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 1) – Kimmy Jones, Clinical Team Leader

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 one of this series, we feature Kimmy Jones, RN and Clinical Team Leader.

Kimmy Jones, RN, Clinical Team Leader

“Hello, I’m Kimmy. I’m the clinical team leader for Hospicare which means I supervise the primary nurses, LPNs, and home health aides in the field. Most of the patients we serve are in the field, living in a private home or a facility within Tomkins or Cortland counties. I’ve been an RN for 16 years and hospice work is the most meaningful nursing care I’ve ever done. It’s sacred work. I started my nursing career in the emergency department, then I worked in lactation education and breastfeeding/chest feeding support, and now I work in hospice.

I started here at Hospicare a little over three years ago as a primary nurse. After a year, I moved into the team leader position. This move just happened to take place right before the discovery of the Covid-19 virus. We have continued to serve the community and our patients throughout the entirety of the Covid-19 pandemic and to be diplomatic, it’s been quite a learning experience. The reason we have been successful during this time is our outstanding team of devoted staff members. Everyone has their heart focused on the mission to continue to care for our community, which has allowed us to forge through the uncertainty and ever-changing landscape of nursing care that has been brought on by this pandemic.

Hospice work can be very emotionally taxing. It can even be heartbreaking. But it’s some of the most rewarding and special work I’ve ever done. We are invited into people’s homes during a very sacred and intimate time, and it is such an honor. It feels fulfilling to be able to alleviate distress, whether that’s physical or emotional, and for the patient and family to trust us and look to us for guidance and reassurance. You’ll be hard pressed to find any healthcare worker who doesn’t find that rewarding. 

When asked ‘What brought you to work in hospice?’, a lot of people have beautiful stories about a personal experience they had when a loved one received hospice. I don’t have a story like that. For me, it just felt good. It felt right.”