Written by Dan Hamilton, Chaplain at Grane Hospice Care
"My Grane Hospice story is unique because I have been honored to be both an employee and a client of Grane Hospice. In late 2008, the Administrator at the time, Linda, a nurse I worked closely with in hospice in the field previously, suggested I consider Grane Hospice as an employee. As Grane Hospice grew in January 2009, I was the first Chaplain hired by Mike, longtime Director of Chaplain & Bereavement. Immediately I was proud of the commitment to provide high acuity, quality care that valued physical, emotional, and spiritual support. I was honored to be able to spend time at bedsides, visit the homes, and participate in the lives of those we served. I have been privileged to sit with those facing difficult days and share in the stories of those from an Iwo Jima vet who watched the flag be raised to immigrants from all over the world who lived their dream here.
However, my story goes beyond simply being an employee. I also, you see have been a client. It began shortly after I came to Grane Hospice. I was attending one of my first interdisciplinary team meetings where we review patient care when the oncologist called to tell me dad was terminal, and staff surrounded me with their care and concern. My boss Mike, offered great empathy and encouraged me to take time to tell the rest of my family. I made calls and went to my brother’s business a block from the facility I was in in Beaver Falls and shared the news. A Grane Hospice Social Worker, Rebekah went to immediate work getting dad placed in Providence Care Center where he died peacefully much quicker than expected about a week later. Grane Hospice staff both at the facility and Hospice offered tremendous support, and created everlasting relationships.
Over the years since, I have been blessed with the tools to provide excellent spiritual care. Grane Hospice has always encouraged me to be my best, and to provide the highest level of support to our clients. The nature of our work both encourages and demands good work relationships, and I am pleased and proud to work with some of the most highly gifted and compassionate nurses, counselors, and staff.
In 2010, my mother in law was discharged home with a deadly cancer. Again, Grane Hospice showed up in full force with equipment, meds and support. We were able with Grane Hospice’s help, to care for her at home in her favorite sunroom. She was able to enjoy the great joy of the newborn life of her 1st great grandchild who was born the month before. With her pain and symptoms under control thanks to Grane Hospice, amazingly, for hours he would smile and let her hold him. Chaplain, Social Worker, and Bereavement came to support our family in a way I could not. Hospice gave us the meds and expertise to keep her very comfortable, and surrounded by her children and grandchildren, as they baked chocolate chip cookies a few feet away, as they remembered grandma doing, she quietly left this world with dignity and love.
Just this last January, our family once again experienced the superb care of Grane Hospice when my Down’s syndrome brother in law, our dear Tony died on Hospice. At midnight, in crisis, the On Call nurse came to guide his care, keep him comfortable, and support our family. I worked with RN Case Manager, Tara in the field, but to experience her compassion, expertise, and care for all my family was such a blessing. My supervisor Chaplain Mike came quickly as well to support my devastated family. Yet I was fully aware, they did this for every client.
I have been honored to serve at Grane Hospice twice for a total of 8 years over this 11 year period, with a time in between of additional training of Clinical Pastoral Education (1600 hours) both at Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh and a Residency at Ruby Hospital in West Virginia to enhance my work. Over these years, I have been honored to provide support, yet I have also received support.
From my perspective, we are truly a family of dedicated professionals connected together with a common goal: Compassionate, Competent, Quality Care, and sometimes we ourselves are honored not only to GIVE this care, but to RECEIVE the same. "- Dan Hamilton