Mercy Hospice Highlights Volunteers and North Canton Residents, Bob Poleon and Kathy Blubaugh, for Giving Comfort and Compassion to Patients, Families

Mercy Hospice Highlights Volunteers and North Canton Residents, Bob Poleon and Kathy Blubaugh, for Giving Comfort and Compassion to Patients, Families

Posted on: November 24, 2010


Canton, Ohio: As a retired respiratory therapist, North Canton resident Bob Poleon knew he still wanted to have a presence in “patient care” in his retired years.  Bob decided to take his experience from the hospital and apply it directly in the patients’ homes.  Hospice seemed a natural fit. “I still wanted to be involved with patient care,” explained Poleon, “I wanted to support patients who were nearing the end of their life.”


Kathy Blubaugh, also a North Canton resident, retired from nursing in 2005 and was looking for something to do with her time to utilize her experience as a nurse.  “I saw an ad in the paper that Mercy Hospice was looking for volunteers,” said Blubaugh, “I felt a calling that this is where I was supposed to be.”


Poleon’s volunteer efforts for Mercy Hospice became a bit more personal when his mother became terminally ill.  Poleon, given his training with Hospice, “took the reigns” and suggested Hospice care for his mother; he was able to make his mother comfortable during her final days, was able to minimize any conflict between family members, and was able to prepare his five brothers for what to expect.  Poleon is very thankful he was able to serve as “caregiver” for his mother during the last days of her life.  His training through Hospice, “prepared me to do what I need to do for my mother and my family.” 


For the past two years, Poleon has been able to form bonds with many Hospice patients and their families through the 11th Hour Program.  The 11th Hour volunteers are specifically trained individuals who provide on-call “24/7” care for patients and families when death appears imminent.  These volunteers function as a listener, companion and supporter of not only the patient, but their loved ones as well.  They also provide a sense of presence to reduce the anxiety and fear of the patient and family.  “The simplest thing you can do is just touch someone’s hand to let them know you are there,” says Poleon, “Sometimes the patient will settle down and be comforted just by touch – it is amazing.”


Blubaugh is thankful her family got Hospice care for her parents, “I saw not only what Hospice did for my parents, but for my family as well.”  Blubaugh has been a volunteer for respite care for over 3 years, and she has been making follow-up bereavement calls to families for more than 2 years.  “The comment I hear the most is, ‘We wish we contacted Hospice sooner’”, she says.  “The support that Hospice gives the family is amazing”, she adds, “Mercy Hospice is a wonderful program to comfort patients and families.”


Poleon, along with Mercy Hospice volunteer, Jerry McEowen, coordinate a monthly Men’s Breakfast, through Mercy Hospice.  The breakfast is geared toward men who have lost their spouses.  It is held in a relaxed and friendly environment for widowers to socialize with other men who understand.  The group meets the second Friday of each month at 9 a.m. at the Canton Regency Retirement Community, 4515 22nd St. NW, Canton.  “This breakfast is open to ALL widowers,” explained McEowen, ”It is not limited to only those who have used Hospice.”  To register for the Men’s Breakfast, call Mercy Hospice at 330-649-4380 extension 2114.


More than 4,000 hospice care providers and their 550,000 volunteers provide care to over a million terminally ill patients in the United States. Volunteers like those at Mercy Hospice do more than perform a service. They have a passion and a calling to care for the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of terminally ill patients and their families.


Poleon and Blubaugh are just two of the 65 volunteers who make Mercy Hospice the caring and compassionate program it is today. The Mercy Hospice program is dedicated to helping patients with a life-limiting illness achieve the best quality of life possible while offering respite and comfort to their caregivers and loved ones.  Serving adults and children with a terminal illness, hospice gives patients the opportunity to remain at home, or in a home-like setting, with the people and things they cherish most.  For more information about Mercy Hospice, or to learn about volunteering opportunities, please call 330-649-4380 or visit


Mercy Medical Center, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, operates a 476-bed hospital serving Stark, Carroll, Wayne, Holmes and Tuscarawas Counties and parts of Southeastern Ohio. It has 620 members on its Medical Staff and employs 2,500 people. Mercy operates outpatient health centers in Carrollton, Jackson Township, Lake Township, Louisville, North Canton, Plain Township and Tuscarawas County. A Catholic hospital, Mercy Medical Center upholds the mission and philosophy of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine and continues to be responsive to the needs of the community. For more information, see




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