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. Their name is also engraved on a leaf on the Hospice Caregiver tree at the Westside location. 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.
On October 3, Langeland Family Funeral Homes hosted their 3rd annual Langeland Hospice Caregivers Awards Banquet. This banquet is to honor the monthly Hospice Caregiver Award winners that were presented over the past year. Roxanne James a Hospice Aide for Hospice Care of Southwest MI – Rose Arbor, was selected as the Langeland Hospice Caregiver for 2018. Unfortunately Roxanne was not able to attend the banquet but she sent two of her co-workers from Hospice Care of Southwest MI – Rose Arbor in her place. Attending in Roxanne’s stead were Heidi Hotchkiss who works at Rose Arbor and Pam Hart a volunteer at Rose Arbor. They were both excited for Roxanne and felt that the award was very well deserved.
Dana Naumann, the Bereavement Care Coordinator, reached Roxanne by phone after the banquet to speak with her about the 2018 Hospice Caregiver Award. Roxanne said she appreciates the award very much and is also very humbled by it. She insisted that there are many others who are more deserving of this honor. She went on to talk about the amazing team that she works with at Rose Arbor. “No one talks about each other; we take care of each other and work so well together.” This includes both the paid employees and the volunteers who are such a valuable resource for Rose Arbor. Roxanne expressed her passion about her hospice work. “Working at hospice is not a job, it is a calling.”
Initially Roxanne was not sure she wanted to work in hospice, but a good friend of hers who is a nurse and knows her well told her, “It is everything you want to do.” So she applied at Rose Arbor and said from the moment she walked in the door she knew she belonged and that she would work there until her retirement. That was 15 years ago.
Roxanne also knows personally what it is like to take care of a loved one who is dying. Her mother lived with her for four years before her death and spent six months at Rose Arbor. She remembers how difficult it was physically and emotionally, but she also remembers the sweet and funny times they had together when they could not stop laughing over an unexpected event. After her mother’s death last year she said, “Now I truly get it; when family members say, ‘I can’t get my breath, I feel like I am dying.’” She sees this now as another facet to how she can be there for others.
When Roxanne was asked to describe what she does to unwind from her hospice work she described her home. She lives on 40 acres in Lawton and loves to spend time outside in nature. She also does a little bit of animal rescue on the side. She has a rescued horse and donkey and recently acquired a calf in trade for a tractor. Roxanne is always focused on how she can assist those around her. Roxanne is also a mother to four and a grandmother to six. She says her family is very close and the grandchildren love coming and spending time on the property.
Roxanne was nominated by one of the families of a patient she cared for. She is so thankful that she is able to help these families in their time of need. She is also very thankful for what these families have taught her over the years. She said, “I learned to have a more positive attitude. I learned to have more patience. I learned to be a much better listener, and I learned to be more compassionate.” They have all left an imprint on her life.
It is Langeland Family Funeral Homes pleasure to bring special recognition to our area’s hospice caregivers. These individuals give of themselves every day and play such a significant role in families’ lives. It is our desire to give an opportunity for people to share how much an individual has touched theirs and others’ lives with their caring.
In October 2019 the Hospice Caregiver of 2019 will be announced at a special reception honoring all the award recipients of the past year. The Caregiver of the Year will receive a gift certificate for dinner and overnight accommodations.
Do you know a special Caregiver? Nominate them today!
Julia was nominated by Lynda Smith.
Julia was so caring with my brother, I really think they bonded instantly. Jim was non verbal but understood everything you said to him, and he really liked Julia. We had Julia for a year or more and she was here as he started his journey. Anything I asked her was okay with her and she gave me so many great tips. As time went on his eating decreased and his skin was breaking down it really upset me, all I had to do was call her and she made all the time to come over and address the problem. Julia was so gentle with him and she got him to smile, I really Loved that. You need to be a special person to be a Hospice nurse and she is. The last two weeks were very hard on me and Julia came everyday, and I was really thankful for that. She never said he was leaving us I just knew. When Jim passed I called her and she came right away and took care of everything. After they came and took Jim away she didn’t leave right away, she made sure I was okay. I will never forget Julia and what she did for my family, she really is a special person.
