Archives: Covid-19


Returning To the In-Person World


By Barbara Goll, BS, Community Education Liaison/Nutritionist

The COVID-19 pandemic brought pain, hardship and profound changes in the way we socialize and engage with each other. It made us feel like Bill Murray in the popular 90s movie Groundhog Day, in which his character lives the same day over and over. We unwillingly progressed to a new normal. For some, our pre-pandemic routines seem strange and anxiety creeps in as we now attempt to change our patterns yet again.

seniors enjoying the outdoors together

Isolation and enforced social distancing have affected our ability to interact with others, bringing loneliness to many. Loneliness has a harmful impact on mental and physical health. Research shows loneliness can cause depression, increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, a weakened immune system, anxiety and dementia. Addressing loneliness as the pandemic subsides is paramount to well-being.

Receiving the vaccination or having antibodies has given us hope to return to gatherings, travel and other social activities that bring us joy and comfort. But slow and steady is the key to rebuilding our social connections and in-person interactions.

Getting back out into the world may seem overwhelming at first. It’s important to gauge your comfort level to make the healthiest choices for you. Moving too quickly into activities you aren’t comfortable with, or that overwhelm your schedule, could bring on anxiety, panic and trouble sleeping.

The Power of Resilience

Psychologists define the word resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress.” A recent study by the Gerontological Society of America revealed older adults (70 years and older) showed more resilience in facing life’s challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to younger counterparts. This age group may be uniquely able to cope given the life experiences and coping mechanisms that they learned over time. They have more emotional intelligence, personal fortitude, and resilience.

The study also found that age and emotional well-being tend to increase together even as mental acuity and physical health may diminish. Compared with young adults, people 50 and older score consistently more positive emotions, independent of income or education. This isn’t their first rodeo. Older adults have been through tough times before. They are survivors!

Ease Back into the Swing of Things

Before rushing off to experience a new, more hopeful, period of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to assess our personal feelings and what we feel comfortable with today.

Below are tips to help navigate a return to in-person activities:

  1. Go easy on yourself. Welcome emotions of all kinds while being compassionate to yourself. All of your feelings are valid. Do not compare yourselves to others, or how they think you should feel, or how you think you should feel. We all recover and adjust at our own pace. After missing our in-person gatherings for so long, we may not be feeling overly excited inside about getting together again. There is no right or wrong. Do not add pressure to yourself by believing that you should feel a certain way.
  2. Be mindful. Start on a slow journey to joy. Perhaps try a mindful walk in a park where you feel at peace, visit a painting that brings you joy, listen to your favorite music or eat outside at your favorite restaurant. Mindfulness allows you to savor life and focus on immediate surroundings and needs and not the unknown future or past.
  3. Recognize your feelings. Feelings of fear and sadness are there for a reason – the world has gone through a real trauma. We have been on edge for so long and anxiety needs to subside slowly. Reactions of guilt, resentment, excitement and loss are normal. Time is needed to heal. Watch your pace. You may be more exhausted than you think by stimulation you have not had for over a year.
  4. Understand we’ve changed. For many of us, interests and priorities have changed. We may take up new interests and leave others behind. It’s completely normal for things that used to bring joy to feel less satisfying or different. Perhaps you’ve been dreaming of returning to your favorite restaurant only to go there and feel like you prefer to be at home. Or perhaps you are eager to travel, but the idea of getting on a plane is overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to say no to things you are not yet comfortable doing. Listen to and speak respectfully to family and friends about what is reasonable and comfortable for travel and gatherings.
  5. Realize self-indulgence is not overindulgence. A little pampering is vital for your well-being and for those around you. It can help you ease back into life. Many people have found comfort in classic TV shows that bring us back to a simpler time such as M*A*S*H, Happy Days, Andy Griffith and Lawrence Welk. Others have found comfort in simple pleasures such as premium chocolate (sales rose 21% during the pandemic!) or athletic leisurewear.
  6. Minimize risk with lifestyle choices. The pandemic has taught us that being young doesn’t guarantee your health. Having two or more health concerns greatly increased your risk for fatal infection. Lifestyle choices matter. Take care to exercise regularly (in consultation with your physician), make healthy food choices, practice method to reduce stress, get proper sleep and make time for social interaction.
  7. Technology is your friend. COVID-19 has increased adoption of online activities such as banking, grocery ordering, telehealth, shopping and connecting virtually with family and friends. Many of these things will remain in our lives as we continue to digitize and enjoy the convenience these online amenities provide.
  8. Get Back to Nature. Spending time in nature can help you appreciate the world and boost your mood. Getting outside provides a positive perspective on nature’s beauty. If going outside isn’t possible, bring the outdoors in by watching nature videos or opening a window to listen to the soothing sounds of nature.

