New Office for Pearl Team in Sebring!

by Deborah Harley, Executive Director, Polk-Hardee-Highlands



Sebring sign on Highway 27.


Front view of the Sebring Office.

Pearl Team has a brand-new location at 2906 Sparta Rd. in Tower Square Plaza, Sebring. Our new digs are directly across beautiful Lake Jackson with our first signage in Highlands County proudly shining on Hwy. 27. New Pearl Team office should be up, wired and “live” by Monday, January 16. Office will be staffed by Pearl Team personnel and Yvonne Cannon, RN, PCS will be there. Stay tuned for Open House announcement.


 Clown Donation


A Clowning contingent descended upon the Cornerstone Hospice Villages Hospice House for Clown Alley's presentation of a $1,800 check to Villagers for Hospice on Monday.  Clowning around for the proceedings, from left: Sassy the Clown (Janet Robbins) with Gabriella; Mike (Mr. Kluck) Ryan, head clown with Clown Alley #179, a service club for residents of The Villages providing over one hundred clowns to a number of worthy causes; honorary Clown-for-a-day Arlene Bentz, President of Villagers for Hospice and Mopsy the Clown (Shirley Davis).

Foundation Corner in Winter Haven

by Angela Fortunas, Cornerstone Hospice Regional Development Director

Polk, Hardee, and Highlands




The officers of the Planters Garden Club presented Deborah Harley, CEO of Polk, Hardee & Highlands (seated far right) with a $500 donation to support Cornerstone's efforts in Polk County.  Cornerstone gave the garden club a certificate of appreciation for their outstanding service to the community.




Certified Nurses and Nursing Assistants

By Julia Allen, Community Relations Manager

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Blue Team Home Health Aides who passed the Certified Hospice Palliative Nursing Assistant examination in December, from left, Christine Daniels, Lorraine Jones, Pat Johnson, and Colleen Wood.



As an organization Cornerstone Hospice takes pride in its many dedicated employees.  Some of our clinical staff have achieved special voluntary certifications as hospice and palliative nurses and nursing assistants by the National Board of Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses.  The certification must be repeated periodically and indicates an individual’s current competency.  Certification is highly valued since it recognizes a level of hospice and palliative nursing knowledge.


In order for a registered nurse who holds an unrestricted license to become a Certified Hospice & Palliative Nurse (CHPN), the nurse should have at least two years experience in hospice and palliative nursing and must pass a rigorous three-hour exam.  Eligibility requirements for LPNs holding unrestricted practical nurse licenses are similar:  two-years experience and an in-depth three-hour exam.  For nursing assistants to be eligible, they must complete necessary documentation to prove achievement of 2000 practice hours under the supervision of a registered nurse in the past two years.   They, too, must pass a three-hour exam to qualify for the CHPNA designation.  For anyone interested in getting certified or re-certified, please contact Julie Sneed RN, CHPN at 352-742-6841 in the Education Department for further information and instruction.


Recently Marcia Simmons, Teddy Palermo and Alicia Cato, all RNs were all certified or recertified as CHPNs.   These RNs join Lou Acuff, Tracy Anthony, Linda Arredondo, Brian James, Barbara Lengemann, Loretta Pruett, Donna Shafar, Julie Sneed, Catherine Stesney, Diane Van Cura, Emilie Van Dusen, Peter Weldon, and Terressa Wilkerson, all RNs who are also CHPNs.  Robert Hightower is a Certified Hospice and Palliative LPN.



Teddy Palermo, RN, CHPN



Marcia Simmons, RN, CHPN



Alicia Cato, RN, CHPN




Also gaining certification as CHPNAs were Christine Daniels, Lorraine Jones, Pat Johnson and Colleen Wood.  Other HHAs who are CHPNA’s are Shawna Moseley, Yvonne Pierre, and Sharon Somers.


We applaud all of them for their efforts in preparing themselves to practice the best hospice and palliative care for our patients and their families. We also commend them for their personal and professional growth in their respective fields of expertise.   Congratulations, all!



