Welcome to Our New Board Members

Hospicare welcomes Kathy Schlather, Kenneth Clark, and Mary George Opperman to our board of directors.

We are so pleased to welcome three new board members to our team. Read on to learn more about Kathy, Kenneth, and Mary.

Kathy Schlather

Kathy Schlather has lived with her husband, Ray, on the West Hill of the City of Ithaca since 1973. She is a graduate of the school of Human Ecology at Cornell University and of the State University at Albany with a Master of Social Work in Human Services Management.

Previous to her retirement in April of 2022, Kathy was the Executive Director of the Human Services Coalition of Tompkins County (HSC) for 17 years. Prior to HSC, she was the Planner and a Deputy Commissioner for the Tompkins County Department of Social Services. In her position as HSC Executive Director, she served as the Co-Chair of the Ithaca/Tompkins Continuum of Care. She currently serves on Boards of the United Way and Hospicare. She is a member of the County’s Housing Trust Fund Review Committee, and she chairs the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency’s Governance Committee.

Mary is the proud grandmother of 2 incredible teenagers.

“I have personally witnessed the compassionate and professional care that the Hospicare staff and volunteers provide. Hospicare is an essential part of our health care system and an invaluable community resource.  As a board member, I will work to assure that it remains an option for anyone who is in need of its services.”

Kathy Schlather

Rev. Dr. Kenneth I. Clarke, Sr.

Rev. Dr. Kenneth I. Clarke, Sr., is Director of the Tompkins County Office of Human Rights in Ithaca, NY.  From 2001 to 2017 Ken was Director of Cornell United Religious Work at Cornell University.  He also served as Assistant Director and Director of the Center for Ethics and Religious Affairs at Penn State University from 1990-2001.  While at Penn State, Ken was an Instructor in African/African American Studies and co-pastor of the Albright Bethune United Methodist Church in State College, PA. Ken was employed at Third Baptist Church of San Francisco from 1987-1990, where he was Director of Development for the church’s Ethiopian Refugee Resettlement Project and Assistant Pastor/Administrator.

A native of Baltimore, MD, Ken graduated from Morgan State University in 1980 with a B.A. in English, earned a Master of Divinity degree from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in 1986 and a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary (Dayton, OH) in 2008.

Mary George Opperman

Mary George Opperman serves as Senior Vice President and University Secretary at Syracuse University.  Reporting to the chair of the Board of Trustees, she supports the work of the board, manages the Office of the Board of Trustees and works closely with the Board Chair, the Chancellor, senior administration, and committee chairs, to provide counsel and guidance on strategy, policy, and process. Mary is also president of The Opperman Consulting Group, where she serves as a thought partner to leaders as they plan and execute their priorities. Mary served for over 25 years as Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for Cornell University.

Mary is an active supporter of her community and has served on numerous boards of local and national organizations. She is currently serving on the boards of the Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County, the Sciencenter, and the National Academy of Human Resources Foundation and recently completed terms on the board of Ithaca College and the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations Advisory Council.

Mary is a fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources and is certified by the Society for Human Resource Management as a senior professional in human resources. She has a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Oneonta in political science and a Master of Science degree in organizational behavior from Cornell University.

Chapter excerpt from “Getting Personal” from my memoir, Fanning the Flames: The Making of (a) Firebrand

by Nancy K. Bereano

Hospicare and Palliative Care of Tompkins County tries to meet the medical, emotional, and spiritual needs of its patients and their families, embracing the fullness of life as its clients move toward the inevitability of their deaths. The facility is located in a beautiful country setting a half mile off one of the county’s main roads, a handsome structure expanded several times since it was built in 1995, the first free-standing hospice residence in New York State. The six private patient rooms look out on volunteer-tended gardens and walkways, a pond with reappearing seasonal waterfowl, and stone-paved meditation paths. There is administrative office space and an airy public front room spacious enough to easily hold a grand piano, a large table for impromptu meetings and holiday celebrations, comfortable couches, and a small library with books available to residents, staff, and visitors alike.

Nancy K. Bereano, founding editor and publisher of Firebrand Books, shares her experiences as a Hospicare Volunteer in her chapter excerpt from “Getting Personal” from my memoir, Fanning the Flames: The Making of (a) Firebrand.

