Meet Lisa Fetter and Ruby


Lisa Fetter and RubyLisa Fetter, a lifelong Dauphin County resident, is a Social Worker for Homeland HomeHealth.

Lisa graduated from La Salle University, where she played Division One Field Hockey, with a bachelor’s degree in social work.  “Go Explorers!”   Lisa also earned a master of social work degree from Millersville University.

She chose her career because she enjoys helping others.  “I have always tried to go above and beyond to help others in need. It is inspiring to help people get on the right path after they had to overcome so many barriers in life.”  Lisa believes that every day in her field is a different learning experience. “It teaches me the true value of life and challenges me in ways that few other careers will.”

“I chose to work at Homeland because I always heard such great things about them. I wanted to work for an employer where I woke up every morning looking forward to going to work. A job that you love gives you motivation to meet your goals and expectations not only for yourself and employer, but most importantly for your patients.”

While Lisa’s responsibilities are geared toward home health, she is being cross-trained for hospice care.  “We are starting a palliative program which allows me, as the social worker, our nurse, and an aid to continue caring for patients who choose to transition to hospice.”

That is where Ruby enters the picture.

Lisa has also become a Homeland Hospice volunteer, and is training her dog Ruby, a cava-poo, to become a certified therapy dog for our hospice patients. Ruby, along with Winston, also a cava-poo, and Freya, a collie, are Lisa’s fur children, and this is Lisa’s first experience training a therapy dog.

“Pet therapy or therapy dogs help our palliative and hospice patients cope with their terminal prognosis. Petting an animal has been known to release endorphins in the brain which can help calm someone who is struggling to cope. Spending time with pets can have a positive impact by drawing attention away from pain or problems and focusing it on the animal.”

Homeland has two other pet therapy volunteers, Franklin and Rusty, who travel with their handlers (also hospice volunteers).  Homeland Hospice has been using therapy dogs since its inception nearly a decade ago and will continue this complementary therapy that enhances a patient’s quality of life when it matters most.  Dog is truly man’s best friend.

How It All Began


The term “hospice” can be traced back to medieval times when it was referred to as a place of shelter and rest for the weary or ill travelers on a long journey. (1) In today’s world, “hospice” was initially applied to specialized care for dying patients by a British physician named Dame Cicely Saunders.

Saunders began her career in medicine as a registered nurse, but her continuing health issues forced her to pursue a career in medical social work.  In her new role, she developed a relationship with a dying Polish refugee who helped her decide that her ideas that terminally ill patients needed compassionate care to help address their fears and concerns was needed.  After the refugee passed away, she began volunteering at St. Luke’s Home for the Dying Poor, where a physician told her that she could best influence the treatment of the terminally ill as a physician.  Saunders soon entered medical school and received her degree.  (2)

Saunders always emphasized focusing on the patient rather than the disease and introduced the notion of ‘total pain’ which included psychological and spiritual as well as the physical aspects. She experimented with a wide range of opioids for controlling physical pain and continually included the needs of the patient’s family. (3)

Saunders introduced the idea of specialized care for the dying to the United States during a visit with Yale University.  Her lecture, given to medical students, nurses, social workers, and chaplains explained the concept of holistic hospice care.  (4)

According to, Saunders founded St. Christopher’s Hospice in London, which was the first hospice for terminally ill patients in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Patricia Wald, Dean of the Yale School of Nursing, took a sabbatical to work at St. Christopher’s to experience hospice first hand. (5)

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross published her groundbreaking book, “On Death and Dying,” which contains more than 500 interviews with dying patients. In this book, Dr. Kubler-Ross emphasizes the benefits of home care over treatment in an institutional setting for terminally ill patients, and argues that everyone deserves the right to decide about their end-of-life care. (6)

Wald, two pediatricians, and a chaplain founded the first hospice in the US—Connecticut Hospice in Branford, CT. That same year, Senators Frank Church and Frank E. Moss introduced legislation to provide federal funds for hospice programs. The legislation didn’t pass. (7)

