The work of a hospice caregiver often transcends any description of kindness, service and ministry. It takes a very special kind of compassion and dedication. A very special person.
Each month Langeland Family Funeral Homes selects an individual as a recipient of the Hospice Caregiver Award from your nominations. The person chosen as the monthly award winner receives a gift card to be used for whatever they desire. Yearly, Langeland Family Funeral Homes holds a reception to honor the past year's award recipients. During the reception, one of these special people will be selected as “Caregiver of the Year”. The Caregiver of the Year recipient will receive a gift certificate for a very special evening and a night away.
Pam Inzano-Wesaw is the Langeland Family Funeral Homes Hospice Caregiver of 2016. She works as a social worker for Heartland Hospice of Kalamazoo and just celebrated her two year anniversary in October 2016. Pam was nominated by the Leadership Team of Heartland Hospice and was originally selected as the May 2016 monthly award recipient.
When Pam was asked about what this award means to her, she first qualified it by saying that she does what she does not for the recognition, but she is by nature uncomfortable with all of this attention. She did say how hard it is to put this experience into words since hospice means a great deal to her and it is such a big part of who she is. She is honored to be the recipient of the Hospice caregiver award, but is aware that there are so many exceptional caregivers which are deserving of recognition. She shares this award with her entire team!
Pam began working for hospice because of a personal connection with hospice where she saw how it had a positive impact on her and her philosophy of care. After that she made the decision to be involved with hospice, first as a volunteer and later had the privilege of working in the capacity of a social worker. She finds it an honor to meet the patients and the families and give special significance to their stories and experiences. Every day is different with its challenges and new experiences which brings the reward of being able to assist her families in whatever is important to them. She expressed that by working with each of her patients she takes something from the relationship which continues to mold and form her in the role as a social worker.
Working as a hospice worker brings gratification but can also be very stressful. Pam shared how she deals with the stresses of hospice social worker. “I try to direct my emotions in a positive way that honors all of my patients at different stages of their journey. I have an amazing family that supports me without ever having to say a word. I am very active and involved with my kid’s extracurricular activities and enjoy spending time outdoors in many various functions. My coworkers are also an amazing source of support and encouragement. This job would be impossible without the efforts of others.”
Pam lives in Portage with her husband Jeff, and her three children Brendan, Jordan and Mason. They all attended the awards banquet and took special joy in seeing Pam receive this tremendous honor.
Thank you, Pam.
Langeland Family Funeral Homes is delighted to recognize you as the Hospice Caregiver of 2016.
Click on a tab below for more information about the winner.
Kay Lynn was nominated by Jody Shephard-Stoner.
My son, Casey Shephard, took care of his father, Jim Shephard, until his death June 6, 2016. Casey didn't want his dad to go into a care facility so we moved him into our home. Casey has never had to handle a situation like this before; I had to work 8-5 so Casey was on his own all day and into the night caring for his dad. Although Casey was doing a wonderfully fantastic job caring for all of his dad's needs I felt he needed some help and a break. He was caring for him 24 hours a day. Borgess sent Reverence Hospice to our home for a visit and that was a blessing because we were blessed to have Kay Lynn enter our lives. Kay Lynn was so wonderful throughout the journey with Jim's death. Kay Lynn came into our home with a huge heart; she was so wonderful with Casey. Not only did Kay Lynn give Casey the tools he needed to care for his dad, she was so caring and compassionate, Casey trusted and respected Kay Lynn and always looked forward to her visit. As it was getting closer to Jim's passing, Kay Lynn took the time to explain the process to our family so we knew what to expect, she always assured us she was only a phone call away. When Jim passed, SHE WAS ONLY A PHONE CALL AWAY, she arrived at our home professional and warm hearted as she always was, when Kay Lynn left she had everything cleaned up and taken care of and most of all she had Jim dressed in his clothes and he looked so peaceful for the family to say good-bye to. Kay Lynn was our Angel.
Pictured from left to right: Tod Langeland, Secretary and General Manager of Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Kay Lynn Terpstra, RN, Reverence Home Health & Hospice, & Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes
Thank you Kay Lynn for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our September Hospice Caregiver recipient Kay Lynn Terpstra.
Each award winner receives a crystal heart award and a gift card to be used for whatever the recipient chooses - the cash gift is being donated in Kay Lynn's name to the Borgess Foundation.
JoAn was nominated by Louise Rice.
I am nominating JoAn Mowery, RN, hospice nurse because: She always informed me when she was going to see my husband; always gave me a full detailed report after she saw him; explained things in a way (and in detail) I could understand; was very kind to my husband. Excellent nurse!
Pictured from left to right: Tod Langeland, Secretary and General Manager of Langeland Family Funeral Homes, JoAn Mowery, RN, Southern Care Hospice, and Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langelands Family Funeral Homes
Thank you Larry for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our August Hospice Caregiver Award recipient - JoAn Mowery.
