Ascend Hospice News
Welcome to Maryanne Calabrese Bressan – Our New NJ Executive Director
Maryanne Calabrese Bressan is the newest member of the Ascend Hospice Team in New Jersey and is starting as executive director as of October 17, 2018 bringing with her a wealth of healthcare and management experience.
Bressan’s obsession with the medical profession started at a young age. She always knew she’d be a nurse and often joked that if there was a world record for wearing the same Halloween costume every single year – she’d win it. Of course, she donned the crisp white hat and uniform of a nurse.
Maryanne’s nursing education began at Morris County College in New Jersey and she obtained her Bachelors of Science at Kean University in New Jersey.
In 2012, Bressan was nominated and won the New Jersey Hospice Palliative Care Organization compliance director of the year award.
Bressan does hold on to one philosophy in her work life: when you do what truly makes you happy, it’s not work!
It’s so important to apply self-care into your daily living routine and especially so if you are a caretaker. An activity that is fun, easy, and relatively accessible is mandala coloring. You can find endless varieties of mandalas on the web or you can create your own.
To be brief, a mandala is a Sanskrit word for “healing circle,” and it symbolizes the universe and one’s connection to it. Mandalas have been in use since the 4th century in the Buddhist and Hindu religions. Their purpose is to aid in meditation and relaxation.
To make your own mandala follow the four easy instructions below:
- Gather your supplies: pencil, paper, crayons or colored pencils, and a quiet spot.
- Play soft soothing music.
- Set your intention and breath deep.
- Fill your circle with whatever shapes and colors come to you.
If you don’t want to make your own mandala you can color the one below or choose from endless designs on the web. Remember when you finish, place your mandala where you will see it every day to be a daily reminder of your intention.
Colors have symbolic meaning. What you want or need use often in your design.
Red – strength, energy, desire
Pink – love
Orange – self-awareness, creativity
Yellow – learning, wisdom, laughter
Blue – Peace, emotional health
Green – love & respect for nature, physical health
Purple – spirituality
White – focus, concentration
Black – individuality, deep thought
Hometown: Odessa Kansas
Volunteer Start Date: 5/7/2018
Type of Volunteer: MSW intern and AscEnd of life Doula
Jordan is truly a valuable addition to our team here at Ascend Hospice Kansas.
She is honest, dependable and incredibly hardworking. Our staff and our patients absolutely adore her!
-Adeng DeWarabeck, Volunteer Coordinator-Kansas & Missouri
Why did you become a hospice volunteer?
I became a hospice volunteer when my master’s degree program required an internship and I had previous experience volunteering in pedantic hospitals and then pediatric hospice.
At the pediatric hospice setting, I really fell in love with the beautiful work done through hospice with a very collaborative team approach.
What has been most rewarding?
The most rewarding thing has been in being able to reach out to families through the bereavement program and hearing how much they appreciated the services; expressing so much gratitude.
This is rewarding in and of itself, but then being able to be present and part of the team that provides that support is even more rewarding.
Have you experienced any difficult situations and if so did you learn anything?
The major difficulty I have faced in volunteering would have to be the realization that a patient that I have built a relationship with has experienced major decline and will soon pass.
I have learned to switch my mindset or I guess remember that hospice serves those who are dying and that relationship will possibly end sooner than I would choose.
Despite this difficulty, I value these relationships I am building and strive to help people share their memories and have important conversations.
What advice do you have to share with new volunteers?
I think my biggest piece of advice to a new volunteer is you are stronger than you know and your interactions with people are often more valuable than you would guess.
A PERFECT DAY
I just got home from what I would say is a Perfect Day! I couldn’t have scripted a better day fishing with my Ascend Hospice patient, Mr. Paul Wendolowski (Mr. W). I just wish I could express the words to paint the picture of how this day unfolded.
The Pequest Fish Hatchery in Oxford, NJ is a peaceful and relaxing place in nature where they raise rainbow trout from eggs to eventually release into the wild in various streams and rivers in the state of New Jersey. At this wonderland, they have a pond that they stock with fish for various groups, seniors, scouts, and school-age children to come, visit the Educational Center & Museum, and to participate in fishing at the pond. They have a brilliant group of volunteers that are attentive and helpful to the needs of those who would like to fish in the pond. Everyone catches fish regardless of his or her skill level or ability.
