Community Leaders Weigh-in on Mercy Health and New Medical Center with President, Gary Allore

Agency leaders share in dialogue during community roundtable

“We are committed to providing the best patient care experience in Muskegon,” said Gary Allore, Mercy Health Muskegon’s president, on Feb. 2, while addressing more than 30 executive directors from local non-profit agencies at United Way of the Lakeshore. Leaders met to hear updates about Mercy Health’s new medical center and progress of the consolidation project.

It was clear that guests expected to see renderings of the new facility and updates on how the building is coming along. What most did not anticipate was Allore’s question to the group that opened up over an hour of dialogue:

“We want to hear from you… how are we doing?”

Community leaders were overwhelmingly positive about the significant impact Mercy Health’s legacy has had on Muskegon. Their questions and feedback addressed the upcoming phase Mercy Health is entering into as an organization – when all hospital services come together at the new medical center.

Following are just some of the highlights from the conversation.

Rendering of Mercy Health New Medical Center

Will the new hospital be big enough? With the medical technology available now, there are many procedures that used to require two- or three-day stays that are now a one-night stay. Even outpatient procedures, such as hip and joint replacements, are now performed at the ambulatory surgery center– freeing up beds for trauma and other inpatient cases. The hospital’s infrastructure is designed to handle growth during times of increased inpatient volumes, There is also  capacity to go to 11 floors in the future, if needed.

“Our goal, long-term, is to have all of the acute services together so we’re not duplicating things all over town. We will use that efficiency we gain on the hospital side to invest in the ambulatory settings,” Allore said.

Is there a community plan to decrease unnecessary utilization of the emergency departments? Before the merger between Hackley and Mercy Hospitals ten years ago, and because of community behaviors, the hospitals in Muskegon strongly promoted short wait times and convenient availability to be seen in the emergency departments. Over time, people became accustomed to using these locations as their provider of care. Approximately 30 to 40 percent of ED visits are not true emergencies, but a barrier our health system has faced in recent years was developing the primary care network – enough so that patients are referred to the right setting at the right time. Now that an expanded base of primary care options are available, we plan to promote these (Primary Care vs. Urgent Care vs. ED) to the community and educate our patients on where to go for health care services.

Kate Kesteloot Scarbrough, Executive Director of Mediation and Restorative Services with Mercy Health Muskegon President, Gary Allore

You need to highlight your community benefit ministry efforts. “When we talk about community benefit across the nation for Trinity Health, they’re always saying – go to Muskegon… they’ve got it figured out! It’s our mission, it’s why we exist and it gives us a strong local advantage,” said Allore.

As a nonprofit, Mercy Health Muskegon provided over $18 million in community benefit in fiscal year 2017, and more than $3 million in financial assistance, impacting 208,700 lives.

Kate Kesteloot Scarbrough, executive director of Mediation and Restorative Services in Muskegon, echoed Allore’s sentiment, saying, “It’s because you’ve made (community benefit) normal… Mercy Health has had a long-term commitment to do that kind of work in our community, and we’ve become used to the idea that our health system is embedded and committed to its people. It’s not just something you to check off a box on a tax form. You’ve made it how you do business, and how we work together. And that’s been true for a long time.”

Christine Robere, president of United Way of the Lakeshore, elaborated on Mercy Health’s impact on the West Michigan community. “It’s not an accident that Muskegon and Mercy Health are doing so well. You really have an incredible staff and culture where you’ve allowed your colleagues to be involved in community collaboration. As we look at your development of the community health worker groups – and the need for case management to sustain people in their homes, it really was evolutionary for our local population. The continued empowerment of your staff to keep collaborating has really helped our agency leaders do a better job as well. There are probably more case workers from Mercy Health in Muskegon County than anywhere else in Michigan, and you walk with these individuals the entire way until they’re successful. It’s not just a Band-Aid approach with you… it’s your mission.”

Agency leaders gather for community roundtable

What are you doing to connect with the faith-based minority groups in our community?

The pastors of our Mission Services Committee are further developing relationships with local congregations. Mercy Health looks forward to visiting and hosting similar roundtables with local religious leaders.

