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Compass Regional Hospice recognized, veteran volunteer awarded as ‘Hospice Champion’

Wednesday, February 13, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Katherine Lally
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Compass Regional Hospice recently was awarded a Partner Level Four certificate for its involvement in the We Honor Veterans program. During the January ceremony, longtime Compass Regional Hospice veteran-to-veteran and hospice center volunteer, Tom Brent, also was honored with a Hospice Champion award.

Compass Regional Hospice is a national partner of We Honor Veterans, a campaign developed by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Compass achieved its Partner Level Four status in 2017, but the certificate presentation was delayed until it could be done in person.

The Department of Veterans Affairs' We Honor Veterans Community Hospice Coordinator, Cindy Dresser, traveled to the Hospice Center in Centreville to present Compass Regional Hospice with its Partner Level Four certificate on Jan. 10, and while at Compass also delivered a Partner Level Four certificate to Coastal Hospice and Palliative Care President Alane Capen, who traveled from Salisbury to be present during the event.

During the ceremony, Dresser also presented a Hospice Champion award to hospice center and veteran-to-veteran volunteer Tom Brent. Brent has been volunteering with Compass Regional Hospice since 2013.

During the presentation, Compass Regional Hospice Executive Director Heather Guerieri was invited to speak.

“To say that Tom is committed to our program is an understatement,” Guerieri said.

Brent volunteered more than 1,300 hours during 2017, Guerieri said.

“Our staff considers him the embodiment of what we want to offer through our services; kindness, empathy and generosity of spirit,” Guerieri said. “Tom goes out of his way to get to know each and every one of our veterans. As a Marine Corps veteran himself, he listens to the stories these individuals share with him.”

Guerieri said Brent has gone as far as tracking down Marine Corps “blues” for a patient who wished to be buried in his uniform. The patient had lost track of his own after returning from service.

In addition to providing veteran-to-veteran support, Brent helps almost every department at Compass Regional Hospice, including by staffing events, providing outreach to individuals regarding hospice services, maintaining Hospice Center in Centreville gardens and grounds, and helping with administrative tasks.

“It is not uncommon that he will offer to run extra trips to the grocery store, spruce up the gardens or perform minor repairs to ensure that every patient receives the very best care in the very best facility,” Guerieri said.

Brent also acts as a volunteer mentor for those joining the organization’s volunteer team.

“Tom is often the first volunteer we call on when a new volunteer is seeking a mentor,” Guerieri said. “He is someone who is comfortable both in the busy and quiet times within our facility, and he is the best at teaching others by sharing his experiences, calming nerves, and showing new volunteers how every minute they give is important.”

Guerieri said Brent often is asked for by name by new families who have loved ones being admitted to the Hospice Center in Centreville.

“His reputation seems to precede him,” Guerieri said. “He develops wonderful relationships with each patient in our Centreville facility. His patients convey to staff and family what a difference his visits make and how touched they are by his thoughtfulness.”

Guerieri said Compass Regional Hospice is blessed to have Brent as a member of its team.

“We are certain Tom sees our Hospice Center in Centreville as an extension of his own home,” Guerieri said. “Tom is a staple in our organization and someone we could not do without.”

Dresser also awarded Nancy Stewart, Coastal Hospice and Palliative Care’s access manager, with a Hospice Champion award.

Through the We Honor Veterans program, Compass Regional Hospice gratefully acknowledges its military and service men, women and families. The mission of the program is to serve the nation’s veterans, who have served their country so selflessly, during their end-of-life journey.

Compass Regional Hospice honors all hospice patients who have served in the military with a special ceremony. Each honoree is presented with a pin, framed certificate, tabletop flag and a patriotic lap quilt. For veterans admitted to the Hospice Center in Centreville or the Hospice Center in Chestertown, an American flag and the flag of the veteran's branch of service are posted on either side of the door to the patient's room.

Additionally, trained Compass staff and volunteers provide veterans and their families with local resources surrounding veteran end-of-life experiences, benefits and other ongoing projects to recognize the dedication of these heroes.

Compass Regional Hospice enrolled in the program in 2012. In 2017, Compass was awarded the We Honor Veterans Partner Level Four distinction — at the time, the highest level an organization could reach. During fall 2018, the Department of Veterans Affairs added a Partner Level Five distinction, which Compass will be working toward going forward.

To achieve the Partner Level Four distinction, a hospice provider must offer ongoing veteran-centric education for staff and volunteers, build organizational capacity to provide quality care for veterans, and develop and strengthen relationships with VA medical centers and other veteran organizations.

As a veteran-centric organization, Compass Regional Hospice provides a Vet-to-Vet program, which aims to pair veteran volunteers with veteran hospice patients. These hospice-trained volunteers, with personal military experience, have the unique ability to relate and connect with veteran patients and their families.

To learn more about the We Honor Veterans program with Compass Regional Hospice or to volunteer with the Vet-to-Vet program through the organization, please call 443-262-4100,  email info@compassregionalhospice.org, or visit compassregionalhospice.org/volunteers. 


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