- Lynda Smith
Pictured from left to right: Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Julie Ortiz, RN, Case Manager, Grace Hospice; & Tod Langeland, General Manager, Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Julia for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our August Caregiver Award recipient Julia Ortiz.
Julia received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.
Jessica was nominated twice once by Mary Quakenbush and once by John Kloosterman
Jessica was the Home Health Aide that took care of my Mother. She was so gentle and kind and so loving with her. If Mom was having a bad day, Jessica would go with the flow and allow my Mom to obtain whatever care was needed at that time. She never rushed Mom or made her feel she was a burden. Jessica was also very caring for myself and my sister. Jessica was with Mom on her last day and she spoke to Mom and treated her with the utmost respect even though my Mom wasn’t responsive. I feel blessed to have known her. I hope she never changes careers because she will definitely inspire many.
Jessica was mom’s Certified Nursing Assistant. Her love and care of Mom was outstanding. She helped her stay at home. That was her only wish and Jessica made that possible.
Pictured from left to right: Jessica Proctor Home Health Aide, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan & Tod Langeland, Secretary and General Manager of Langeland Family Funeral Homes
Thank you Jessica for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our July Caregiver Award recipient Jessica Proctor.
Jessica received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.
Mary Beth was nominated by Tamara Norman
Mary Beth Sarhatt is a chaplain with Hospice Care of SW MI. She visited my mother while she lived at the Gardens during March 2018. She was at the front door of Rose Arbor when my mother arrived via ambulance. She escorted me and my mother to her room and stood by while the nurses sedated her. Mary Beth visited with me for about an hour just a few hours before my mother, Rose Schanwald, took her last breaths. I am grateful to Mary Beth for the time and comfort she gave me.
Pictured from left to right: Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Mary Beth Sarhatt, Chaplain, Hospice Care of Southwest MI; and Tod Langeland, Secretary and General Manager of Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Mary Beth for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our June Caregiver Award recipient Mary Beth Sarhatt. Mary Beth received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.
Colleen was nominated by Wings of Hope Hospice Staff
We the staff at Wings of Hope Hospice, wish to nominate Colleen Cupani for the Hospice Caregiver Award from the Langeland Family Funeral Homes. We appreciate her endless patience. One nurse said, “When presented with the question, “Colleen, how do I do this again?” she calmly describes the instructions again as if it was the first time I asked. I have witnessed up to four co-workers in her room at one time, throwing out multiple questions to Colleen. I have never once seen her get impatient or annoyed at the constant distractions she endures every day.” One staff member said, “I appreciate Colleen’s ‘mother hen’ attitude toward everyone. She truly cares about each and every one of us. She is one of the kindest people I have ever met.” When being honored for her third anniversary at Wings of Hope a few weeks ago, Colleen responded, “I feel that we are family here at Wings of Hope and treat each other accordingly.” Colleen is an active, respectful listener with a sweet spirit. She is caring and sincere. She is a great sounding board for all of the nurses. We appreciate her sound judgment. In caring for our clinical staff members, Colleen motivates us to provide excellent care and comfort for our patients and families. One RN recognizes that “Colleen is always willing to go the extra mile to help co-workers and patients.” This care is nurtured in a big heart for people who are having a hard time. Another staff member said, “I love how Colleen stays calm and makes quick decisions in an emergency. I saw this first hand several weeks ago when one of the patients on our Journeys Advanced Illness Management program called in with a lot of pain and in the midst of a crisis. Colleen very calmly talked me through what to say while she was working on several other situations at the same time. She is definitely in the right position at Wings of Hope.” That ability to remain calm in the middle of chaos helps our staff to deliver a greater level of patient care. A team member recently said, “I appreciate Colleen’s calm, positive attitude in the midst of a whirlwind of urgent needs, and her ability to sort through priorities and provide direction to meet the needs of the day.” She is always “on top” of all our patients’ needs. Her brain has a huge storage capacity for details. She communicates well with our staff via updates. An after-hours RN wrote, “She makes sure that admissions information is the best we can get. That helps with a smoother admission whether it is during the day or after hours. She is the glue that holds the clinical staff together. She works hard to make the day flow well.” Colleen is a model of human maturity. She brings decades of accumulated knowledge and experience to Wings of Hope. One RN said, “Colleen is so knowledgeable about everything and is always willing to share that knowledge.” Her positive attitude, warm smile and emotional maturity are a large influence on the maturity and morale of our staff. Colleen is definitely one of a kind! We are immensely blessed to have her as part of our team.