I was nervous when I applied and was accepted as a Hospicare volunteer. I didn’t know the details of what I would be asked to do, what would be expected of me. As it turned out, the training sessions (two full weekends and several lectures) were more of a way for new volunteers to learn about the institution, the regulations (city, state, and federal) within which we would be working, the organization’s culture, time expectations, and an opportunity to engage various members of the staff.

Volunteers sign up for four-six hours of work per week from an extensive list of possible assignments. Cooking for one or all of those in the residence, one-on-one visits with patients, providing relief for caretakers, running errands, and, much to my surprise, at the time I volunteered there was a recently instituted oral history project—recording the stories of Hospicare clients for their families. This seemed made for me. I had loved getting to know details about my authors’ lives as we worked together on their manuscripts. It often added layers of meaning to their words. Since none of what I was now signing on to do was for publication, only for the memories and comfort of the dying person’s family, it required, more than anything, someone who was a good listener and an insightful questioner. I thought that my work at Firebrand made me well-suited for this. Little did I know that I would meet, work with, befriend, and several times be welcomed into the families of some remarkable people. Almost all of the Hospicare clients were surprised at their families’ desire to have a personal history undertaken since, almost to a person, they thought there was nothing particularly special to tell. My takeaway was quite different: While it was true that no one was famous, each of them was unique, and as they approached the end of their life, it was often difficult to get them to reflect on what they had done, what had been important to them. But there were times when my emotional involvement was strikingly similar to what I had experienced working with an author.  

 I spent time with some two dozen people over the course of my three-plus years of personal history volunteering. Most of that took place in their homes, which added an additional level of getting to know them. No marathon editing sessions as with authors. Usually only a half hour at a time of working together, conserving their limited strength. Each meeting with a new person was like receiving a manuscript in the mail: I wasn’t quite sure what I would find when I opened the package/knocked on the door.

I remember the stay-at-home housewife who wistfully conjured up dancing to the music of one of the visiting big bands in Kansas City when she was still a teenager; and the farmer who talked about meeting Eleanor Roosevelt at a union organizing event in New York City when he hadn’t yet “settled down”; and the young man in his thirties who had banked his sperm when first diagnosed with cancer and was hoping he’d live long enough to make a photo album for the child his wife would carry after he died. (I cried as I walked to my car when each of the too few sessions with him ended.)

These were different kinds of deadlines from the production and editing ones I had lived with and worked my life around at Firebrand. There was nothing I could do to slow down disease, to rework schedules to accommodate changed medical conditions. These were not situations where my skill and determination could alter what I had decided were the drop-dead dates that would allow scheduling to proceed apace. (While I had often used the “drop-dead date” phrase in a book production timeline, it catches me up short as I write this.)

People died. Sometimes that was extremely sad. Occasionally it was emotionally devastating, and I had to take a step back from the work for a while. But there was something about knowing from the beginning what the ending was going to be that made it a different kind of experience. I was traveling a path with the person, if only in a minor way, and in my being there I was part of both their life and their death. The stories I heard and the relationships that grew as I asked questions and recorded our exchanges while they were living their lives, while they were dying, made my life richer.

The things I experienced and learned were moving and difficult: How very few people were able to or interested in talking about their life. Maybe because being a Hospicare client meant that they knew their life was ending and it was more than they could handle. But often it seemed as if they couldn’t acknowledge that their life had really mattered. When I asked what the things were that they had done that were important to them, that they wanted their loved ones to remember about them, I was usually told: “I didn’t do anything special. I really don’t have anything particularly interesting to tell.”

How different from my authors who believed that their stories, their truths, needed to be told, who were fairly brimming over with the desire to be listened to, to be seen and heard.

Nancy K. Bereano, is the founding editor and publisher of Firebrand Books, the groundbreaking and award-winning lesbian and feminist press (1985-2000) with 105 titles on its list, including work by Dorothy Allison, Alison Bechdel, Leslie Feinberg, Jewelle Gomez, and Audre Lorde. With a long grassroots activist history, both within and outside the LGBTQ community, Nancy is NYC born and raised but has lived in Ithaca for the past 54 of her 80 years. Although she has mentored many writers as editor and publisher, Fanning the Flames: The Making of (a) Firebrand, a personal/political memoir, is her first book-length manuscript. The building on the Commons in which Firebrand’s office was located was recently granted historic preservation status.

