Volunteer of the Quarter - Staci Cummings - Heart 'n Home Hospice & Palliative Care, LLC
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Volunteer of the Quarter – Staci Cummings

Congratulations Staci Cummings, La Pine Heart ‘n Home Volunteer! We are so grateful for her service and huge heart for those around her!

Imagine this: you’ve been a Hospice Volunteer for a while. You’ve dropped off flowers from time to time, made some projects with the Youth Volunteers, and perhaps you’ve been in charge of birthday cards for patients. But then, a close friend comes on hospice services.

If you’re Staci Cummings, your volunteer style changes dramatically.

It began when a man named Doug put his wife Nancy (names changed for privacy) on hospice services after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Doug tried everything he could, and even took his wife all the way to Australia for experimental treatment. Eventually it became clear that Nancy’s disease was so advanced that it was time to simply make her comfortable and allow her to live out her days in Doug’s care with the support of Heart ‘n Home.

Staci was Nancy’s friend for a long time and she watched Nancy’s journey. She then referred Doug to our local Heart ‘n Home office. Staci lovingly volunteered for Nancy, only reporting a few hours here and there as a Volunteer and supporting Doug and Nancy as a family friend throughout the week.

One solemn day, Doug called Staci in a panic. He was in severe pain and needed to be rushed to the emergency room. Staci stayed with Nancy all day while Doug was at the hospital, where he eventually was diagnosed with end-stage liver cancer. Doug came on our services immediately so we could administer comfort measures. We helped to place Nancy in an adult foster home so Doug could trust she was taken care of. Staci took him to his paracentesis appointments, which were about 80 miles round trip. She did so with love and care and tenderness only a family member could, with the skill and expertise of a highly trained Heart ‘n Home Volunteer.

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Staci Cummings, La Pine Volunteer

Earlier I said that Staci would be most likely found making Valentine’s Day cards for patients or coordinating the Youth Volunteer projects. Staci ended up being at bedside as often as she could and we had planned to schedule an 11th Hour Training just for her. “I couldn’t do this for anyone else, but I have to be there for him,” she said.  She was able to be with him when he passed away.

We are thankful for Staci. La Pine is a better place with Staci in it, and our community benefits from her passion for hospice and caring for her friends and neighbors. I wish I didn’t know what it looked like when patients do not have someone in their corner- unfortunately this happens too often. Doug was not one of those people. Doug had a champion rooting for him until the end.

Joelle Brown
La Pine Volunteer Coordinator
Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care, LLC

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Related Posts

Hospice Youth Volunteer Scholarship Winners: Fruitland High School

Congratulations to the 2011-2012 Cicely Ambassadors for a very successful year of serving patients and your community, as well as all of the countless moments that will be not be forgotten.  A special congratulations to our scholarship winners from Fruitland High School:

  • Milly Davis ($1,500)
  • Kacie Gastanaga ($1,250)
  • Emily Tingey ($1,250)
  • Daniel Dahle ($1,000)
  • Jandee Carlson (1,000)

We are very proud of your successes and look forward to the 2012-2013 Ambassador Team who are already trained and volunteering.

Pictured Left to right: Todd Stice, CFO, Heart ‘n Home; Milly Davis; Jandee Carlson; and Kacie Gastanaga (Daniel Dahle not pictured)

Hospice Volunteer of the Month – October 2011

Phyllis was born in Mountain Home, Idaho, and at about the age of three months her family moved to Portland, Oregon. She and her husband, Mike, have been married for 20 years and have five children and five grandchildren. Phyllis has worked as a cook for Elkhorn Adolescence and has spent most of her career cooking; whether it was hiring, managing, or doing the cooking herself. About 16 years ago, Betty and Mike moved to Granite (a little place out of Baker City) to retire. Phyllis likes to play pool, read mysteries or other good novels, and does some quilting in her spare time. Phyllis stays very active in her church, her community, and helps friends and neighbors whenever possible.

Phyllis admits she was nervous for her first Volunteer assignment, and was pleased when it worked out so well! Phyllis states, “Volunteering has led me to want to help and serve others as much as I can.” She laughs and says, “It has helped me learn to deal with all sorts of people and problems.  Some of my patients haven’t talked very much, but they know I am there and I see the light in their eyes and the smile on their faces. It’s wonderful and every experience is different. I enjoy getting to know them and helping where I can, whether it is sitting by their side, holding their hand, or doing their dishes.”

Heart ‘n Home is so happy to have Phyllis as a Volunteer! Thank you, Phyllis for the work and dedication you provide to your patients.

Help us congratulate Phyllis and what she represents to all volunteers!

Caregiver’s Bill of Rights

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CAREGIVER’S BILL OF RIGHTS

I have the right to take care of myself.
This is not an act of selfishness.
It will enable me to take better care of my loved one.

 I have the right to seek help from others
even though my loved one may object. I know the
limits of my own endurance and strength.

I have the right to maintain parts of my own life
that do not include the person I care for,
just as I would if he/she were healthy.
I know that I do everything that I reasonably
can do for this person. I have the right
to do some things just for myself.

I have the right to get angry, be depressed, and
express difficult feelings once in a while.

I have the right to reject any attempt by my
loved one to make me do things out of guilt or anger
(it doesn’t matter if he knows he is doing it or not).

I have the right to get consideration, affection,
forgiveness, and acceptance
for what I do for
my loved one, as I offer these in return.

I have the right to take pride in what I’m doing.

 I have the right to applaud the courage it takes
to meet the needs of my loved one.

 I have the right to protect my individuality.
I also have the right to a life that will sustain me in times when my loved one no longer needs my full-time help.

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