Mercy Health thanks United Way of the Lakeshore for hosting this community roundtable conversation. It was a great opportunity to get the pulse on what the local community is saying about Mercy Health and help us understand how to further engage with the community during this exciting time in the health system’s – and the community’s – future.

Mercy Health is planning to continue these conversations with community members about how we can improve our mission to be a transforming healing presence. If you know of a community group interested in hosting a roundtable conversation, please email Erin Patrick, PR and communications manager, at erin.patrick@mercyhealth.com.

Young at Heart with the Joints to Go with It

A joyful man in his late-70s, Richard Zandstra is in constant motion. He swims, walks, bikes, golfs, gardens and cross country skis in the winter months. Being active is part of his very being. Zandstra wants to live life to the fullest, so that includes remaining healthy and active.

“My right knee with the first replacement was fine, but over time, my left knee got progressively worse. It finally got to the point that I couldn’t walk anymore, and that’s when I told my wife I needed to see an orthopedist,” Zandstra explained.

Board Certified orthopedic knee and hip replacement surgeon Kevin Kane, MD, turns to surgery as a last resort. “We try medications, injections and physical therapy first, but it can come to the point where the best solution is knee replacement,” said Kane. “The timing was good for Richard because today’s artificial knees can last 20 years or more. I told him that he wouldn’t wear out this new knee!”

The Joint Class Zandstra attended before surgery was particularly helpful. “I knew in advance that I would be asked to move, move, move after surgery, so I was glad that Mercy Health offers a class before surgery that helps you strengthen your muscles so you heal faster and have an easier time with PT. Because I swim, I also got ready by using a kick board in the pool.”

Kane attributes Zandstra’s quick recovery to several factors, including his patient’s outstanding physical shape before surgery, his positive attitude, and his determination to complete post-operative physical therapy.

“We had Richard up and walking on the first day because the quicker people get out of bed, the happier they feel,” said Kane. “It’s really satisfying to work with patients and take them from a place of pain to a place where they feel better enough to walk without a cane or walker. Richard was firmly engaged in getting better, and he is the type of patient who is a cheerleader for the other patients in therapy. We were amazed by how quickly Richard progressed following surgery.”

So why Mercy Health? “I chose Mercy Health because I had previous surgery here on my right knee, and it turned out great,” Zandstra said. “At Mercy Health there is a lot of attention to individual needs. When it’s all said and done, they offer a caring, personalized experience.”

Medical expertise cannot be underestimated either. Mercy Health’s many fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons have led to the distinct honor of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s is named the only hospital in the state of Michigan that is accredited by the Joint Commission for hip, knee and shoulder replacements.

“Don’t hesitate to consult a medical specialist. You have to keep moving to stay healthy, and if moving your legs causes pain, your life will be diminished. Today I feel great and have no pain. The whole experience at Mercy Health was good.”

Andrew C. Kleaveland, MD, Receives Quarterly Golden Staff Award

On Tuesday, February 20, Pulmonologist Andrew C. Kleaveland, MD, received the Golden Staff Award, which is given to physicians who serve as outstanding role models. Nominations are submitted to the Physician Partnership Team, and the Team reviews and selects a recipient each quarter. Kleaveland was nominated by Chief of Staff Joan Nagelkirk, MD.

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Kleaveland expresses surprise at the announcement.

From his nomination form: “Dr. Kleaveland consistently demonstrates a caring approach to medical practice. He often has to have hard conversations with patients but does so in a very gentle manner. He is a model for fellow physicians as well as house staff.”

Congratulations, Dr. Kleaveland.

Regular Screenings and Knowing Your Numbers Can Help Catch Heart Disease Early

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 2,200 people die each day from heart disease in the United States.

That’s why, during American Heart Month, Mercy Health would like to encourage you to care for yourself and your loved ones by reminding you of the importance of regular health screenings.

You may not know that heart disease affects different populations in different ways.

For example, while 6.6 percent of Caucasian American adults and 6.3 percent of African American adults are living with heart disease, African American men are 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease, as compared to Caucasian American men, according to the Office of Minority Health.

Additionally, African American women are 1.6 times as likely as non-Hispanic white adults to have high blood pressure.

