Emmanuel Hospice Calls for Volunteers from Greater Grand Rapids Area

Emmanuel Hospice is looking for volunteers in the greater Grand Rapids area to provide support to patients and families, as well as assist its clinical teams.

The organization is in particular need of volunteers in the northern regions of the metropolitan area, specifically from Rockford, Sparta, Ionia and Cedar Springs.

Volunteers serve Emmanuel Hospice in many ways, including making bereavement calls, capturing patient’s life stories, supporting office needs and providing companionship with certified pet visitors. Other volunteer opportunities include assisting with community outreach, knitting, card-making and patient/family support.

“Volunteers are essential to our mission of providing exceptional end-of-life care for patients,” said Jackie Chandler, Emmanuel Hospice volunteer coordinator. “They help bring to life our philosophy of care that centers on providing comfort, dignity and tranquility to our patients and their loved ones.”

Emmanuel Hospice is dedicated to matching the unique skills and interests of prospective volunteers with the right opportunity, ensuring each volunteer receives a tailored area of assignment. Volunteers must first undergo a criminal background check and screening for TB. They will then complete a self-paced 12-hour course of online study to familiarize themselves with hospice care and end-of-life issues.

Headquartered in downtown Grand Rapids, the Medicare-certified and CHAP-accredited nonprofit provider serves patients and families across West Michigan.

Those who are interested in volunteering can submit an application form online at: emmanuelhospice.org/volunteer. Individuals may contact Chandler with questions and for more information at jchandler@emmanuelhospice.org.

About Emmanuel Hospice

Emmanuel Hospice is a faith-based nonprofit provider of compassionate, person-centered hospice care to patients and families in West Michigan. Serving the community since 2013, the organization is a collaborative effort of St. Ann’s, Clark, Porter Hills and Sunset designed to complete the continuum by providing end-of-life care to those inside – and outside – the walls of these organizations. For more information, visit www.emmanuelhospice.org.

Baseball enthusiast attends one more game with the family

As local fans filed into Fifth Third Ballpark on College Rivalry Night, baseball superfan Marge Neering was about to have her wish come true. Hundreds of passionate Michiganders began to sit down in their blue ad yellow University of Michigan jerseys while their rival fans sat adjacent to them, proudly showcasing their green and white Michigan State shirts. The players made their way to the dugouts as Marge watched on from the side of the field. She was getting to see her grandson throw the first pitch as the local West Michigan Whitecaps took on the Bowling Green Hot Rods in Grand Rapids.

Marge is a lifelong Michigander. She has been married to her husband, John, for 65 years. They have five children, six grandchildren and a dog named Julie. She was a stay-at-home mom before she worked at Jacobson’s in the shoe department. A devout Catholic, Marge and her husband loved traveling they’ve been all over the United States and Europe.

Marge and her family are avid baseball fans and enjoy traveling to different stadiums each year. this year, it was different. It was really special. Marge’s patient wish was to watch her West Michigan Whitecaps on College Rivalry Night with her family. The Neering family wore custom jerseys, with “Emmanuel” written on the back above the number 19 and “Emmanuel Hospice” branded on the front. It was a night to remember.

Emmanuel Hospice Recognizes Volunteer Dr. John ‘Jack’ Hartmann

Emmanuel Hospice presented the Sister Gabriela Caring Spirit Award to Dr. John “Jack” Hartmann during a volunteer luncheon on Friday, Nov. 8 at Waterford Place in Jenison.

The award recognizes a volunteer who carries with them the mission and vision of Emmanuel Hospice and who goes above and beyond with their compassion for patients and their families. The award was named after Sister M. Gabriela Hilke, the founding visionary behind the creation of Emmanuel Hospice and the award’s first recipient. She is also a spiritual caregiver and active board member with the organization.

“Jack came to mind right away when our team was deliberating who should receive the award this year,” said Jackie Chandler, volunteer coordinator. “Jack has been incredibly engaged and passionate about Emmanuel Hospice from the very beginning. We have appreciated his continued dedication to our patients, and the many times he’s exceeded our volunteer expectations.”

A retired OB-GYN, Hartmann started volunteering with Emmanuel Hospice in the fall of 2018. He was first trained as patient/family support volunteer, helping to enhance patients’ quality of life through companionship, one-on-one time and prayer. When Emmanuel expressed a need for vigil volunteers, Hartmann was quick to sign up for the training.

