Employee Spotlight: Kelly Hardy

Name, title: Kelly Hardy, Home Care Social Worker

How long have you worked here?
15 years

What made you decide to work here?
The idea of working with families in their own homes really appealed to me. Being able to see what daily life is like for someone is very helpful in trying to understand their needs.
I also really appreciated the extent to which emotional and spiritual needs were valued at Angela Hospice – that’s often not the case in other areas of health care.

How had you heard of Angela Hospice?
I had a friend who had worked at Angela Hospice for a brief time and she encouraged me to consider working here.

What’s a typical day like for you?
My days are typically comprised of several phone conversations with patients and families who are currently in our program, as well as bereavement phone calls to families who have recently lost a loved one. Home visits are also a regular part of each day in which I serve as a counselor and a community resource liaison for our patients and families. Generally, I assist in coping with end-of-life experiences, caregiver stressors, and ensuring that patients are informed and able to access the care and resources that they need.

Kelly (second from left) at Angela Hospice's Light Up
a Life Gala last fall.
What is your favorite part about working at Angela Hospice?
I’ve always said that Angela Hospice has an incredible way of drawing in some of the most caring people around. It’s a special thing to work closely with colleagues who have shared values and who care so much about helping others.

Every day I’m reminded to be humble and to be grateful for the little things in life. If you’re paying attention doing this work, it’s hard not to have constant perspective.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Angela Hospice?
I remember the first time, early in my career, being in the home with a family when their loved one took his last breath. It was such an intimate moment to share with them and it’s really hard to put that feeling into words. In the moment, I was completely in awe of what had happened and then I was able to guide this family through the steps that followed.

There have been some really special moments where transformative things have happened in families – in terms of communication or newfound understanding in relationships – that I have been fortunate to be a part of. Those are experiences that remind me why this time at the end of life is so precious.

Volunteer Spotlight: Pat Millen

Name: Pat Millen

How long have you been a volunteer?
Two years in April.

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do as a volunteer?
Development, events, mailings, salads for Caregiver Suppers, and ice cream socials.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I am in a place in my life that’s really very good and I’ve gotten more free time. My grandchildren don’t need me anymore, they’re all in school now; I used to be there for them in case the parents had to go do something. Now I don’t have to do that and I’m in good health. I just decided that I need to give back and thought, “Where could I do this? How could I volunteer?”

Pat (left) working at Burgers, Brews & Bros.
I was thinking about food pantries and serving meals, but I’ve lived in this community for 45 years, and I only live three miles away. I’ve been associated with the Felicians since school -- I went to school for 12 years with them in Hamtramck…And I thought, “You know, this is close and I think I have skills that I can give to Angela Hospice.” I really like the whole concept that they have over here too.

I think being at Angela Hospice has changed me for the better because everybody is just so nice. I thought this would probably be a good fit for me because I can do a lot of different things and I’m conscientious, dependable. I think I come in with a good attitude…So it’s almost been two years and I’ve loved it. It’s been very nice.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
Helping out, meeting the people…just being part of the group. Most everything I’ve done I’ve enjoyed doing so I don’t have any one thing in particular.

I enjoy working in the Development Department, I think it’s a lot of fun to help out with all the events that are going on and see all the background work that happens. I have an office background so I think I kind of fit in over there.

Glitzy Glamour Raffle tickets now on sale

This year's annual Laughter Lifts You Up event already has some really amazing raffle prizes, including the Glitzy Glamour Raffle prize!

One lucky winner will take home a Hearts on Fire 18K White Gold Lorelei Crescent 1.00ct TW Diamond Necklace (pictured left, enlarged to show detail) worth $4,900! This gorgeous piece of jewelry was kindly donated by Orin Jewelers of Garden City.

Tickets are $10 each, 3 tickets for $20 or 10 tickets for $50. The drawing will take place at our annual women’s event, Laughter Lifts You Up, on Thursday, February 23, between 8-10 p.m.

If you won’t be able to make it to Laughter Lifts You Up but still want to buy tickets, that’s fine! You don’t need to be present to win.

Call the Development office at (866) 464-7810 to get tickets over the phone or download the order form here. Or, stop by the Angela Hospice Care Center and speak to the receptionist. Tickets will also be sold at the event.

Interested in more information about Laughter Lifts You Up or want to order tickets for the event? Click here.

Employee Spotlight: Kathy Ostroskie

Name, title: Kathy Ostroskie, Spiritual Care Coordinator

How long have you worked here?
Six years.

