Print page

November 2014 Check Presentation

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

DBOT Nov. 2014 Photo - Vitas Healthcare

When the dark cloud of a terminal illness hovers over an individual, the heaviness of the burden can be overwhelming. Faced with the most profound feelings of turmoil, fear, sadness, anger and grief, the person and their family may feel the darkness overcoming them is relentless. But when the dedicated people of a hospice surrounds them with loving care, it can provide the most profound relief, comfort and a glimmer of light shining through to know that they are being nurtured in their most vulnerable hour of need.

VITAS Healthcare is passionately devoted to that crucial mission, determined to make sure that no one in our community is deprived of that transformational care. Knowing that providing an excellent education for outstanding hospice nurses is critical, VITAS has generously given a $10,000 donation to Polk State College to benefit future leaders of health science careers.

In response to the growing demand for hospice care, VITAS opened its Lakeland office in July 2014. Beginning the next month in August, they met and exceeded their projected goal within two weeks’ time every month this year. According to General Manager Rhonda Brooks, the hospice is “more than 400 percent filled up” and serves 6,000 patients a day.

She says the emotional fulfillment that comes from helping families when they need it most is enormous.

“We listen to the patient and their family and learn from them exactly what they need, and we respond,” she said. “The family is distraught, and they are hit with all these decisions. We give them the emotional support they need and explain their options to them,” she said.

“I love what I do. It’s the most rewarding feeling that someone could ever feel, to meet the patient’s and their family’s needs,” she said. “No amount of money can buy it.”

And sometimes the patient actually pulls through and recovers, she said. “Sometimes it goes the other way, and that is wonderful,” she added.

On November 24, 2014, at a check presentation at the Polk State College Board of Trustees meeting, Brooks and her colleagues at VITAS Healthcare were honored for their enormous generosity to the Polk State College Foundation.

Anu Saxena, Chair of the Polk State College Foundation Board of Directors, introduced Brooks, expressing heartfelt gratitude to VITAS for the transformational difference it is making in the lives of Polk State College nursing students and families in our community.

Rhonda Brooks expressed her thankfulness for the opportunity to help Polk State College nursing students. She said that her department is graced with the presence of many fine nurses who have graduated from the College. “It’s the number one college for nursing — the best. It was an easy decision to contribute to the Polk State College nursing department,” she said.

Pictured left to right: Anu Saxena, Rick Garcia, Rhonda Brooks, Mark G. Turner, Dr. Eileen Holden, Greg Littleton, Teresa Martinez, Dan Dorrell and Linda Pilkington.