DeMOTTE — Haven Hospice came to DeMotte in 2021 by Maryann Burk, who is an RN and was inspired to create a hospice in a rural setting.
She lost her mother a few years ago, and she said it took three hours for someone to come when her mother passed and for her, that was unacceptable.
A resident of DeMotte, she began asking her friends about hospice care and found that others in the area had the same experience. Hospices were too far away and did not give the care rural patients needed.
She looked into Haven Hospice, a family-owned corporation.
“I was looking for a partner who shared my passion for how and where to do this,” she said.
The owner of the corporation reached out to her and found Haven Hospice fit. “They have the same passion and values for end of life in our communities, Burk continued.
Currently, there are 28 staff members in various positions, but the hospice is looking for volunteers to help in a variety of ways.
Community Impact Maker founder, Frankie Lane, became a member of the staff two weeks ago as the volunteer coordinator. Medicare requires hospices that work with it have 5% of patient care done by volunteers.
“It is beneficial for families and volunteers,” Lane said.
Many people in the community, from young to old, are looking for ways to volunteer. She said after COVID, people started looking for opportunities to help in their community, but don’t know where they can serve.
“That’s why I started Impact Maker,” Lane said. She posted a request for volunteers on the Haven Hospice Facebook page and community pages, and had a great response, she said. One of the requests was for hair stylists, and received several responses for volunteers.
Burk said one of the patients was a pilot, and another pilot heard of him and volunteered to take him for a flight. His granddaughter and a nurse flew with him and recorded the experience for the family to have that memory.
“We love being able to knock off bucket list things,” Burk said.
Her husband said something that she quotes often, “Haven isn’t where you come to die. It’s where you come to finish living.”
Haven Hospice staff and volunteers help families also for up to a year after their loved one has passed. “Haven Helpers fill in the gaps for that,” she said. They have retired nurses who volunteer.
Volunteers are never asked to be part of the patient’s skilled health care but can fill in other ways. They can sit with a patient while their caregiver takes some time to get out and run errands, visit with friends or just take a break.
“We want to make sure no one dies alone,” Burk said. “We want to bring comfort when the families can’t be there. We really care about the families and the patients.”
Lane explained the “helpers” can do administrative work, clerical work and don’t have to go to patient’s homes. Recently a group of six ladies came and put together some a memorial gift for families. They put a small string of lights inside a glass cube and put words of comfort on the outside and tied it up in a ribbon.
“There are even more possibilities out there we don’t even realize yet,” Lane said. “It’s whatever you feel comfortable volunteering for.”
There are specifics to what counts as the 5%, but volunteering is also a way to grow the community, to allow people to show their compassion for others. “I’m proud to be a vehicle for that,” Lane said.
Burk said they help people who have questions about what to do for end of life, how to find caregivers.
“That’s happening more and more frequently,” she said. Haven Hospice will be hosting informational and educational opportunities to open up more in the community. They will have presentations to help people understand with a broad overview of hospice and what it offers. They will also have presentations for those interested in volunteering.
“We get them to think about what they have to offer,” Lane said. “How to turn experience and skills into helping others. They can be part of a group or an individual.”
She said she will be talking to a church group about how they can help.
The hospice also has a non-profit foundation for donations with 100% of the money used in the community. Donations can be made in honor of someone and can be anonymous. Donations can be used to help families with funeral expenses, specific medical equipment a patient may need not covered by insurance. “All of those things that really matter to people,” Burk said. It is never used to promote the business side of Haven Hospice.
To volunteer, there is an application process, and a background check is part of that as is a drug screen, a physical and a TB test and volunteers are “on boarded” as an employee would be. There’s also training when first on boarded and continuous training after that. “We continue to learn and grow,” Lane said.
“We want them (volunteers) to feel competent out in the field or in the office. People may discover they have a passion for something else,” Burk said. They have interdisciplinary group meetings to help build confidence as well.
Not all volunteers interact directly with patients. They can volunteer to do outside work, walk a dog.
“We are open to suggestions,” Lane said. She said they have a group of 5 to 7 year olds who come in and make cards for patients. People can do crafts at the Connection Center, like a group who made bird feeders to give to patients, or a business who has space to offer.
Recently, Cup of Joy expanded and have offered space for their educational sessions. “There are others who would help that way,” Lane said. “We are always open to new ideas.”
Haven Hospice in DeMotte began with 22 patients in 2021 and served over 100 in 2022. They accept Medicare and Medicaid as well as private insurance.
Hospice steps in when a person is in the terminal stages of a disease. Burk explained people should look into hospice care sooner. They can go into hospice when they don’t have that “bounce back” anymore.
“We have an opportunity to get to know the patient’s wishes and to know the family and help them follow the patient’s wishes. It can be several years sometimes. We want them to enjoy life with whatever time they have.
“We want to keep them as comfortable as we can for as long as we can,” she said. She recently opened a branch in Carmel, and is looking at starting a hospice in Medaryville and Francesville.
“I want to bring it to rural areas so no one is waiting three hours like I did,” Burk said.
To learn more about Haven Hospice, visit the website at https://havenhhc.com or call 219-301-0505. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, contact Lane at that phone number or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Burk’s email is email@example.com.