From the HR Director, Mike Metcalf


    Retirement Savings – How Much is enough?

    by Teressa S. Brunson, Administrative Associate

         Edd Holder and Associates


When it comes to retirement savings, asking someone you haven't met how much savings they need is like inquiring how long they figure it will take you to get to Los Angeles. They really ought to respond with some very basic follow-up questions like "Where are you now?" and "Are you driving or flying?"

When it comes to how much savings you'll need for retirement, there are several key questions and considerations you should evaluate as you contemplate a retirement, either with or without the assistance of a planner:

Retirement Savings Consideration # 1 - What do you envision for your retirement?

Does your ideal retirement life look a lot like the one you have now? Or would you hope to step it up a notch? Alternatively, you may crave the idea of an earlier retirement even at the expense of a lower standard of living. There's no right or wrong answer, but your anticipated retirement lifestyle is a critical component in answering the "How much savings will I need?" question.

Retirement Savings Consideration # 2 - What do you make today?

Your current income is a useful starting point for calculating your retirement planning savings needs. Odds are that the more you make today, the more savings you'll need in retirement - thanks to the lifestyle creep prevalent in today's society. If you're different than most, congratulations - you can probably have less savings. But it won't matter, because you're already saving more.

Retirement Savings Consideration # 3 - How much will you collect from Social Security? Will you receive any defined benefit pension benefits during retirement?

These monthly payments can subtract substantially from the amount you may have to save. Getting a good estimate is invaluable as you plan your retirement and determines your savings need.

Retirement Savings Consideration # 4 - When will you retire?

The younger you are when you retire, the longer you can expect to live during retirement. This means you'll need more saved. If you wait longer until retirement, not only will you be retired for a shorter amount of time, but you will also work more years, meaning you can save more.

Retirement Savings Consideration # 5 - How will you invest?

If you invest aggressively, you can reasonably expect a higher rate of return on your investments, meaning you'll have to save less compared to another individual who insists of keeping all investments in the bank's savings account.

How much have you saved already and how old are you now?

The younger you are and the more you have saved, the less you'll need to save in the future in order to achieve the same retirement standard of living as someone older or with less money saved up until this point. The early bird gets more than the worm.

As you can see, there isn't a one size fits all answer to the "How much should I save?" question of retirement. However, there is a rule of thumb. After you've determined what you think you'll need to live on during retirement, multiply it by 25. For example, if you think you'll need $40,000 a year, one rule of thumb says that you'll need 25 times that amount, or $1,000,000 in order to retire comfortably. On the other hand, if you 'd receive $15,000 in Social Security benefits each year and a $5,000 annual pension, you'd only need half of the $40,000 each year from your savings. Since you'll only plan on puling out about $20,000 each year, you'd need about $500,000 saved by your retirement date.

Still, a rule of thumb is not a rule of law. More importantly, everyone's retirement goals are personal and no one gets into trouble because they saved too much too soon.

Lake County Events to Benefit Cornerstone SALUTES

By Susan Bennett, Regional Development Director

Cornerstone Hospice Foundation



AMVET Post 1992 in Mount Dora will host its 2nd Annual “Wacky Weiner Wednesday” fundraiser for our Cornerstone SALUTES! Program and will add a Euchre Tournament.  One does not need to be a member to attend.  Last year this Post donated $3,000 to the Lake County program.  Come on out, especially if you or a loved one is a veteran. 


Wednesday Feb. 8, 2012 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

 Fundraiser with food, beverages, etc for sale and a live auction


Friday Feb. 24, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Euchre tournament and buffet lunch.  $20 includes 16 Euchre games for prizes.  A $6 buffet lunch will be offered.  A day long silent auction will raise proceeds for SALUTES.


Please contact Susan Bennett at 352-742-6807 or for more information.