Vigil volunteers must be compassionate listeners who recognize the transition that takes place at the end of life is both physical and spiritual. They are called on at all hours and any day of the week to be there for patients when no else can be to ensure no one dies alone. Vigil volunteers bring families some peace of mind knowing someone could be there with their loved one.

“Jack has been called to serve in this capacity multiple instances. Time and time again, no matter the hour, he’d be there – and he has sat bedside with patients for hours,” Chandler said. “I’ll never forget when I asked Jack why he was interested in volunteering, and he simply replied, ‘there is dignity in listening.’

“That really struck me. That’s exactly the mindset we look for in volunteers.”

Hartmann is also known for being an advocate for patients. He has developed meaningful and close relationships with the patients he has worked with, paying special attention to their needs. He has sought out trainings to learn how he can better support individuals with different conditions, such as those with dementia.

When he recognized one patient in particular was really struggling emotionally, Hartmann reached out to the interdisciplinary team to inquire about whether it would be OK for him to visit that patient more often than what is asked of volunteers. Emmanuel Hospice commended Hartman for his collaboration with the interdisciplinary team to ensure that patient received the additional support needed.

“People facing end-of-life issues experience some of the most important days of their lives,” Hartmann said. “For me, to be a possible source of kindness, even for a few hours, for such individuals is a privilege.

“I am very grateful for Emmanuel Hospice for giving me the opportunity to serve.”

Volunteers serve Emmanuel Hospice in many ways, including making bereavement calls, capturing patient’s life stories, supporting office needs and providing companionship with certified pet visitors. Other volunteer opportunities include assisting with art therapy, community outreach, knitting, card-making and patient/family support. So far this year, 35 volunteers have donated more than 2,100 hours to the organization, a cost savings of more than $38,000.

Emmanuel Hospice currently has a need for patient/family support and pet visitor volunteers. Pet visitor volunteers are trained as patient/family support volunteers in addition to having their pet certified as a companion animal.

The organization is also expanding its veterans program and is seeking individuals who have served to volunteer. A person does not need to be retired from the military to be considered for the volunteer position.

Those who are interested in volunteering can submit an application form online at: emmanuelhospice.org/volunteer. Individuals may contact Volunteer Coordinator Jackie Chandler for more information at jchandler@emmanuelhospice.org.

Emmanuel Hospice Reaccredited by CHAP

Community Health Accreditation Partner Logo

Emmanuel Hospice has been reaccredited by the Community Health Accreditation Program, Inc. for its industry best practices and commitment to quality patient care.

The CHAP accreditation renewal demonstrates that Emmanuel Hospice meets the health care industry’s highest nationally recognized regulations and standards. Emmanuel Hospice was awarded the renewal due to its focus on structure and function, quality of services and products, human and financial resources and long-term viability. The organization received a perfect survey with no areas of concern.

“Our goal at Emmanuel Hospice is to provide the best possible experience for patients and their families during what can be a very difficult time,” said Emmanuel Hospice Executive Director Sara Lowe. “Having the independent, third-party validation from CHAP confirms our commitment to the highest standards possible.

“We hope those we care for and their families can rest easy knowing we are being held to a high level of excellence as we offer a holistic, life-affirming experience through the end of life.”

Emmanuel Hospice first received CHAP accreditation in 2014 after its first year of operation. The new accreditation is valid through September 2022. CHAP certification also certifies Emmanuel Hospice as a Medicare provider.

“By achieving CHAP accreditation, Emmanuel Hospice has shown a commitment to excellence,” said CHAP President and CEO Karen Collishaw. “This is the second time Emmanuel Hospice has achieved CHAP accreditation, and we are excited to continue our partnership by offering support in its commitment to providing quality care and continuous improvement.”

CHAP is the oldest national, independent accrediting body for health care organizations that determines if hospice agencies meet the Medicare Conditions of Participation and CMS Quality Standards.

Since opening its doors, Emmanuel Hospice has grown to care for more than 100 families a day in a four-county area in West Michigan. Last year, the organization cared for more than 455 patients and an estimated 1,365 caregivers who supported them on their end-of-life journeys.