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Hospice of Helping Hands Earns Trailblazer Award

Hospice of Helping Hands Earns Trailblazer Award

February 17, 2014 - Hospice of Helping Hands


The Hospice & Palliative Care Association of Michigan (HPCAM) recently announced Hospice of Helping Hands as the recipient of their 2014 Trailblazer of the Year Award.   Per HPCAM, “The Trailblazer Award recognizes a member organization for innovative programs or initiatives established to improve access or care delivery.” 

Hospice of Helping Hands was nominated for the award by Rhonda Copeland, RN, BSN, MSA, Hospice of Helping Hands Quality and Education Manager, for the agency’s commitment to the We Honor Veterans Program (WHV) - a joint partnership with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and Department of Veterans Affairs.  As outlined in Copeland’s nomination, “Our hospice organization [Hospice of Helping Hands] identified that we served a high veteran population and readily engaged in joining the We Honor Veteransprogram.”  Once involved with the We Honor Veteransprogram (starting in 2010,) Hospice of Helping Hands quickly progressed through the program’s tiered levels, achieving the highest level of the program, level four, by May of 2012.  Hospice of Helping Hands was the first hospice in the State of Michigan to achieve a level-four partnership. However, it was the agency’s passion to surpass the We Honor Veteransprogram requirements that made them worthy of this award.  Hospice of Helping Hands elective veteran initiatives include:

·         A flag drape at death.  “This has had a profound impact on our veteran patient families,” states Copeland.  “We recognized the increasing absence of funerals and memorial services for veterans and responded by offering a flag draping to ensure veteran patients would continue to be honored at death.” Copeland explained that their agency invited a member from their local honor guard, Mike Thorne, VFW 3775 Commander, to educate staff on flag etiquette and folding.  Thorne has since become a Hospice of Helping Hands Veteran-to-Veteran volunteer.

·         Increased education for staff and families. After determining a lack of knowledge in veteran death benefits, the hospice team held a special in-service to educate the team. An informational sheet on the topic was developed to give to all Hospice of Helping Hands families – even if the patient was not a veteran, the information could be used by another veteran family/friend.

·         Sharing knowledge. Hospice of Helping Hands has partnered with various veteran organizations, community businesses, and facilities to provide education and care for veterans.  They have also been used as a specialized veteran resource for multiple conferences including: HPCAM, Wayne State University, and Kirtland Community College.

·         We Honor Veterans Community Events.  As of November 2013, Hospice of Helping Hands has provided 49 We Honor VeteransCelebration and Pinning Ceremonies, “pinned” over 800 veterans, held their first Veterans’ Resource Open House, and a free screening of the film, Honor Flight.

“This award is a great honor for Hospice of Helping Hands,” state Donnelle Napier, Hospice of Helping Hands Executive Director.  “We have an incredible team that has adopted a passion for our Veterans.  It is wonderful to see their diligence and commitment be recognized.”

The Hospice & Palliative Care Association of Michigan will present the award at its Member Gala and Awards Ceremony during the 2014 Annual Conference. The event will be held on Tuesday, May 20, at the Lansing Convention Center.

For more information on Hospice of Helping Hands or the We Honor Veterans program, visit www.hohh.org or call 800-992-6592.  Hospice of Helping Hands is an affiliate of the John Tolfree Health System, a non-profit, grass-roots hospice serving Northeast Michigan since 1979.