Returning to in-person activities won’t look the same or feel the same to any two people – and that’s okay. Think positive and, in time, you will get there! And remember, you are not alone on this journey. If you find yourself struggling to get back in in-person life, seek guidance from a trusted family member, friend or professional.

The Art of Creativity During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Allie Lombardi Brings Color to Our World



When the world shut down last spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, loneliness and isolation crept into many of our lives. Our sense of community compelled us to reach out to those in need at a time when face-to-face contact was not permitted. Our methods of volunteering were changing, but our compassion for others remained the same. During this period of darkness, Allie Lombardi picked up her phone and paintbrushes to bring color to our world.

Allie is a high school senior in Providence, Rhode Island. For 14 years she has been a competitive dancer in ballet, jazz and contemporary dance. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Allie’s dance classes were cancelled, giving her time to focus on her other passions of volunteering and art.

Allie connected with Homeland Hospice through VolunteerMatch, an online service that connects individuals with causes and organizations. Allie’s grandmother is a nurse and her sister is studying nursing in college. In addition, her grandmother has volunteered with her local hospice, making a connection to Homeland an ideal match for Allie. Homeland Hospice is a nonprofit hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania.

“I was excited to connect with Homeland,” Allie says. “I had read about power of art therapy and thought I could help.”

Allie created 12 watercolor paintings of serene scenes with peaceful colors to illuminate a room. She sent the paintings to Homeland where they will be available to hospice patients. In the coming weeks, volunteers will work directly with patients to allow them to select a piece to display. After a month, the paintings will be rotated among patients to allow them to enjoy another work of art.

“We are delighted by Allie’s art,” says Laurie Murry, volunteer coordinator for Homeland Hospice. “Her beautiful paintings lift the spirits of our patients and their families.”

Hospice patients often feel a loss of control over their lives. Selecting a painting is a small, but powerful step in helping them feel a sense of satisfaction. This step also gives a local volunteer an opportunity to close the circle on Allie’s project, which began several months ago and more than 350 miles away.

While Allie will never meet the recipients of her artwork or see the smiles it brings to their faces, she knows her time and dedication to this project makes a difference.

“The project has brought me so much joy,” Allie says. “It feels good knowing I’ve been able to help someone during this time.”


For more information about Homeland Hospice and volunteer opportunities, call (717) 221-7890.


Message from Dr. Rox



With Dr. Rox’s help, Homeland is making a conscious effort to STOP the panic, anxiety, heightened stress levels, and frustration caused by the current state of our lives due to the pandemic.

Right now, she is encouraging everyone to thinking about the importance of boosting our immune system to fight viruses such as COVID-19 and the Flu. Research has proven time and time again that the body’s stress response systems are directly connected to the immune system and can influence what type of immune cells are made, where they go in the body, and how they function.

In other words, stress weakens your immune system.

People tend to focus on the conveniences they have lost, which heightens their stress levels. Dr Rox encourages everyone to use the power of mindfulness to help reduce stress and strengthen their immune systems.

She reminds us that mindfulness is a NON-RELIGIOUS practice.

“Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.”  (Greater Good Science Center of Berkeley University of California, 2020)

Try These Three Ways to Stop, Breathe, Listen, and Connect

Practice #1: Come back to your breath. Every time you learn a new fact about this virus, stop, take a deep, calming breath, and notice what is happening in your body. Where are you storing this new information? Breathe deep and release any tension you’re holding. Here’s a simple practice for letting go.

Practice #2: Find ways to connect. Social distancing is the compassionate response to the challenge before us, but physical isolation doesn’t mean disconnection. Write letters to your friends, hold video chat parties, call your neighbors, send love notes to family and friends who live far away. If you’re feeling isolated, try this connection meditation to recharge.

Practice #3: Offer loving-kindness to the world. Whether you’re someone who hasn’t yet connected with this specific mindfulness practice, you’ve tried it and it felt a little odd, or you’re someone who relies on this practice for connection and nourishment—now is the time to offer our deep love to the world. Here’s how you can create a loving-kindness practice that feels right to you.



Roxane E. Hearn, PhD (Dr. Rox) is Homeland’s Employee Wellness Program Coordinator, Health & Wellness Psychologist and Personal Health Coach. To learn more about or contact Dr. Rox, please visit

A Life of Serving Others Employee Spotlight: Reynaldo Villarreal



Having grown up in the dry climate of Mexico, Reynaldo (Rey) Villarreal, chaplain for Homeland Hospice, reveres the rolling hills and green trees of Central Pennsylvania. For Rey, life with Homeland Hospice is another chapter in his story of serving others in their time of need. Homeland Hospice is a hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania.

Rey joined Homeland Hospice in January after working as a pastor for churches in El Salvador, California and Las Vegas. Rey’s wife, who is also a pastor, was raised in Pennsylvania. The couple relocated to the area to be closer to their family as they raise their children.

Rey was raised in Mexico where is father is a pastor and his mother leads programs for women and children run by the church. As one of five children, Rey worked beside his parents and siblings to help individuals and families in need of spiritual guidance and basic needs support, like food and shelter. Through their work, Rey and his family often encountered people associated with local drug cartels who stood in opposition of the church’s mission.

“We grew up learning how to stay safe from the cartels,” Rey says. “Receiving threats on our lives, having our cars stolen and being accosted in the streets was a way of life.”

Despite these challenging circumstances, Rey’s family remained in Mexico because of the significant need for their help and the small miracles they witnessed daily.

“It was an incredible experience to see someone leave the cartels for a life with purpose,” Rey adds. “It was affirmation of the power of faith.”

While working as a pastor, Rey loved his time with the elderly members of his congregation. He looked forward to learning about their families and life story. Rey often shared his love of music during his visits. He is an avid guitar player and singer. He knew if he ever had the chance to work with patients in hospice care, he would jump at the opportunity. For Homeland Hospice and Rey, the match of mission to talent and passion has been ideal.

A few months after Rey joined Homeland, the COVID-19 pandemic hit our region, limiting access to hospice patients in many nursing homes. Rey sees the grief and loss of families as they mourn the death of their loved ones during a time of social distancing.

As some restrictions have lifted this summer, Rey has returned to several nursing homes to spend time with patients during their end-of-life journey. He strives to go the extra mile in supporting staff and caregivers during this challenging time.

“I try to let everyone see the smile in my eyes since they can’t see it through my mask,” Rey says. “Now, more than ever, we need to connect with one another any way we can.”

Rey looks forward to the days when he can bring his guitar and sing to patients once again.

“Music has the power to brighten everyone’s soul,” Rey adds. “I can’t wait to give that gift to patients.”

Spiritual counseling is a component of Homeland’s holistic approach to health care. Counselors and chaplains respect each individual’s beliefs and offer support and encouragement. In addition, Homeland offers bereavement support to families for a full 13 months following the death of a loved one.

To learn more, please contact Homeland Hospice at (717) 221-7890.

Cheerleader, Friend and Advocate: Employee Spotlight on Laurie Murry


laurie murry, volunteer coordinator at homeland hospice

Challenging times can bring out the best or worst in people. Some individuals focus on problems and uncontrollable circumstances, while others find opportunities to share their compassion with others.

