Mary Beth Hines, DO, Omega House Board of Directors

Mary Beth Hines, DO, Chief Medical Officer at UPHS – Portage, recently joined the Omega House Board of Directors.  She said she became interested in Omega House as a local facility with end-of-life care, where the patient is cared for in a completely personal setting. The death of her father made her realize how important a hospice environment is to the patient and family, where one can rest at peace, with compassion.

As an emergency room physician, Dr. Hines has experienced death many times in a purely professional setting. But the emergency room, which can be chaotic, also made her realize how important it is when we plan, ahead of time and with our loved ones, our time of dying.  While we have the ability to determine the way we die, we don’t want to be a burden on our families. And having a plan, in advance, takes that stress away from our families.

A proponent of advance care planning, Dr. Hines has seen the effects on the family when advance care planning is not present. She said, “Death is a part of life – with no plan, we leave our family guessing. It is not only unfortunate that we place additional burdens on them, but when we leave end-of-life plans to fate, we may end up not getting what we want.”

When asked what she is most proud of, Dr. Hines said she was awarded “Physician of the Year” by her internship class at Michigan State University. She said, “I enjoy teaching – students, people in the community – and was honored to be recognized by young people.

Mark Miron, RN, Omega House Board of Directors

Mark Miron, who joined the Omega House board of directors in 2018, said his involvement teaching in the Finlandia Nursing Program introduced him to Omega House.

His inspiration to work within and learn more about hospice came about when he realized how hospice is underappreciated and misunderstood. Earlier in his nursing career, he helped care for a patient with cancer who wanted to be treated at home, but did not want hospice treatment. He believed that in a hospice program he would not receive medical care.

When asked what hospice care means to our community, Mark said, “ . . . hospice is a profound experience. It provides a different approach to dying [and grieving]. For instance, a patient who is dying of cancer has the time to talk about things; resolve family issues. This is partly why helping families through the grieving process can be so rewarding.

“I love teaching in the nursing program. In our spirituality class, which I teach to senior students, I try to encompass all aspects of that word. I ask students to look at their own spirituality, and focus on the role spirituality plays in crises – how health care is about crisis. I teach that spirituality is a coping mechanism.”

Professionally, I worked as a psychiatric nurse for many years, where the sad truth is that most people in health care are undereducated about mental health. It is important that nursing students understand the needs of all patients – they are patient advocates.