Dogs Bring Love and Comfort to Hospicare

By Emily Hopkins

Hospicare volunteers bring love and furry kisses to patients’ bedsides.  Left to right are: Eve and Finn, Avery, Janet with her dog Eve, and Ruby.

“Animals aren’t judgmental, they don’t care what you look like, what you sound like, who you are. They reduce anxiety and heart rate, and they ease depression,” explains Hospicare volunteer Janet Gray, who directs Cornell University Veterinary College’s Cornell Companion Program. The program, which marks its 25thyear in 2023, makes regular visits to 14 care facilities and group residences in the Ithaca area, including Hospicare. Janet visits Hospicare with her Golden Retriever Eve. 

“During the pandemic,” Janet says, “Hospicare was one of the only places besides Longview, to allow our visits. “The dogs even went on Zoom meetings with residents of Longview. 

Each of the 14 facilities regularly visited by Cornell Companion animals and handlers has a team lead. Hospicare’s team lead is Marg Pough, owner of four adorable Border Terriers whom she brings to Hospicare: DJ, Devlin, Pipit, and Avery. Janet marvels at how in tune with humans many companion animals can be. “Many of them seem to know which people want a snuggle, which just want a quick pat.” 

Anne Robbins, a retired school nurse and Montessori school administrator, regularly visits Hospicare with her mild-mannered Goldendoodle, Ruby. Hospicare can expect at least one visit a week from a companion animal and his or her human. 

Cornell Companion’s program currently boasts 40 volunteer humans and 40+companion animals, including an owl named Luna and a llama named Breakfast. Each animal must pass a rigorous test of their ability to stay calm, not react to canes and wheelchairs and walkers, and to let people—including children and the elderly—pet them awkwardly or heavily.  

Before she had Eve, Janet used to bring Ace, also a Golden Retriever (she’s owned Golden Retrievers for the past 40 years).  

“There was a wonderful lady who lit up every time Ace and I visited,” Janet remembers. 

“She had a box of dog treats on her nightstand. Ace would put his paws on her bed so she could pet him. She delighted in talking about her dogs from childhood and how she missed them while she stoked Ace’s head and ears. Ace closed his eyes while she talked and petted him. At the end of our visit, Ace gladly received a dog treat from her. We visited her for many months at Hospicare until one day when we arrived, we found her room empty. We later found out that she had improved and was moved to another facility.” 

“Cornell Companion dogs have been visiting our residence for many years now, where so many patients as well as staff have benefited from the comfort they bring ” says Wendy Yettru, Hospicare’s Manager of Volunteer Servies. “One of my favorite memories was of one our patients who was blind and bedbound and the dog that was visiting was placed in the bed gently next to him. This patient was non-verbal, but the smile that came across his face as he embraced the dog was incredible!” 

Welcoming Our Newest Board Member

Emily Papperman recently joined Hospicare’s Board. She is currently employed at Finger Lakes Independence Center as an Advocacy Specialist and has been in that position for 13 years. Last year, she got her Certification as a Work Incentive Practitioner for the Ticket-to-Work Program through the Social Security Administration. This professional development plays into her role as an Advocacy Specialist because benefits like SSI, SSD, SNAP, and Section 8 can all give people access to assistance and resources they may need in order to gain or regain independence and be active in their respective communities. Emily is also an Associate Board Member at Racker, having served two terms as a Board Member there and having spent the last year on that Board as Board President. She is passionate about helping folks with disabilities develop their own voice and advocating to ensure that they are involved in the conversations about topics that are important to them in their everyday lives. Emily is an avid reader, a lover of all things chocolate, and a devoted fan of Stevie Wonder and Elton John.

I was drawn to Hospicare’s mission and work because Hospicare helps people navigate the most difficult times in life with grace, dignity, and compassion. I am honored and privileged to have been given this opportunity, and I really look forward to joining the Hospicare family.”

Sit and Reflect in Hospicare’s Poetry Chair

by Teresa Yatsko, Hospicare volunteer

This chair created by Hospicare volunteer Teresa Yatsko is being offered to all as a place to sit and relax, read the writings of others, or consider your own writing as a way of joining the effort to bring people together in the joy and healing power of the written word. Stop by our Ithaca grounds and enjoy! Below is Teresa’s amazing story behind the chair.