Laurie Murry, volunteer coordinator for Homeland Hospice, works to find and spread light in the darkest of times. During COVID-19, her empathy for patients, volunteers and staff has been an inspiration when it is needed most.

In her position as volunteer coordinator, Laurie trains and places hospice volunteers according to their interests and in a manner that accommodates their busy schedules. Homeland Hospice is a nonprofit hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Laurie has found creative ways to connect with patients who are unable to see family and friends because of social distancing. Laurie created a card campaign through Volunteer Match, an online program that engages individuals in volunteer projects. Through the campaign, people were asked to create cards and write uplifting messages to hospice patients.

cards to lift homeland patients' spirits“There are good things happening in this world,” Laurie says. “Sending cards to patients is a great way to lift their spirits while also enabling people to take part in a positive activity during a difficult time.”

Within six hours of posting the volunteer opportunity online, Laurie had heard from families as far away as Hawaii, Florida and California. Many people wanted to engage their children in an uplifting project as a way of teaching about the power of the human spirit during adversity.

“When one door closes, Laurie finds a way to open a window,” says Debbie Klinger, RN, director of Homeland Hospice. “Patients might not be able to see visitors, but Laurie has found a way to make them feel important.”

Laurie’s card campaign was so successful, she had to remove the opportunity from Volunteer Match after a few short hours. Based on the outpouring of support, patients will receive cards over the next several weeks.

The impact of COVID-19 has placed significant burdens and worries on the shoulders of the frontline workers at Homeland Hospice. During this time, Laurie partnered with her friends to create morale booster packages with cards and small gifts for nurses and aides. Recipients of the anonymous gifts were overwhelmed by the show of encouragement and appreciation.

To connect with volunteers who are currently unable to help due to safety precautions, Laurie created a video of the hospice team in their masks with signs of support. The video served to remind volunteers they are appreciated and missed.

“Laurie is always looking for ways to make an impact,” says Myra Badorf, assistant director of development for Homeland Hospice. “We’re grateful for the impact she makes on our lives and those of our patients and volunteers.”

For more information about Homeland Hospice and volunteer opportunities, call (717) 221-7890.

Compassionate Bereavement Support During COVID-19



We all need human connections, especially during the journey of grief. A smile or caring embrace from individuals in our support network can provide us courage to share our most intimate feelings of loss, and give us the strength to believe in a better tomorrow. The impact of social distancing because of COVID-19 has compounded the grieving process for individuals and families.

Immediately following the announcement of stay-at-home orders, Homeland Hospice’s bereavement support program shifted from in-person meetings to phone sessions. Homeland chose to connect to members via phone calls instead of virtual visits because of gaps in comfort levels in using technology, as well as access to specific online products and privacy concerns.

Homeland’s bereavement programs are available to the bereaved of Homeland’s patients as well as anyone in the community who is experiencing grief. Bereavement support group meetings also are held on a rotating schedule throughout the year. Homeland Hospice is a nonprofit hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania.

“I’m grateful to Brian Medkeff-Rose and Noelle Valentine, Homeland Hospice’s bereavement counselors,” says Mary Peters, MSW, LSW, Assistant Director of Social Services at Homeland Hospice. “They immediately adapted to phone sessions to offer support and guidance to all of our clients.”

At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, anxiety levels were very high for individuals and families as there were so many unknown factors about the impact and spread of the virus. Social-distancing further increased levels of worry as people were unable to personally connect with friends, loved ones and their hospice support team.

“In the beginning, our calls with individuals were longer and more frequent as stress levels were very high,” Noelle says. “It was important for clients to be heard and validated for their emotions.”

In many cases, Noelle and Brian helped members develop new coping mechanisms that align with social distancing restrictions. For one of her clients who enjoys attending painting events with friends, Noelle encouraged her to find time for art and creativity at home. This activity provides a sense of normalcy and peace during this uncertain time.