Also according to the Office of Minority Health, American Indians/Alaska Natives, on average, are more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease than their white counterparts.

For people of all ethnicities, knowing and properly managing your biometric numbers such as your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, can prevent or delay heart disease and its complications.

Of special interest regarding blood pressure numbers, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have revised the guidelines for the detection, prevention, management and treatment of high blood pressure. The new guidelines – the first comprehensive set since 2003 – lower the definition of high blood pressure to account for complications that can occur at lower numbers and to allow for earlier intervention. Blood pressure categories in the new guideline are:

  • Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg
  • Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80
  • Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89
  • Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg
  • Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage

The best way to find out if your numbers are within a healthy range for your gender, height and age is to have annual health screenings.

Additionally, having a primary care physician (PCP) who can coordinate your care is vital to your good health.

Recipes for Heart-healthy Snacks

Proper nutrition is a crucial factor in maintaining health. That’s why the chefs at Mercy Health have offered these delicious recipes for heart-healthy snacks that you and your family can enjoy throughout the year.

Crunchy Trail Mix

Yield 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup Cheerios

¼ cup almonds

2 Tbsp. raisins

2 Tbsp. dried cherries

1 ½ Tbsp. mini chocolate chips

Preparation:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium size air-tight container.

 

Chocolate Almond Bites

Yield 24 servings

Ingredients:

½ cup almond butter

¾ cup shredded unsweetened coconut

½ cup quick cooking oats

¼ cup ground flax seed meal

¼ cup honey

½ tsp. almond extract

2 ½ Tbsp. semisweet mini-chocolate chips

Preparation:

  1. Combine almond butter, coconut, oats, flax seed meal, honey and almond extract in a large bowl, stir to mix thoroughly. Add in chocolate chips, stir to combine.
  2. Scoop out 1 Tbsp. of dough and form into 1” balls, store in an airtight container.

 

Apple Nachos

Yield 3 servings

Ingredients:

3 large apples, sliced thinly

2 Tbsp. melted peanut or almond butter

2 Tbsp. honey

2 Tbsp. semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

2 Tbsp. toasted and chopped almonds or peanuts

¼ cup cranberries or raisins

Preparation:

  1. Lay out apple slices on a large plate and top with remaining ingredients.

 

BBQ Zucchini Chips

Yields 50 plus chips

Ingredients:

1 large zucchini

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. smoked paprika

2 tsp. dried ancho chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

1/8 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. brown sugar

½ tsp. ground black pepper

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 225°F and line two baking trays with parchment paper
  2. Thinly slice zucchini or use a mandolin. Lay zucchini out on paper towel to help absorb some liquid
  3. In a small bowl combine paprika, chili powder, cumin, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, brown sugar and black pepper.
  4. Lay zucchini out on prepared baking trays making sure to not overlap zucchini slices. Brush each zucchini chip with some of the extra virgin olive oil and lightly sprinkle with BBQ seasoning blend
  5. Bake in oven for 2-2 ½ hours until zucchini chips have dried out and browned.
  6. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

 

Spicy Taquitos

Yield 8 servings

Ingredients:

2 medium avocados, thinly sliced

8 whole grain flour tortillas

¼ cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese

1 cup black bean hummus

2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Coat a baking tray with non-stick cooking spray
  3. Spread 2 Tbsp. of black bean hummus on 1 tortilla, sprinkle with some of the cheese and lay out slices of avocado, and roll up tightly. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  4. Brush tops of each taquito with some of the extra virgin olive oil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Cherry Energy Bites

Yield 16 servings

Ingredients:

1 ¾ cups rolled oats

½ cup almond butter or peanut butter

¼ cup maple syrup

½ cup dried cherries

2 Tbsp. chocolate chips

Preparation:

  1. Combine all ingredients except for the dried cherries and chocolate chips in a bowl of a food processor. Blend well, add in cherries and chocolate chips and pulse a few times to combine.
  2. Scoop mixture out into 16 portions and rolls into balls. Store in refrigerator.

