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Archive | January, 2016

Celebrating Life Stories: Betsy Stavnitski

Anyone who asks Betsy Stavnitski if she “used to be a nurse” will receive a quick response. “I am a nurse,” Betsy says proudly. Retired or not, Betsy will always be a perfect example of what a nurse should be.

Betsy graduated from nursing school in 1958 and immediately earned a role as an instructor for nursing students. When she became pregnant with her first child, she was dismissed from the job and informed “a pregnant nurse is not an acceptable instructor for students.” She shares the story wryly today, adding “Can you imagine? But that’s the way things were done then.”

Like many women of the era, Betsy did not return to nursing until her three children had grown. When her youngest son was a junior in high school, she completed a refresher course at Miami Valley Hospital. “It was wonderful,” she remembers. “I learned so much!” She joined the Miami Valley staff in orthopedics, transitioned to infection control and ended up managing the orthopedic team. For the next thirty years she gave her loyalty and love to “the Valley.” This year, Miami Valley and Premier Health returned her affection with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her career in nursing.   Her award notes that “Betsy strived to keep the patient and family 1st by leading compassionate and safe care….Many of us marvel at Betsy’s professionalism, spirit and direct communication skills. Betsy served with dignity, class and the utmost respect for the patient and the care team.” After retirement Betsy served as a volunteer, as a member of the Miami Valley Foundation Board and on other committees, extending her loyalty and contributions beyond the end of her nursing role.

Betsy is humble about her recent Premier honors, noting that her “colleagues on the floor work so hard, mentally, physically and emotionally.” Asked what has changed the most over the course of her nursing career, Betsy says “Technology. The art of nursing has not changed, but the science has.”

 

As any of her colleagues can tell you, when it comes to the art of nursing, Betsy is one of the Miami Valley’s finest artists.

Simple Ways to Celebrate Life

Our mission is to celebrate and honor the lives of those we serve at end of life. On this day, we remind everyone to Celebrate Life.

It is easy to define our days by the worries, fears and problems that can consume our time and energy. Instead, we encourage everyone to make this day a focus on the joy and beauty we experience but often overlook. By Celebrating Life today, we can take the first step in a commitment to concentrate more everyday on the goodness, the grace and the gratifying opportunities we have that make life worth living. Celebrate Life today – and everyday.

Here are a few ideas for ways to make this day special.
Learn something new
-Start a new book
-Learn to cook or bake a new dish
-Sign up for a free class
-Try yoga, tai chi or meditation
-Start a journal or blog

Remember
-Play a game from your childhood
-Look at old photographs
-Reminisce with an old friend
-Enjoy music from your youth

Move
-Dance
-Run
-Walk
-Ride a bike
-Play Frisbee

Express Appreciation
-Thank someone
-Send a friend a note or give them a gift
-List your blessings
-Make a donation of time or money to a worthwhile charity

Touch Nature
-Look into the face of a baby or older person
-Pet a dog or cat
-Go out for a walk in the rain or snow
-Go to an arboretum or a botanical garden
-Hunt for bird nests
-Look at the stars
-Plant a flower
-Watch the sunset
-Watch the sunrise

Connect or Reconnect
-Send a letter or email to your favorite teacher or mentor
-Make a call, send an email or video chat with an old friend
-Introduce yourself to someone you’d like to get to know

Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton Receives $25,000 Check from WalMart

Patient quality of life at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton received a $25,000 boost from WalMart today.

Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton was one of several local non-profit organizations to receive grants from WalMart. The funds are earmarked for the Hope Fund which provides food, shelter, utility assistance and temporary housing to ensure families in the community receive the quality end of life care that they deserve. “The difference Walmart makes in giving back to our community shows the true spirit of being a servant to others,” says Lori Poelking-Igel, Executive Director of the Hospice of Dayton Foundation. “This generous gift of $25,000 will lighten the burden of another human being as they transition to the next chapter of their life, their end of life. Thank you for being part of that experience by enhancing the quality of living, not dying. Our Hope Fund enables us to alleviate stress for over 300 individuals who are faced with end of life challenges, but hunger, shelter and clothing won’t be one of them. Thank you for making this a reality for so many in need, and being partners in their journey.”

Additional information about the grant can be found online.

Dr. Wendy Schmitz Named Medical Director of Inpatient Care

Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton has announced the appointment of Dr. Wendy Schmitz to serve as Medical Director for Inpatient Care. wendy_schmitz

Dr. Schmitz joined the Hospice of Dayton medical staff as a Clinical Medical Director in July 2008. She earned her medical degree at the Medical School of Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California and completed her residency at Kettering Medical Center, where she was a Weiffenbach Scholar. She is board certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Prior to joining Hospice of Dayton, Dr. Schmitz served as a hospitalist with South Dayton Acute Care Consultants at Miami Valley Hospital and had also served as medical director of sub-acute care units with Arbors of Dayton Long Term Care, Carriage by the Lake Nursing Home, and Hickory Creek Nursing Home.

In announcing the new role Dr. Schmitz will assume overseeing inpatient care, Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ruth Thomson noted “Dr. Schmitz has a wealth of experience and has provided exemplary clinical expertise and leadership in our Hospice inpatient settings throughout her tenure with Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. She has embraced the concept of palliative procedures, which has greatly improved the comfort and care of our patients needing these services.”

