Bodymechanics Pledges Funds to Hospice Care

In 1990, I started working for Assured Home Health & Hospice as their receptionist.  I was 23 years old, and had a 1-year-old daughter.  I worked at Assured for 16 years altogether, moving from Receptionist into Medical Records, to the Hospice team as a coordinator and finally ending in the Information Technology Department.  When I resigned, I was the IT Director.

I grew up at Assured Home Health & Hospice.

  • While still working at Assured, my brother died of a stroke. He was 36 years old.  To say our family was devastated would be an understatement.
  • My mom passed away 3 short years later from Lung Cancer. She was 59 years old.  We found out on a Saturday that it was cancer, and she died on Monday.  When we got the diagnosis, I started making plans to bring her home with Hospice care, but it was just too fast and she passed away in the hospital.
  • 4 years after that, again we experienced tragedy when my older sister died from a head on collision. She was 39 years old.  Again, the suddenness of her death left us in shock.

I knew the benefits of Hospice, our family just didn’t get to take advantage of the help and support of the team.

In 2005, I started massage school.  I needed a career that would bring me more joy than my IT job.  While in school, I created the Hospice Caregiver Massage program.  As a massage student, I wasn’t able to work on Hospice patients directly, but I was able to work on caregivers of Hospice patients.

After graduating, I did 1 year of Hospice massage – working with 6 patients who were terminally ill.  I remember being with one lady named Ruth who was in a coma the last time I saw her.  I spent 45 minutes stroking her cheeks, forehead and scalp.  Every couple of minutes, she would smile at me.  I learned later that she passed away that day and I thought that maybe I made her journey just a little easier.

All of this to say, Hospice is very near and dear to my heart.  I love the mission.  I love the team.  I love the support offered to patients and their families. 

In 2012, I jointed the Board of Directors for the Visiting Nurse Foundation, who’s mission is to “create funding for education and assistance of home health and hospice patients and their families.”

2015 brought new thoughts on how I could re-invent my business and deliver more to students, graduates and the communities we serve to make a bigger impact.  I spent the summer reading, journaling, and creating new programs and really thought about how I could do more to help and merge my passions, my purpose and maximize profits to make a big IMPACT in our communities.

Over the years, I’ve had many massage students who ask how they can get involved in Hospice massage.  I’ve had a Medical Doctor graduate from my massage program because she wanted to learn massage to help hospice patients.  Every time I talk with someone about Hospice Massage, I would get chills – because it is something I am very passionate about.HospiceWhich brings me again to my summer of reading, journaling and creating new programs and making a bigger IMPACT in our communities.  It came to me that if I could find a way to merge Hospice mission with my massage school mission, then I’m on the right path.

Network of Businesses

One of the new programs I created is called the Network of Businesses whose mission is to advance and further promote the Bodymechanics Brand in our communities by creating a network of professionals who embrace the Bodymechanics mission.  The goal is that I find businesses who support our school, students and graduates by offering career guidance, externship opportunities, jobs, and sound business advice.

Students and graduates of the program will have a network to access to help them further their careers.  The community benefits by understanding our mission and goal and through an active community education calendar.

As a board member of the Visiting Nurse Foundation, I realized that merging our goals of education and care for hospice patients is possible.  By including the VNF into the network, those students who have a goal to help hospice patients will get the help and support they need.

Making a bigger IMPACT

Business is changing.  One of my goals at Bodymechanics is to shift from how business has always been done, and evolve to doing more and making a bigger impact.  My goal is to create opportunities for students and graduates that make a BIG difference in the lives of people they touch.  I like to say “when my graduates have full schedules, then I’ve done my job.”  This is more than just lip service.  I am creating programs that follow students for years after they graduate, through the Bodymechanics Training Center and the Network of Businesses.

Merging my passion at Bodymechanics School with the Visiting Nurse Foundation creates an evolved business model that will support students and graduates of the school, while supporting a vital program that helps dying patients and their families transition through the dying process.

In 2016, I am pledging 3% of gross massage student tuition payments received to provide massage to hospice patients and their caregivers in the counties we mutually serve.  I also will earmark funds to support bi-annual hospice training events at Bodymechanics School to students, graduates and the community. 

Benefits to Bodymechanics School and the Network of Businesses:

  • Increased opportunities for students and graduates for job placement
  • Increased recognition of Bodymechanics in our communities
  • Mentoring opportunities
  • Community education opportunities
  • Professional LMPs will receive reimbursement for providing massage
  • Students exposed to hospice will have professional opportunities at graduation

Benefits to the Visiting Nurse Foundation, the Hospice agency, Hospice patients and Hospice caregivers

  • Excellent quality massage for hospice patients and caregivers
  • Strong relationship built with the local massage school
  • Ensuring that the agency has qualified massage practitioners so patients are not denied massage
  • Shared passion for providing massage for hospice patients

My story started in 1990 with a small independent home health & hospice agency.  Today, I have an opportunity to do more to help and make a big impact with students, graduates and the community.

This story continues in that the school was asked to join a natural medicine doc who is joining with an oncology clinic in Olympia. This amazing opportunity will allow students to work on cancer patients in an oncology clinic, transition into their professional career for one year, and then move on to opening their own practice.

I’m looking forward to the story continuing in the coming years as our impact exceeds profits, our passions show through our work, and our gift nurtures hospice patients for years to come.