Employee Spotlight: Mike Conway

Name: Mike Conway, Home Care Social Worker, LMSW

How long have you worked here?
Six years.

What made you decide to work here?
After the loss of a loved one I went back to college to get my Masters in Social Work and I was able to complete one of my field placements at Angela Hospice. In only a few days into my placement I knew that Angela Hospice was where I wanted to pursue my career as a social worker.

Under the supervision of Rebecca, Whitney, and Mary Ann, I was able to observe how the staff at Angela Hospice was able to make a difference in patient’s and families’ lives during very difficult times. The staff’s care and kindness was not only extended to the patients and families, but also to each other and me.

How had you heard of Angela Hospice?
Prior to working at Angela Hospice, I worked for a marketing agency on Newburgh road across from Angela Hospice.

What’s a typical day like for you?
My day usually starts off at the Care Center reviewing the prior day’s events, completing documentation, reviewing on-call visits, and preparing for visits. Then I’m off to visit with patients and families in their homes or at facilities. Some of these visits are joint visits with nurses. While at the visits I provide support, guidance, reassurances, and encouragement to patients and families. Often I’m helping the patients and families find peace, comfort, and meaning as the loved one declines. This support continues for weeks after the loved one’s death.

Mike Conway with Director of Development Bob Alexander.
What’s your favorite part about working at Angela Hospice?
My favorite part of my job is being able to enable patients to pass peacefully and for families to have a lasting, meaningful, positive experience. Many times families have shared that being able to care for their loved one has brought them comfort and left them with cherished memories that would not have otherwise happened.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Angela Hospice?
Over the six years I have worked at Angela Hospice, I have had countless cherished memories that have left lasting impressions and helped me grow as a social worker and person. I have been privileged to care for and witness many unique situations.

Early in my career I was part of the team who cared for both a husband and wife who were on hospice at the same time, being cared for by their son in the parents’ home. The husband and wife passed one day apart.

But one of the most moving deaths I was present for was for a patient who died at home with his children and wife gathered around him. The son was playing a guitar as the family sung his favorite songs. The patient looked over at his family, smiled, and passed peacefully. There were many tears shed, but the family expressed how grateful they were that they were able to spend this quality time with their loved one and send him out of this world as he wanted.

Employee Spotlight: Penny Weeks

Name, title: Penny Weeks, Home Care Nurse

How long have you worked here?
Three years

What made you decide to work here? 
In my first year of nursing, I had a very young patient at the University of Michigan who had kidney failure and she was not a candidate for dialysis or transplant; she declined further life-prolonging treatments. A hospice consult was written, and the family wanted Angela! This patient was a patient of mine for weeks in the hospital and I became very close with them and their family.

The family kept in touch with me after she was discharged and transferred to the Care Center and when she died they called me. They had so many wonderful things to say about Angela Hospice and the staff, and the fact that Angela Hospice was Christ-centered care, and how comforting it was to have their nurse pray with them and be supportive of their faith. I knew then that someday I wanted to work for a company whose mission was Christ-like.

How had you heard of Angela Hospice?
Angela Hospice has an awesome reputation in the hospital setting and my entire career was spent in the hospital.

What’s a typical day like for you? 
No day is typical as a hospice nurse. You have to be able to multi-task, keep multiple balls in the air, juggle your schedule, patient and families’ schedules, and be able to be very flexible.

Penny with fellow employees at the Light Up a Life Benefit. From 
left: Russ and Kelly Hardy, Penny and husband Mike Belcher.
What is your favorite part about working at Angela Hospice?
I work with the best of the best. They are genuine, caring, and loving people. They are selfless, honest, and with the utmost integrity.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Angela Hospice?
Sitting with a family while their mother was taking her last breaths and being able to provide comfort and emotional support for them. Making a difference.

Making Mom Proud

Maria Frade and her sisters at their parents’ 50th anniversary. From
left to right: Molly, Marilyn, mother Marilyn, father David, Monica,
and Maria.
Supporting Angela Hospice is about three things for Maria Frade: giving back, paying it forward, and honoring her mother’s legacy.

