VIDEO: Amazing Hospice Volunteers Are Patient, Caring, Understanding, Loving and Respectful

By  //  October 29, 2017

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Hospice volunteers bring happiness, relief and peace

ABOVE VIDEO: Compassion, respect, integrity and the desire to help define the qualities of hospice volunteers. They bring happiness, relief and peace and can be relied upon to deliver these gifts humbly and with appreciation for the opportunity to give back

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Compassion, respect, integrity and the desire to help define the qualities of hospice volunteers.

“As necessary when working with terminally ill patients, these volunteers set their own needs aside to ease the burden that patients and families often feel during end-of-life care,” said Mary Larson, a licensed clinical social worker and the volunteer coordinator at Hospice of St. Francis.

“They bring happiness, relief and peace and can be relied upon to deliver these gifts humbly and with appreciation for the opportunity to give back.”

BARBARA HALEY – HOSPICE OF ST. FRANCIS

Mary Larson, manager of Volunteer and Bereavement Services for Hospice of St. Francis, looks forward to seeing volunteer Barbara Haley come through the door.

Mary Larson, manager of Volunteer and Bereavement Services for Hospice of St. Francis, looks forward to seeing volunteer Barbara Haley, above, come through the door. “She is a bright spot in our day, always ready to work, always interested in each person she interacts with and always wearing a beautiful smile,” said Larson.

“She is a bright spot in our day, always ready to work, always interested in each person she interacts with and always wearing a beautiful smile,” said Larson.

Haley began helping at the hospice’s Melbourne office in 2015 as her way to express the gratitude she felt for the hospice help her husband of 42 years received in 2014. She had promised her husband he would never have to go into a nursing home, and Hospice of St. Francis helped her keep that promise.

“They were really wonderful to him and to me,” said the Palm Bay resident. “Hospice of St. Francis took care of my husband when he was sick and they took care of me. With hospice care, I was able to keep him at home. I want to give back.”

Haley began volunteering three days a week for hospice, providing skilled support in data entry, information processing and documentation. According to Larson, Haley gives the United States Postal Service a run for its money in dedication to the job.

“There is rarely a day that Barbara doesn’t show up for work,” said Larson. “She has shown up on holidays, in stormy weather and during the busy holiday season.”

Attention to detail is one of Haley’s many attributes. Before she retired to Brevard, she had been an assistant manager at a bank in New Jersey and for 13 years worked at IBM, where she met her husband on a blind date.

Haley’s positive attitude is a blessing to the staff at Hospice of St. Francis.

“She often has a funny anecdote to share to make us laugh, uplifting us and reminding us to enjoy small moments throughout the day,” said Larson.

“When she is not here, it feels like something is not quite right. We hope to always have Barbara on our team. She is loved and valued by our office staff and we are so grateful for the gift of her time, talent and caring.”

ALICE UNGS – HOSPICE OF HEALTH FIRST

Providing direct services to hospice patients can be an emotional rollercoaster for anyone, because after strong connections made, they are unfortunately lost when patients pass away.

Providing direct services to hospice patients can be an emotional rollercoaster for anyone, because after strong connections made, they are unfortunately lost when patients pass away. Volunteers such as Alice Ungs of Hospice of Health First are to be especially commended for their work in this demanding field. Ungs is happy to help whenever needed.

Volunteers such as Alice Ungs of Hospice of Health First are to be especially commended for their work in this demanding field. Ungs is happy to help whenever needed.

“I’m pretty much available anytime they need me,” said Ungs, who joined the hospice volunteers last year.

For patients and their caregivers, Ungs picks up groceries, provides transportation to doctors’ appointments and brings some of her homemade dishes to their homes.

She will help with any paperwork the individuals need and will offer emotional support to patients and their loved ones, such as the 89-year-old hospice patient who only has a son as caregiver.

“She has no other family, so I recently spent six hours with her,” said Ungs. “It gives her someone to talk to and her son some respite.”

She can also spend hours helping the recently bereaved to better cope, and she contacts hospice administration weekly on her own initiative to see if there are any patients she can visit and sit with when she is between assignments.

A former hospice nurse in Georgia, Ungs, who retired in 2012, sees her work at Hospice of Health First as emotionally challenging, but highly rewarding.

“It is a privilege to help patients experience a peaceful passing,” said the Cape Canaveral resident.

She has channeled her hospice experience into a book of poetry. She also helps to raise awareness of hospice’s critical work by participating in health fairs and the Chaplains’ Conference.

Ungs recently traveled to Colorado to train as an end-of-life doula, an individual who creates a healing culture even in the face of death by supporting the dying emotionally, spiritually and physically to make their passing peaceful and meaningful. While available in other states, end-of-life doulas are rarities in Florida.

Although she started volunteering only a year ago, her compassion for and dedication for her hospice patients has already earned her a Rising Stars Award from Health First.

