Hospice Team

Every patient and his or her family are provided their very own hospice team. They consists of:
  • Physicians
    Each patient receives a personal medical care plan that is put together by the patient’s personal physician and the hospice physician. The physicians and the other members of the hospice team are always in close contact with each other.
  • Nurses
    Hospice nurses monitor each patient’s condition by making regular visits. The nurses specialize in palliative care, a special kind of care that helps increase comfort and minimize pain. The nurses keep the patient and their families informed about the illness and how to manage the pain and symptoms of the disease. In case of emergencies, hospice nurses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Social Worker
    Acting as a counselor to the patient and their family, the social worker helps the family deal with financial, insurance, and legal issues. The personal and social changes of disability, illness, and the dying process are some of the things the social worker helps the family cope with.
  • Spiritual Counselor
    To help the patient and their families cope with the illness, hospice spiritual counselors are available to help with the spiritual and religious needs. The hospice works with the patient’s church or synagogue to meet the unique needs of each patient and their families. If the family needs help with the funeral or memorial services the hospice spiritual counselors can assist the family.
  • Hospice Aide
    Hospice aides are skilled individuals that provide a break in the normal routine of personal care for the caregiver. The hospice aides help the patient and caregiver manage personal care of the patient. Examples of some of the duties hospice aides provide are personal grooming, light housekeeping, cleaning up the patient’s area, and many others as needs arise.
  • Volunteer Coordinator/Volunteers
    Members of the community who have training and an interest in helping people and their families in the final phase of life are hospice volunteers. Companionship for the patient and relief for the caregiver are examples of what volunteers can offer to hospice patients and their families.
  • Bereavement Coordinator
    Bereavement counselors provide support to family members after the death of a loved one so they can move forward with their lives. Bereavement counselors organize support groups and offer one-on-one counseling to help out the families during a difficult time in their lives.



Dr. Larry Skendzel, MD

Medical Director

Dr. Skendzel completed his undergraduate studies at University of Notre Dame in 1986. He earned his medical degree from Wayne State University in 1990 and completed his residency at Marquette General Hospital in 1993. Dr. Skendzel is also the Medical Director for the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans. He is a member of the American Academy of Family Medicine, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Care, and the American Academy of Geriatrics. Dr. Skendzel says that hospice care chose him. He believes that the challenge of working with a team to improve quality of life never ends.


Dr. Stuart Johnson, DO

Associate Medical Director

Dr. Johnson attended Northern Michigan University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry in 1994. He earned his medical degree from the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University in 2000. He completed his residency at the Marquette Family Medicine Residency Program in 2003. Dr. Johnson has been a primary physician for patients receiving hospice care since 2002 and joined LSH in 2010. He also works for the Marquette Family Medicine Residency Program where he has been the Program Director since 2011 and before that he was the program’s Osteopathic Director. He is a member of the American Osteopathic Association, the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians. As a family physician, some of Dr. Johnson’s most rewarding experiences have been at the polar ends of life. Dr. Johnson sees the end of life interactions important for patients, their families, the community, and is where he values spending his time as a physician.


Dr. Jennifer Dehlin, MD

Associate Medical Director

Dr. Dehlin is originally from Houghton, MI where she attended Michigan Technological University and graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Bio-Medical Engineering. She attended the University of Michigan Medical School and moved to Marquette in 2005 with her husband Christopher. Dr. Dehlin participated in the Family Medicine Residency Program through Marquette General Hospital where she currently practices Family Medicine, including obstetrics and geriatrics, at Marquette General Family Medicine – Lakewood in Harvey. When it comes to Hospice care, Dr. Dehlin believes in the multidisciplinary team approach to care and the focus on helping patients feel well and providing support to the whole family.



Sue Kitti
Chief Executive Officer


Susie Lefler
Office Assistant


Kymber Beltrame
Volunteer Coordinator & Human Resources Assistant

Clinical Team

Lynn Johnson, RN
Compliance Officer

Carol Blashill, RN
Clinical Supervisor

Lisa Johnson, RN
Clinical Supervisor

Becky Shauver, RN BSN OCN CHPN
Education Specialist

Christy Maki, RN, CHPN

Julie Higbie, PhD, RN, CNE

Louise Wilcox, RN

Nichol Hewitt, RN

Samantha Thocker, RN

Eileen Smit, RN
Nurse Practitioner

Joanne Gwinn, RN


Social Work Team

Deb McDonnell, LMSW
Social Worker

Martha Smith-Process
Social Worker

Spiritual Care Team

Chuck Tooman

Barb Tooman

Michele Napier
Bereavement Coordinator & Chaplain


Home Health Aides

Debra Beyer, CHPNA
Home Health Aide

Carley Leanes, CHPNA
Home Health Aide

Brenda Argall
Home Health Aide

Erica Hattis
Home Health Aide

Emily Carefoot
Home Health Aide

Cassie Ploof
Home Health Aide


Palliative Care

Nina VandenEnde
Community Care Nurse Practitioner