Mr. W was in his element! We have been talking for months about his past memories of fishing with his father and his own children in long past years. Besides the highlight of him being out at this peaceful place in nature with plenty available fish to catch, Mr. W caught the largest rainbow trout in the pond according to all of the volunteers and fish hatchery staff. Without an actual measurement and scale, they said it must have weighed about 8 1/2 lbs. and the fish looked in the net to be about 23 inches in length “the Grand Daddy of the Pond”! Mr. W was elated, to say the least.
You couldn’t have asked for a better day with great weather and a supporting school of rainbow trout! Some brand new memories and a few new fish tails were made for a hospice patient and grateful hospice volunteer.
Thank You for a Perfect Day!
Gregory Sladovich has been a hospice volunteer for 3 years at Ascend Hospice of New Jersey, covering Bergen, Essex, Passaic, and Morris counties. He is an Ascend of Life Doula, Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Reflexologist, and Aroma therapist. Gregory is an absolute blessing to our hospice and we are all so thankful to have him on board!
Ascend Hospice President and CEO Anthony Spero is quoted in ENC Magazine from his MedTech Conference Panel. Click on the link below to read his quote.
At this summer’s Ascend Leadership meeting, Key Note Speaker Les Cavicchi, MPA, NHA of the Brookings Group, shared an inspiring message …“Let’s Talk Team!”
He engaged the Ascend Hospice, Home Health and Concierge leaders with exploring how we motivate, communicate, and hold ourselves, each other and our direct reports accountable to achieve results.
Through examples of accomplishments of great leaders including long ago politicians, and their teams, he emphasized the importance of being effective at facilitating and using creativity. Everyone was in awe of the story of Arthur Fry who invented the non adhesive glue which we would all come to learn as the “post it” note.
He closed with all the various ways people like to be rewarded and to understand the different motivators when it comes to recognizing people for their contributions inside and outside of the organizations where we work.
Carmella Libolt Executive Director for Ascend Hospice extended a heartfelt welcome to our community during Ascend Hospice Summer Cooler Open House on July 12, 2018 at the Ascend Hospice location in the Irish Branch Shopping Plaza on 70 Lacey Road. Education, prizes, lots of fun and most important ice cream was running freely that day. If you were unable to participate this time around, please reach out to us at 866-821-1212.
Read the June 2018 edition of Ascend Hospice’s Volunteer Newsletter, which highlights our Ascend of Life Doula program.
National Nurses Week
Ascend is grateful for the work our nurses do every day. National Nurses Week is a great opportunity to take the time to honor and give thanks to our nursing staff.
National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. These permanent dates enhance planning and position National Nurses Week as an established recognition event.
For more information on the history of National Nurses Week, visit https://www.nursingworld.org/education-events/national-nurses-week/nnw-history/.
To participate in National Nurses Week, please visit https://www.nursingworld.org/education-events/national-nurses-week/.
Ascend Hospice trains its first group of doula volunteers in NJ
Rahway, NJ: Ascend Hospice, the only national hospice to have all volunteers’ doula certified, held its first New Jersey training of Ascend of Life Doula volunteers on April 13th, 2018. This program, that has been in the works for almost two years, is giving life to the company’s Ascend of Life Doula volunteer program.
Ascend Hospice partnered with Quality of Life Care and their unique, end-of-life doula training to provide comprehensive holistic training to volunteers willing to take on an end-of-life doula role. All doula volunteers received training on aromatherapy, pet therapy, reiki and massage therapy in the full-day program. This allows the doulas to be able to enhance the hospice experience for all of our patients.
The Ascend of Life Doula volunteer program provides the necessary tools for the doula to provide support and guidance during an individual’s end-of-life journey. “It’s very exciting that we are able to bring a specialized group of volunteers to our patients and families. Ascend Hospice is one of only two hospices in NJ that has this program,” says Carmella Libolt, Executive Director of Ascend Hospice-NJ.
