Hospice Austin’s Blog
When doctors told Anitra Gilley that she had Stage III cervical cancer, everything in her mind went blank. She was the single mother of four children; she couldn’t have cancer. Her mind started whirling and then, like a Wheel of Fortune spinner, stopped on her grocery store list.
November is National Hospice and Palliative Care month and we wanted to take this opportunity to educate the public about the some common misperceptions about hospice care.
Whether you’re a person with a serious illness or a family member, just saying the word “hospice” can trigger many fears. These misperceptions are common among family members and patients who are trying to decide what to do next and where to turn.
From the moment you meet Hospice Austin Chief Medical Officer Bob Friedman, it’s obvious he cares, really cares, about his patients, his staff, and the delivery of end of life care that honors the values and goals that a patient holds dear. It is with great sadness that we announce his retirement, but Hospice Austin is so fortunate that he has been at the helm of our medical services for more than 10 years.
After 27 years, Marjorie Mulanax is retiring as executive director of Hospice Austin. Hospice Austin’s Board of Directors has appointed DeSha McLeod as the new chief executive officer of Hospice Austin. Please join us in thanking Marjorie for her many years of service and in welcoming DeSha!
We live in unprecedented times where end-of-life care discussions are more important than ever. These conversations are always difficult, even with the most accepting of patients and families. As the referring physician to hospice care, regardless of your field, your patients trust your judgement and recommendations for their journey ahead.
Hospice Austin Executive Director Marjorie Mulanax has been the face, heart, and soul of Hospice Austin for 27 years. The Texas and New Mexico Hospice Organization has selected Marjorie Mulanax as the recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award. As the 2021 honoree, she is the seventh winner of the Association’s most prestigious award.
When legendary Texas Blues matriarch Marcia Ball was asked to perform a Swan Songs concert for a Hospice Austin patient, she didn’t hesitate. She brought her electric piano, set it up in the patient’s living room that was festooned with flamingo decorations, and rocked the house for nearly an hour. The living room was filled with friends, family, and even the patient’s Hospice Austin nurse, with the patient and everyone else tapping and nodding along to the music.
I woke up one day and decided I wanted to do something that matters. I wanted to go back to school and find a career that would allow me to make a difference in the lives of others. I actually decided I was going to go to ACC and apply to Hospice Austin before I ever even applied to the program. Hard work pays off and I applied to Hospice Austin as soon as I had my certificate. I’ve had two family members pass in the hands of this organization and my heart is so full being able to now work for them and be on the other side.
I develop a special relationship with all my patients. I didn’t sign up for this for a paycheck – I do this because I feel like it’s what I’m called to do. If you can’t give love and comfort and care, you’re in the wrong job. I love my patients. I advocate for them and each day I try to do my best for them – putting a smile on their face, or wiping their tears, or just giving them a hug.
When my dad was sick in McAllen, we had help from an agency, but some of the CNAs were very rude to my father and tried to rush him. We know people lose the ability to do things when they are sick, so CNAs need to take the time to do things gently – transfer, help with the shower. People were so rude with my father. That’s what motivated me to become a CNA. One day I will be the same age, and I want to be treated well.