With each client, comes a personal journey of grief. Not everyone is on the same path based on when a loved one died and individual adjustments to loss. For some people, the grief is very new and raw. Other individuals may be facing the first anniversary of the death of a loved one or experiencing mourning based on loneliness.

“For members of our bereavement groups, I’ve encouraged them to call each other,” Noelle adds. “Through these connections, our clients are forming a unique community of support.”

More recently, Noelle and Brian have been working with individuals who lost loved ones during COVID-19 and we’re unable to be present at the end. This important time called “bedside holiness” includes heart-filled conversations about love, forgiveness, gratitude and saying goodbye. We hold on to these memories as we grieve and remember our loved one. Often, it’s these moments that bring us the greatest comfort.

“It’s extremely difficult for families losing loved ones at this time,” Brian says. “It will complicate the grieving process in ways we’ve never experienced before.”

Through this experience, Noelle and Brian are overwhelmed by the resilience of the human spirit and the compassion clients have for each other.

“We can’t take away grief, but we can be there during the journey,” Noelle says. “Amidst the darkness there is light for all of us.”

To learn more, please contact Brian Medkeff-Rose, M.Div., M.A., or Noelle Valentine, MSW, LSW, at (717) 221-7890.

Remembering Veterans This Memorial Day and Beyond



The last Monday in May is recognized as Memorial Day, a special time to remember soldiers lost in wars and conflicts. Small towns hold parades and families come together for picnics. As a country, the president or vice president lays a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider.

While social distancing from COVID-19 will prevent picnics and parades this year, one thing will remain the same. The American flag will fly on front porches, community centers, and in cemeteries coast to coast reminding us of the bravery of our veterans.

For Homeland Hospice, honoring veterans is part of the organization’s core values. For more than eight years, Homeland has been part of the We Honor Veterans program, created by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Homeland Hospice is a nonprofit hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania.

Through the We Honor Veterans program, hospice volunteers who served in the military meet with veterans during their end of life journey. Patients are given a special pin, which represents their branch of service, as well as a small flag and certificate. The ceremony ends with a salute, veteran to veteran. In this special moment of time, the patient can experience the proud memory of his/her first salute and the love and respect of an entire country.

“It’s a pleasure to see the glow on the faces of veterans,” says Andy Lank, a volunteer with Homeland Hospice. “I’m proud to be part of this amazing program.”

Andy served in the United States Navy for four years, including one tour in Vietnam. Through his military experience, Andy understands the circumstances many patients faced and enjoys hearing about their military service.

“It can be quite emotional for patients and their families,” Andy adds. “Overall, the experience brings everyone peace.”

John Good, chaplain for Homeland Hospice is part of the program. While not a veteran himself, John holds a special place in his heart for those who have served our country.

“I’m humbled to help our distinguished veterans,” John says. “It’s an honor to help them find comfort after their sacrifice for us all.”

To honor and remember those on Memorial Day, you can join fellow Americans at 3 p.m., in a moment of silence.

For more information about the We Honor Veterans program visit

To learn more about Homeland’s work with this program, call Homeland Hospice at (717) 221-7890.

Honoring a Hero During the COVID-19 Crisis



Major Henry “Hank” Heim planned every detail of his funeral. Similar to the funeral of President John F. Kennedy, Hank wanted his final farewell to represent valor, honor and duty with representation from active service members. For Hank, his funeral would be a love-letter to the country he honored and served.

Sadly, Hank died in early April, a few weeks shy of his 99th birthday. His passing during the COVID-19 pandemic has put a temporary hold on his funeral plans.  COVID-19 also prevented his son and daughter-in-law, who have health issues, from being with him during his final days. Fortunately, Hank’s granddaughter visited him daily, offering him comfort and support.

Hank lived at Messiah Village in Mechanicsburg. As his health declined, he received nursing care and support through Homeland Hospice. Homeland Hospice is a hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania.

