Twenty years ago, Hospice of Redmond-Sisters was primarily volunteer-driven and operating from a small room at what is now St. Charles Medical Center-Redmond.
Since then, Hospice of Redmond-Sisters has grown. But one thing hasn't changed -- volunteers are the backbone of hospice support for patients facing life-changing illnesses.
Last week, Hospice of Redmond-Sisters acknowledge the work of its longest serving volunteer, Anzie Adams of Culver. Staff and volunteers honored Adams during a small ceremony during a staff meeting, and will honor her again during an annual Volunteer Recognition Day, April 25, at Hospice of Redmond-Sisters in Sisters.
"Anzie has been a vital part of hospice for the past 20 years," said Becky Bryan, executive director at Hospice of Redmond-Sisters. "Her work as a volunteer and in Medicare billing plays a very important role in serving our patients."
Adams began working with Hospice of Redmond-Sisters in 1987, when the organization was just five years old. After participating in volunteer training, she became involved in helping the organization establish its Medicare certification in 1989.
It was a wish of her parents that first got Adams interested in hospice, she said. "My folks said they wanted to be cremated, which really shook me up at the time. So, I decided to learn more about death and the proces and took a hospice class and have volunteered with hospice patients ever since," Adams said.
During her time with Hospice of Redmond-Sisters, she has seen it outgrow its location in the hospital, and move twice to its current site at Highland and 23rd Street in Redmond.
Over the years, Adams served in virtually every facet of the organization. In addition to being a volunteer, she was hired part time by the organization from 1990 to 1994 to do Medicare insurance billing. Then, from 1994 until 2006, she worked full time as the hospice financial coordinator. Last year, she went back to doing part-time Medicare billing.
"I continued to do volunteer work on my off-hours," she said.
Adams reflected fondly on her years as a volunteer, insisting, "I've gotten more out of it than I've given. I've learned compassion and how to deal with people. It's been a really special experience."
Working in the Culver area, Adams said she serves both hospice patients and transitions program clients. Transitions is a program for pre-hospice people who need support, help with transportation, and somebody to regularly check on them. "I usually work with two people all the time," Adams said.
"Volunteers are still the cornerstone of our services at Hospice," said Pat Minney, volunteer coordinator at Hospice of Redmond-Sisters. "We're grateful for Anzie's extensive service and knowledge."
Hospice of Redmond-Sisters provides interdisciplinary care for patients diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Its mission is to enhance the quality of life for patients and their families by providing the highest level of compassionate hospice care and bereavement services in Central Oregon.