The Ascend of Life Doula volunteer program began in Pennsylvania this past January, and will be holding a training session in Massachusetts this May. The program will expand into other states in the next few months as it continues to grow.
Our volunteer coordinators are actively recruiting throughout NJ. If you would like to provide support, education, resources, and companionship to those who are entering their end of life journey, please contact us.
National Volunteer Week – April 15th to April 21st
Letter from volunteer, Diya Uthappa, to volunteer coordinator, Kelly Roman.
“Thank you for training me and giving me the opportunity to contribute as part of your hospice care team for the past year. During this time, I have visited and grown close to a handful of patients and their families. I have seen how end-of-life care is best when there is coordinated communication between a network of people, including doctors, nurses, aides, pharmacists, social workers, bereavement counselors, chaplains, care takers and volunteers. In spending time with patients and families during some of their most sensitive times, I have seen firsthand the different ways that people cope with death and dying. I have actively listened to patients and their families to better understand their feelings to offer my support in the appropriate way. Overall, my experience volunteering with Ascend has better prepared me for a career in medicine. Thank you!”
Volunteer Dolores Conlon is pictured both alone and with patient Grace P. at Avita in Newburyport, Massachusetts. At the time of the picture, Dolores was waiting to visit the patients that she visits regularly and Grace happened to come by. Grace wasn’t one of the folks that Dolores visited, until this day. Grace was enamored with Dolores’s badges. Since the day she started, Dolores goes to Avita twice weekly and visits with different patients each visit. She has a heart of gold and smile that fills the room. Everyone knows when Dolores is in the house.
Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers! We truly appreciate the work you do and the difference you make in our patients lives.
Ascend Hospice is seeking compassionate individuals to join our End of Life Doula volunteer program. Our End of Life Doula program equips volunteers eager and willing to accompany the dying and their families, through an intensive, practically based model of care, preparing doulas to provide emotional and spiritual support and guidance in the final days of life service. End of Life Doula Certificates are awarded once training and required service is completed. To learn how to become an End of Life Doula volunteer at Ascend Hospice please contact Marina McGough at 866-821-1212
Join our End of Life Doula volunteer program at Ascend Hospice. This program equips volunteers eager and willing to accompany the dying and their families to provide emotional and spiritual support and guidance in the final days of life. Please contact Marina McGough at 866-821-1212 to learn more.
Ascend President and CEO Anthony Spero, Ascend Hospice Executive Director, Carmella Libolt, and Ascend Home Health and Concierge Executive Director, Serena Niehaus present Chrissy Buteas and Don Pendley with the NJ Homecare and Hospice Association a donation for Aides Scholarships at the Ascend Leadership meeting held in NJ the week of September 26.
Last week, the Ascend Leadership Team gathered in NJ to discuss and celebrate many milestones. Quality, new programs with commitment to the essence of the human experience at the end of life were just two topics. Jim Avery, MD, Palliative Care Specialist and Professor from the University of Virginia spoke about transformational leadership and the future of hospice in the United States. Many of the Ascend Medical Directors were in attendance along with Clinical Directors from California to Pennsylvania. President and CEO Anthony Spero likened his organization to the most in tune crew team similar to the reference from “The Boys in the Boat.” Over the four days, each state presented opportunities to increase access to Home Health, Concierge and Hospice for those patients and families in need.
July 26, 2016
Ascend Hospice meets with lawmakers about Care Plan Act
Last week, our own Kerrie Wallace, Executive Director of Massachusetts was asked to visit the U.S. House and Senate Representatives in Washington, DC to discuss End of Life Issues.
This year, Kerrie started working with the Hospice and Palliative Care Federation of MA as a member of their Education Committee and was invited to attend by the president of this organization.
In DC, she met with Massachusetts Congressman and Senators to review pending upcoming legislation.
She reviewed the proposed Care Plan Act which in addition to increase patient advocacy would allow for concurrent care.
In addition, she participated in reviewing the Rural Access to Hospice Act which would allow patients in rural areas to keep their primary care physicians even after electing physicians.
Currently, in rural areas patients are no longer to keep this relationship and therefor forgo Hospice election. In addition she was part of the group which asked for the Opposition of the MA Carve in of Hospice.