Larry was nominated twice - once by Dale and Bette Dyksterhouse and then again by John F. Goetz.
Larry was outstanding with our mother Threasa Dyksterhouse. he was kind and loving, explaining everything to her and to the family. Took the time to listen to our needs. Always had time for Mom and the family. Very professional yet caring, very medically knowledgeable, explaining the steps of dying, and what step Mom was in. He would visit twice in a day, just to be sure everything was being done for Mom and reassuring us. We felt very comfortable with Larry and his knowledge and care.
Larry is a very sensitive caring person who expertly led us on our journey with my wife Mary Ann through her hospice experience.
Pictured from left to right: Shelby Baas, Lawrence Anthony, RN, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, Paw Paw, and Lisa Langeland Baas, Treasurer of Langeland Family Funeral Homes
Thank you Larry for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our July Hospice Caregiver recipient Larry Anthony.
Chrissie was nominated by Lea Sidibe.
I cannot say enough about Kevin Brintnall, Chaplain of Grace Hospice. I have heard many stories of how Kevin's visits have made a positive difference in the lives of Grace patients and their families. On one occasion, during a February snow storm, Kevin spent an afternoon (and into the evening, staying for dinner at the husband's request) with a hospice patient and her husband. This was the day before the husband was to move his wife, who has dementia; into a skilled nursing facility as he could no longer care for her at home. This couple had spent a lifetime together and this was a difficult time for the husband. Kevin stayed with them for several hours in spite of having an hour (at least) commute home on bad roads. The following day when I happened to speak with Kevin he never complained, in fact quite the opposite. he told me he really enjoyed being with this couple at this important time in their lives.
Kevin not only supports the patients they have at Grace Hospice but is a huge support for the staff of nurses, aides, social workers, volunteers and office staff when they experience their own grief. I have spent time talking with Kevin on many occasions and I have never heard a negative word from him, no matter what the situation, Kevin always has a kind word and a caring smile.
The Mission Statement at Grace Hospice is as follows:
"For each employee to treat every patient as their own treasured loved one, providing care that affords a quality of life that outweighs quantity of days, and supports caregivers as their hearts find healing."
Kevin Brintnall is a perfect example of someone who lives this mission on a daily basis.
Pictured from left to right Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Chaplain Kevin Brintnall, Grace Hospice, and Tod Langeland, Secretary and General Manager of Langeland Family Funeral Homes
Thank you Kevin for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our June Hospice Caregiver Award recipient - Kevin Brintnall.
Pam was nominated by Char VanderRoest & the Leadership Team of Heartland Hospice. This is what they have to say about the reason they nominated Pam:
Confusion, lack of understanding, need, hurt, fear... Compassion, explanations, care, help, peace...This word picture demonstrates the differences we see when our Heartland Hospice LMSW Pam Inzano-Wesaw is involved with a patient and their family of caregivers. We have 5 Heartland Caring Promises: to care for the mind, body, and spirit; to provide care that is comforting and compassionate; to respect patient and family choices; to unite the community partners in care; to be accepting and supportive to patients wherever they are in life's journey. Pam daily provides care for the living by meeting these families where they are in their journey and helping them to maintain the best quality of life possible. Her compassionate understanding makes her a true advocate for the patients and families we are privileged to serve in this most precious to times.
Pictured from left to right: Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Pam Inzano-Wesaw, LMSW at Heartland Hospice Kalamazoo; Greg Langeland, Vice President, Langeland Family Funeral Homes
Thank you Pam for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our May recipient Pam Inzano-Wesaw.
Pam was nominated by Mary DeYoung, who said this about the reason she nominated Pam:
I would like to recognize a hospice nurse from Hospice Care of Southwest MI, Pam Post, for her exceptional care of my husband during the last months of his life. Pam exemplified the true essence of hospice care; from her tender touch on the hand after a rough night, to the soft spoken word of comfort to my husband during some of his final moments, or even the late night phone calls with questions and countless trips to our home during the midnight hours. It takes a true gift to demonstrate the delicate balance between professional and personable interactions with the patient and family. Pam made this dynamic seamless. Not only did she calm our fears and answer our endless questions, but she made us feel secure, confident, and peaceful during what can often be a chaotic and frightening chapter of life. It is without hesitation that I nominate Pam for going above and beyond her duties as our home hospice nurse. She was never constrained by the typical hours of a work day and never made us feel like a burden on her time. Because of our experience with Pam, we will forever recommend Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan for end of life care.
Pictured from left to right: Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Pamla Post, RN at Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan; Tod Langeland, Secretary and General Manager of Langeland Family Funeral Homes
Thank you Pam for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our April recipient Pamla Post.
