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Image by Juan Encalada
Image by Juan Encalada
Image by Juan Encalada
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V. Simon Mittal, MD, MMM, CHMD

Medical Director

Hospice has been an important part of my personal and professional journey.  I am a Board Certified Internal Medicine physician with 30 years of experience and also a Certified Hospice Medical Director.  I have been in hospice off and on in my career but over the last 10 years I have been a medical director in hospice. 

 

When I was in the Army, my mother developed breast cancer at age 46 and died when she was 51 years old and my mom and dad opted not to have hospice and I saw the stress and how difficult it was for my whole family.  My father had dementia and Parkinson’s disease and we did have hospice and it was amazing the difference for him and our family in terms of less anxiety and worry.  People who were caring and involved helped my Dad so much.  Although, I have dedicated my career to the care of seniors, the caring by a team of compassionate people at the end of life is an incredibly humbling and amazing honor to share in the journey we share with families and individuals.

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Trisha M. Curioz, MHA, MSW, LISW

Executive Director

For the past two decades, I have had the privilege of serving as a medical social worker. Working with hospice patients and their caregivers is not merely a profession, it's a passion. In celebrating life's journey, I have come to understand that every breath matters, whether it marks the beginning of a new chapter or gently concludes a well-lived life. I feel privileged to work with our patients, caregivers, and exceptional team! 

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Bryce Behrens, BSN, RN

Clinical Director

Since 2012, my journey has been dedicated to serving patients in the most meaningful way, right in the heart of their homes and lives. I embarked on this path by initially caring for patients who required ventilators, within the comfort of their own homes. This experience ignited within me a profound appreciation for the significance of preserving independence and respecting personal choices in the way individuals wish to lead their lives—free from external judgments.

 

Throughout my career, I've had the privilege of accompanying patients through every stage of their life's journey, including its end. This path eventually led me to the field of Hospice, where I found my true calling. Providing end-of-life care for individuals and their families, allowing them to embrace life on their terms, continues to bring me the greatest satisfaction in my career. Hospice continues to makes me learn and grow, by providing impactful experiences every day, unlike anything else I've done in my professional life.

 

Caring for someone at the end of their life is both an honor and an immense responsibility—one that I approach with unwavering dedication. Each day, I strive to ensure my patients receive the highest quality of care, for I believe that everyone, especially as they embark on their final journey, deserves nothing less.

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Anne Schwemm, MSN, NP-C

Nurse Practitioner

I've been a Nurse Practitioner for 17 years, and my career has taken me through various healthcare settings. I began my journey in the emergency departments in Iowa and Maine before finally settling in Minnesota, which has been my home for the past ten years. During my time as a Nurse Practitioner, I've had the privilege of witnessing the remarkable impact a caring hospice team can have on patients and their families. This experience has touched me both personally and professionally, and it has reaffirmed the value of compassion and support during challenging times.

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Holly Bruckelmyer, RN

Registered Nurse

Dedicated to delivering compassionate end-of-life care, I am a nurse deeply committed to ensuring the comfort and dignity of patients during their final journey. Inspired by the impactful experience of caring for my brother-in-law with the support of hospice, I am driven to provide the same one-on-one care in my nursing career. Rooted in the profound philosophy of hospice, I believe in encapsulating individuals and their loved ones with unwavering support. As a hospice nurse, I consider it a gift to contribute to the unique life stories of every individual and their families, making a difference in their end-of-life journey. I am honored to be part of an exceptional hospice team dedicated to holistic and compassionate care for those in need.

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Spencer Moffatt, MDiv, PhD

Spiritual Care / Bereavement

After completing a spiritual care residency and fellowship at Indiana University Health (Indianapolis), I moved back to Minneapolis and joined the team at Lake Valley Hospice. I have the privilege of companioning our patients and fostering spaces for expression, reflection, and integration as life begins to wind down. In time, the experiences, feelings, and relationships that tell the stories of our lives become ripe with new meaning thus opening the door to greater awareness of self, others, and the sacred. 

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Megan Lifto, DNP, MS, RN, ACHPN 

Registered Nurse

I saw first-hand the compassionate care delivered by nurses when several family members experienced a serious illness. To help others in a similar situation, I changed my career from a college biology professor to a Registered Nurse. I’ve been a board-certified hospice and palliative nurse for the past eight (8) years. I’m deeply committed to providing exceptional end-of-life care and support to patients and families.

 

In addition to my clinical work, I serve as the President of the Minnesota chapter of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA). In this role, I advocate for the advancement of palliative care standards, professional development, and support for nurses in the field.

 

I strongly believe in patient-centered care and utilize evidence-based practices to ensure the highest quality of care for my patients and families. I also believe in the power of empathy and compassion in nursing practice and strive to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those I serve.

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Le'Ondra Steward, CNA

Hospice Aide

I started in healthcare as a dietary aide in 2010 and then became a nursing aide in 2013. Witnessing the hospice nurse take care of my grandma with great empathy is what compelled me to join hospice care. The two cornerstones of my practice are sympathy and empathy.   

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Jenna Burns, CNA

Hospice Aide

I started in healthcare in 2017. After working at multiple Level 1 Trauma Hospitals, I have now dedicated my passion to working in hospice. I was inspired by my grandmother who was a hospice CNA for 20 years, impacting many. I strive daily to have that same effect on every person that I have the honor of caring for. 

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Koren Willetts, MDiv

Spiritual Care

As a hospice chaplain, I bring a wealth of experience and a profound commitment to providing spiritual care to individuals and families navigating the challenging journey of end-of-life care. Equipped with a Master of Divinity degree, my academic foundation has empowered me with the theological insight and spiritual care skills essential for fostering comfort and solace during times of profound transition. Recognizing the unique needs of those under my care, I specialize in integrating pet therapy into my spiritual support services. Understanding the powerful comforting potential that the companionship of animals can offer, I have seamlessly woven this therapeutic modality into my approach.

In my practice, I firmly believe that each person possesses absolute worth and value, regardless of their circumstances or health status. This core belief forms the foundation of my approach as a hospice chaplain, driving me to create an inclusive and affirming space where individuals are honored for the entirety of their lives. Through a deeply empathetic and person-centered approach, I strive to meet individuals where they are, recognizing the diverse spiritual and emotional landscapes that shape their unique experiences. In honoring the inherent dignity of each person, I seek to provide a source of strength and comfort, facilitating a sense of peace and resolution as they navigate the profound and sacred moments at the end of life.

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Jason Reeves

Volunteer

After retiring from the United States Army in July 2023 with the rank of Major, connecting with hospice veterans and caregivers has become a profound passion for me. The incredible narratives they share are invaluable treasures that deserve to be passed down to future generations. Their voices and experiences have shaped our nation and must be honored and preserved. My mission is to foster a sense of familiarity and respect for veterans; I am committed to providing them with a compassionate ear that not only listens but truly hears them. Together with my faithful pet companion Lena, we hope to bring moments of happiness and peace.

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Skeelohs

Hello, my name is Skeelohs, the friendly 8-year-old Mini-Golden Doodle with special training from the Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program. My mission is to bring joy and comfort to our wonderful patients and caregivers. When I visit, I pay close attention to their cues and do my best to make them feel better.

You see, I have a unique talent. I can help ease physical pain by providing a pleasant distraction, and I'm pretty good at calming anxiety too. My ultimate goal is to lift spirits and bring some sunshine to your day! 

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