Oxford Hospice Hosts Annual Daughters Without Mothers Spring Tea & Seminar

Daughters Without Mothers Spring Tea and Seminar, an annual event presented by Oxford Hospice, will be held on Saturday, April 18 at the Messiah Lutheran Church, 925 E. Seminole Street in Springfield.

This free event is from 1:00-3:30 p.m. and features special door prizes and gifts donated from local businesses, plus sandwiches, fruits and teas catered by Aviary Café and Creperie.

Renee Jenkins, Bereavement Coordinator for Oxford HealthCare Hospice, says the Spring Tea is purposefully held before Mother’s Day. “For many women whose mothers have died, Mother’s Day can be especially painful and bring a sense of isolation and loneliness. Our desire is to create an atmosphere of comfort, acceptance and support. Because of this, many women look forward to returning year after year and have shared that it helps them look forward to Mother’s Day instead of dreading it.”

Oxford Hospice offers this event free of charge to the community to encourage daughters and cultivate warm memories of their mothers. To RSVP, contact Renee Jenkins at 417-883-7500.

Oxford HealthCare, an affiliate of CoxHealth, is the leading home health care agency in southwest Missouri providing the care individuals need to remain in the comfort of home.


Celebrating National Social Work Month

By: Pam Gennings, Executive Director Special Projects

This year the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) celebrates its 60th anniversary. Congratulations to NASW and the more than 600,000 professional social workers in the United States who make a difference in the daily lives of millions of people.

Social workers are unique, because they often play a variety of professional roles. You will find social workers in a variety of settings such as home care and hospice agencies, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, schools, child and adult social service agencies, community organizations, churches, and advocacy organizations.

A social worker can be a case manager who locates services for clients and assists with accessing these services. They can also be a liaison that makes referrals on behalf of the family or individual to needed resources. A social worker is often an advocate working to obtain needed resources for those who are unable to speak for themselves. A social worker can be a facilitator of a caregiver or a bereavement support group. They can gather groups of people in the community for purposes of community development. A social worker can be an educator, teaching people about resources and how to develop particular skills such as budgeting, searching for a job, effective communication or understanding a medical diagnosis.

I have had the pleasure of working side-by-side with some amazing social workers at Oxford HealthCare.

Here is what some of them had to say when asked why they became a social worker:

“I became a social worker because it was an opportunity to truly make a difference in people’s lives. Although social work certainly isn’t a prestigious or “glamorous” job and often is a “thankless” one, it still offers the opportunity to feel intrinsically fulfilled in the sense that I know I had an opportunity to make an impact and improve the quality of life for my clients. It really is a field that I pursued because I viewed it as more of a “calling” rather than a “job”. One of the reasons that I love working in hospice as a social worker is that we meet people at such an intimate time in their lives. They often connect with us, allow us to help and appreciate the part we play in their lives. It is a powerful experience all around. One of the other reasons I enjoy working in this field is the opportunity to work with other disciplines, which is such a privilege. There are extraordinary people called to this field, and their understanding of other aspects of our patients enriches my knowledge, experience and appreciation of each patient. Lastly, I am thankful that social work embraces the idea of meeting and accepting people in whatever circumstance in life that they may happen to be. It is always very humbling to realize that I don’t have people or situations figured out like I sometimes think I do. Our patients always surprise me, and I appreciate the opportunities I have to learn from them about life and the perseverance of the human spirit! I also realize that God never gives up on anyone, and it encourages me to do the same each day.” – Renee’ Jenkins, MSW, Oxford Bereavement Coordinator

“I always wanted to be in a helping profession. Social work looks at the whole person and his or her environment, which is important to me. My favorite part of social work is finding a way to connect with a patient regardless of our differences, listening to stories and learning new ideas. Nothing is better than watching a person realize they can make a change for the better when they had lost hope.” –Diana Gronniger, MSW, Oxford Home Health

“I was drawn to helping people on a more professional level based on some personal experiences I had that were life changing. Following a very serious car crash and a lengthy stay in the hospital, I knew the process could be, and should be, better than what I experienced. I set out to make that difference. I like to think that I have been able to help a lot of people through some very difficult times medically, financially and socially because I became a social worker. It is very rewarding when you know you have helped someone through a life altering experience, and they come out on the other side of that experience a much stronger person.”-Deb Whitehead, BSW, Oxford Executive Director Care Coordination