This bill would limit the autonomy of the Hospice Medical Director. Potentially, it could require Hospice to pay for services and or care not related to terminal diagnosis. This would threaten the financial sustainability of hospice.
February 10, 2016
How much do you know about heart disease? Find out now!
At Ascend Hospice, our mission is to increase the quality of life of those living with late and end stage heart failure and cardiac disease with our program, Essence of the Heart.
Test your knowledge about our heart health and hospice services by downloading and completing our informational quiz. Review our test with your physician to see how hospice services can benefit you.
February 9, 2016
Ascend Hospice Launches New Cardiac Care Program
In honor of American Heart Month, we are launching Essence of the Heart, a specialized hospice program for patients living with late and end stage heart failure and cardiac disease. In the program, we develop personalized treatment plans, educate patients on how to monitor their symptoms and eat healthy, and provide heart health supplies and information in order to minimize re-hospitalization and maximize quality of life.
September 21, 2015
Ascend Hospice Appoints Dr. Mark Lebenthal as Medical Director
Ascend Hospice, a leading health care provider specializing in a holistic and personalized approach to hospice care, announces Dr. Mark Lebenthal as a new Medical Director. With more than twenty-nine years of experience in the healthcare industry, Dr. Lebenthal is committed to providing exceptional health care, comfort, and compassion to those affected by terminal illness.
Dr. Mark Lebenthal specializes in cardiology and is certified in peripheral vascular noninvasive interpretation. He brings an unmatched level of industry knowledge and expertise to Ascend Hospice as a Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation (RPVI®). As Medical Director, he will lead and oversee all training in cardiac care for both Ascend Hospice and Ascend Home Health.
Dr. Lebenthal is an appointed staff member at Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Center and Somerset Medical Center. He currently holds the role of Director of Congestive Heart Failure Program at several locations throughout New Jersey, including Somerset Valley Rehabilitation & Nursing Center/CareOne Management and Somerset Medical Center.
His previous experience includes serving as the Director of the Department of Medicine and Director of Noninvasive Laboratory at Somerset Medical Center and as a member of the Cardiac Health Advisory Panel (CHAP) for New Jersey. He received his Medical Doctorate degree from Autonomous University of Guadalajara and completed his fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
Recently, Dr. Mark Lebenthal has been involved in several projects seeking to advance cardiovascular medicine. He serves as the Co-Director of Cardiac Screening for a Somerset Medical Center community project seeking to prevent sudden cardiac death for young athletes. In addition, he has been active in orchestrating clinical trials for patients with atrial fibrillation on anticoagulation.
Dr. Mark Lebenthal is an active member of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Cardiology. He was previously awarded with the Physician’s Recognition Award from the American Medical Association in 1984 and 1987.
Ascend Hospice welcomes Dr. Mark Lebenthal as the newest member of their specially trained team of professionals and plans to continue providing personalized, holistic care with his industry experience and expertise in cardiology.
September 18, 2015
Ascend Hospice Holds Physician Dinner
Crista Cardillo, National Director of Business Development and the Riverside, CA team held a physician dinner last night with 30 IPPA and Riverside Community Medical Center doctors to represent the CA team. Guest speakers included Crista Cardillo discussing “CPO Billing” and Dr. Huynh, M.D discussing “ICD-10”.
Happy birthday to Dr. Tan and Crista Cardillo!
September 17, 2015
Ascend Hospice Appoints Carmella Libolt as Executive Director of NJ
Ascend Hospice announces Carmella Libolt as the new Executive Director of its New Jersey location. With more than twenty-seven years of experience in the healthcare industry, Libolt is dedicated to providing exceptional health care, comfort, and compassion to those affected by terminal illness.
Carmella Libolt specializes in healthcare management and is a certified Assisted Living Administrator. She brings an unparalleled level of industry knowledge and expertise to Ascend Hospice with her abilities developing, organizing, and implementing all programs, goals, and policies necessary in providing quality care and support to patients and their loved ones.
Carmella Libolt’s previous experience includes serving as the Branch Director of Loving Care Agency, Inc. and Executive Director of SolAmor Hospice, and managing a Psychology practice.
