When Noel Ranft was a child, she loved to wear her dress-up nursing uniform from the Sears Roebuck catalog that her parents had purchased for her. They also bought her a ballerina outfit. But she preferred the nursing uniform.
“I wore my dress-up nursing uniform all the time,” Noel said. “Nursing is all that I have ever wanted to do.”
Today, Noel is a nurse at Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County, where she has served patients and families for more than 34 years. As a team leader, she supervises other nurses and is a resource for the care managers and personal care specialists. She participates in interdisciplinary team meetings, assists with complex cases, and helps with admissions.
“There is never a dull moment. It’s challenging, but it is rewarding,” she said. “You need to be able to collaborate with your teammates. Taking care of my patients has made me a better person.”
Noel was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her father was in the U.S. Air Force. The family moved to Fairborn, Ohio, where she grew up. Noel graduated from Miami Valley Hospital School of Nursing in Dayton, Ohio. She was in the last graduating class.
Her career took her to a continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) medical surgical floor at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. She took care of many patients on kidney dialysis.
“Conversations were just not had about choices and end-of-life care, and there were not many resources to navigate these situations,” Noel said. “I found this intriguing and wanted to take a deeper look into end-of-life care.”
In 1989, she and her family moved to Tipp City. So, she decided to interview with Hospice of Miami County. Since then, she has worked in various roles with the local, not-for-profit hospice.
“It’s really hard to summarize the past 34 years. Lots of things have changed,” she said. “Back when I started, we didn’t even have cell phones. Technology has evolved.”
The staff was smaller. They worked out of various offices throughout the years. In 1995, she became a certified in hospice and palliative care nursing.
“With the education that was offered, we learned how to take care of our patients better,” she said. “As the hospice and palliative care field grew, there were more experts in the field.”
In 2013, Hospice of Miami County joined Hospice of Dayton and Hospice of Butler & Warren Counties to form a strategic partnership to combine strengths, resources and expertise to ensure the long-term success of their shared hospice mission. That partnership resulted in the formation of Ohio’s Hospice, a partnership of mission-driven, not-for-profit hospices in Ohio committed to a shared vision of strengthening and preserving community-based hospices.
Through community support and its partnership with Ohio’s Hospice, Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County opened its state-of-the-art Hospice House in 2021. Located on the campus of Upper Valley Medical Center in Troy, Ohio, the 31,180-square-foot Hospice House provides a home-like environment for patients facing a life-limiting illness who require a higher level of care than they can receive at home. The Hospice House provides pain and comfort management for patients and allows family members to rest and receive support from the staff of Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County in a beautiful setting.
Noel has seen firsthand how the Hospice House in Troy has a made a difference for patients and families. “It’s an absolutely beautiful facility and a tremendous resource to offer to people in our service area. Before we took care of everyone in their homes, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities,” she said. “To be able to offer that level of care right here in Miami County is tremendous.”
While Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County had a partnership with Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton for patients who needed care at the Hospice House in Dayton, it found that there was a need for its own Hospice House.
“The drive to Dayton can be a burden to some families,” Noel said. “To have something local is a huge gift. The fact that our community has supported this endeavor is just great.”
As part of its mission, Ohio’s Hospice celebrates the lives of those it has the privilege of serving by providing superior care and superior services to each patient and family.
Noel is dedicated to serving the mission of Ohio’s Hospice by providing compassionate end-of-life care for people facing a life-limiting illness or injury.
“Hospice care is about conversations regarding end-of-life care, choice, and the patient’s goals. It’s about meeting people where they are,” Noel said. “It’s about knowing that there will be a tremendous loss for families. It’s about helping them navigate that to the best of your ability and being a more grounded person.”
She has been honored and privileged to provide compassionate care to patients and families. “At the end of the day when you have taken care of someone, you know you have helped them navigate their journey their way,” she said. “We’re here to help make sure that journey goes as smoothly as it can. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to meet all kinds of people in all kinds of situations.”
She is grateful to the amazing staff that surrounds her at Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County. “Without their support, I couldn’t do what I do,” she said. “Even after 34 years, they are a great support for me.”
To learn more about Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County, click here.