The Poet-Tree chair project involves offering a space for people to write poetry and to leave behind their writings for others to read and perhaps be inspired by. There have been seven Poet-Tree chairs placed around Tompkins County to date. I’ve enjoyed the many thrills and benefits of finding notebooks filled with poems and thought-provoking reflections from people of all ages over the last few years.

Recently I’ve been encouraged to share my story. My intention is to share part of that story with you in the hopes that you might consider creating your own unique Poet-Tree chair space and to incorporate the concept into your setting.  My current goal is to write a small book describing my experience and I am looking to include how the concept I’ve developed can be adapted. 

Here is some background as to how this poetry project came to be. A few years ago, I began carrying a small notebook and pencil in my pocket when I hiked in the woods. I started writing short poems and observations about the moments I was encountering. The more I wrote, the more I began to to think about all the people who walked along the same trails and wondered what they had observed, what their experience had been. What if hikers were encouraged to observe their surroundings and then had the opportunity to write a simple poem? Would they?

Around the same time, while on a hike at the Roy H. Park Preserve, I saw someone had left a simple chair made from tree branches in the gorge where the two streams meet. I took a seat and reflected on the beauty around me. I loved the idea that someone had left the chair behind for others to enjoy. Something compelled me to take a photo of the chair. I’m glad I did because a few days later when I returned, the chair was gone. I don’t know what happened to it, but I was determined to make another one and put it back where the original one had been.

As I was building the chair I had the idea of placing a notebook with it where people could write about what they saw or what they were experiencing while they were sitting in the chair. I bought an inexpensive dry bag and inside put a notebook, pens, and short explanation of my discovery of the original chair and the inspiration it sparked. I encouraged people to sit in the replicated one, to relax, and to write if they felt moved to do so. 

A few friends of mine and I hiked into the gorge and assembled the chair. Each of us wrote a poem. I hoped our writing would prompt others to write. A few days later, I discovered several entries had been recorded by fellow hikers. There were simple poems and beautifully detailed observations of the natural world. Entry after entry began to appear over the weeks. I felt incredibly inspired. During the next month I would make six other chairs and place them along the hiking trails of Tompkins County. 

As the months went by and I read more of the writings, I became deeply moved by what was happening. People were using the chair to not only write fun and creative poems, but also to write down snapshots of their lives in that moment. Many of the writings were quite profound. People expressed gratitude for the opportunity to stop and reflect. Many felt a connection to others who had written in the book. It seemed as if a very special community was being formed by having this shared experience of writing while in the Poet-Tree chair.

Hospicare Volunteers Develop Wonderful, Close Relationships

by Jane Baker Segelken, MA, MSW, part of the Social Work team at Hospicare

For Cortland County resident Conni Bentley, volunteering for Hospicare is fulfilling because she’s making a real difference in someone’s life. “The happiness and satisfaction that comes from providing comfort to others is enlightening and rewarding. The more volunteer work I do, the greater my overall happiness,” she said.

Volunteers like Conni who provide five percent of patient care are part of Hospicare’s interdisciplinary team of providers offering support to patients at the end of their lives. Volunteers work in collaboration with Hospicare’s registered nurses, social workers, spiritual care leaders, home health aides, administrative staff, and medical director. What volunteering for Hospicare gives individuals is an opportunity to offer many needed services to the organization and/or the patients and their families.

Hospicare volunteers include administrative support volunteers who work in the office or remotely to assist staff in all areas; community support volunteers who help with peer-to-peer fundraising initiatives or support events; and direct patient support volunteers who assist patients and families in a variety of ways. Currently, Hospicare is most in need of patient support volunteers, especially in Cortland County.

