It Takes A Team

February 21, 2018 10:10 am

At the center of a hospice team are the patients and families who are surrounded and served by hospice physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, counselors and volunteers.  This “team” works together to ensure the physical, spiritual and emotional needs are met at this sacred time in life.  Every person has a role.

For twenty-five years, Dr. Fintel has been a significant part of this mission.  “It was an honor to be Good Sam’s first Medical Director,” said oncology specialist William Fintel, MD.  However, his decision to get on board was not an immediate one.  Somewhat reticent, Dr. Fintel agreed to meet with Sue Ranson and the founders of Good Sam, approximately one month before their first licensure visit many years ago, but he was not quick to be “all in.”  “His tenor in that initial meeting was reserved,” remembers CEO Sue Ranson.  “He, clearly, wanted to remain with his patients in their final chapter.  I simply told him that he still would.”

“Sue asked me to pray about the decision,” Dr. Fintel remembers, “and I think those simple words made me awaken to the calling that hospice is.”  He explained that he has been called to hospice ever since, “to the concept of team, to the holy place that exists as a person crosses over.”

To maintain a holistic approach and comprehensive care for each patient and family, the hospice team meets regularly.  They recognize and lift up the natural weave of the physical, emotional and mental.  In caring for the whole person, nurses, social workers, aides, chaplains, volunteers and physicians all contribute.

“I remember being nervous at my first Good Sam team meeting,” said Dr. Fintel.  “I was nervous about giving up control of the most sacred time I have with a patient.  I was nervous to see another soul take that role that I thought was rightly mine.  Yet, what struck me was how ‘right’ it felt to have a team doing this task, not just one person.  It felt good.”

As Dr. Fintel’s own practice and responsibilities grew, he found he was less and less able to “go it alone.”  He explained, “it was a relief to know that outstanding care was being given to my precious patients who were now on the last leg of their journey.  My patients need a team.  I am not a team.”

Dr. Fintel is part of the fabric of Good Sam.  His medical expertise, insistence on excellence and trademark compassion helped build the framework of the Roanoke valley’s first community-based, not-for-profit hospice.  It began with a mission to affirm life in the midst of illness and grief and stands on that cornerstone today.

“Every great organization must embrace change to get even better,” Dr. Fintel remarks.  “I don’t see how Good Sam can get much better, but the new challenge is just around the corner.  I expect growth and opportunity – while never wavering from our central mission.

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