The Heart of Hospice

The mission of The Heart of Hospice is to educate, encourage, and enrich the hospice experience.
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Mar 16, 2018

In this episode, Social worker Katie Ortlip describes the many ways she provides bereavement care to families when a loved one is on hospice.  Bereavement care begins when a patient is admitted to hospice, Katie says.  

Learn more about the many bereavement care programs provided by hospice professionals in this episode.  Visit our website at to learn more about hospice, caregiving, and self care.  

You can contact us at and tell us about your hospice journey, or to ask us questions about hospice. 

Mar 9, 2018

Welcome back to National Social Worker Month.  This week we continue our discussion with social worker Katie Ortlip as the discussion turns to long term care placement.  At times a patient may need more care than what can be provided in a private home setting.  When that occurs, the social worker may need to provide help in finding a different living environment. 

In this episode, Katie explains some of the reasons why a patient may need long term placement, and the options that are available. To learn more, visit our website at  Don't forget to visit our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter, too.  You can also send us an email at  


Mar 2, 2018

Advance care planning is one of the many services that social workers provide for patients and families.  On this 5 for Friday episode Katie Ortlip helps us understand the purpose of advance care planning, and the different documents that are included in these plans.  Listen to this episode to learn more about advance care planning, and the help that a hospice social worker can provide.  

To learn more, please visit our website at and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive up to date information about hospice, and announcements when there's a new blog or podcast published.  

Our special thanks to Katie Ortlip for being our guest this week.  

Mar 1, 2018

March is National Social Worker Month. Social Workers are leaders, advocates, and champions who serve people when they're in need of help.  Hospice social workers are some of the best.

To celebrate National Social Worker Month, Helen & Jerry talked with their friend, Katie Ortlip.  Katie has been a hospice social worker in Oregon at the same hospice agency for over 25 years.  She shares her wealth of experience with us in this episode, and also brings some insight into the work that she does in hospice.  

Along with her friend, Jahnna Beecham, Katie co-authored the book Living With Dying, which is a comprehensive guide for caregivers of terminally ill patients. 

Katie will also be our guest on our 5 for Friday episodes during the month of March, helping us learn more about the services that are provided by hospice social workers. Be sure and listen to our March episodes to learn more from Katie.  

To learn more about hospice, caregiving, and self care, visit our website at  Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter so you can receive up to date information about hospice, and announcements of new blogs, and new podcast episodes.  

Feb 23, 2018

Hospice provides 4 different levels of care for patients.

1. Routine Home Care, or hospice at home
2. General Inpatient, or GIP.
3. Continuous Care, or Crisis Care. 
4. Respite Care.

In this 5 for Friday, Helen & Jerry discuss the services that are provided for patients who receive Routine Home Care.  

To learn more, visit our website at, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  

Feb 16, 2018

Our mission at The Heart of Hospice is to educate about hospice, and enhance the end of life journey for hospice patients, and their families and caregivers.  To help our listeners learn more about hospice, we're providing short, but detailed episodes regarding the various aspects of the hospice experience.  

In this episode Helen & Jerry discuss the process that a patient will go through when they're admitted onto a hospice service.  Knowing the basic process that occurs will hopefully relieve some of the anxiety about a hospice admission.  

To learn more, please visit our website at  



Hospice Admission Process

Feb 9, 2018

At the Heart of Hospice we're always looking for great resources that help educate and encourage.  One of the best websites for end of life education is  BK Books is the website of Barbara Karnes, RN.  Barbara has written many books, including the classic end of life guide, Gone From My Sight.  

Not only does have books for sale, there are blogs written by Barbara that covers a wide range of end of life topics.  There are also several podcasts featuring Barbara, including our very own episode featuring Barbara.  So visit


Feb 2, 2018

There are many excellent books that have been written about end of life, but there are few written by a doctor about his own death.  When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, is an extraordinary description of the end of life journey of a gifted neurosurgeon.  

We highly recommend this book to end of life caregivers to help understand the mental, emotional, and spiritual concerns that are faced by terminally ill patients.  Kalanithi writes very openly and honestly about his feelings and his struggles.  

You can find more information about this book on Amazon, or at your local bookstores. 

Visit our website at for resources and information about hospice, caregiving, and self care.  

Feb 1, 2018

Tom Batiuk is the creative mind behind the comic strip "Funky Winkerbean."  Tom began drawing Funky over 45 years ago when he was still a middle school teacher in Ohio.  Funky Winkerbean is published in over 400 newspapers across the U.S.  

