Pella Chronicle

Local News

November 24, 2012

November – National Hospice Month

Pella — Kim Pickett, bereavement coordinator, and Heather Vander Beek, social worker, with hospice at Pella Regional Health Center have comments about their jobs that may not be expected. They don’t say words like sad or depressing. They use words like peace and blessing and honor.

“On television death is portrayed to be so horrible. That’s just not the case,” said Kim. “I make the bereavement calls for hospice and hear so many stories that have the underlying theme of peace.”

As the bereavement coordinator, Kim is the person that assists families with post-death grieving, facilitates support groups, makes bereavement calls, home visits and does individual and family counseling.

“People grieve so differently and at various times. Being available is the most important part of my job,” said Kim.

According to Kim, typically when she calls family members after a recent loss people will say that they are doing fine and keeping busy. Then when she calls back 3-6 months later, people will be more emotional and say they aren’t sure why they are crying. She explains that grief is very individualized; maybe there was another death, or a special date is coming up-anything can trigger grief. She also shares that men and women tend to grieve differently.

Heather shares that she was worried about being a social worker for hospice at first. She wasn’t sure that she could handle it. She was surprised to realize that the role wasn’t that different from the other social work roles she’s had and that it’s not depressing.

“It can be sad and it can be physically and mentally exhausting at times,” said Heather. “But it’s a blessing that we can go in at that time of life; it’s a sacred time.”

Heather describes her role as the resource person in hospice. She is a companion to walk alongside the patients and families and listen. She says that many times patients are at peace with dying at the end but family members may continue to struggle. When that happens, Heather helps with their anticipatory grief. She explains that anticipatory grief is when someone is figuring out when the loved one will die, how they will die, what it will feel like. It’s all of the not knowing that increases the anxiety.

“Our goal is to get everyone involved to come to peace with the journey. Going into hospice is a huge decision for people. It takes a while for the patients to trust us. After a few visits we build that trust and things progress from there,” said Heather.

Kim recalls one patient who told her that she couldn’t have done this without hospice. “She told me to thank everyone,” said Kim. “Someone needs to be there for the patients and families; what an honor it is for hospice staff to be a part of the ups and downs of that journey.”


Text Only
Local News
  • Live entertainment slated for Tulip Time This year's line-up for Festhouden, which will begin at 7 p.m. each evening of Tulip Time, has been announced. Festhouden will take place on the Tulip Toren located on the south side of Pella's square. Grandstand tickets for Festhouden and the evenin

    April 16, 2014

  • Vermeer award photo Vermeer receives consecutive NAEDA Dealer's Choice Award Recently, the North American Equipment Dealers Association (NAEDA) released its annual Dealer-Manufacturer Relations Survey and Dealer's Choice Awards. For the second consecutive year, Vermeer Corporation was awarded "Dealer's Choice" in the Ag/ Shor

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • South Central Regional audit released Van Maanen, Sietstra & Meyer, PC, Certified Public Accountants recently released an audit report on the South Central Regional Airport Agency, Pella, Iowa. The Agency's revenues totaled $81,986 for the year ended June 30, 2013, the first year of the

    April 16, 2014

  • Eagle photo Bald eagle program, release at Lake Red Rock April 19 Come to Red Rock Visitor Center at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 19, to learn about eagles in Iowa and why we’re still talking about the impacts of lead on wildlife and people. Helping with the program will be Thora, SOAR’s education ambassador eagle. Co

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Easter2 Easter Egg Hunt The annual Pella Easter Egg Hunt was held Saturday, April 12 in Central Park. Nice weather greeted children of all ages for the event. The Easter Egg Hunt was sponsored by Kiwanis and the Community 1st Credit Union. More photos on Page 8. (Photos by

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Patient advocate - Helping surgery patients navigate insurance maze The rules of insurance are always changing and are frequently challenging for patients to understand. At Pella Regional Health Center, new positions have been added to help patient be informed and understand the financial impact of surgical procedur

    April 16, 2014

  • Construction Trades pic 1 Marion County building permits on the rise

    It's expected to be a busy construction season around Marion County. According to County Zoning Administrator Missy Poffenbarger, her office has issued 17 building permits since March 18. 

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Burn ban to be lifted at 11 a.m.

    Marion County's burn ban will be lifted at 11 a.m. Monday, April 14. 

    April 14, 2014

  • Reeds.jpg Bussey pair facing several charges

    Two Bussey residents are charged in a pair of thefts in Otley and Pella on April 5 and April 11. 

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • supes in Pville.jpg County awaits Pleasantville Memorial Hall proposal

    The Marion County Board of Supervisors met with representatives from the City of Pleasantville and Memorial Hall Commissioners from the Rose City, to discuss the status of transitioning the hall from County ownership to the City. 

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo