When Gladys Marl was admitted to hospice with Ohio’s Hospice Loving Care, she was approaching her 100th birthday. So, her care team wanted to celebrate and make the day special by doing one of her favorite activities – golfing.
Ashley Griffith, RN care manager at Ohio’s Hospice Loving Care, came up with the idea to host the golf outing after talking with Marl about what she wanted to do for her 100th birthday. Griffith and Mark Miller, medical social worker at Ohio’s Hospice Loving Care, teamed up to plan a birthday golf event for Marl.
After Marl was widowed in the late 1970s, she started traveling to Florida every winter where she developed a love for golf, often winning against her friends and family. She participated in golf leagues.
“Golf had been a passion for her for many years, and she was quite competitive,” said Jason Lambert, manager of social workers and ancillary services at Ohio’s Hospice Loving Care. “Mark took the idea and coordinated an event with Timberview Golf Club in Marysville and the patient’s family.”
Marl’s family provided transportation, and Ohio’s Hospice Loving Care staff helped her safely move from her vehicle to the hole and back. Timberview Golf Club provided access to the 10th green and multiple golf carts for friends and staff to move across the course.
Marl’s son set the ball off the green, about 25 feet from the hole, and steadied her as she chipped the ball within eight inches of the hole. She went closer and tapped the ball in with her next putt.
“The smile on not only Gladys’ face, but also on the faces of her family, definitely brought a smile to mine as well as other staff in attendance,” said Sarah Queen, office administrator at Ohio’s Hospice Loving Care. “Gladys even requested that Mark try to putt as a competition with her, and I’m sure she will continue to remind him that she golfed better than him at 100 years old.”
Miller hit the ball from the same spot, taking four strokes to get it in and bringing more joy to Marl for winning another golf outing.
Between Ohio’s Hospice Loving Care staff and the patient’s family and friends, more than 20 people came to cheer her on that day.
“Seeing everyone come together to honor the patient for such a milestone really touched the family,” Lambert said. “One of the items in the shadowbox they have displayed in her room is a photo of her and Mark after they took her shots that she frequently refers to when recalling the story to friends and family.”
Following this event, Miller was recognized with the Bouquet of Recognition Tulip Award, which honors chaplains, social workers, therapists, counselors, physicians, pharmacists, and other patient care professionals at Ohio’s Hospice. The award recognizes staff members for demonstrating excellence through their expertise and extraordinary compassionate support for patients and families.
“Mark is always going above and beyond, and he has arranged several events for patients as a kind of final wish,” said Queen who nominated Miller for the Bouquet of Recognition award. “He always takes time to listen, and he gives 200 percent to his patients and their families.”
Miller said he is honored and privileged to provide care to patients and their families during the end of life. “I’ve been with hospice for five and a half years, and I love my job because people invite me in to be a part of their family,” Miller said. “I am extremely honored they would do so, especially in so many cases where I’m involved at a very tender and emotional time.”