Dr. Schmitz will continue to provide direct patient care as well as take on new medical leadership responsibilities. She is also spearheading an international physician exchange partnership through Care Partners International with the goal of establishing hospice care services in a partnership in Ecuador.

The Two Worlds of Remembering and Rebuilding

By Lisa Balster, MA, MBA, LSW, CHA

Director of Care, Patient and Family Support Services
Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton/Pathways of Hope Grief Counseling Center

At the Pathways of Hope Grief Counseling Center, the professionals work to educate individuals about ways to think about the common phases of the human grief experience. Some phases can be quite detailed and tedious, as grief tends to be sometimes. Others are extremely simple. The simple construct of “Remember, Rebuild” is exquisite in its wisdom.

Working Through Grief is a Process 

When working through grief, we need to spend time remembering our loved one, and embracing the past. We also need to spend time focusing on the present, as well as on the future, as we rebuild our life without the person. Time in both worlds is needed and will help us to heal. It may seem as though grief keeps us purely in one world for a while, and that is okay. It is important to know that we can move to the other world at any time.

Pathways of Hope Grief Support is Here as a Resource 

The Pathways of Hope Grief Counseling staff includes Masters and Doctoral prepared counselors, whose life work it is to walk with you as you journey in these worlds. It is this journey that provides healing over time. We are privileged to serve any adult, child, or teen that has lost a loved one. Pathways of Hope Grief Counseling Center, the professionals work to educate individuals about ways to think about the common phases of the human grief experience. Some phases can be quite detailed and tedious, as grief tends to be sometimes. Others are extremely simple. The simple construct of “Remember, Rebuild” is exquisite in its wisdom.

When working through grief, we need to spend time remembering our loved one, and embracing the past. We also need to spend time focusing on the present, as well as on the future, as we rebuild our life without the person. Time in both worlds is needed and will help us to heal. It may seem as though grief keeps us purely in one world for a while, and that is okay. It is important to know that we can move to the other world at any time.

The Pathways of Hope Grief Counseling staff includes Masters and Doctoral prepared counselors, whose life work it is to walk with you as you journey in these worlds.

It is this journey that provides healing over time.

We are privileged to serve any adult, child, or teen that has lost a loved one. Pathways of Hope is supported by the Hospice of Dayton Foundation, and we do not charge for grief support services. You can reach us by calling: 937-258-4991.

We look forward to spending some time with you this winter season. Best wishes for peace and joy in the New Year.

Camp Breakaway Flashback!

Camp Breakaway is back on January 18, 2016! Families who have not yet registered children and teens (ages 7-17) can RSVP here: https://hospiceofdayton.webconnex.com/breakaway16

Each year, Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton’s Pathways of Hope hosts “Camp Breakaway,” a one-day grief-focused program designed for children and teens who have experienced the loss of a significant loved one such as a parent, grandparent, sibling, friend, or other meaningful relationship in their lives.

This special program combines grief support in age-appropriate group discussion, art, and music, along with fun activities at the Kettering Recreation Complex like swimming and ice-skating. Over the years, grieving children and teens in the community have received support from peers as well as professionally trained, board-certified art and grief therapists.

Take a look at some of the fun activities Camp Breakaway kids and teens have participated in over the years, thanks to generous contributions from our community to support Pathways of Hope! Thank you Dayton for supporting superior care and services for our patients and their families. Learn more about Pathways of Hope grief support by clicking here.

To learn more details about 2016 Camp Breakaway and to register, please follow this link: https://hospiceofdayton.webconnex.com/breakaway16

Art Therapy at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton’s Pathways of Hope

The benefits of art therapy are well documented and praised across every age group, medical condition, and cultural demographic. Engaging in art therapy also enhances and encourages the grieving process. Through Pathways of Hope grief support, patients and their families at the Dayton Hospice House, as well as members of the public, may join informal art therapy programs to make art when talking about loss, uncertainty, and grief are difficult.

Some of the programs offered as art-based grief support include:

The Art Cart is a mobile cart full of art supplies and projects designed to enrich the lives of patients and their family members of all ages by providing life enhancing creative activity. Look for the Art Cart in the halls of the Dayton Hospice House on Thursdays and occasionally Sundays.

Drawn Together Open Studio is held at the Yeck Art Center and is designed especially for children and family members visitng patients at the Dayton Hospice House. This open studio program gathers on Wednesday afternoons.

The Art Forever After Group is a multi-generational art-based grief group that provides a place for individuals, friends, and family members to make art with others. This group meets in 3-month segments and is currently scheduled for Monday evenings September through November, and February through April.

Tribute Squares: An Art Response to a Sudden Death in a School or the Community is a special program designed to provide organizations and schools an art-based grief support in response to a sudden death in the community.

Art Groups for Camp Pathways and Breakaway: Youth weeklong and one-day only events have been geared toward group grief-support while kids and teens engage in fun activities.

For more information about all these programs and more, please contact Pathways of Hope at 937-258-4991, or email pathwaysofhope@hospiceofdayton.org.