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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.

We invite nominations from peers, friends, patients and their families, and others who feel a particular person excels in his or her profession. Through your nomination, you can provide a special honor to someone who gives so much.

Please take a moment to nominate an individual whose care has touched your heart. This person may be a hospice professional physician, nurse, chaplain, social worker, grief counselor, CNA, healthcare administrative professional or a volunteer.

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Langeland Family Funeral Homes hosted the Fourth Annual Hospice Caregiver Award Banquet on October 9, 2019. The twelve-monthly award winners were invited to an evening of gratitude for their service and to select the Langeland Hospice Caregiver for 2019. Wendy Miller an RN with SouthernCare Hospice was selected as the Langeland 2019 Hospice Caregiver of the Year. She attended the banquet with her husband, Matt and two friends and co-workers from SouthernCare, Jenny Henley and Julie Gimbel. Wendy lives in Portage with her husband and three children. She was very honored to receive the award and expressed how this award shows validation for the work of hospice and a connection with our community. Wendy sees it as a special way to pass the love along. 

This is what Wendy shares about her work in hospice:

“When I tell people what my job is, I am often greeted with sad faces and words of “oh how sad” or “your job must be so hard”. But I do not find my job to be hard. It is sad from time to time, this is true. But mostly, especially after I have spent many hours with families, and my patients have passed peacefully and comfortably surrounded by loved ones; I find an overwhelming sense of calming reward and inner peace by helping these families find understanding and acceptance of their loved ones passing.”

Langeland Family Funeral Homes expresses their sincere thanks for Wendy and all the Hospice Caregivers for the service they provide to those who going through these most difficult times of their lives as a patient and as a family member.  

Following are quotes from other monthly Hospice Caregiver award winners who attended the banquet:

“I cherish life, every second, because of my Hospice experiences. I consciously try to live in the moment. I value the wisdom and knowledge of the elderly.” Hilary Smith, Social Worker, Grace Hospice

“Working at hospice has impacted me by showing me the understanding of families and no family is perfect and to be kind and understanding.” Kelli Owens, Clinical Nurse Assistant, Great Lakes Caring Hospice

“I feel grateful when leaving a home after a visit, knowing that, with God’s help, I have been able to meet a physical, emotional or spiritual need that is a concern that day, leading to increased comfort for the patient and/or the caregiver. It is important to me that they feel as if they were the most important visit of my day!” Donna Coots, Registered Nurse, Wings of Hope Hospice

“I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to work for such a wonderful company with so many fantastic team members. I think my journey begins there. Everything else falls into place. Everyday is special and all of our patients are special. My favorite story, I love what I do.” Karen Wilcox, Licensed Practical Nurse, Great Lakes Caring Hospice

“Being nominated for this award feels pretty special. I say this mostly because while I do remember the patient and family who nominated me, I do not remember doing anything above or beyond what my fellow coworkers and I do every single day. It is humbling to think about what a huge impact we can leave on others on what feels like just an ordinary shift.” Katie Bonita, Registered Nurse Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan – Rose Arbor

“If I can share one special moment with a person in a song, a story; a laugh; a smile; a dance; holding hands or sitting in silence to help bring an atmosphere of dignity to dying, then I have been blessed. Barbara Gillespie, volunteer, Heartland Hospice

“I loved their mission and wanted to play any part possible to help carry it out. I am impacted every day by the people I work with. People that work in hospice care have an incredible amount of compassion in them and makes coming to work a joy.” Amy Chestnut, Fundraising Coordinator, Wings of Hope Hospice

I often see people at their worst times when they have lost all hope. I have met so many families that were scared and afraid to care for their loved ones. As rapport is built with families and the patients, I see them get more comfortable. Patients become comfortable and it brings about a new sense of peace.” Karen Tennant, Registered Nurse, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan




Nancy was nominated by her colleagues at Wings of Hope Hospice for the Hospice Caregiver Award

Nancy Lyon gracefully balances her roles of wife, mother, active church member and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at Wings of Hope Hospice. She has a positive, sunny disposition and is frequently mentioned by the families she serves as an aide who helps to lift their spirits.

In caring for the patient’s personal hygiene needs, Nancy is always respectful of the person and the body. Whether changing linens, bathing or dressing a patient, she has the knack for moving the body in a way that brings the least discomfort. She often brings calm by using lotions and essential oils in her massages. Whether changing a brief, washing hair or brushing teeth, she often leaves the patient and family with a smile.

Considering the frequency with which a CNA and patient interact, and the intimacy of the service, a strong bond between the two often develops. Nancy Lyon has said, “The CNA is building trust with a patient in an intimate act of care.” People actually relax in experiencing the gentle touch of a CNA.

Nancy sometimes bathes a body after death occurs before the family arrives or before it goes off to the funeral director. This intimate last rite of loving respect has brought comfort and dignity to sorrowful scenes.

Our Nancy sees the spiritual significance of her hospice work as being the hands and feet of Jesus. We love and respect her. We recommend her for the Hospice Caregiver Award.

 - Colleagues at Wings of Hope 

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Pictured from Left to Right:  Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator of Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial & Cremation Services and Nancy Lyon, Certified Nursing Assistant, Wings of Hope Hospice

We were able to honor Nancy while social distancing.  

Thank you Nancy for all you do as an exceptional Caregiver and we especially recognize how you are going above and beyond in during the current pandemic.  

Nancy received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.

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