“As I learned more about Hank, I knew we must do something to honor him, ” says Hannah Miller, BSN, RN with Homeland Hospice. “He was an inspiration and true American hero.”

Hannah and her team decided to purchase an American flag to drape over Hank’s body after his passing. Knowing the challenges currently facing small businesses, Hannah contacted Ace Hardware in Lemoyne and described the circumstances. The team at Ace went into action and found a flag. They insisted on donating it after learning about Hank’s remarkable service to our country.

Hank was born into a poor, coal-mining family. At age five the family moved from Trevorton, Pennsylvania to Wiconisco, a small town in Dauphin County. When he wasn’t in school, Hank helped his father in the mines. His adolescent years were fraught with challenges. Coming from the poorest family in town, Hank was often the subject of ridicule at school. His high school classmates voted Hank “least likely to succeed” because of his circumstances.

“These words stayed with my father,” says Tom Heim, Hank’s son. “They didn’t defeat him, rather, they made him more determined to succeed.”

At 17, Hank was working in the mines when he was trapped in a cave-in. His father worked furiously through the shale to save his son. This near-death experience ended Hank’s time in the mines. Soon after, Hank joined the U.S. Air Force.

Hank was stationed Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii the morning of December 7, 1941, when the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service attacked the Pearl Harbor Naval Base and neighboring Hickam Air Force Base. Hank witnessed the fall of friends and brothers in arms.

As the U.S. fully engaged in World War II, Hank wanted to do more for his country. He noticed a poster advertising the need for pilots. Hank asked to enter flight school and was told he would never pass the test because he was “just a high school kid” and not a college graduate.

Hank was determined to become a pilot and wouldn’t be deterred. He completed flight school and was the first student in his class to solo a flight. Hank was one of two non-college graduates to successfully pass the course.

“My father was used to being underestimated,” Tom says. “Time and time again, he proved people wrong.”

Hank became a B-17 bomber pilot completing 78 missions in North Africa, Sicily and Germany. At the time, most pilots completed an average of nine flights before they were shot down. When the Korean War broke out, Hank flew the B-29 bomber for 51 missions. His courage was second to none.

Following his time in the military, Hank returned to a quiet life in New Cumberland with his wife and two children. He went on to work as a construction foreman for Bell Telephone for 30 years.

Hank’s assimilation to family life was seamless and very much in line with other soldiers of his generation. He never spoke about his military experience or shared stories of his flights with his children until he was approached to speak at a local high school.

“A friend of mine was a history teacher and asked my dad to speak to his students,” Tom recalls. “My mouth dropped when he began to speak. I couldn’t believe what my father had experienced.”

As Hank began opening up to his children, they learned about the many friends he lost in the military and his near-death experiences as a pilot.

“It’s a surreal moment when you realize your father has shaped American history,” Tom adds. “He is every definition of a hero.”

In his retirement, Hank spoke to countless high school students bringing the realities of war into the classroom. He spoke to the students with warmth and grace, never wanting to frighten them, merely sharing the often unspoken perils of war.

Hank was a member of the Central Pennsylvania World War II Roundtable and was featured in a documentary produced by PCN on World War II veterans. He also shared his story with local news stations and newspapers.

For his valor, courage and service to our country, Hank received the Distinguish Flying Cross, the highest honor bestowed by the Air Force. He is featured in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. He also received two Purple Hearts and two Presidential Unit Citations in addition to countless accolades for his heroism.

During Hank’s final days he found comfort in music. While his right foot was paralyzed due to a result illness, he kept perfect time with his left foot to John Phillip Sousa’s military marches.

“I’m so proud of my father,” Tom says. “As a father, husband and American, he was remarkable in every way.”

Godspeed Major Heim.

To learn more about Homeland Hospice, please call (717) 221-7890.

Gratitude and Optimism!



Roxane E. Hearn, PhD, Homeland's Employee Wellness Program CoordinatorBy “Dr. Rox” — Roxane E. Hearn, PhD
Homeland’s Employee Wellness Program Coordinator, Health & Wellness Psychologist and Personal Health Coach


Greetings from a place of gratitude and optimism!

