What My Hospice means is different to each individual and family we serve. For My Hospice Ambassadors, like Bri Santarsieri, it means acting as a leader in their state to support Medicare’s first coordinated care model and protect the Medicare Hospice Benefit.

My Hospice Ambassadors are hospice and palliative care professionals with an interest in advocacy who work with NHPCO to facilitate on-going outreach and relationship development with federal policymakers.

Here Ambassador Bri Santarsieri answers what My Hospice means to her:

Tell us a little bit about your role.

I have been working as the Executive Assistant at Infinity Hospice Care in Las Vegas, Nevada for nearly two years. As the Executive Assistant, I receive a variety of tasks and experience. My primary role is assisting the CEO, Darren Bertram, and the Vice President, Brian Bertram.  Responsibilities range from managing their schedules and preparing for meetings to flying out to Washington DC to accompany them at the NHPCO Leadership and Advocacy Conference.

In addition, I provide assistance to the rest of our Executive Team, as well as to our Las Vegas Management Team. Anything that I can do to help the daily lives of our leaders run a little more smoothly proves helpful to the management of our organization, and the quality of the care that we provide to patients and families.

How did you first get involved with hospice? Tell us a little bit about your role.

If I am being honest, hospice was definitely not the field in which I ever expected to find myself, especially not so early in my lifetime, but I owe it to my family for first involving me with hospice. My cousin, Julia, and my aunt, Mia, both work at Infinity Hospice Care and referred me for the open Executive Assistant position. Once I heard more from them about the culture and the values of the company, I was convinced I needed to apply for the position.

What do you like best about your job?

The part that I appreciate most about my job is the variety of experience and education that I receive here. Personal and professional growth are definitely high on my list of priorities and I feel that Infinity Hospice Care provides me with endless opportunities for both. Although my job can be challenging at times, as is every job, I am given the chance to step up and overcome my difficulties with grace every day. I am constantly learning in this position; about the field, effective interpersonal interactions, professional skillsets, overall, a variety of important lessons that will follow me wherever I go.

What motivates your advocacy and why do you think others should get involved?

As I’ve entered adulthood and received a clearer view on life, advocacy has become an important calling for me. I’ve always known that I want to make a difference in the world, and in my personal opinion, activism is an admirable and transformative offering. The motivation and most rewarding part of advocacy is knowing that you are improving the lives of others through your personal efforts.

After entering the hospice community, I witnessed the importance of not only improving living circumstances, but also those at the end of life. Death is frequently ignored because it is difficult to handle, but if we can lessen the hardships and improve the quality of life near the end, the transitioning process will hopefully be a bit more bearable and comforting for those involved.

I believe that, in order to create a more ideal world, we need to have compassion and empathy for others. Advocating on behalf of other people, especially on an issue that may not even directly affect you at that moment in time, creates a bond unlike any other.

What does My Hospice mean to you?

My Hospice, My Empathy. Although I have yet to experience firsthand having a loved one in hospice or palliative care, I have been able to see the positive impact that our services have on the patients, as well as their families and loved ones. As previously mentioned, empathy is a component of growth and a necessary attribute to possess in order to genuinely step up on others’ behalves. I am grateful to organizations such as Infinity Hospice Care and NHPCO, as well as to my own life experiences thus far, for expanding my empathetic quality and fostering compassion and care for people outside of my own direct circle.