What made you decide to work here?
I worked at another hospice for seven years prior to coming to Angela Hospice and the fact that Angela Hospice is a faith-based hospice was the draw for me.  

How had you heard of Angela Hospice?
I had never even heard the word “hospice” until my mother was referred to a hospice program. After that, the hospice philosophy was imprinted on my heart. I live in Livonia and whenever I passed the beautiful Angela Hospice grounds, I just knew that I would work here eventually.

    Kathy in the adoration chapel in the Care Center.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I visit patients and their families in their home setting for any spiritual care needs and then provide those needs, whether it’s a scripture reading, prayer or spiritual conversation, etc. I might also facilitate a patient connection with a parish or locate clergy within the community for any Sacramental need.

What is your favorite part about working at Angela Hospice?
I look forward to coming to work every day and working with my great team and volunteers. I also like the fact that every day is a little different.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Angela Hospice?
We had a very independent patient that sold everything she owned prior to living at our Care Center. She eventually “graduated” out of our program and went to live with her son; which I believe was her heart’s desire (and her son’s). She kept in touch with us afterwards. Her attitude was to “live in the moment,” which is a lesson for all of us!

Volunteer Spotlight: George Weber

Going to a stranger’s home for the first time and knocking on their door is almost always a little nerve-wracking; just ask home care volunteer George Weber.

“Sure, I had a few butterflies ringing my first doorbell!” he said. “However, I knew that I was entering a home that wanted me there… I was accepted as just another part of the Angela Hospice team.”

George volunteers in home care each week.
As a home care volunteer George definitely feels the love from both patients and their families, who are incredibly appreciative he’s there, even if only for a few hours each week.

“A lot of times you’re just a sounding board,” George laughed. “A little bit of a psychologist sometimes too.”

To patients and families, George and all the other home care volunteers who visit are much more than “just a sounding board.” They can give the patient some companionship and comfort. They can give the loved ones a moment to do something for themselves, even if it’s as small as going to CVS for half an hour.

Volunteers like George can also be a fresh face for patients to tell a favorite story that everyone else has heard 1,000 times.

For George, getting to spend time with patients is his favorite part about volunteering, and has left him with many wonderful memories. He had one patient that taught him a little Italian; and another, who was from Germany, telling him all about his history. George also said that many of the patients he’s worked with have a very good sense of humor and make him laugh often.

“It’s been educational for me,” he said. “And it allows them, I think, to reflect on their lives as well. It gives them somebody else to talk to other than family and friends.”

Patients aren’t the only ones that need someone new to talk to; family members do as well.

“If the patient is bed-ridden, or maybe sleeps a lot, sometimes they just want somebody to talk to, somebody to bare their soul to, other than family,” George said. “So kind of that independent party they can tell their woes to.”

During the last year-and-a-half spent volunteering, George has heard all kinds of things from patient’s loved ones, ranging from those that tell him about the family situation, to others who just need to complain a little and get something off their chest.

So how did George, who had no prior hospice experience, become a hospice volunteer in the first place? He was drawn to it.

“I don’t know that I can explain how or why,” he said. “Just once I had heard about it and researched it a little bit, it felt like the right thing.”

George, who retired from Ford after 32 years, began looking up all the hospices in southeast Michigan and came across Angela Hospice, which was highly rated and was Catholic-based, another factor in his decision. George figured a Catholic-based, non-profit hospice would have values similar to his.

Once in volunteer training George was told there was a pretty significant need for home care volunteers, especially men, so he decided that’s the area he would work in.

“It’s been great,” George said. “I truly, truly enjoy it.”

For those who might be hesitant about volunteering in hospice, George recommends they give it a try anyway and see what it’s really about. He wants them to know it isn’t all sitting by someone’s bedside, even though that is part of it, but it’s so much more.

“One thing with hospice is each of us knows the end game, so there’s no mystery,” he said. “It’s a pretty pragmatic approach, so I think that helps take a lot of the pressure off both the patients and me. We both know what’s going to happen.”

George thinks anyone would be a good home care volunteer as long as they can spare a few hours a week, enjoy helping others, can have one-on-one conversations, and have an empathetic ear.

“People should get out of their comfort zone a little bit and learn more about home care because there’s still a need for that,” George said.

For now, George is going to keep volunteering and knocking on those doors, without the butterflies.

To learn more about volunteering at Angela Hospice please call the Volunteer Department at (734) 464-7810 or visit our website, at AskforAngela.com. If you would like to fill out a volunteer application please click here.