Ungs’ faith keeps her focused on the difficult tasks ahead in her hospice efforts.

“Death isn’t an ending, but a beginning,” she said.

ROSE BAKER – WUESTHOFF HOSPICE

Rose Baker is one of those folks everyone loves.

“She always has a smile on her face when she walks into the office,” said Angie Jenkins volunteer coordinator at Wuesthoff Brevard Hospice & Palliative Care, where Baker has volunteered for the past three years.

Rose Baker is one of those folks everyone loves. “She always has a smile on her face when she walks into the office,” said Angie Jenkins volunteer coordinator at Wuesthoff Brevard Hospice & Palliative Care, where Baker has volunteered for the past three years.

Truth be told, Baker often has very little reason to smile.

“Rose has had many challenges with her health this year, yet she continues strong in her vision to volunteer for hospice,” said Jenkins.

The Melbourne resident is certainly facing serious health problems, but she doesn’t let medical issues stop her from helping. She has had five back surgeries and still uses a walker nine months after her last procedure. She also fell and broke her shoulder, and if that wasn’t enough, the fall caused macular drop down.

“The right eye is still fuzzy,” she said.

Despite the pain she often feels, Baker still continues to give of her time and talent for hospice’s benefit. She used to make teddy bears for the hospice patients, but her eye problems no longer make that task possible. Instead of quitting, as many others would have done, she instead expanded her volunteering.

No matter the pain or discomfort, Baker spends up to six hours per day on Mondays and Thursdays at the Hospice office, where she will happily tackle any task given her.

“There isn’t anything she wouldn’t do to help out wherever she is needed,” said Jenkins. “I don’t know what we would do without her. We are so grateful to have such a wonderful volunteer on our hospice team.”

Karen Bettencourt, who works with Baker in the Admissions Department, is impressed by her can-do attitude

“Rose is always willing to help, she goes out of her way to make sure our department has all we need,” she said. “She is reliable, flexible, professional and does an excellent job! She is a true blessing to us!”

For her part, Baker feels volunteering at hospice is a winning proposition. “It keeps my brain awake,” she said.
When she is applauded for her efforts, her response is light-hearted. “I keep asking for a raise,” Baker joked.

DON JANIS – VITAS HOSPICE

At life’s end, compassionate connections can mean the world of difference to both the patient and his or her family. Volunteers such as Don Janis are a calming, caring presences at a time of turmoil.

At life’s end, compassionate connections can mean the world of difference to both the patient and his or her family. Volunteers such as Don Janis are a calming, caring presences at a time of turmoil.

Janis, Hospice Volunteer of the Year for VITAS Healthcare, chose to spend his free time helping the hospice’s Brevard patients 13 years ago. In fact, the Viera resident decided to volunteer for VITAS together with his wife, Dolores, after a neighbor asked for their help. When his better half went back to a paid position, Janis remained.

It was not the first time the “Janis Team” worked together to help the community. For 10 years, they served as ushers and ticket takers at the King Center for the Performing Arts.

A flooring installer for 35 years until his retirement in 1999, Janis moved to Brevard from Chicago in 2003. His line of work had taken its toll on his knees and back, and Chicago weather just didn’t seem as palatable as the Space Coast’s.

“We were originally going to be snowbirds, but a close friend had a heart attack when shoveling snow, so we abandoned that idea,” said Janis.

Even though he was no longer in the workforce, Janis nevertheless still wanted to give back to the community.
He started at VITAS doing the little administrative jobs that are nevertheless an integral part of operations for the hospice before moving on to other assignments.

“I say that I graduated from filing,” he joked.

In his current position, he sends letters of bereavement to the families of loved ones who have passed away and also helps VITAS with its newsletter. His computer savviness makes him a very wanted fellow at the hospice’s administrative quarters.

Volunteers such as Janis have been an integral part of the hospice movement in the United States since its beginnings. In fact, volunteers are so important for the delivery of this life-affirming service on the last chapter of life that Medicare requires all hospices have trained volunteers at their core.

“It’s very rewarding work,” said Janis.

These outstanding hospice volunteers will be honored during the 2017 Central Florida Humanitarian Awards, which will take place Thursday, Nov. 2 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, located at 200 Rialto Place in Melbourne, Florida.

FOR MORE INFORMATION or to make a reservation to attend the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala call 321-323-4460 or 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

The 2017 Central Florida Humanitarians have been announced and include outstanding individuals and organizations from the medical, business, education and governmental communities.

Recognizing Outstanding Individuals & Organizations Who Dedicate Their Time, Talent and Treasure

CENTRAL FLORIDA, USA – The 2017 Central Florida Humanitarians have been announced and include outstanding individuals and organizations from the medical, business, education and governmental communities. 

Also announced was the honoree for the Lifetime Achievement.