Congress included a provision to create a Medicare Hospice Benefit as part of the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act, but it contained a sundown provision for 1986. (8)

The Medicare Hospice Benefit was enacted, and states were given the option to include hospice in their Medicaid programs. Hospice care was also made available to terminally ill nursing home residents. (9)

For the next three decades, legislation was passed, funding was improved, and Medicare reimbursement rates were increased.  (10)

The number of Americans who received hospice services exceeded one million for the first time and, in 2005, the number of hospice providers in the US exceeded 4,000. (11)

40 years after the opening of Connecticut Hospice, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and its affiliates celebrated four decades of providing hospice care in the US. (12)

Hospice Care began with a woman wanting to create a better life for those dealing with a terminal illness; a woman who wanted to completely focus on the patient, not the disease.   Homeland Hospice thanks you, Dr. Saunders, for improving the quality of life of countless individuals and their families.  Your dedication and compassion are unmatched.


Cited Sources

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2, 3, 4  –  

5 – 11 –

We Raise Our Pinwheels


girl holding purple pinwheelAt Homeland Hospice, we raise our pinwheels to the wind in celebration of our heroes: children and their families.

“Our pediatric hospice program was launched out of necessity,” stated Deb Klinger, RN and Director of Homeland Hospice. “Not many hospice agencies provide pediatric care. We were contacted about a child who was referred for hospice services in a county where there were no providers willing to take a child. At this point in time we felt a need to expand our services. We worked diligently to create a dedicated program with a staff specifically certified in pediatric hospice care.”

How long has Homeland Hospice provided pediatric services?
For the past three years, Homeland Hospice has been able to assist many children and families with hands-on nursing care, as well as emotional and psychological support, the ability to access specialized durable medical equipment, as well as appliances and other types of services that are not commonly known to the public.

How does pediatric hospice differ from adult hospice?
“As with adult hospice services, pediatric hospice serves to provide an enhanced quality of life as well as symptom and pain management to our patients and their families,” added Klinger. “We treat holistically, using a multidisciplinary approach.”

The difference is that pediatric patients can still obtain the full aggressive treatment they were always receiving, but can also access supportive hospice care while fighting their disease process. If the curative aggressive treatment should fail, the relationship is already established with the hospice team to continue with the emotional support and to initiate more treatment options that are geared toward symptom management and quality of life.

In addition, family support is always a factor in hospice care, but perhaps even more delicate with parents of very sick children.

Meaning of Pinwheels
Homeland Hospice put much thought into creating a symbol for pediatric hospice. We chose the pinwheel as it represents the free, playful, hopeful spirit of children. The child and the family are at the center, surrounded by a compassionate team that spans the spectrum of caring.

For more information about our pediatric services and how we can help, please contact us.

Lend a Helping Hand at Homeland Hospice


volunteer appreciation image

Aesop once said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

When it comes to volunteering your time to help others in need, an hour is valuable. Three hours are valuable. A once a week commitment is valuable.

Are you looking to get involved in serving your community? Homeland Hospice has various types of volunteer opportunities that are right for you.

“While we have many different types of volunteer opportunities, we are currently in need of those whose main interest is supporting patients and families, as well as administrative assistance duties,” stated Leanne Porterfield, Homeland Hospice Coordinator of Volunteers.

Patient and Family Support

  • Visit patients to provide companionship and support
  • Take a resident in a facility outside for a while to enjoy the sunshine
  • Support the family by offering respite while they are away from home for brief periods
  • Transport to appointments or help run errands


  • Help with clerical tasks such as mailings, labels, filing
  • Answer telephones
  • Data entry

“There are also needs in other areas – bereavement, development, pet therapy and Veteran to Veteran,” added Porterfield. “So if you’d like to get connected, let us know. We would be happy to have you be a part of our team.”

If you are interested in sharing your time serving those at end-of-life in your community, contact Leanne at 717-409-8882 or for more information. And in advance, thank you very much.