Emotional First Meeting Between Kidney Recipient and Deceased Donor’s Family

Two years post- transplant, recipient Brenda Barr exchanges hugs, stories and tears with her deceased donor’s family

“I can’t imagine having another chance like this. I am going to take very good care of my gift. I will not take it for granted.”

Brenda Barr, kidney recipient at Mercy Health Kidney Transplant Center, received her kidney on January 27, 2016, as one of the five record-breaking kidney transplants in a 24-hour period at Mercy Health Kidney Transplant Center. Barr, who suffers from polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder in which cysts grow on the kidneys, was on the transplant list for several years before she received the call that a kidney was available.

Immediately after her transplant, Barr felt better as her body started to function without needing dialysis. Within weeks, Barr went back to work and began going to the gym daily to ensure that she remains healthy.

Several months after her transplant, Barr and the donor’s family began to exchange emails, through the guidance and help of Gift of Life Michigan. Barr discovered that her kidney had come from a 39-year-old young father named Mike, and that he left behind his wife Michelle and three small children.

At the two-year anniversary of her donor’s passing, Barr again reached out to her donor’s wife through email to let her know she was thinking of her, and the two decided that now was the time for an in-person meeting with their families.

Before the initial exchange, Barr was very concerned about how Michelle was doing. “I can’t imagine how she is coping after losing her husband, especially with her small children.”

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Hosted on the fifth floor of the Lacks Cancer Center on February 10, 2018, Barr, with her husband, two daughters and two grandchildren, finally met Michelle, Mike’s parents and Michelle and Mike’s three children.

After a very long embrace, the two women began sharing their stories.

“His gift will enable me to be a grandma for many years to come,” Barr said, pointing to two of her nine young grandchildren who came.

“I feel like when I hug Brenda, I am hugging my husband again,” said Michelle. “For me, this is part of the healing process, to meet Brenda. This is definitely what Mike would have wanted. He was always putting others before him.”

As hard as it is to lose him, according to Michelle, it was important for her children to meet Barr and her family. “Any way I can share a part of their daddy with them, I will make it happen.”

Nephrologist Michael Hofmann, MD, offered his emotional support during the exchange: “Seeing these two amazing families come together just reiterates how small of a piece we clinicians play in their lives.”

Hofmann was the on-call nephrologist who facilitated the coordination of the five kidneys during the record-breaking day in January 2016.

The first month of 2016 set the pace for the entire year at the Mercy Health Kidney Transplant Center. 2016 broke the record for the most transplants the center had ever performed in a year, totaling 137, earning Mercy Health Kidney Transplant Center a spot as one of the 50 Busiest Transplant Centers in America for 2016.

For more information on registering to become an organ donor, please visit www.giftoflife.org.

Friend of Nursing Recipient Supports Struggling Patient by Listening

Jillian Boukma, PCA, recipient of Friend of Nursing Award, is surprised by the event in her honor by CNO Liz Murphy.

Jillian Boukma, PCA, who works in the Lacks Outpatient Surgery department, is credited for always rising above what’s expected of her in order to serve her department and especially her patients of Mercy Health in a positive and helpful manner. While Boukma does this daily, Sara Leary, a nurse in outpatient surgery, noted one exemplary encounter for which she nominated Boukma for the Friend of Nursing Award.

An excerpt from the nomination form reads:

“One day, Jillian was working with a patient who was preparing surgery for their second battle with cancer. The patient was understandably upset with their present health-related situation. At one point, the patient even expressed an interest to cancel their surgery out of frustration.

“Rather than going through the motions of her job and just brushing off the criticism, Jillian instead chose to begin a conversation with the patient and listen to the personal struggles of that patient – serving as a source of support for this individual.

“It is because of Jillian that the patient is continuing to use our resources at Mercy Health to assist in the battle with cancer.

“While we are unable to fully understand what causes our ailments, it is our job to make our patients’ experiences the best that they can possibly be, so they know that we care.

“We are proud to have staff members like Jillian Boukma as a part of our Mercy Health team to help us achieve this mission.”

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Congratulations to Boukma on this recognition!