“She was loving, warm, giving, and a woman of strong principle,” said Maria. “And, oh how she loved her family.”

Maria lost her mother, Marilyn Frade, in 2014. She had been sick for the better part of a year before her doctors finally understood what was happening. What at first looked like Parkinson’s was ultimately diagnosed as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). It’s a very rare, fatal brain disease that affects one in a million people.

Maria, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, had come to visit her mother, who was being cared for in a nursing facility. Maria could see the disease was progressing rapidly. Her mom experienced hallucinations, progressive dementia, and other neurological symptoms.

“I remember leaving that building in the end of September on my mom’s birthday and in my gut I knew: I knew I wasn’t going to ever be able to talk to her again,” Maria said.

Her gut feeling was right. The next time Maria came to Michigan to visit, her mother was in a coma,
but she had also been transferred to the Angela Hospice Care Center.

“I really was in awe of the people who worked there who cared for my mother. The dignity they showed her, the love, the genuine concern and care. I was just in awe,” Maria said, holding back tears. “I got there Monday and I never left. I stayed there, I spent the night there. And everybody was just so respectful of my family, of my mother most importantly.”

A limestone brick on the Angela 
Hospice grounds was dedicated 
for Marilyn Frade by her family.
Her appreciation for the compassionate care her mother received at Angela is one of the reasons that Maria now makes monthly donations of support. And she’s also grateful for the opportunity to help others. It’s something her mother inspired her to do.

“It wasn’t until after my mother died that I realized how much my mother gave to charity. She gave to so many people! Even neighbors and people she didn’t even know…we found all these thank you cards my mother kept,” Maria said.

Maria said she sees Angela Hospice as a selfless organization – one that you don’t fully begin to appreciate it until you experience it with your own family member.

“I do not know how to concisely articulate a heart full of gratitude, so I am doing what my Catholic Christian faith asks me to do: give back and share,” Maria said. “I do want to help others receive the same wonderful services and care that my mother and family received from Angela Hospice during the most traumatic and devastating time in our lives. In doing so, I also hope to honor my mother and continue to make her proud of me from Heaven.”

We’re sure she is proud, and we’re grateful too.

"Winner Takes All" Raffle

If you haven't heard, we've got an excellent raffle going on right now. The drawing will take place June 12, 2017, at our Annual Golf Outing, but you don't have to be present to win. Of course if you are present, that's all the more fun!

Here are the details of the prize packages that will all go to one very lucky winner:

$500 Cash

$500 in Gift Cards

  • Panera Bread - $50
  • Twelve Oaks Mall - $150
  • Red Robin - $30
  • J. Alexander’s - $75
  • Visa Gift Card - $25
  • Speedway Gas - $100
  • Applebee’s - $30
  • McDonald’s - $20
  • Tim Horton’s - $20

Two tickets to each of these Angela Hospice events:

  • Walk of Remembrance, September 16, 2017
  • Light Up A Life Gala , October 27, 2017, at Laurel Manor 
  • Laughter Lifts You Up women’s comedy event, February 2018

Golf Packages:

  • Western Golf and Country Club Round of golf for four. Mutually agreed upon date.
  • Black Bear Golf Club Near Gaylord, MI. Round of golf for four. Cart fee is $10 per player, valid after 1 p.m.
  • Treetops Resort Near Gaylord, MI. Round of golf for four. Valid weekdays only, cart fee is $25.
  • Grand Traverse Resort and Spa Round of golf for four. Valid Sun. after noon, or Mon.-Thu. any time.

Detroit Getaway

  • Double Tree Hilton Downtown One night stay at the Downtown Detroit-Fort Shelby location, including complimentary valet parking for one vehicle. Advance reservations required, subject to availability.
  • Four Detroit Tigers Tickets Sunday, Aug. 13, 1 p.m. game vs. Minnesota Twins, lower level seats, Section 139, Row 18.

Only 500 tickets will be sold for this raffle, and all proceeds will benefit Angela Hospice's charitable program. To get your tickets for $25 each, call the Angela Hospice Development Office at (734) 464-7810 or visit our Care Center lobby between 8:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. weekdays, or 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends. Good luck!

Raffle License #R42145.