Pictured from left to right: Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Colleen Cupani, RN, WCC Triage Coordinator, Wings of Hope Hospice; and Tod Langeland, Secretary and General Manager of Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Colleen for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our May Caregiver Award recipient Colleen Cupani. Colleen received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.
Wendy was nominated by Kevin Brintnall - Chaplain - Grace Hospice
Wendy Wilke, and RN and Case Manager, demonstrated from day one at Grace Hospice that she would maintain the priority of patient care as the first priority over all other considerations. Whether providing excellent care for the patient or providing a compassionate ear for distressed family members, Wendy’s work is exemplary. Going the extra mile for her patients and families is not out of the ordinary for Wendy. Recently, a patient expressed to her that on his list of undone things in his life was to marry his longtime companion who was his caregiver for many, many months. Wendy immediately proposed that she could help the couple to make this dream come true. Wendy contacted the hospice chaplain and asked if he would be available and willing to conduct the ceremony, and a date was set. She shopped for wedding rings and purchased them out of her own resources. She recruited another RN to order a cake, to bring flowers and to act as a photographer to record the moment. Family members were contacted and invited to attend this simple yet meaningful ceremony in the apartment of the patient. The day of the wedding arrived, all the pieces came together, and this couple joined their lives in marriage. The patient, by this time in the disease process, was unable to stand, but said over and over again, “I’m so happy for this day.” Truly, it was a joyful moment! And it was made possible because a hospice nurse took care not only of the physical side of her patient, but also listed to his heart. The patient reported that he was at peace just before he died just two weeks later. Wendy Wilke, RN, exemplifies the very best of what it means to be a hospice nurse.
Pictured from left to right: Greg Langeland, Vice President Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator; Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Wendy Wilke, RN, Grace Hospice; & Kevin Brintnall, Chaplain, Grace Hospice.
Thank you Wendy for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our April Caregiver Award recipient Wendy Wilke. Wendy received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.
Chrissie was nominated by Lea Sidibe.
Chrissie cared for our mom with gentle respect for her choices. She was extremely confident and flexible in the care she provided. She always knew how to help mom through each change, always gave her options and made sure she participated in her own care. Chrissie instilled confidence in us, as her caretakers, she taught us how to keep mom comfortable and routinely praised our efforts.
Pictured from left to right: Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Krissie Kemple, Registered Nurse, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan; & Tod Langeland, Secretary and General Manager, Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Chrissie for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our March Caregiver Award recipient Chrissie Kemple. Chrissie received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card that can be used for whatever she decides.
Nikki was nominated by Terrie Polendo and The Whole Staff at Grand Vista of Marshall.
Nikki comes in to Grand Vista Assisted Living with a smile on her face and everyone in our facility loves her. She is amazing with the residents she is assigned to. She sits with them at meal time, visits and is so pleasant to everyone. As the Nursing Supervisor she always reports to me any concerns, and communicates with staff amazingly. All of our residents think she is so wonderful. You can tell Nikki truly loves what she does. Nikki is so deserving of this award. The whole Grand Vista Team Thanks Nikki for going above and beyond for our special residents.
Pictured from left to right: Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Nikki Warner, Clinical Nurse Assistant, Great Lakes Caring Hospice; & Tod Langeland, Secretary and General Manager of Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Nikki for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our February Caregiver Award recipient Nikki Warner. Nikki received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card that can be used for whatever she decides.
Debra was nominated by Kris Kenz Locke.
