In this month’s podcast, Affinity Senior Care CEO Chris Z speaks to Jennifer Dale, Director of Development, and Vilija Idzelis-Wlosinski, Community Liaison at Angela Hospice.
Edited excerpts from the interview.
Chris Z: Hi everyone. Welcome to our show Coffee with Chris. We have some great partners with us today from the Affinity Network that we love to introduce you to. We have Vilija, Jennifer from Angela Hospice, Livonia. Welcome!
Vilija: Thank you Chris for hosting us today.
Jennifer: Thanks for having us.
Chris Z: Today we are going to talk about what hospice service is really and what difference does Angela Hospice bring into the community.
Chris Z: Vilija is the community liaison and Jennifer takes care of the marketing and development of the team. Vilija can you please introduce yourself and tell us about how you got into hospice.
Vilija: Yes, thank you Chris. First of all, thank you for inviting us as guests on your show Coffee with Chris. My name is Vilija, and I am the Community Liaison with Angela Hospice. I help connect individuals and community partners and provide education in the community about hospice and the importance of hospice and what options are there for families to choose.
Chris Z: That’s great. So how long have you been with the organization?
Vilija: I have been with the organization for a little over 2 years and how this journey started for me was my father himself was on Angela Hospice care about five years ago. And the team was just amazing to work with and they provided the family with extra education, support, and resources. Because as you know, it’s not just the individual going through hospice care, it’s the family also going through the process and the transition. And everyone as a unit needs that extra support and education and resources to get through that transition. So, with that, I had first-hand experience with Angela Hospice care five years ago and was simply amazed by the work they did. They were, I call them my angels. They really helped us through our personal journey.
So, five years later, I received this calling, it was like a nudge, like you know what, there’s not enough education out there, let’s not wait till the last minute to talk about hospice, let’s start to prepare for end-of-life transition, how we can provide more comfort and pain management for those families and for those individuals going through the hospice care. So that’s how I found my calling to be that beacon of light, education, and support in the community for families who don’t know when it is time for hospice, when do I start having that conversation.
Chris Z: Thank you so much for sharing that, Vilija. Jennifer, tell us how you got into the hospice world.
Jennifer: Thanks for having us on Chris, we appreciate it, we love to tell the story about Angela Hospice, and the wonderful things we do here. I have only been with Angela Hospice for just a little under five months now. I am relatively a newbie here at the organization. I was brought here by, unfortunately, just like Vilija’s story, having someone in my life, it was my mom, she was in hospice care for a couple of weeks before we lost her, and I wanted to give back. It was definitely a calling for me. I have been told that I have a hospice heart and it’s definitely in the right place. I was so very touched not only about the care that my mom received during her time in hospice, but more so for the exact reasons that Vilija said, it’s the care that my family received during and after my mom’s passing.
Quite often hospice care is only thought about with the people that are receiving the immediate care, that are in the system if you will. And hospice is so much more than that. It’s the comfort and the caring not only of the families that are there with the loved ones, but the ones even suffering after the person passes. So, I am here to give back and in my role as Director of Development I oversee all the marketing, communications, and fundraising efforts of the organization. It warms my heart continually to be able to have that connection with people who are unfortunately going through what I have gone through, and countless others have been through. So, it’s my joy to be here and our slogan is “We’ll take you under our wing.”
Chris Z: Thank you for sharing that, Jennifer! It sounds like all of us had that experience where we realize that having that support and help made the last days with our loved ones a little bit sweeter, and during this process when our loved one passed away, there are no regrets, the feeling that we did everything we can for them.
The other thing that I want to know, and I am sure so does our audience – all these home care companies, and hospice care companies are out there, but really what makes Angela Hospice different?
Vilija: Great question Chris! We are a non profit, faith based, Felician ministry. Our core values align with Christ like care. Our mission is to treat our families and community that we service with compassion, dignity, and respect. Like our motto, we take you under our wings and guide you through the whole process.
One of the main differentiators is that we have a care center here on-site in Livonia, Michigan. All individuals who are facing the end-of-life transition and need round the clock 24-hour care and need more specific care, that’s what that care center is designed for – to take those types of patients. We also have an amazing prenatal and pediatric hospice program. We have an amazing grief support program that many people are not aware of, and because it is aligned with our core mission values of the Felician Ministry, we are able to provide this free grief support to anyone in the community who needs help navigating through that grief journey. We have licensed Clinicians here on our grief support team that can actually provide that type of service through a virtual support group or on an individual basis. And we are able to provide this service to anyone, you don’t have to be in hospice to receive grief care information. You can reach out to us at 734-464-7810 to learn more about our grief support program.
Jennifer: One of the biggest things that people don’t understand or even know, and Vilija did a beautiful job of sharing it with your listeners, is Angela Hospice’s grief services are available to anyone. You don’t have to have someone that’s passed, or someone that’s receiving Angela Hospice services. I think that’s what makes us unique and that’s what we talk about in our marketing and development efforts. That our services are just not confined to our care center here in Livonia, Michigan or in your home, it is available to everyone.
When we are talking about doing fundraising, and special events, we are just so thankful and grateful that we are coming on the other side of the coronavirus and it’s giving us an opportunity to open back up our facilities, hopefully soon, safely, and having events. We are having a golf outing coming back in June, we have a couple of auctions that are Live and virtual, so you don’t even have to leave the comforts of your home. It gives us an opportunity to reach out into the community to do some fundraising.
Our programs are very interesting for our fund-raising efforts, because you can designate your donations to the organization, and where you want those monies to go for. Vilija already mentioned some of the great programs we have, such as the pediatric services, the prenatal services, and of course our continuing care services, and palliative care services.
And when you give us a donation, no matter the amount, it’s 100% your decision where you wish it to be utilized. You can direct it to be used for the Good Samaritan services which are programs where when someone comes into our care center, and financially cannot cover the care that they need in our center or their home, we tap into those funds to help out. We have a Veterans Program where we love, honor, and respect our veterans for not only the service that they gave but they continue to give. They are our true heroes.
There are so many different opportunities of planned giving. A lot of those are explained on our website, as well as you can give us a call here at the office and we are more than happy to walk you through – no pressure, no obligation. It’s your choice 100%, but we are happy to guide you along that process.
Chris Z: Your reviews speak for the great work you are doing. Thank you for your time. I also wanted to share this, other than the phone number, in what other ways can people contact you?
Vilija: We have a user-friendly website (angelahospice.org) that has different tabs for resources, list of events that are planned, has a list of resources for professional care providers as well as for families who are caregivers, there are videos on there, related articles, anything that can help support the family in need.
Chris Z: That’s great! Everybody, please support Angela Hospice, visit their website, and also reach out to Vilija or Jennifer. You can call them if you have any questions about hospice care. Thank you once again for being on our show.
If you are looking for additional support to meet the changing needs of your family member, please reach out to us at: www.affinityseniorcare.com or call Affinity at 248-363-8430.