Recognizing hospice caregivers

Ann Blake

It takes a special calling to care for patients during their last days. It also means walking alongside their families and loved ones to help make decisions and prepare them for what to expect. The experience comes with a wide range of emotions—sorrow and mourning at losing a loved one, but comfort in knowing they are no longer suffering.

Following the tender and compassionate care received through Collier Hospice, families often express immense gratitude and offer generous gifts to support Lutheran's hospice programs. A Circle of Care donor sent a note with their donation for hospice, commenting, "Dan and Ann are two of the kindest, most compassionate people I have ever met, and I am so grateful to know there are people as wonderful as them in the world. Words cannot describe how much they helped and supported our family."

It's always heartwarming to talk with caregivers who practice hospice care. Many speak to their work's beauty and the human connection it creates, with Dan Sanders and Ann Blake sharing similar sentiments.

Dan Sanders

Dan was born at Lutheran, and his grandmother worked at Lutheran's TB Sanitarium. He started his career in critical care, which included a significant amount of end-of-life care, allowing him to help patients and families navigate that part of life's journey.

Dan found his calling in hospice care following the passing of his brother and the impactful experience he and his family encountered during that time. He is honored to work in hospice care. He believes it is "sacred, important work, seeing people at a time of their life when they are the most vulnerable, witnessing every day our shared humanness, with most handling the life-changing situation with dignity, grace, and love."

Ann knew she found her fit in hospice because the care is "completely focused on comfort care, not just for the patient but for the entire network of family and friends." She cherishes when families bring in photos and share memories of their loved ones, so she grasps a broader picture of their lives and how they lived. It enables a deeper connection and helps her see that "this is not just my patient in this bed, but a human being having a human experience."

Ann also expressed gratitude for being acknowledged and thanked the family member who donated to support Collier, allowing the team to continue their tremendous work. The Lutheran Foundation echoes the donor's gratitude toward our phenomenal caregivers and also for the community members who generously give back to support the hospital's efforts in providing heartfelt care.