On Memorial Day, Americans nationwide will take a moment to honor the men and women…
Jill Demmitt: Three Decades of Dedication
If you know anything about Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County, you might recognize the name “Jill Demmit.” That’s because Jill has been a critical part of our organization for more than 30 years.
Here’s her story.
Planting the seeds of care
Born into a medical family, Jill Demmitt started caring for others early in life. Her father, a veterinarian, would take Jill and her siblings to the clinic, where they would help care for the animals. This was the seed that began to root and grow into Jill’s calling: registered nursing.
Jill graduated from Good Samaritan School of Nursing almost 50 years ago. She was the fourth of four girls in the family to receive her nursing degree, and her brother became a doctor. In her long career, Jill has worked in a variety of fields and settings, including emergency, orthopedics, skilled nursing facilities, doctor’s offices, medical surgery, and hospice and palliative care.
“They held hands around her and began singing”
Jill was inspired by end-of-life care while working at the Maria Joseph Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Dayton, Ohio. There, Jill worked with retired nuns who had moved to the nursing home after leaving the convent. At the time there were no codes or protocols in place regarding end-of-life care. Nuns who were terminally ill simply wanted to be cared for with comfort — and to die peacefully.
One event in particular impacted Jill. The nuns had gathered around a Sister who was near death. They held hands around her and began singing. The nun smiled as she told them that she was going to Jesus. She passed not long after. Jill said she was inspired by what she witnessed, describing it as “the perfect death.”
At that time, the concept of hospice care was in its infancy. But Jill was so inspired by what she saw that she decided to volunteer at a local hospice organization. In 1983 she entered the first volunteer training class at Hospice of Miami County. While in training, in 1984, she was offered a part-time nursing position. So began her years at Hospice.
Educating the community
Jill has now served with Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County for 32 years. In those years she has been in four different office locations and served in several capacities, including case management, patient care coordination, education and admissions.
In the mid-1990s the executive director of Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County surveyed staff and people in the community to learn what they knew about hospice. The results showed a definite need for more community education.
So Jill was asked to do something new: take on a position in public relations and marketing. Her mission was to educate the community, dispel myths about hospice, and make Hospice of Miami County a known resource and preference for end-of-life care. In this role, Jill became widely known in the community. In 2011 she took on the position of Palliative Liaison at Upper Valley Medical Center and continued in her community PR role.
Then, in 2014, Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County opened its Inpatient Unit at Upper Valley Medical Center. Jill was asked to become the team leader, a position she held until recently, when she decided to partially retire and serve part-time as the hospice liaison for UVMC.
Learning life lessons
Jill is the perfect definition of a hospice nurse: She is caring, compassionate, selfless, empathetic and a true leader. She has impacted this organization and community in a powerful way — and she’ll continue to do so.
When I asked Jill what her favorite part of being at Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County has been, her answer was simple. “Meeting all of the people over the years—patients, families—and learning life lessons from them. When patients or families asked me, ‘how do you do what you do,’ I would always express my true feelings and ask, ‘how do you do what you do?’”
Kudos to you, Jill. Your hard work, dedication and service to this organization is recognized and truly appreciated.
Submitted by: Ariel Doty, Patient Services Coordinator at Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County