As the Executive Director of Ascend Hospice’s New Jersey location, she will oversee all marketing, fundraising, program development, and accounting efforts and act as the main representative of the organization to the public.
Ascend Hospice welcomes Carmella Libolt as the newest member of their specially trained team of professionals and plans to continue providing personalized, holistic care with her industry knowledge and expertise in hospice care and healthcare management.
September 10, 2015
Ascend Hospice Promotes Elizabeth Jones to Senior Executive Director
Ascend Hospice announces the promotion of Elizabeth Jones to Senior Executive Director of its Pennsylvania and Virginia locations. Jones previously served as Executive Director of Ascend Hospice Pennsylvania.
Jones joined the Ascend Hospice team in 2006 serving as the National Director of Volunteer Services. In 2010 she was promoted to the role of Executive Director of the Pennsylvania office. Under her leadership, the Pennsylvania office grew to a census of 90 employees and volunteers and has helped in validating the clinical systems at Ascend Hospice.
With more than 32 years of experience in the hospice healthcare industry, Jones is committed to implementing and managing marketing campaigns designed to empower and develop Ascend Hospice and its mission to provide exceptional health care, comfort, and compassion to those affected by terminal illness.
Prior to her roles at Ascend Hospice, Jones served as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in the inpatient unit (IPU) at Hospice St. John. She has also led several successful marketing campaigns and fundraisers as the Director of Volunteers and Fundraising Events at Mercy Hospital Hospice Inpatient and Home Health before serving as the Marketing Manager for the IPU unit.
Ascend Hospice welcomes Elizabeth Jones to the new position and plans to continue providing personalized, holistic care with her industry expertise and experience.
September 7, 2015
Ascend Hospice Welcomes Dr. Kamran Tasharofi to Team
Ascend Hospice announces Dr. Kamran Tasharofi as the new Senior Medical Director. With more than fifteen years of experience in the healthcare industry, Dr. Tasharofi is committed to providing exceptional health care, comfort, and compassion to those affected by terminal illness.
Dr. Kamran Tasharofi brings an unparalleled level of industry knowledge and understanding to Ascend Hospice as a skilled internal medicine physician. He received his Medical Doctorate degree in Internal Medicine from Seton Hall University and his Research Doctorate degree in Medicine from Ross University School of Medicine.
Dr. Tasharofi serves as the President of Pioneer Medical Group and currently holds the roles of Medical Director and President at Union County Health Care Associates, and Attending Physician at several New Jersey hospitals including Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Trinitas Regional Medical Center, and Overlook Hospital. He is an Associate Medical Director at Elmora Hills Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center, and a Workforce Investment Board Member at County of Union. His previous experience includes serving as the Medical Director at Cranford Health Extended Care in Cranford, New Jersey.
Recently, the New Jersey Honor Legion (NJHL), a nonprofit charitable organization that sponsors and supports families of fallen police officers, children with disabilities, and more, recognized Dr. Tasharofi as an “Honored Citizen.” The award is given to private citizens who have contributed to the objectives of New Jersey’s law enforcement and to the goals of NJHL. The NJHL has only honored 155 people with Honored Citizen status since 1966.
Ascend Hospice welcomes Dr. Kamran Tasharofi as the newest member of their specially trained team of professionals and plans to continue providing personalized, holistic care with his industry expertise and experience.
Everyone, Please join us in Congratulating Stephanie Scott, CNA in Massachusetts, as the recipient of the Ascend Employee of the Quarter award for 1st Quarter 2015!
Ascend Hospice Honors our Veterans on Memorial Day
In honor of Memorial Day on Monday, May 25th, Ascend Hospice honors those that have served for our country and are never forgotten.
Ascend Hospice has an Individualized Veterans program that honors those in need at end of life with our best in class hospice team.
For more information click here.
President Anthony Spero speaking at the Home Care Leadership Summit in Palm Beach, FL
President of Ascend Health, Anthony Spero, will be speaking at the Home Care Leadership Summit, July 13-14, 2015, Palm Beach FL
For more information, click here.
You’re invited to the Partners Nation Education Series
Join us at “It’s All in the Stars: Understanding the New Nursing Home Ratings” part of Partners National Education Series. Please click the link below the view the invitation for your state.