Patient Support Volunteers

Patient support volunteers provide emotional support and companionship to hospice patients and their families. These volunteers visit patients in a variety of locations such as a private home, a nursing home, or an assisted living facility. They spend time sitting quietly or talking with patients; playing games or watching a movie with them; helping them with small household tasks, running errands, or picking up groceries. Sometimes a volunteer will help with a personal project, such as organizing photographs or recording stories. At other times they may bring an instrument and play music. In all cases, the activities are driven by the patient and what he or she believes will be of most value. Visits might be a quick drop in or may last several hours. It’s important to know that volunteers do not provide any medical or hands-on care. Other services volunteers may provide include:

  • Tuck In: a weekly phone call to help identify weekend needs and/or a friendly phone call during the week to chat
  • Pampering: setting or brushing hair, rubbing lotion into a patient’s hands or feet, or painting fingernails
  • Massage: licensed massage therapists offer relaxing massage to patients
  • Reiki Masters: certified reiki masters offer healing energy work to patients
  • Threshold Choir: trained singers (in small groups or solo) offer comforting music to patients and their families
  • Vigil: offering compassionate presence with a loved one in the last few days
  • Grief Support: families receive supportive phone calls and mailings
  • Landscape volunteers: help take care of the grounds including weeding and filling the bird feeders

Conni has served as a tuck-in volunteer, which she says involves “friendly contact with patients by telephone to ensure they have enough meds and supplies for the weekend. Calls are made on Thursday so the patient’s nurse can schedule a visit if needed on Friday to check on the patient or to deliver supplies. Even though the contact is made by telephone, wonderful and close relationships develop with the patient, family member, and/or caregiver,” said Conni.

Having a volunteer as part of the care team is meaningful for patients and families because they offer an extra personal touch of support. “Volunteers are an essential part of the team, offering a compassionate presence at a vulnerable time,” said Wendy Yettru, Manager of Volunteer Services. “Showing up and meeting patients and families where they are is a win/win for all involved.”

Becoming a Volunteer

How do people become Hospicare volunteers? Many who consider volunteering are already knowledgeable about hospice services because they had a family member or friend who received care. Others may know of the organization because they work in the healthcare field. However, many people are brand new to the concept of hospice. All volunteers have a desire to assist patients as they near the end of their lives with a unique level of solace, camaraderie, and support. To be successful, one needs to be compassionate, empathetic, and a good listener.

Interested in learning more about volunteering? All Hospicare volunteers are required to go through a specialized training, which is held at various times throughout the year. For more information, contact Wendy Yettru at wyettru@hospicare.org or 607-272-0212.

Why I Work in Hospice (Part 5) – Sarah Nickerson, Communications Coordinator

A Special Blog Series Written by Hospicare & Palliative Care Services Staff

This November, we started a special blog series written by Hospicare staff in honor of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. Because we had such a positive response to the series, we are continuing it past November and into 2022. Each post features a different member of our staff as they share why they love the work they do. In part five of this series, we feature Sarah Nickerson, Hospicare Communications Coordinator.

Sarah Nickerson, Hospicare Communications Coordinator

“Hi, my name is Sarah Nickerson, and I am Hospicare’s new communications coordinator. I spent the summer helping Hospicare’s development team with Women Swimmin’ as the seasonal events assistant, and was hired into my current role by Sara Worden, director of development and community relations, in November. I am so excited to take on this role and help share the amazing work our team does and stories of the people we serve!

My relationship with Hospicare began many years ago. In my early twenties, I accompanied my mother, who was a Hospicare volunteer, to a bereavement group for children held at the residence on Kind Road. A few years later, I proudly waited on shore while she swam across Cayuga Lake as a participant in Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare. In the summer of 2018, my mother was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor and given less than a year to live. We were fortunate enough to be able to move her into Hospicare’s residence for the final months of her life. Having my mother in care at the residence allowed us to be with her as loved ones and not caretakers, which we were ill equipped to be. Hospicare became a home away from home in those last two months before my mother’s death: a safe space filled with love, where I could be nurtured by community.

The amazing care that was given to my mother and to our entire family by Hospicare’s staff stays with me and is why I am so honored to be part of this team today. I look forward to continuing to help Hospicare provide our community with compassionate end-of-life care and grief support.”

I took this photo of my father holding my mother’s hand while she was in care in the residence at King Road just a few weeks before her death on Valentine’s Day of 2019.

