Transitions Hospice Celebrates National Volunteer Week

Transitions Hospice Celebrates National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week takes place April 15-21, 2018. This commemoration, established in 1974, provides an opportunity to recognize and celebrate volunteers and volunteerism. “At Transitions Hospice, we are fortunate to have many dedicated individuals who volunteer with our clients and their families. It takes a special person to spend her/his volunteer time with people living with life-limiting illness,” said Elise C. Wall, Volunteer Coordinator at Transitions. “These volunteers inspire me every day with their gentle and creative approach to serving others.” Transitions Hospice owner and CEO, Jim Palazzo, is very supportive and proud of the volunteer program. “We believe in focusing on the life each individual has to live. Our volunteers help our patients and families make the most of what time is left.” Transitions volunteers donated over 2500 hours of their time to patients and families in 2017. Companion Volunteers visit, play games, read, reminisce and share stories with their patients. Vigil volunteers have the opportunity to sit bedside in a patient’s final hours. “Sometimes, all that is needed is a supportive presence and a hand to hold,” Wall said. Transitions volunteers offer all of this and more. Office-based volunteers help support patients and families through completing clerical tasks and assembling informational packets and binders. “We are always ready to welcome new volunteers onto our team,” stated Sara Dado, Executive Director of Transitions. “Our program is growing and we look forward to increasing our roster of valued volunteers,” Dado said. This year’s theme for Volunteer Week is “Celebrate Service.” Transitions wishes to recognize, celebrate, and thank all volunteers for their donation of time and talent. Hospice volunteers serve...
Hospice Month Comes to a Close

Hospice Month Comes to a Close

To the Staff of Transitions Hospice,      With National Hospice Month coming to a close, I would again like to thank each of you for your hard work and dedication to our company and to the patients we have the privilege of serving. This month has been heartwarming, filled with kind words and support shown to each other through the Employee Spotlight. Reading the amazing things you all had to say about each other has been yet another reminder that we are more than colleagues, we are a family.   As we move into Christmas, I look forward to celebrating with each of you. Thank you for making this year one of the best for Transitions Hospice.   Sincerely,   Jim Palazzo Founder/CEO Transitions...
Staff Spotlight: Eddi Goldberg Perlis

Staff Spotlight: Eddi Goldberg Perlis

Massage Therapy is Eddi Goldberg Perlis’ 4th life career. However, it is the one which she is most passionate for. She began her life careers as a French Teacher for junior high and high school students before she took a short break to have her two amazing daughters. Upon returning to the job market, she administered Employee Benefits programs for various private and public organizations for almost 20 years. Finally, she worked in her husband’s Elder Law firm for 15 years until illness forced the practice to close. At the ripe young age of 62, Eddi decided to go to Massage Therapy School at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. It was no easy feat going to school at her age. Mostly everyone in the class was under the age of 30. Whereas most of the others in her class were interested in working with athletes and doing deep tissue massage, she searched for other modalities to practice. She believed that massage was part of the body-mind-spirit triad. Fortunately, one of her instructors encouraged her to continue to search for the perfect technique for her. Initially, she worked with geriatrics which is an umbrella term for anyone, no matter what the person’s age who may have been diagnosed with Dementia, Parkinson’s, ALS, MS, Diabetes or Stroke. She received her certification in Geriatric Massage from the Day-Break Geriatric Institute in Indianapolis, IN. In addition, she was encouraged to work with cancer patients and has been trained in oncology massage. Her instructor was trained in India. Eddi was taught to integrate oncology massage with acupressure and reflexology. Shortly after, she received her...
Staff Spotlight: Mary Ellen Heelan

Staff Spotlight: Mary Ellen Heelan

We interviewed Mary Ellen Heelan, MT-BC, NMT, a native of Downers Grove and now a resident of Cary who began her career as a Social Studies teacher in Oklahoma and Virginia before moving into healthcare. She has worked across the entire continuum from hospital acute care and skilled nursing to senior housing, hospice, and home health. Mary Ellen is a board-certified and Neurologic Music Therapist whose private practice, Heelan Music, specializes in providing services to hospice patients and their families, geriatric clients, and those with rehabilitation and psychiatric needs. The power of music is that it is universal —music is a part of everyone’s life. In Mary Ellen’s case, she has been playing musical instruments since she was five. She sings, plays the piano, accordion, and hammered dulcimer as well as a variety of other instruments. Mary Ellen has a B.A. in History from Saint Xavier University – Chicago, a Bachelor’s in Music from DePaul, and an MBA from Northwestern.   WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO WORK FOR HOSPICE ? “My creative, energetic, social activist Mom was taken from us so quickly. She was diagnosed with cancer the day after Thanksgiving almost twenty years ago and was gone by the first week of January. Hospice was such a comfort to us then but at the time, despite all my years in healthcare, I knew very little. I wished afterwards that we had had hospice earlier to help us through the shock and to work with us especially when my Mom was still at home by herself. Fast forward to years after, I felt so blessed when I had an opportunity...
5 Ways to Honor a Loved One Who Passed Away During the Holidays

5 Ways to Honor a Loved One Who Passed Away During the Holidays

The holiday season brings most of us joy, laughter, and time spent with those we love. For those coping with the loss of a loved one, the season can bring on the challenge of masking feelings such as sadness, loneliness, and an overall need to escape from the celebrating going on around us. Smells, sounds, and past traditions can magnify the sense of loss you feel. Despite these feelings and changes around you, there are a number of ways you can honor your loved one during the holidays. Things to consider: Keep talking about your loved one as if they are still alive. Talking about past traditions during the holidays that your loved one always did, or even stories, is a way to remember the good times that you had with them. It will also allow others to hear the story through your eyes and help them cope with the loss too. Try to make one of their special dishes that they used to make during the holidays or one that they used to truly enjoy. Yes, it may not taste the same way it did when your loved one made it, but it allows you to still continue to live through them by making the dish that they were known for/that they loved. Gather with friends/family as your normally would. You’ll be surprised about the stories you didn’t know about your loved one and stories that friends/family didn’t know about your loved one. Still decorate the same way you always do and bask in the warmth of the season. The holidays are always hard after the loss of a loved one but...
When Hospice Chooses You

When Hospice Chooses You

I think November is such a great month to celebrate Hospice and Palliative Care because it is also the month that we are reminded to give thanks for all the meaningful moments in our lives. I’ve spent the majority of my professional career in health care but it wasn’t until I came to hospice that I found my purpose. As a hospice social worker, I had the privilege of helping and supporting patients and families through what is often the most emotional and difficult time of their lives. I have found that it is often at the most unexpected times that we learn the most important lessons about ourselves and the value of our work. One particular situation stands out for me. It was my 15th wedding anniversary and my husband and I had dinner plans to celebrate. But I was on call and got called out to sit with a patient who was dying. When I arrived, I found the patient comfortable in bed with her husband sitting next to her at bedside. He started to tell me their story —a love story that spanned 72 years across 3 continents, 4 children, 12 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. As he spoke of his wife and the life they shared, his eyes filled with tears as he broke down and cried, then he leaned over and kissed her. I just sat and listened but I still remember how it took my breath away. The power of being present at that moment. As I was leaving late into the night, he hugged me and told me I was an angel....