The Central Florida Humanitarian honorees will be recognized during a Gala event on Thursday, Nov. 2, at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place in Melbourne, Florida.

The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards were created eight years ago by Space Coast Daily to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that dedicate their time, talent or treasure to help people in need locally – and around the world.

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The 2017 Central Florida Humanitarians have been announced and include outstanding individuals and organizations from the medical, business, education and governmental communities. All Humanitarian alumni are presented a specially commissioned medallion.

TIME: In this category consider candidates who have selflessly and consistently devoted their time as volunteers at hospitals and nursing homes, in activities for the less fortunate and as organizers, administrators or operatives in the many other altruistic endeavors in our community.
TALENT: In this category give consideration to those who have volunteered their special talents and expertise to address specific circumstances in which the lives of those in need are improved.
TREASURE: The humanitarians in this category will include those who have generously shared their monetary good fortune and/or volunteered their time and efforts in fund raising for the advancement of a philanthropic cause.

All 2017 honorees will be featured in the Oct/Nov 2017 edition of Space Coast Daily magazine and online at SpaceCoastDaily.com.  The magazine will be available the first week of October in both print and digital editions, which will also be available on SpaceCoastDaily.com.

For the eighth consecutive year, the Central Florida Humanitarian committee will also honor hospital and hospice volunteers from Health First Hospice, the Dr. Jey Pillai Center for Hospice Care at Wasdin Woods, VITAS, Hospice of St. Francis, Health First Cape Canaveral Hospital, Health First Viera Hospital, Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center, Health First Palm Bay Hospital, Wuesthoff Medical Center – Melbourne, Wuesthoff Medical Center – Rockledge, the VA Clinic in Viera, and Sebastian River Medical Center.

ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS SELECTED TO BE HONORED INCLUDE:

ORGANIZATIONS
• BCSO Animal Services
• BCSO Honor Guard
• Brevard Guardian Ad Litem
• BIMDA
• Brevard C.A.R.E.S
• Driven by Heart (formerly Breast Friends)
• Genesis House
• Health First Foundation
• Space Coast Harley-Davidson
• Tess Brady and OASIS
• Total Home Roofing

INDIVIDUALS
• Rosette Brown
• Randy Coleman
• Bill Ellis
• Bjornar and Bjorg Hermansen
• Eugene Johnson
• Adrian Lafitte
• Dr. Romain Onteniente
• Valerie Paul
• Joan Throm
• Robin Whiting
• Steve Wilson
• The 2017 Central Florida Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement honoree is Judge Dean Moxley.

The 2017 Central Florida Humanitarians have been announced and include outstanding individuals and organizations from the medical, business, education and governmental communities.  Each honoree or organization will be presented the Central Florida Humanitarian Crystal Globe.

HONORING SELFLESS VOLUNTEERISM

Dr. Jim Palermo

Dr. Jim Palermo

“Over the years, our editorial team has had the distinct honor and pleasure of identifying and featuring the many members of our community who give back so much and are dedicated to reaching out and helping others, here and throughout the world, in a multitude of ways,” said Space Coast Daily Editor-In-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo.

“For the eight consecutive year, we will once again produce the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala on the first Thursday of November. This year, more than 30 deserving humanitarians will be honored during the Gala.”

The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards will be part of “Space Coast Health Week,” a comprehensive series of health and educational events produced by Space Coast Daily.

JOIN US FOR AN INSPIRATIONAL EVENING

This inspiring and compelling event is sponsored by Florida Tech, Health First, SOAR, BioCellular Therapies, First Choice Medical Group, Clear Choice Health Care, Brevard Geriatrics, Dr. Mark Pinsky, Rock Paper Simple, Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, Friday Night Locker Room, Safari Mail House, Space Coast Daily magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com. Each honoree or organization will be presented the Central Florida Humanitarian Crystal Globe.

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Giles Malone

“We would like to thank our long list of sponsors who support the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards and who make this wonderful event possible,” said Giles Malone, a partner with Space Coast Daily and Brevard Productions, who annually produce all the events of Space Coast Medicine Week.

COMPELLING MULTIMEDIA TRIBUTE VIDEOS & STORIES

Stay tuned to Space Coast Daily magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com for exclusive and comprehensive multimedia coverage of each honoree as we present their compelling stories.

Tom Palermo

Tom Palermo

“Please join us on Thursday, Nov. 2 to celebrate and be inspired by these incredible individuals and groups,” said Space Coast Daily President & Publisher Tom Palermo. 

“In the meantime, please click the link below that showcases the distinguished Central Florida Humanitarian Alumni.”

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN ALUMNI

FOR MORE INFORMATION or to make a reservation to attend the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala call 321-323-4460 or 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com

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ABOVE MAP: The 2017 Central Florida Humanitarian Awards will take place Thursday, Nov. 2 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, located at 200 Rialto Place in Melbourne, Florida.


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