“It is all I ever wanted to do, and I always wanted to work with seniors. As a little girl, I helped care for my grandfather (who was an invalid with Parkinson’s) when the other grandchildren were hesitant around him. So, I guess it came naturally to me. The rewarding part for me is to know that I can help people see what their options are so they can make informed decisions, and offer support and a sounding board for someone who just needs to talk it out.”-Carol Combs, MSW, Oxford Memory Care Program Coordinator

“I became a social worker because I like working with people; and after almost thirty two years, I feel I am pretty good at it. I like helping people in need by providing information and a willingness to listen to their circumstances and offer understanding and assistance. Social work is very rewarding and offers a lot of variety in job possibilities and opportunities to help others. I have never regretted choosing this career.”-Kay Myers, BSW Oxford Care Coordinator



Oxford HealthCare is pleased to announce the addition of Hospice Music Therapy. Oxford Hospice is the only full service hospice and palliative care program in the area, and only one of a few hospice programs in the state to offer Hospice Music Therapy.

Led by music therapist Emily Keeling, Hospice Music Therapy offers many benefits to hospice patients.

“Everyone has that ‘one song’ that is a very unique experience,” said Keeling. “Music therapy addresses non-musical goals with music. It adds quality of life, helps with pain management, and I have even helped write a goodbye song.”

As part of the Hospice Care Team, Keeling collaborates to identify patients that can benefit from music therapy.

Funded by grants from the Hospice Foundation of the Ozarks and the Cox Foundation, Oxford’s Hospice Music Therapy is another part of Oxford’s continual focus on bringing the most advanced care available to patients in their homes.

“We are so excited to offer our patients and their families this additional service of music therapy. With music therapy, we can assist with many aspects of the patient’s journey. Just a few examples include: anxiety, depression, loneliness, pain, and assistance with funeral as needed,” said Tresa Marlow, RNC, Director of Hospice for Oxford HealthCare.

Oxford HealthCare, an affiliate of CoxHealth, is the leading home health care agency in southwest Missouri providing the care individuals need to remain in the comfort of home.

Don’t Slip and Fall: Steps to Staying Safe.

By: Pam Gennings, Executive Director Special Projects

LifelineThere is snow and ice on the ground and the groundhog saw his shadow. So although we may be dreaming of spring, winter weather is here for now.

Slick streets and sidewalks are reminders to be careful—not just in the winter but at all times—of falling.

Anyone can slip and fall, but those 65 and older are at the greatest risk of moderate to severe injuries from falls.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports:

  • Falls cause over 95%  of hip fractures
  • People 75 and older who fall are four to five times more likely to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer compared to those ages 65-74

Protect yourself, or someone you love, with simple steps:

  • Spread salt or sand on icy surfaces—ask for help
  • Stay inside during icy, snowy weather unless absolutely necessary
  • Wear snow boots or shoes with good traction
  • Always have someone with you
  • Clear off porch, steps and driveway—ask a friend or neighbor to help
  • Install outdoor lighting


  • Use nightlights in hallways and bathrooms
  • Keep a flashlight by your bed
  • Watch out for clutter, small pieces of furniture, throw rugs, electrical cords, etc.—remove or rearrange items that can cause you to trip
  • Watch out for pets—they are wonderful companions, but also get under foot
  • Arrange furniture with plenty of space to walk around
  • Install handrails on both sides of stairways
  • Put items frequently used within reach
  • Try not to use a step stool—ask for help or use a stool with a handle bar
  • Be cautious of wet floors—especially when friends and family come visit and bring the wintery mix indoors
  • Install grab bars in your bathroom and rubber bath mat in shower or tub

Fear of falling is also dangerous. Unfortunately, many older adults do not report a fall to a family member or doctor if no injury occurred. This often turns into a fear of falling which leads to limited activity. Reducing mobility and loss of physical strength and fitness only increases the risk of falling.

If you are at risk of falling, or concerned about a loved one’s safety, Oxford HealthCare can help. Oxford’s Lifeline Personal Emergency Response System detects a fall and calls for help.

Just click here to learn more about Lifeline and peace-of-mind at the push of a button.