Hospice Volunteers: Treasured Heroes to Those They Assist


Homeland Volunteers Care!From running an errand for a grieving family to providing assistance at bereavement support group meetings, volunteers are an integral part of Homeland Hospice.

They graciously share their time and compassion. They are deeply committed to making sure hospice patient and their families have a network of support. They are always quick to smile and give a reassuring hug when it’s needed most.

They come from diverse parts of our community. Homeland Hospice volunteers are teens, working adults, retirees and veterans – all dedicated to helping patients and families make the most of every precious moment together.

“Our volunteers are treasured heroes to those they assist and to the entire Homeland family,” says Leanne Porterfield, Coordinator of Volunteers at Homeland Hospice. “They go above and beyond in service to grieving families. This includes personal support and behind-the-scenes activities. Their actions speak louder than words.”

Homeland Hospice and Homeland Center recently honored volunteers at the Volunteer Appreciation luncheon.”

“We deeply appreciate your commitment to choosing to use the most valuable commodity you have – your time – in the interest of serving others,” Homeland Center President and CEO Barry S. Ramper II told volunteers at the event.

Homeland, which has a 150-year tradition of caring for patients like family, is growing – and so is its need for hospice volunteers.

Homeland is seeking volunteers to support patients and families in Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry, York, Lebanon and Lancaster counties.

Eighteen individuals joined Homeland’s volunteer team last year to help support more patients and families across Central Pennsylvania, bringing the total number of volunteers to 54. They generously provided 2,407 hours of service.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for Homeland Hospice, please call us at 717-221-7980.

A Career of Compassion


Brian croppedEmployee Spotlight on Brian Medkeff-Rose

Brian Medkeff-Rose, M.Div., M.A., Bereavement Counselor at Homeland Hospice, found his true calling 26 years ago while attending a spiritual retreat in Washington, D.C.

“I was called to full-time ministry,” Brian says. “That became my career path and I never looked back.”

Brian graduated from the Methodist Theological School in Delaware, Ohio. He was ordained by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and obtained his clinical pastoral education from Bethesda Hospital in Ohio, which prepared him to work in acute care, outpatient care and long-term care, as well as elder services, home health and hospice care.

Brian’s clinical pastoral work led him to Harrisburg and, ultimately, to Homeland Hospice.

“Homeland is where I belong,” Brian says. “I value our team approach to care. Social workers, physicians, nurses’ aides, volunteers – we all work together to help those in need.”

As a bereavement and spiritual counselor, Brian often finds that an “out-of-the-box” approach is what helps create a path forward for individuals experiencing loss. Discovering that approach involves truly getting to know the people he supports – and the ways in which their loss is affecting them.

When counseling a husband who lost his wife, for example, Brian learned the man was struggling to bring himself to go grocery shopping and cook meals for his family.

“Preparing meals was a constant reminder of his grief,” Brian says.

Seeking a creative approach to help his client, and others in mourning who are facing similar challenges, Brian collaborated with a dietician at Homeland Hospice to develop a workshop on healthy eating during the grieving process. Participants received cooking ideas for one and tips on preparing meals for children. The workshop was such a success that future sessions are being planned.

While Brian enjoys counseling adults, he holds a special place in his heart for children.

Brian was 15 years old when his mother died. He has a personal appreciation for the care and attention children and teens need – not only after a loved one dies, but before an expected loss as well.

“Homeland offers pre-bereavement counseling especially for children and teens,” Brian says. “For young people, this service can be just as important as grief counseling after the death of a loved one.”

Homeland Hospice’s bereavement support programs are available to the bereaved of Homeland’s patients as well as anyone in the community who is experiencing grief. Group meetings are held on a rotating schedule throughout the year.

If you have questions, please contact Brian Medkeff-Rose at Homeland Hospice at (717) 221-7890.

Is Home Health Care Right for You?


Palliative Care

Home health is a physician-ordered plan of care available to patients after a hospital stay, the onset of a new diagnosis, or in the event an existing illness becomes worse. It is a way you can recover in the comfort of your own home with the support of your family and friends. And, it can be just as effective as care received in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.

Homeland HomeHealth patients are cared for by a multi-disciplinary team of professionals including nurses, CNAs, and social workers, as well as physical, occupational, and speech therapists. Each patient’s care plan is individualized based on their particular condition.

“Some of our patients need help with speech or swallowing after suffering a stroke,” says Lora Bierce, RN, WCC, COS-C, and Director of Homeland HomeHealth. “Some patients may need nurses to administer medication they cannot take independently. Some patients need assistance with personal care, such as dressing or bathing, after experiencing a fall. We bring the quality care a patient would otherwise receive in a health care facility right into their home.”

Homeland HomeHealth’s medical professionals provide knowledge and expertise in wound care, cardiac care, palliative care, fall prevention, rehabilitation services, intravenous therapy, and more. Costs for home health services are typically covered by insurance, and Homeland staff are happy to assist you in meeting referral requirements.

Homeland HomeHealth is certified by Medicare with deemed status and accredited by Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP).

Contact us to learn more and discuss your options.

Meet Anne Jessee and Frankie B


Anne Frankie

Anne Jessee and her American Kennel Club therapy bulldog, Franklin, have been volunteering with Homeland Hospice for nearly a year.

Therapy dogs (like Franklin) go with their handlers (like Anne) and volunteer in different settings such as schools, or in this case, hospice programs. Spending time with pets has been known to help divert a patient’s attention away from their illness, increase happiness and reduce anxiety.

“It is important to me to give back and I enjoy volunteering my time to help others,” says Anne.  “When someone is nearing the end of their life, their remaining days are precious and I feel privileged to be a part of making those days special.”

Homeland Hospice has offered pet therapy to hospice patients since they began serving the southcentral Pennsylvania region nearly a decade ago.

More about Anne
When Anne isn’t volunteering her time with Homeland, she can be found writing – as she is a recently published author. And who do you think her book features?

You guessed it! It is none other than Frankie Benjamin Jessee (Frankie B.), who Anne describes as “a typical bulldog with a not so typical life and not so typical friends.”

Anne began her love of writing in 8th grade and it is something she has always been passionate about. It wasn’t until recently that Anne decided to take the leap into book writing. “It was my husband who encouraged me to get published,” Anne says.  “He and I both believe you need to find what you like to do and run with it.”

Frankie in the Farmyard
Frankie in the FarmyardAnne’s book, Frankie in the Farmyard, unlocks the true beauty of a blended family and proves that, although we might look different on the outside, deep inside we all just want to be loved…like Frankie.   To tell the story, Frankie takes you on a farmyard adventure with all of his farmyard friends.

“The message of the book is timeless,” Anne says.  “Every child needs to know that they are loved. And who doesn’t like a dog?”

Frankie in the Farmyard is available on Amazon and also on Frankie’s website.  You can also keep up with Frankie’s adventures by following him on Facebook.

To learn more about Homeland Hospice’s pet therapy program and how it can help you or a loved one, please contact us at 717.221.7890.