***If you have a hospice or Hospicare story you want to share, please email Sarah Nickerson at snickerson@hospicare.org for more information or send a letter to:

Hospicare & Palliative Care Services

Attn: Sarah Nickerson

172 East King Rd

Ithaca, NY 14850

Why I Work in Hospice (Part 4) – Anna Osterhoudt, Social Worker

A Special Blog Series in Honor of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month

This November, we are sharing a special blog series written by Hospicare staff in honor of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. Each post will feature a different member of our staff as they share why they love the work they do. In part four of this series, we feature Anna Osterhoudt, Hospicare Social Worker.

Anna Osterhoudt, Hospicare Social Worker

“My name is Anna, and I am one of three social workers that are a part of the Hospicare team. My role as a hospice social worker is to assess the needs of our patients, their families, and support systems and provide any assistance I can. A few examples of things that I may assist with are providing emotional support to patients/caregivers, connecting them with community resources, assisting with end-of-life planning, or just being a friendly face during what can be a very difficult time.

I have been working professionally as a social worker in the medical field for the last eight years. However, I only recently joined Hospicare & Palliative Care Services three months ago. Making the decision to join Hospicare was not a difficult one as I have grown to be very passionate about hospice work, both professionally and personally. It is truly an honor and a blessing to be on this journey and to be a part of someone’s final chapters on this earth. 

With the right support, death and dying can be a spiritual, dignified, and peaceful experience. To be able to be a part of that experience and offer support and solace to patients, caregivers, and families during that time is a privilege that I cherish. It can also be scary, emotional, and trying but what is so special about Hospicare is that no matter what the experience is, which is very different for everyone, we are never alone. As a team we support each other, the patients, their families and caregivers, other agency staff, you name it, we are never left to handle it alone.  So why did I choose to work in hospice? There is a saying ‘Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.’ I was lucky enough to find that job with Hospicare.”

Why I Work in Hospice (Part 3) – Wendy Yettru, Manager of Volunteer Services

A Special Blog Series in Honor of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month

This November, we are sharing a special blog series written by Hospicare staff in honor of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. Each post will feature a different member of our staff as they share why they love the work they do. In part three of this series, we feature Wendy Yettru, Manager of Volunteer Services.

Wendy Yettru, Manager of Volunteer Services

“Hi, my name is Wendy and I’m the Manager of Volunteer Services at Hospicare & Palliative Care Services. When I started working here, over 20 years ago, I didn’t know much about hospice. It didn’t take long for me to see firsthand how the amazing team of professionals, including our volunteers, provides comfort physically, emotionally, and spiritually for our patients and their families. I believe in the philosophy that hospice is there so that patients may live as fully and comfortably as possible while facing end of life.

My position allows me the privilege of educating and working with community members who want to give their time and talents to Hospicare. I have enjoyed getting to know hundreds of people in Cortland and Tompkins counties as they learn about hospice and how their role as a volunteer makes a difference. Volunteers may offer to run an errand so a caregiver can have more time with their loved one; they may listen to a patient’s life stories, engage in conversation, play a game, help with a task, or be a quiet presence so someone doesn’t have to be alone. I have had the pleasure of hearing and witnessing many beautiful stories about the connections that happen between our volunteers and patients. I am honored to work with such an amazing organization and people!”

Why I Work in Hospice (Part 2) – Suzy Quinones, Hospicare RN

A Special Blog Series in Honor of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month

This November, we are sharing a special blog series written by Hospicare staff in honor of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. Each post will feature a different member of our staff as they share why they love the work they do. In part two of this series, we feature Suzy Quinones, Hospicare RN.

Suzy Quinones, Hospicare RN

“My role here at Hospicare is to help patients live the rest of their lives as comfortably as possible and to help ensure their wishes are fulfilled. Providing education and suggestions for patients and their families about how best to meet that patient’s specific needs and how to manage their symptoms adequately. Every patient is different, so I like to customize my care to best fit each patient’s needs and wishes.

At Hospicare, we really try to meet people ‘where they are’ and adjust to their needs accordingly as time goes on. To help make this possible, collaboration with other members of the Hospicare team is essential. Our team is made up of social workers, bereavement specialists, our medical director, spiritual care, volunteers and so many others that help keep our patients safe and comfortable.

Death is commonly seen as a scary thing, but it doesn’t have to be. I try to make death a beautiful transition for patients and their families by doing anything I can to support them physically and emotionally during this time. I feel very blessed that patients allow me to accompany them on this journey.”