Deb is wonderful. She listens closely, and well to everything you say, and catches everything you can't say. She gets to know you and speaks to your situation, not just grief in general. Losing my Dad in September 2015 was so hard, and having Deb there for me meant the world. I'd lost my Mom in August 2012 and when Daddy died I had strong grief for Mom again. I'd heard that was possible, but I wasn't prepared at all for the intensity. Deb not only held our scheduled meetings, she also took my phone calls; always patiently listening to what I said and figuring out what else might be lurking but not spoken. She supported me and challenged me to grow. I've been blessed to work with several people in hospice, all very good. But Deb was truly an angel. Even now, 19 months after Daddy died, I think of Deb and her advice to help me through rough patches. And I smile when I feel better because I know Deb would be happy for me too.
Pictured from left to right: Lisa Langeland Allen, Treasurer of Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Norm Langeland President of Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Debra Koning, Grief Counselor, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan; Greg Langeland, Vice President of Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Tod Langeland, Secretary and General Manager of Langeland Family Funeral Homes; & Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator of Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Debra for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our January Caregiver Award recipient Debra Koning. Debra received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.
Sandy was nominated by Rachel Mol.
For the past year Sandy has faithfully, lovingly and cheerfully taken care of my resident (who passed away) twice a week. Sandy has treated this person as one of her family members; and when she was not doing well would call or stop in unexpectedly just to see how we are doing and how our resident was doing. Sandy is wonderful and we love her dearly.
Pictured from left to right: Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Sandy Rapp, Nurse's Aide, Southern Care Hospice; and Tod Langeland, Secretary and General Manager of Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Sandy for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our December Caregiver Award recipient Sandy Rapp. Sandy received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.
Roxanne was nominated by Victoria Johnson
Roxanne was a day shift caregiver for my father, John Johnson, who just recently passed while at Rose Arbor in Kalamazoo. He was there for a total of 6 weeks and Roxanne bonded with my father almost immediately. She always talked to my dad finding a common interest to talk about. She was always very kind to my father but honest telling him to enjoy and find something in every day he had left. She always made sure he was well cared for and groomed (whether he wanted to be or not) which he thanked her for every time. She went out of her way even when he wasn’t a part of her care team to come down and see him and how his day was going. It is very evident that Roxanne has a LOT of experience and she is a true asset to the Kalamazoo Rose Arbor facility and to the patients she cares for.
Roxanne James, Hospice Aide – Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan - Rose Arbor (standing in the center in the blue shirt) is surrounded by her co-workers at Rose Arbor and Shelby Baas and Dana Naumann from Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Roxanne for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our November Caregiver Award recipient Roxanne James. Roxanne received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.
Lillian Lockwood was nominated by Deb Withee (a family member she served) & Mary Smith (RN - Reverence Hospice)
Lillian started taking care of mom in March 2017. She treated my mom as if it were her own mother (Lillian had very recently cared for her own mother by providing hospice care while taking time off of her job at Reverence). Lillian stands out for her work ethic, positive attitude, teamwork mentality, and diligence. She would start her day early to make sure she could be the one to take care of mom. She always spoke positive words to mom and the family. If there was a question about anything, she would follow through by contacting the staff or nurse. She went beyond providing basic care and made sure that mom was taken care of compassionately, even to the smallest details. Lillian not only was committed to caring for mom, she loved and encouraged her. Lillian’s support and caring heart made such a difference to us, knowing mom was getting personalized wonderful care.
Lillian has been a Home Health Aide at Reverence Aide at Reverence Hospice for 20 years. She is an invaluable member of our Hospice Team exhibited by her never ending kindness and gentleness. This enables her to meet her patients and family needs. She goes beyond in meeting spiritual needs and puts patients at ease by singing hymns to them as she performs their care in the most gentle and caring ways always concerned about their dignity and comfort. Her patients and families love her kindness, patience and gentleness and her true ability to let them know she really cares for them on both a personal and spiritual level during this most difficult transition in all their lives. It is a pleasure to work with Lillian and I truly respect all the care she provides.
Pictured from left to right: Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family funeral Homes; Lillian Lockwood, Home Health Aide, Reverence Home Health and Hospice; Lisa Langeland, Treasure of Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Lillian for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our October Caregiver Award recipient Lillian Lockwood. Lillian received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.