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Island Hospice Care

In recognition of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, Valley of the Temples wishes to acknowledge Michelle Bowerman, Director of Business Operations at Islands Hospice for her accomplishments in hospice & palliative care.

Michelle Bowerman has worked in the hospice profession for 4 and a half years. She originally was intrigued to work in hospice and palliative care when Michelle’s grandparents were on Hospice. She had a positive experience during that time and appreciated that her grandparents were cared for at home. Her grandparents LOVED the hospice staff which gave her family peace of mind. 

What are some of the powerful emotions you have gone through? What are some things you do to take care of yourself emotionally so that you can continue to help others in your profession?

Seeing young people pass away evokes powerful emotions for Michelle. One in particular was her daughter’s class mate. A vibrant, young beautiful woman. It was overwhelmingly heartbreaking seeing a young life taken away too soon.

Another example she recalled was the passing of her friend's 17-year old son, who was diagnosed with cancer at age 14. He had the spirit and presence of a wise, loving old soul and whom had a positive impact on everyone around him.

Being impacted so deeply by these experiences, Michelle knew that working in Hospice was where she was meant to be.  She takes care of herself emotionally by spending time with family and friends and walking her dogs regularly. She enjoys the yoga class given in her office by one of Islands Hospice’s Patient Care Coordinators. Being an animal lover and advocate, she spends time volunteering for The Hawaiian Humane Society.

What has been the biggest challenge for you and why?

The biggest challenge is finding ways to educate the community into receiving hospice services sooner so that patients and families can utilize the many services for a longer length of them.

What do you believe has been your key to having great relationships with your patients?

Our key to great patient relationships begins at the top with our CEO, Dr. Michael Duick. He has set a tone for excellence in all we do. Our staff is extraordinary and through maintaining a desire to meet or exceed the needs of our families, we then develop wonderful relationships.

How do you motivate yourself?

Michelle needs little or no motivation to do her job as she is very passionate about her work. She receives deep job satisfaction from making their patients end-of-life dreams come true. For example, one patient really wanted to go to the beach but had limited mobility to access the beach. Islands Hospice arranged transportation and built a special ramp to make this trip possible. 

Island Hospice has married patients and brought families together from different states to visit in their final days. Michelle is also motivated by providing the best work experience for staff & best end of journey experience for their patients.  

Looking back on the first person in your care, how would you say you have evolved from that moment and in which ways?

Answer by Julie Hastings - Clinical Coordinator & Patient Care Coordinator

Looking back on the first patient in Julie’s care, she has learned that it really takes a village to care for a patient. It takes the collaboration of a whole team. She has learned you cannot take care of every patient's needs by yourself. The whole family benefits from the resources that Islands Hospice provides. These resources include, Spiritual Care Provider, Social Worker, Caregiver, Nurses and Physicians. In addition, she has learned that it takes regular meetings and collaborations to provide excellent care.

Julie strongly believes it's an honor and an intensely personal experience to be present at a patient's passing.

What advice would you give someone who is considering hospice service in the near or far future?

Michelle would advise anyone who is considering hospice to reach out for services as soon as a terminal diagnosis has been made because there are so many benefits and resources for the family as well as the patient. Patients receive such a high level of care and support that in some cases, patients recover and are "graduated" off of hospice.

For more information on Island Hospice:

ISLANDS HOSPICE – It’s About Living
1301 Young Street | Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
Oahu: (808) 550-2552
Maui: (808) 856-8989

Michelle Bowerman, Director of Business Operations
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