2nd Annual “Spice it up for Hospice” Chili Cook-off to benefit the Lane Purcell Hospice House

by Susan Bennett, Regional Development Director, and Angel Vargas, Program Manager, Cornerstone Hospice Foundation


Please come join the fun for the 2nd annual “Spice it up for Hospice” chili cook-off!  This fun and family oriented event will be held on Saturday, January 28th at the Kenny Dixon Sports Complex.   Hours are from 11 am until 3 pm.  This is an annual fund raiser to benefit the Lane Purcell Hospice House in Sumterville. 


This hospice house reaches out to people in need at the most critical time of their lives, providing both the family and the patient with dignity, respect and love during the difficult process of nearing the end of life.  This is true especially for those who either do not have a caretaker or whose caretaker is unable to meet their needs at the end of life.  Indeed we are fortunate to have the Lane Purcell Hospice House to call our own in Sumter County. 


100% of all proceeds raised from the Chili Cook-off will benefit the Lane Purcell Hospice House.   The entry fee to submit your winning Chili is only $20.00!  If you are not a Chili cook, then come participate by purchasing a $5.00 armband, which gets you a fabulous Chili pepper necklace, and a taste – and vote for your favorite Chili!  Come support those that have worked so hard to prepare their own Chili recipes.   There will be a raffle drawing for a Craftsman Tool Chest, donated by Ace Hardware of Bushnell.  Homemade desserts will be on sale, and LIVE music by a wonderful local band.  





Bring a chair and come enjoy a fun filled afternoon!   We will see you at the Chili cook-off!   For more information, contact Susan Bennett, Cornerstone Hospice, (352)742-6807 office, or call Susan Noell, Advisory Board member, evenings at 352-793-2835. 



Reprinted from a Letter to The Villages Daily Sun Editor

Submitted By Donna Shafar, RN


Thanks for support during dad’s final days


On Dec. 13, I received a call that my dad, Jacques Brousseau, had slipped away to be with God.  With a heavy heart, my three grown children and I began our trek from Memphis to The Villages, which had been my home for the past 15-1/2 years.  Not a joyous journey by any means.


My dad had spent his final week at Cornerstone Hospice (The Villages House) where he as treated lovingly and with dignity, which eased my mom’s aching heart.  During that week, my mother learned of an eerie tradition that the cranes that live along the grounds of Cornerstone seem able to announce the next person’s entrance into heaven.


On my dad’s last day, as my mother entered Cornerstone there were no cranes to be seen, but in the 10 minutes it took to walk to his room, suddenly there were three gray cranes standing guard at his window.


My mom, at first startled because she knew what this implied, asked aloud, “Are you trying to tell me something?”


The middle crane bowed his neck in reverence and then stretched it toward heaven.  Within the hour, my dad passed away peacefully.




Over the next few days, we were overwhelmed with the outpouring of prayers, good deeds, kind words, generous gifts and the abundance of love from family, friends and neighbors, which moved all of us to the core of our beings.


I know our gratitude to all is genuinely appreciated and never-ending.  Each and every one of you bore true witness as why The Villages is known as the “Friendliest Hometown.”  You have convinced me and mine.


It makes my heart smile to know that my mom shall continue to live here surrounded by love and caring.  My best to you and yours, as well.


Jeanne Rinnander

(on behalf of the family of Jacques Brousseau)

Lady Lake



Diversity Council – Black History

By Don Hires, Bereavement and Spiritual Care Manager



We studied about George Washington Carver in school, we listened and danced to the music of Ella, Louie, and Dizzy, and we stared in amazement at the larger-than-life Lena on the big screen. Some of us are old enough to remember the day Rosa Parks took not a stand, but a seat for democracy and dignity by refusing not to sit at the back of the bus any more, we mourned the deaths of so many innocents who wanted nothing more than their rights, we were angry at the untimely deaths of young, black men who dreamed of a better life, and we were shocked to the core of our being with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. These and thousands of others have helped shape and form the fabric of who we are in America.