Helen & Jerry had the opportunity to talk with Tom recently about how humor can have a positive affect on the mind, body, and spirit, even during difficult and stressful times. 

Tom created a character in Funky's story line who was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Her name was Lisa.  Tom used her story for many good purposes, including the use of humor for self care to alleviate the effects of disease, and the side effects of aggressive, prolonged treatments.  

In 2007, the Lisa's Legacy Fund was started to raise funds for cancer research and education.  To learn more about Lisa's Legacy Fund, go here

A new book about Lisa's story has recently been released called Lisa's Legacy Trilogy. This box set includes the complete story of Lisa's life as it unfolded in the pages of Funky Winkerbean.  

Listen to our interview for more about Tom's personal story, and about how humor can play a positive role in our lives.  

For more information please visit our website at, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  

Jan 26, 2018

In this episode Helen & Jerry continue discussing the positive affects of humor for self care.  Previous episodes discussed the affects of humor on the mind and the body. 

This episode focuses on humor's affect on the spirit.

  • Lowers stress
  • Dissolves anger
  • Unites people during difficult times
  • Helps us gain perspective by laughing at ourselves
  • Helps us connect with others and avoid being lonely

Listen to our 2 previous episodes #072 & #073 on humor's affect on the mind and body. For more information, please visit our website at, or visit our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter.  To receive regular updates, please subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast app.  We're on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play.  

Jan 19, 2018

This is the second in our series on using humor and laughter as part of self care.  Laughter has many positive benefits for your mind, body, and spirit.  

In this episode we focus on how laughter can benefit your body.  

So when you need a good laugh, here are some of our best recommendations.

  • Spend time with children. Children laugh over 300 times a day, and their laughter is contagious. 
  • Watch funny YouTube videos. 
  • Hang out with friends who love to laugh.
  • Share a joke with a friend.  You'll both benefit from the laugh. 

Don't miss our other episodes in this series.

  • Episode 072 on How Humor Affects the Mind, and
  • Episode 074 on How Humor Affects the Spirit.

Visit our website for more resources about self care, hospice, and caregiving at You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  

Jan 12, 2018

Your body cannot heal without play.
Your mind cannot heal without laughter.
Your soul cannot heal without joy.
-- Catherine Rippenger Fenwick

Through the month of January Helen & Jerry will be discussing the benefits of humor for the mind, body, and spirit.  Humor should be a part of a everyone's healthy self care program, simply for the benefits it provides.

In this 5 for Friday Helen & Jerry discuss the benefits of humor and laughter for the mind.  Did you know that on average children laugh approximately 300 times a day, while adults only laugh approximately 17 times a day.  It's no wonder so many adults are feeling stressed and burned out.  

There are some great things about laughter. 

  • Laughter is contagious.
  • Laughing burns calories.  It's often called internal jogging. 
  • Laughter is cross-cultural.  You don't even have to speak the same language to enjoy a laugh together. 

The are many positive benefits of humor for the mind.

  • Regulates cortisol and epinephrine, which are stress hormones.
  • It boosts your immune system
  • Increases endorphins, which reduce pain and provide feelings of pleasure.
  • Effects dopamine levels that regulate mood, motivation, and learning.

So for your own benefit, laugh a little more!

Jan 5, 2018

What was your 2017 like?  

In this episode Helen & Jerry share their self care successes and blunders for 2017.  It's the 2017 version of our best/worst self care stories.  Listen to our stories and be inspired.

We'd love to hear your self care stories.  Send us an email at, or post to our Facebook page at, and share how you did in 2017. 

Did you reach your goals?
Did you maintain your self care habits?
Who was your self care accountability partner?
What was your greatest challenge?

You're worth and value to the people you serve are too great for you not to take care of yourself.  Make 2018 the year you practice consistent, healthy self care.  Let us know how we can help you make that a reality.  

Visit our website for more information and resources about self care at

Jan 1, 2018

Jon & Michelle Braddock were faced with an almost insurmountable challenge when Michelle's father passed away unexpectedly at home on Labor Day, 2013.  For the next 10 months they tried to piece together all of his investment accounts, safe deposits boxes, insurance policies, online accounts, etc. 

It was during this time that they envisioned a better way to prepare for that moment when death occurs.  Jon & Michelle created a program called My Life and Wishes that helps survivors easily discover where every important document, file, password, and account is stored, and be able to retrieve the information from one location.