Newborn Babies at Mercy Health Raise Awareness of American Heart Month with Red Knit Hats

Volunteers from across Michigan have knitted nearly 4,000 hats that will be given to all babies born at 23 of Michigan’s hospitals during the month of February. At Mercy Health’s birth centers in Grand Rapids and Muskegon, 200 little red hats will be given to infants throughout the month of February.

The Little Hats, Big Hearts™ project raises awareness of heart disease, the number one killer of Americans, and congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country and the leading killer of infants with birth defects. The Children’s Heart Foundation is a national sponsor of the project.

While all babies at participating hospitals are expected to receive a Little Hat, some of those infants have very special hearts. Congenital heart defects (CHD) are structural problems with the heart present at birth. They result when a mishap occurs during heart development soon after conception and often before the mother is aware that she is pregnant. CHD affects approximately one in every 125 babies every year in the United States alone.

Tiffany and Roczen Sly

 

Wearing a little hat, Roczen Sly was born on February 9, 2018, at Mercy Health Hackley Birth Center in Muskegon.  Roczen is the son of Tiffany and Joe Sly of Muskegon.

Tiffany said, “Everyone here at Hackley was super helpful and extremely knowledgeable about what was going on during my stay. I really would like to thank the kind volunteers who knitted the adorable red hats – they are so cute! Thank you very much.”

Also donning a red hat is Hazel Bird,  born on February 14, 2018, Valentine’s Day, in the new portion of the Birth Center at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. Born to parents Heather and Daryl, Hazel weighed seven pounds and eight ounces at birth and is proudly welcomed by three siblings at home.

“We are really happy to show our support of and raise awareness about congenital heart defects,” said Heather, who also works as a nurse at Mercy

Hazel Bird

Health.

 

Learn More or Become a Volunteer

Heart Disease Kills 48,000 Black Women Yearly — Here’s What You Can Do

About half of black women age 20 and up have it.

Black women face disproportionately high risks for heart disease and stroke, yet many are unaware of those risks. What’s more, almost half develop these diseases at young ages—as young as 20—for reasons that are not yet fully understood.

Statistically, 48,000 black women in the United States die each year from cardiovascular diseases, the leading cause of death in this population and in all women, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). The AHA estimates that one woman in the U.S. dies every 80 seconds from these often-preventable illnesses.

But, black women die more frequently from cardiac events than do white women, with a mortality rate that, some research suggests, is 69 percent higher. And, they also have dramatically higher rates of high blood pressure, a major heart-disease risk factor.

Reasons for more heart disease

Why do black women fare so poorly compared to other groups? And why are their risks so much higher at younger ages than other women?

“There’s a lot of speculation as to why,” says Vinayak Manohar, MD, an interventional cardiologist with Mercy Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan. One reason may be poorer access to health care, but especially to specialists, he says, as black women encounter financial barriers to specialty care more often than other population groups. U.S. Census Bureau data show that 22 percent of black people live in poverty, compared with 8.8 percent of the non-Hispanic white population.

Cultural differences may come into play, as well. “Many women, in general, only see a doctor when they’re sick—not for prevention,” Dr. Manohar says. And, some research suggests, that black women have an added disincentive: mistrust of their health care providers. This is due, in part, to poor past care. Evidence also suggests there lies an implicit, or unconscious, bias against many black patients — particularly women, who as a result, often don’t receive the same-quality treatment that white women do. This can lead to fewer preventive screenings for heart disease and other health concerns.

Dr. Manohar also cites two ‘stand-out’ risk factors — hypertension and obesity — that are more prevalent among black women than white women, tend to be more severe and develop earlier in life. Almost half of black women age 20 and older have high blood pressure, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 82 percent are currently overweight or obese, due in part to less physical activity and diets that favor salty, fried foods. These two conditions, which significantly raise the risk for coronary artery disease, act as gateways to other major health problems, including chronic kidney disease and type II diabetes, he says.

Less definitive, for now, is a possible genetic link governing hypertension in both black women and men, which makes them far more sensitive to salt intake, and in turn, more vulnerable to high blood pressure. The AHA says in those who carry the gene, as little as one extra gram of salt, or about half a teaspoon, can raise blood pressure significantly.