As we celebrate Black History Month, there is one group of black men whose lives and deaths have contributed to how the medical model and end-of-life care are accepted in the African American community today. The Tuskegee Experiment is one of America’s most un-proud moments in history. Beginning in the late 1930’s and for years afterwards, black sharecroppers in Alabama were intentionally infected with syphilis, left untreated, and eventually died as part of a Public Health experiment. If you are unfamiliar with this, all you have to do is google “Tuskegee Experiment.”


As a result, this has had a profound effect on, and is one of the reasons why African Americans are skeptical of medical treatment, or will opt for all life prolonging therapies. There is an inherent distrust of an all-white medical model. For more information on how to care for African American patients in a hospice setting go  and click on the Diversity Section. There you will find an in-depth listing of end-of-life issues and concerns for African Americans. 


History despite its wretching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.

Maya Angelou




If you want to make beautiful music together, you must play the black and white notes together.

Richard M. Nixon



Community Relations Corner

By Ginny Wolfe, Community Relations Coordinator-Polk, Hardee, Highlands



Pearl Team Patients get Christmas Gifts


Every Cornerstone Hospice patient on the Pearl Team received handmade Christmas gifts from caring Highlands County residents this year.



Volunteer Joe Klosek wrapping a bib made by the Tangled Thread Quilters.



Volunteer Sandra Fankhauser wraps gifts.


The Tanglewood ‘Tangled Thread Quilters’ made lap quilts for Cornerstone patients and presented them to Ginny Wolfe, Community Relations Coordinator, Volunteer Specialists Sherry DiSimone and Sharon VonMinden, and Autumn Egan, Clinical Liaison.  Residents at Fairway Pines Assisted Living facility decorated Christmas stockings for every Cornerstone patient.  Cornerstone volunteers then wrapped gifts and ‘stuffed’ the stockings.   The lap quilts, stockings and gifts were then distributed to our patients by Cornerstone staff nurses Rachel Edry, Mandy Carlisle, Melissa Albritton and volunteer Sherry Fourez.


Tanglewood, which is located in Sebring, is the largest 55+ community in Highlands County.  Fairway Pines has 78 independent living apartments and 84 private rooms for residents needing assisted living care.



By Claire Gaynor, Community Relations Coordinator-Orange & Osceola


Family enjoying "Grandma's" bear.


Happy New Year!  We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season.  Looking back at the past year, it has been a busy year for both teams that work very hard to comfort their patients and families.  The “bear” program (see photo of family with bear) has been a big success as each bear is a special gift to the recipients.  This year our bereavement department headed by Claudia Swonger had an inaugural “Camp Bridges” attended by 15 children and assisted by members of both teams.  Also the Cornerstone Salutes program has had many successful events where the veterans are grateful for being honored for their service.



Melissa Cruz holding down the fort at our Northland Church display.



This Christmas season Cornerstone was invited to have an informational table (see photo of Melissa Cruz) at Northland Church where there were two holiday evening performances by Central Florida Community Arts with a full house both nights.  Also “Teresa and Friends” of Osceola County invited Cornerstone Hospice to attend their annual Christmas lunch.  The goal of this senior’s group is to create an atmosphere of comfort and support and is supported by Conrad & Thompson Funeral Home.  With the New Year comes opportunities and we know there will be many for Cornerstone Hospice.


By Cheryl Rumbley, Community Relations Coordinator- Lake & Sumter



Jan Russell, standing, and Dana Ikensaa wrapping Senior Santa gifts.


“Be a Santa to a Senior” is organized annually by Home Instead Senior Care and involves many senior organization and local agencies.  Area agencies as well as private donors fill the "wish" list provided by senior services of Lake and Sumter counties for seniors who are lonely or financially challenged.  The gifts included shirts, slippers, socks, gowns, robes, and assorted other necessities and niceties for those seniors without families close by. 


This year through the efforts of Jan Russell and Dana Ikensaa, Clinical Liaisons, Cornerstone Hospice hosted the "wrap" party in our conference room.  Organizers and volunteers arrived with donated gifts, boxes, bags, paper and bows to help make Christmas special for senior citizens in the community.  Over 15 representatives from local health care and home care companies happily wrapped gifts and prepared them for delivery to the facilities in time for the holidays. Jan and Dana were great hostesses who planned the gathering, serving mulled cider, Christmas cookies, candy and pizza for the hungry "Santa’s".