Jon shares their story in this podcast episode, and will make you laugh as he challenges you to consider if you've "thoughtfully prepared" so that your family doesn't feel unnecessary stress and grief.  For more information, please visit their website at

Jon has also written a book called, Click Here When I Die, that describes in detail what steps need to be taken to put your personal affairs in order before it's too late.  You can purchase it here on Amazon.  

Jon offers a free guide "10 Things You Need to Know" on his website at  

Be sure and visit our website at and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  



Interview with Jon Braddock of My Life and Wishes

Dec 29, 2017

2017 Year in Review

In this 5 for Friday episode, Helen & Jerry take a look back at the year of 2017, and a look ahead into the new year of 2018.  

Despite the challenges of 2017, there were many moments that deserve to be remembered and recognized.  Listen as we share The Heart of Hospice highlights for 2017.  

Be sure and visit our website at for blog and podcast updates.  The blog is updated every Sunday, a new 5 minute podcast episode is published every week on Friday, and a new full-length podcast episode comes out on the first of every month.  

Dec 22, 2017

Helen & Jerry share their Seasons Greetings for 2017. 

From all of us at the Heart of Hospice, to all of our listeners, thank you so much for your support and encouragement in 2017.  Our wish for you is that you have a season of beauty and joy, surrounded by those you love.  

Dec 15, 2017

For self care to be effective it needs to be balanced.  Self care should include body, mind, and spirit.  Each one affects the others, and neglect of one can negatively affect the others. 

In the Thanks & Giving campaign, the balance between thanks (gratitude) and giving (generosity), helps to maintain a healthy balance in our self care program.  

In this episode, Helen & Jerry discuss the need for balance in our self care regimen.  

For more information about self care, be sure and visit our website at for resources and tips on healthy self care.  


Dec 5, 2017

The holiday season can be difficult for personal caregivers, as well as professional caregivers.  Maintaining a self care program is difficult enough, but when you add in the expectations of the holidays, it becomes almost impossible.  

The HOH Thanks & Giving Holiday Self Care Campaign is designed to encourage your self care, and to keep you motivated with short daily inspirational emails.  We focus on gratitude (thanks) and generosity (giving) as 2 areas that can provide balanced self care. 

Last week we talked about gratitude, and on this 5 for Friday we talk about generosity.  Generosity doesn't have to cost money.  Sometimes all it costs you is a smile. 

  • Do something to make someone else's day a little better. 
  • Give someone a sincere compliment. 
  • Buy someone a cup of coffee.
  • Do the dishes for your partner.
  • Share a funny story to make someone laugh. 

There's millions of ways to be generous, and not all of them cost money.  Make generosity part of your self care by focusing on others.  

For more information, visit our website at  

Dec 5, 2017

ABODE Contemplative Care for the Dying is a unique home in San Antonio, Texas, that provides care for up to 3 guests who are in the last few months of life.  

This special episode reveals the amazing work that's being done at ABODE, as we interview their executive director, Martha Jo Atkins.

Hearing Martha Jo describe the service that’s being provided by all the staff and volunteers at Abode was incredible.  We were blown away by her stories of the compassionate care they provide, and the unique ways the staff cares for each of the guests.  Abode Contemplative Care for the Dying is more than just a place that takes care of 3 people at a time - it reaches out into the community at large in so many ways.

If your Hospice Heart is led to give generously, we encourage you to check out Abode’s website, and their Facebook page.  Read about the work that’s being done there. You can give to Abode in memory or in honor of someone special just by going to their Donate page.  

Dec 1, 2017

As part of the Thanks & Giving Self Care Campaign, this Five for Friday focuses on the power of gratitude to provide self care.

Researchers have concluded that writing down 3 things you're thankful for every day for 21 days can actually re-wire your brain to be more positive.  During the busy holiday season it's more difficult to practice self care.  Gratitude is an easy, but powerful practice that can make the holiday season more pleasant.  

We've started the Thanks & Giving Campaign because we want to encourage self care that's meaningful and purposeful.  If you'd like to participate in this self care campaign, check out our website at

On the website you can sign up to receive daily emails that will encourage you and inspire you to practice healthy self care during the holidays.  Specifically, practices of gratitude and generosity.  


Dec 1, 2017

On our Five for Friday episode on September 29, we featured a new book called Living With Dying by Jahnna Beecham & Katie Ortlip.  We were so impressed by the book that we encouraged our listeners to buy the book.  Something we have never done.  