How black women can reduce risk

On an individual level, Dr. Manohar and others agree that, to lower heart-disease and stroke risks, black women first need to be made more aware of that risk by the medical community. While research shows 55 percent of white women between 25 and 60 recognize heart disease as the leading cause of death in women, only about 34 percent of black women in the same age group do the same.

To further lower the risk of cardiovascular problems, black women can:

  • Watch blood pressure levels. Though studies show that black women are more aware of hypertension than white women—and likelier to take medication for it—monitoring is key to detecting changes in heart health. High blood pressure is now considered 130 mmHg and up for systolic blood pressure, or 80 mmHg and up for diastolic blood pressure. Readings can be taken at home, as well as at a doctor’s office.
  • Engage in regular physical activity. To maintain a healthy weight and improve heart health, try moving 30 minutes or more each day. Even just moderate-intensity walking can help to lower risk.
  • Know cholesterol levels. Excess cholesterol and fat in the blood can narrow arteries and increase the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke. Dyslipidemia—excess blood fat and cholesterol—contributes to these conditions; black people require special attention from providers, as they’re historically undertreated. Black women without heart disease should aim for a desirable total cholesterol level of less than 200 mg/dl, with an HDL of at least 60 mg/dl, and seek regular testing.
  • Quit smoking and using tobacco products, like snuff. Currently, about 13 percent of black women smoke. And while, overall, they try to quit more often than other groups, they’re often not as successful, perhaps because medication and counseling aren’t used—or aren’t available. To address this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a guide, Pathways to Freedom, specifically addressing smoking cessation in the black community.
  • Get tested for diabetes. Black people are 1.7 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic white people; they also tend to develop it earlier in life. Since an estimated two-thirds of those with type II diabetes die of heart-related complications, it’s important to be evaluated for the disease, which can be detected in a simple blood sugar test.

None of these changes have to be made all at once, and some risk factors, such as age or a genetic history of early heart disease, can’t be changed. But, having just one risk factor is one too many, the AHA says, as risk factors tend to accumulate over time, worsening each other’s effects. They suggest you start gradually, tackling each risk one at a time to prevent future cardiac and stroke events.

Finally, black women should also know the signs of a heart attack, which can differ — for all women — than those seen in men. In addition to typical red flags, such as uncomfortable pressure in the center of the chest, or pain that radiates to the shoulder, neck and arms, women may experience sharp pain in the neck, back and jaw. They may also feel nausea, dizziness, unusual fatigue, shortness of breath and lightheadedness. If you believe you’re experiencing a heart attack, dial 9-1-1 immediately, as fast treatment is crucial to survival.

This article originally appeared on Sharecare.com.

Celebrating January 2018 DAISY Award and Friends of Nursing Award Recipients

Both recipients were honored at a joint surprise celebration that was held on the 4 East unit before their leaders, fellow colleagues, and the Professional Nursing Practice Council members.

Cathie Evans and Jennie Moore

The recipient of the January 2018 DAISY Award was Jennie Moore, RN, BSN, from 4 East at the Mercy Campus. Jennie was nominated by her peers and manager.

The recipient of the January 2018 Friends of Nursing Award was Cathie Evans, RN, CHPN, Clinical Outreach Specialist with Harbor Hospice. Cathie was nominated by the 4 East staff and manager.

“Just a few days before Christmas, 4 East had a patient who was nearing the end of a long battle with a life-threatening. The family had many issues they were facing, but Jennie and Cathie remained calm and supportive. The patient’s husband’s birthday was a few days before Christmas. Jennie and Cathie knew that the patient’s husband was focused solely on his wife and on his family’s issues. 

“On Thursday, Jennie and Cathie planned a small celebration for the husband’s birthday. On her day off, Cathie brought in a cake from Ryke’s Bakery, and Jennie helped to present the cake to the husband and let him know the cake was to celebrate him and his loving devotion to his wife. The husband was overwhelmed with gratitude. Jennie was able to make sure his wife had a small taste of the icing on the cake to celebrate this sweetness. Later that afternoon, the patient passed away peacefully. Jennie and Cathie’s support to this family during such a difficult time was greatly appreciated and had a tremendously positive impact on this family.”

Congratulations, Jennie and Cathie.