Rick was nominated by Lesley Dziewicki, Scott Flower, and Craig Flower
Rick is a very kind, caring man. He would take as much time as needed with my mother and would listen to her no matter if it was medical or she just wanted to talk. Rick would stop in to see my mother if he was at the house whether he was there to see her or someone else. He also would make a special trip to see my mother if she had something medical that needed to be checked or if she was in pain and her meds were not keeping her comfortable. Rick would ask to speak to my brothers and I in order to keep us informed as to our mother's medical condition and ask us if the decisions he recommended were what we were comfortable with for our mother. Our mother, Virginia Flower, felt very comfortable with Rick and the decisions he made for her. Rick works hard and puts in many long hours. This is not an 8-5 job and he is always smiling and in a good mood. He would also ask how we (my brothers & I) were doing, which was very thoughtful. We enjoyed him very much.
Pictured from left to right: Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Rick Shaffer, RN at Grace Hospice; Tod Langeland, Secretary and General Manager of Langeland Family Funeral Homes
Thank you Rick for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our March recipient Rick Shaffer.
He was nominated by Theresa Lynn who had this to say about the reason she nominated Greg Carlson.
Greg Carlson is the Spiritual Care Coordinator for Wings of Hope Hospice. All of us at Wings of Hope agree that Greg is a very special person and caregiver for our patients at the end of life as well as for our staff. It is without reservation that I recommend Greg for your Hospice Caregiver Award. Greg always seems to have a sense of when some is struggling - staff or patient or family member - and he is able to help without the other person feeling intruded upon. He helps those he serves feel comfortable. It is not unusual for staff to turn to Greg for his valuable and unique counsel. Greg's humility is refreshing. Even non-spiritual patients allow him to visit them. It seems like Greg is always available to offer his help. When asked, he will stop what he's doing to be of assistance. Even when not asked, Greg is able to offer his help in a very supportive way. Greg's positivity is real. He is authentic and genuine. He reminds the staff to live in the moment by giving complete and undivided attention. He is also willing to step outside his comfort zone to serve patients. He is able to put their needs ahead of his own so that they don't suffer and so that they can achieve a sense of peace. Greg is also the coordinator of our We Honor Veterans program. Certificates and lapel pins are presented to veterans in a lovely service wherever the veteran lives. Greg Carlson is an amazing and a special hospice caregiver. We are proud to have him on our team at Wings of Hope Hospice.
Pictured from left to right: Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Rev. Greg Carlson, Spiritual Care Coordinator, Wings of Hope Hospice; Lisa Langeland, Treasurer, Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Greg for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our February recipient Rev. Greg Carlson.
He was nominated by Leonard Miller, who described in a letter the special care that Charlie gave his wife and he.
My wife Debbie was at Rose Arbor for 6 weeks. Charlie was one of the her assigned nurses and always approached his responsibilities not only as a job but as the caring and empathetic person that he is. He kept me updated on Debbie's status and was always truthful but at the same time sensitive when communicating. He was so kind to Debbie. One time when I was visiting my Debbie he stopped in but clearly was busy and was not able to visit with me. Later he called me at home to discuss her condition as it stood that day. To me, that is going way beyond his duty and I will always remember the kindness and consideration he showed. He was the nurse on duty when Debbie passed and handled things with total professionalism, empathy, privacy and respect to me and also to Debbie. All of the nurses and volunteers at Rose Arbor are angels and Charlie was the brightest angel that helped me at this most difficult time in my life. I will always be grateful.
Pictured from right to left: Tod Langeland, Secretary and General Manager of Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Charlie McGowen, RN at Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan - Rose Arbor, Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Charlie for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our January Hopsice Caregiver Award recipient Charlie McGowen.
Samantha Kasperski is the recipient of the December Hospice Caregiver Award, presented by Langeland Family Funeral Homes. She was nominated by Char VanderRoest and the Leadership Team at Heartland Hospice Kalamazoo, who had the following to say about why they nominated Samantha.
To see a patient who doesn't communicate verbally any longer and who spends her days sitting slouched in her chair with her chin to her chest, tilt her head, raise her eyes, a lift to one side of her mouth in her special 'smile' and to see her begin to move her hands in a pattern only she understands is a moving thing...Samantha is a music therapist with Heartland Hospice seeing patients in the 9 counties of southwest Michigan. She has been with us for a little more than 1 year. Sam provides outstanding care to our patients. She is attentive to the needs of our patients and their families. She is thoughtful, caring and sensitive. Sam takes the time to know our patients and their favorite songs and genre, taking cues from pictures in their room and family stories. She meets our patients through music therapy with songs that they often recognize and always enjoy. She is an outstanding member of our team. It is a privilege to have the ability to make a direct and positive impact on the lives of those we care for. Sam does that through music with each and every patient she cares for. We are proud to nominate Samantha Kasperski for the Hospice Caregiver Award.
Pictured from right to left: Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Samantha Kasperski, Music Therapist at Heartland Hospice, Tod W. Langeland, Secretary & General Manager of Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Samantha for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our December award recipient Samantha Kasperski.