Now, we'd like to introduce you to the authors, Jahnna (prounounced, Yana) & Katie.  Jahnna is a writer/editor for National Geographic, and has written over 130 books for juveniles and young adults.  Katie is a nurse and social worker, and has been working in hospice for over 25 years.  Their book was written during the time that Jahnna's father was on hospice, and Jahnna was his caregiver, and Katie served as their social worker.  

Jahnna & Katie are a delightful duo, and have been friends for over 20 years.  You will enjoy listening to how they met, and the behind the scenes stories of writing their book.  

For more information, visit their website, Their book is also available on Amazon for Kindle, and in print.  

Be sure and visit for more information about hospice, caregiving, and self care.  

Nov 24, 2017

Holiday Self Care Campaign Launch

Today we're going to start our Holiday Self Care Campaign, "Thanks & Giving".

The holidays always add another layer of stress and busyness to our lives, so it becomes more important than ever to practice intentional self care.  

Gratitude (thanks) and generosity (giving) are twin components of a balanced self care lifestyle that can help us move through the holidays with strength and purpose.  

To help guide our holiday self care, we're creating a focus group that will take this self care journey together.  

Here's how it works.

The purpose of the campaign is to provide self care that,

  • Doesn't require a huge time commitment.
  • Doesn't require any monetary investment.
  • Provides rewards and benefits to us, and those around us.

Here's all you need to get started:

  • A small notebook or journal. (You probably have one somewhere in a desk drawer.)
  • A pen or pencil. (Again, look in the desk drawer.)
  • A few minutes a day to journal your thanks & giving. 

For more detailed information to join our focus group, click the link to visit our Thanks & Giving webpage

Nov 17, 2017

Everyone who works in hospice has heard the comment, "I wish we hadn't waiting so long to call hospice."  Or "I wish we had known about hospice sooner."  

There are many variations of those comments, but they basically communicate how much better it might have been for the patient and family if hospice had been involved sooner in the disease process.  

In this week's Five for Friday, Helen and Jerry share the reasons why hospice is delayed by doctors, patients, and family members, and also the reasons why not delaying hospice could improve the outcome for patients.  Not delaying hospice could mean better quality of life, and in some cases, could mean an increase in the patient's life span.  Studies have shown that patients who choose hospice and palliative care, rather than aggressive care, live up to 2.7 months longer. 

Listen to this week's episode to learn more about why hospice shouldn't be delayed.  

For more information about hospice, caregiving, and self care, visit our website at  If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter you will receive updates when there's a new podcast or blog.  

Nov 15, 2017

A few weeks ago we had the privilege of having a conversation with Barbara Karnes, one of end of life care’s foremost authorities on death and dying.  

Barbara has devoted her career to improving the quality of end of life care.  As an RN, writer, teacher, and speaker, she has guided patients and families, as well as end of life professionals through death and dying.  

The awards that Barbara has received include The Heart of Health Care Award from Kansas University Nursing, The Horizon Award for Education from Nebraska Methodist College, and International Humanitarian Woman of the Year for 2015 from the World Humanitarian Awards.

Barbara has written several publications on the dying process, one of which is used widely by hospice agencies all over the U.S. as a resource to provide to hospice patients and families.  Gone from My Sight, or “the little blue book” as it’s called by hospice professionals, is a guide to the dying process.  

One of her latest projects is a DVD program promoting self care, called "Care for the Caregiver."  It encourages hospice and healthcare professionals to take care of themselves so they don't become burnout.  

For more information about Barbara Karnes' books, and her blog, please visit  

Please visit our website at for more information about hospice, caregiving, and self care.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive updates whenever a new blog or podcast episode is published.  

Nov 10, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

In this Five for Friday episode, Helen & Jerry share the work that many hospices are doing across the United States, to honor the military veterans on hospice.  NHPCO began a program several years ago called "We Honor Veterans."  The purpose of this program is to care for and honor those who have served when they reach the end of life.  

On this Veterans Day, 2017, The Heart of Hospice offers our thanks and appreciation to the military veterans who have served our country, whether in peace-time or in conflict.  

For more information about "We Honor Veterans" please visit their website at  The Heart of Hospice website has many resources regarding hospice, caregiving, and self care. You can find our website at  

Please leave a review or a rating on iTunes, and please share this episode on Facebook and Twitter.  Just a few seconds of your time can aid others in finding helpful information about hospice care that can improve their quality of life.   


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