Today, almost four decades after Dame Cicely Saunders’ vision of quality end-of life care, hospice has become a medical specialty focused on meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of patients and their families. For those in the field, this holistic approach to care is more than just a job, it is a calling. At Treasure Coast Hospice, it is this dedication to mission that drives a team of healthcare professionals to deliver compassionate care to patients at the end of life and bring comfort to their families.
Navigating the complexities of hospice care became more challenging this year in the wake of a global pandemic. “I was so inspired by the resiliency of our team and their selfless dedication meeting the needs of our community,“ said CEO Jackie Kendrick, CHPCA. “Our frontline caregivers courageously and compassionately responded to the crisis, while our administrative staff and volunteers worked diligently to provide the support the clinical teams needed to persevere through difficult times.”
In celebration of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, Treasure Coast Hospice will begin an initiative spotlighting staff and volunteer contributions to patient care.
Brittany Martyr, MSW - Social Worker
I love being able to provide my patients and families with unconditional positive regard through compassionate counseling and to help walk them through this challenging journey in their lives.
As a teenager, Brittany Martyr always enjoyed talking with people, especially seniors, and hearing their stories. Today, as a social worker, Brittany uses her communication skills to help patients and families understand and adjust to a serious illness. Sometimes a loved one’s diagnosis may be more difficult for a family member to accept than the patient. Working with the entire family, Brittany helps them reframe what hope is and counsels them on how they can enjoy quality time together.
Helping patients and their loved ones find joy in new ways is a key part of her role. “Supporting a family with a Legacy Project, such as a life interview, photo or craft project, cook book, or audio recording, is one of the ways our team helps a family enjoy life and create lasting memories together.”
Cornelius Clarke, CNA – Nursing Assistant
I take pride in providing patients, family, and their close friends with passionate customer service and patient care. I try my hardest to make sure my hospitality leaves a warm spot in every heart. It’s a pleasure to be a bright shining light for Treasure Coast Hospice.
Cornelius Clarke’s dedication to healthcare is personal. His first patient was his grandmother. After caring for her and other members of his family, Cornelius decided to pursue a career as a nursing assistant. Certified since 2013, he loves connecting with and taking care of his patients and families. Cornelius credits the strong bonds he builds to the mantra he lives by: “treat everyone like family.”
A man of faith, Cornelius starts his day with prayer and reflection. His inner strength, warmth, and calming demeanor endear him to anyone he meets.
Laura Morgan, LMF - Grief Counselor
What I love most about what I do is being a part of an organization that cares deeply for others. I feel appreciated and supported in delivering our mission, and in turn, I am able to share this with others.
In a society that embraces a “get over this” attitude, many people are often unprepared and struggle with their feelings of loss. A grief counselor at Treasure Coast Hospice for the past 15 years, Laura Morgan considers it an honor to be able to care for those facing one of life’s most difficult challenges. She helps people through their grief journey by providing them with the support, education, and tools they need to gain confidence and find their way.
Whether Laura is counseling an individual or conducting a group session, she listens with a compassionate heart. “Building a community of support is vital to helping bereaved individuals and families heal.
Connecting people with others who are working through the same problems is very powerful. As a counselor, it’s rewarding to see people get better every day and make a difference in their lives.”
Carlos Domena, M.Div. - Chaplain
How can I be a blessing to someone today? Through his formal studies and life experiences, Carlos Domena has a deep understanding of different religions and cultures. As a hospice chaplain, Carlos meets patients wherever they are spiritually.
For some, that may mean prayer, scripture or sacred music. For others, it may simply be companionship or conversation.
“It’s important to first build rapport with patients and families.” Once established, Carlos helps patients find peace by reflecting on their life and, according to their belief system, helping them to look forward to life’s transition. Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that bring the most comfort - holding a hand, sitting by the bedside or reminding patients that they are loved.
Minerva Jones, RN, BSN – Clinical Team Manager
I love the fact that I get to make a difference in so many patients and families’ lives while they are receiving great hospice care from our dedicated staff.
A personal experience opened Minerva Jones’ eyes to hospice care. As a young student, she saw her 39-year-old uncle benefit from care when his hospice team visited him at home. The comfort and support that her uncle and family received left an impression, forging Minerva’s healthcare path as a hospice nurse.
Fifteen years later, she leads a clinical team that cares for patients at local nursing homes, assisted living residences and at home. “Our hospice teams provide extra eyes and ears for families who may not be able to visit their loved ones. Culturally, people view death in various ways. We understand those differences and are dedicated to comforting and supporting the many cultural communities we serve.”
Minerva considers her Treasure Coast Hospice colleagues “family.” Like family helping family, “we support one another so that we can all be our best when caring for our patients and families.”
“We are proud of how passionately our team works together to care for our community,“ said Jackie. “They continually support one another as they demonstrate the hallmarks of hospice work – expert care, compassion, and commitment.”
To learn more, visit TreasureHealth.org. Treasure Coast Hospice is the community-based, nonprofit hospice serving Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties since 1982.