This year “Be a Santa to a Senior” provided 263 Lake and Sumter seniors with over 425 gifts through the Leesburg Senior Center.  While the seniors enjoyed the gifts, everyone else enjoyed the giving. 



Make it an IHOP Day and support Cornerstone Hospice.

By Carol Felder, CFRE

Regional Development Director

Orange/Osceola/South Lake Counties


For one full week, Monday, January 23rd thru Sunday, January 29th, IHOP in Clermont will donate 15% of your check to Cornerstone Hospice.  Just print the coupon below and present it to your server. 


This offer is good anytime, day or night, so enjoy a delicious meal while supporting our mission.


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Dream of Next Hospice House $2,500 Closer

by Carol Felder, Regional Development Director

      Cornerstone Hospice Foundation


 Our Public Information Officer (and artist in his free time) Manny P. Hernandez, poses by the Stocking he painted, our entry in the "Ornaments on Parade" program, on display recently at the lobby of City of Kissimmee's City Hall.  Accompanying Manny is City of kissimmee Commissioner jerry Gemskie, Chairman of the program.

The City of Kissimmee and Downtown Business Association sponsor every year “Ornaments on Parade” where businesses and organizations commission local artists to paint their entries, a holiday ornament which is displayed outdoors along the median and on windows in prominent businesses along Broadway in downtown Kissimmee. In the shape of a Christmas stocking this year, the Stockings on Broadway program had 70 ornaments participating in this eighth annual program, all stockings individually painted. Proceeds from this program will benefit a future Hospice facility for Osceola county, and Cornerstone Hospice has been designated as the beneficiary of $2,500 raised through this Cornerstone Hospice Foundation effort. Our Stocking ornament, painted by Public Information Officer Manny P. Hernandez, has been on exhibit since Thanksgiving through New Year’s at the corner of Broadway and Monument Ave. in downtown Kissimmee.



How to Lose the Holiday Weight

by Sandra S. Kenny, H.I.M. Supervisor


Holidays are often associated with special foods and a busy social schedule. Over-indulgence in alcohol, desserts and traditional holiday treats along with more time eating and less time exercising may leave you with a little less room in your favorite jeans. When it's time to get back on track and lose your holiday weight gain, a few changes in your routine will help you feel better and restore your pre-holiday figure.

Return to or start a regular exercise program. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) research indicates that 35 to 50 minutes of daily exercise is needed for weight loss. If 35 minutes is too much, do what you are able then try to increase your time by 10 percent each week until you reach the recommended duration. Any exercise that gets your heart pounding will burn calories and aid in accomplishing your goal. Choose an activity you enjoy such as walking, running, dancing or cycling and commit to it. Keep a log of your exercise time and stick with your plan.

Incorporate strength training into your exercise routine. A basic weight lifting program targeting the major muscle groups two to three times each week will further support your weight loss efforts. Consistent strength training increases muscle mass thereby increasing metabolism. Increased metabolism means your body will burn more calories even at rest. This is very helpful for weight loss and essential for long-term weight maintenance. If you do not have access to weight lifting equipment, use your body weight for resistance. Exercises such as push ups, pull ups, squats, lunges and crunches are positive ways to get started.

Get rid of holiday treats and return to more nutritious food choices. Focus on low-fat, low-sodium foods. The majority of your diet should be fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and complex carbohydrates. Avoid high-fat, high-sugar, prepackaged items. Eating smaller portions of your current diet is an easy way to make a change. Decrease intake by just 10 percent and you will see changes in your weight.

Quote of the Month

Submitted by Vivian Norrell, RN, Clinical Liaison-Polk County


“The world is moving so fast these days that the one who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.” -Harry Emerson Fosdick-American Clergyman (1878-1969)