Until we can see normalcy on the horizon, it is important that we do not allow our health and well-being to be set aside. More than ever, this is the time to cultivate a healthy mindset!


The current state of affairs has created elevated levels of anxiety, increased blood pressure, and levels of sadness which can spiral downward into depression. Unfortunately, many are also adopting or slipping back into unhealthy habits. All of which will not only weaken your immune system, but also leave you with poor health outcomes and a deep regret once our lives return to “normal.”

No-one knows how long this situation will last. There is however one certainty.  This. Will. End.

But until then, we cannot continue to operate from a place of anxiety and fear and not expect our health and well-being to be impacted negatively.


As a Health Psychologist and Certified Health Coach, Dr. Rox helps people cultivate healthy mindsets, so they can create healthier and happier lives by taking better care of themselves and connecting with their values; no matter their current circumstances.

Homeland employees are offered wellness consults on a regular and ongoing basis, but the COVID-19 situation presents a unique challenge. Rest assured wellness consults are a huge help in keeping Homeland’s staff be healthy and happy.

Most people find they benefit from someone who helps them look objectively at their fears, look ahead and consider the bigger picture, live their values,  set goals to become healthier, and create a silver lining to all these clouds.

Living our values, demonstrating gratitude for what we do have, no matter our circumstances, could be the single most important thing any of us can do right now.

“May we all be healthy, may we all be safe, may we all live with ease and well-being.” ~ Dr. Rox

To learn more about Dr. Rox, please visit

Piecing the Puzzle for Health Care Decisions



By Barbara Goll, Community Education Liaison and Nutritionist

When thinking about how we have all been affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, I was reminded of a recent holiday gift. It was a snow globe. But instead of a cute holiday scene, I see our current world inside the snow globe being shaken vigorously. White specks swirling like a tornado circling the world in every which way. At this point in time, the turbulence is strong but the specks are slowly starting to descend. What will the specks look like upon settling? When will all be quiet, calm and still? Regardless when, it is safe to say that everyone will be affected, like the specks, and changed with a new normal this pandemic has created.

At Homeland, we celebrate the commitment, resilience and resourcefulness of all the dedicated staff devoted to caring for our patients. The decisions you have been forced to make relating to patients, family and co-workers to prevent the spread of this virus have been numerous and tough. The hugs and gentle touches we have given for comfort, we are unable to give. Clear distress and emotions of patients, co-workers and families, we have tried to calm. Not to mention the personal anguish inside each of us dealing with our own situations making it overwhelming and numbing to get through each day.

Families and patients have to deal with suffering alone instead of being surrounded by loved ones at a time when it is most needed. Not able to touch, comfort, and be with someone at the end of life goes against all that hospice stands for and creates unimaginable pain.

Workshop Workbook CoverNational Health Care Decisions Day is April 16. As COVID-19 challenges loved ones from gathering and making end-of-life decisions, the need for us to inspire and educate on the importance of advanced care planning remains a priority. Major decisions for families and patients need to be made but the current restrictions in our healthcare systems make that more difficult. The layers of communication required between doctors, specialists and families to be able to make important decisions have changed dramatically. This “new normal” will affect patients and their family’s lives forever.

Buffie Finney, clinical nurse liaison, had this to say, “A lot of my time these past several weeks has been attempting to pull pieces of patient’s puzzled lives together, often leaving families and patients in tears while social workers in the hospitals are frustrated. What a help it would be to have health care decision documents in order prior to a crisis situation so families have clear direction on their loved ones wishes.”

Homeland offers a “My Reflections” workbook and workshop to accomplish end of life planning. This initiative encourages patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes whatever they may be.

As for all the Heroes at Homeland whose humanity has been unsurpassed, you are loved and so much appreciated by the communities you serve. Let’s all show gratitude towards each other no matter what role is being played for the greater good of the people we serve. Keep the much needed laughter and jokes coming. God bless us all!