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ProMedica hospice workers, volunteers happy to 'make a difference'

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Joyce Rimmelin, right, embraces patient Claire Campbell on her volunteer rounds at ProMedica's Ebeid Hospice Residence in Sylvania.

THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
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Joyce Rimmelin has more family than she can count.

The 62-year-old Sylvania resident has been working with hospice patients for more than 20 years. Most recently, she's been giving her time to ProMedica's Ebeid Hospice Residence at Flower Hospital in Sylvania.

Ms. Rimmelin says the most rewarding part of working in hospice is knowing and providing comfort to patients and their families.

"I know that I do make a difference to that patient, number one, to the family, and of course to the staff," she said. "For that brief period of time, with not having any family of my own, they become my family. The best days of my week are the days that I am present in an in-patient unit."

Like other volunteers, Ms. Rimmelin does a variety of work for the hospice center. She answers phones, distributes lunches, and visits with patients and their families. From time to time, she helps set up final wishes for patients.

A few months ago, she asked a friend to come in dressed as Elivs Presley and sing for a particularly big fan in the final hours of the patient's life.

"There wasn't a dry eye in the house," volunteer coordinator Tim Strachan said.

There are about 75 volunteers working with ProMedica Hospice, Strachan said. Most work one or two days a week for two-hour shifts.

"Our volunteers come here for a lot of different reasons," he said.

"If you really want to challenge yourself, if you really want to talk about getting a reward that's not monetary, if you want to really open yourself up to what most people fear, I think hospice volunteering is a place you want to be."

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