Join us for an open house in honor of the art work of Carlos Ortiz
Please join us next Thursday at 4:30pm for an open house featuring Carlos Ortiz, Harriet Fink, and John Powers! For more information, please click here.
More blankets donated to Ascend Hospice
Leisure Village Quilting Group donated another 83 quilts to Ascend Hospice. These quilts surround our patients with the warm of friendship and the joy of laughter expressed through the volunteer quilters when they gather together regularly to sew these unique and special gifts.
Our New CEU Programs (Click on the list below) are coming this spring.
Recently, Chaplin Chip Roughton carried out the festivities of Purim at the office and with our patients. Celebrations like this are an amazing example of how our staff truly does provide best in class care!
Our PA Social Workers
We recently honored our social workers at the Ft. Washington office. Manju and her Intern Erica do an amazing job for our patients and their families. We are truly blessed to have such a dedicated staff. Each social worker received a small gift in recognition of their compassion, commitment, and amazing spirit in living the Ascend Hospice mission. On Tuesday, March 17th, we will be honoring our Lehigh Valley social worker. Thank you all so much for the work you do!
Ascend Health’s President, Anthony Spero, will be Presenting at the 2015 AHCA/NCAL Symposium
Ascend Health, which includes Ascend Hospice, Home Health and Concierge Home Care, is pleased to announce Anthony Spero’s upcoming speaking engagement at the AHCA/NCAL Symposium February 23– 25, 2015.
This annual event offers healthcare professionals the opportunity to collaborate, learn and challenge each other through thoughtful and inspiring breakout sessions.
Staying true to Ascend Health’s mission, vision and values, Mr. Spero touches on the importance of holistic transparent care when building the patient-provider relationship. Below is a glimpse of what will be presented:
Seeing Care through the Eyes of the Person
Along with Ascend Health’s President Anthony Spero, this session will also be presented by post-acute thought leaders Andi Clark, RN, CEO, Andi Clark & Associates; Ed McMahon, PhD, Vice President, Quality, Sunrise Senior Living; and David Stordy, Chief Operating Officer, Mainstreet.
This session is dedicated to unlocking the power of innovation as the presenters ask participants to “see care through the eyes of the person.” Presenters will examine and discuss with participants a holistic approach to transparent care that embraces the partnership between the person and their family, and the physician and the interdisciplinary team. This partnership team develops a comprehensive plan of care that anticipates and responds to the personal and family needs, including physical comfort, and emotional, informational, cultural and spiritual learning.
- Learn how to define transparent care across the continuum as it relates to the emerging new values and expectations of the individual
- Learn how active listening will develop a trusting-caring-learning relationship with the person and their family, which is needed to develop a holistic, inclusive plan of care and healing
- Understand how innovative technology contributes to a transparent environment, and encourages learning and independence
- Imagine and examine how the person sees their healthcare setting today, and what they will see in the future, including innovative concepts and design that present a caring-healing environment
Ascend Launches Rebranding Efforts
Care Alternatives, BergenCare Home Health, BergenCare Personal Touch and Total Care of Massachusetts are pleased to announce that they have just completed an exciting rebranding effort with their family of companies to better communicate their services as well as maintain continuity in the care they provide. Although this transformation includes new names, logos and uniforms, Ascend will still continue to provide the same best-in-class service for each and every one of their patients and their family members.
To reflect their commitment to delivering the highest standard of care and to position them as a progressive and high-reaching organization, they have chosen to rename their family of companies Ascend. Meaning “to move, climb, or go upward; to rise to a higher point”, their new name truly embodies their goals as a united company.
The Ascend family of companies now includes:
• Ascend Hospice, formerly Care Alternatives
• Ascend Home Health, formerly BergenCare Home Health and Total Care of Massachusetts
• Ascend Concierge Home Care, formerly BergenCare Personal Touch
• Ascend Rehab
Ascend strives to be recognized as a trustworthy leader in healthcare and is dedicated to inspiring people to live better lives through innovative, personalized health and wellness programs, products, and services.
View the video below to meet the dynamic team behind this innovative family of companies.