Bluegrass Care Navigators Pioneer Sherri WeisenfluhNavigator News
Sherri Weisenfluh joined the Hospice of the Bluegrass staff in 1992 from Bluegrass East Comprehensive Care, with a charge to provide clinical insight to the social work staff. That soon grew to directing the bereavement, social work and chaplaincy staff.
“When we hired her, Sherri was already a leader in the field as a skilled clinician and administrator. To get that in one package was an extraordinary gift,” said Gretchen Brown, then CEO and President.
As Clinical Counseling Officer, Weisenfluh played a key role in the creation of the children’s grief camp program and the development of Daniel’s Care, a nationally recognized program that helped children, adolescents and their families cope with a life-threatening illness. The agency provided pediatric training, formed teams for each geographic location and recruited nurses with specific pediatric experience.
Weisenfluh was gratified to see the board of directors and community embrace the need for bereavement care.
“Providing services to hospice families as well as the community through children’s grief camps, groups for families that lost someone to suicide and many additional specialty programs offered hope to many during a very difficult time. Illness takes such a toll on the lives of the patient and the family and the agency continues to strive to meet those needs,” she explained.
Weisenfluh worked at the national level as the social work section leader through the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) to develop a hospice and palliative care credential specific to social work, through the National Association of Social Work.
During her 20 years with the agency, she watched as it expanded geographically, opening offices in Northern Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky within a short time of each other.
“During the early years it was difficult to keep up with the growth of the agency. Hiring and training staff was always a challenge,” said Weisenfluh.
During her tenure, she also witnessed the development of the hospice mission to include more care services.
“The addition of palliative care was a tremendous service to families and one of the most profound changes,” she added.
Weisenfluh retired from the agency is 2013, but continued to volunteer for the camps until 2016.
An avid international traveler, Weisenfluh and her husband, Jerry, have visited Germany, Switzerland, Russia, China, the Philippines and New Zealand. They visited Panama after becoming a host family for two young women attending Midway University on scholarship.