been a volunteer at Angela Hospice for over 5 years. Her teenage son, Adam, volunteered at Angela during high school as a Christian service project. His touching and heartwarming stories of his interaction with patients resonated with her. With her sons all in college and now empty-nested, she decided to volunteer at Angela. 

Mary Anne loves to cook and work with food, so her volunteer mentor asked if she'd like to assist at the weekly formal High Tea in the Care Center. She enjoyed serving tea sandwiches and luscious desserts on fine china to patients and their families.

During one of the Teas, a female patient who had chosen to no longer undergo chemotherapy, and just finish out her life in peace, told Mary Anne: "This is my first step towards Heaven." That was how much she enjoyed the lovely Teas  and ambiance. At that moment, Mary Anne was hooked in her volunteering. The women's remark "actually gave me goosebumps," she said. Mary Anne was humbled that such a seemingly small effort on her part meant so much in the life of a dying woman.

Mary Anne also helps out with the hospitality cart, filled with candies and treats that she takes into patients’ rooms. One male patient was thrilled to see her and opened a drawer to reveal a mound of candy stashed there. "It made him so happy," said Mary Anne. She continues to provide food and comfort by cooking and serving a monthly meal in the Care Center kitchen to families, baking treats, and serving food at the annual Walk of Remembrance.

During the holiday season, Mary Anne was volunteering at Angela Hospice’s Tree of Life fundraiser. A young man and his small daughter stopped by and asked her if they could retrieve the angel ornament they had hung on one of the Christmas trees. They explained they wanted to take it home to hang on their tree on Christmas Eve so "their loved one would be close by." Mary Anne literally was brought to tears by such a heartfelt remark and knew that this was volunteer reward beyond measure.

In the past year, Mary Anne had the opportunity to have her father in the Care Center. It gave her a very personal insight into "both sides" of being a volunteer, making her even more aware of its value. With all energies focused on her ill father, a very sensitive staff member took Mary Anne’s mother aside and spent considerable time talking with her -- something her mother desperately needed. "That meant the world to me, and especially my mother," Mary Anne recalls. And even after her father's passing, the staff member still continues to ask, "how is your Mother doing?”

Upon her father's arrival at the Care Center, he remarked "this doesn't look like a hospital. My family must love me so much to put me in such a beautiful place." Mary Anne said she was so glad her father had the experience of being at Angela Hospice.

Volunteer Spotlight: Tammy Welsh

Name: Tammy Welsh

How long have you been a volunteer?
Four years

What areas do you work in/what tasks do you do?
Direct patient care in the Care Center, and mentoring new volunteers.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I’ve been really blessed with fortunate things in my life and my kids were all grown, and I had some extra time. I thought, ok, well I guess this is my time to give back, so where am I going to put my time? To be honest, I think it was just following God’s direction because when I put in volunteer work Angela’s was the first one that came up. It was just like ok, that’s where I should go. I didn’t bother looking any further. Then I filled out the application and after that very first night (of volunteer training) I said, yup. It was like an overwhelming feeling of “this is where I’m supposed to be at this time in my lifeand that’s where I’ve been.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
Just being able to help and talk to the patients. Some of them have such great history and such great stories to tell. It’s just a privilege to be able to sit there and listen to their life journey, what they’ve done in their lives. It’s such a vulnerable time in their life that they fill you in on a lot of stuff, which is kind of neat.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
There is one time, and I’ll never forget it. There was this woman and she did not want to be here. She wasn't very cooperative. She just wasn't going with the program. She was here for a little bit of time, and I still went in and saw her and said hello and all that kind of stuff every night I was here. One night I went in and said hi and she actually said hello to me, which she never did. She would never say hi, she would just kind of look at you, like “What are you doing here?” But anyway, she looked at me and said hello and I said, “Can I get you anything? Is there anything I can do for you?”

She said, “Can you stay with me for a while?”

I said, “Yeah, I can stay with you for a while.”

And she said, “I don’t feel well. I’m having some pains in my chest.”

So I sat with her.  She grabbed my hand and we were just sitting there. I knew she was in pain and I knew things weren’t right. She said, “Please don’t leave me. Don’t go anywhere. Just can you please stay with me?”
I said, “I’m not going anywhere, I’ll stay right here.” But I could tell she was getting more agitated, more upset, and so I said, “Hang on a second. I’ll be right back. I’m just going to go get a nurse and she’s going to come in and check you out.”

She said, “Nope, nope, don’t leave me. Please don’t leave me.”

I said, “OK, alright, I’ll stay right here.”

So I buzzed for the nurse and a few minutes later the nurse came. I told her what was going on and the nurse said, “She’s not taking her medications. She’s refusing to take them.” So she was explaining to the patient that she was having some heart issues because she stopped taking her medication but she could give them to her if she wanted. It took her about 10 seconds to say she wanted the medications. The nurse gave her the medications and said that it was going to take a little while before she would feel better, but just to relax.

Long story short, I sat with her for probably about four hours and she just kept saying, ”Don’t leave me, please don’t leave me.” At the very end of it she was doing a lot better and she was like a totally different person. She said, “Thank you so much for staying with me. I appreciate everything you did. God bless you.”

It was just like we don’t really know what that person is going through. We can’t really judge that person for anything at all because we’re not in their shoes. But it just made me stop and think she wasn’t this person that she kind of gave this air of being. She actually was just a sweet, little, old, scared lady, and she wanted somebody with her. I think she was really afraid she was going to die. I’ll never forget it. I helped her out in that moment and she made me feel so good at the same time. We kind of helped each other out.