When the COVID-19 virus sidelined Lin Roussel’s work as a Homeland Hospice massage therapist, she became a temperature screener at Homeland Center, ensuring no incoming employees had a fever — a potential coronavirus symptom.
“I always heard from people that they love Homeland,” she says. “Now that I’m at Homeland Center, I’m meeting people who have worked here for 20 or 25 years. There’s a waiting list to work here. They have such a good reputation. I wasn’t surprised because of all the good things I hear from my patients.”
Since joining Homeland Hospice in May 2019, Lin has felt welcomed by colleagues, patients, and the entire Homeland organization. With her diverse experience in health care, social work, massage therapy, and teaching, she recognizes firsthand Homeland’s commitment to personalized care and unwavering excellence.
The move from Homeland Hospice to Homeland Center came from being in the right place at the right time. Unable to give massages because of the coronavirus, Lin asked about volunteer opportunities and was elated when she instead was offered the temperature screening position.
Wanting to give employees an extra boost when they arrived, Lin issued a request to her extensive network of massage therapists for goodies she could give out, and the response was tremendous.
“My gosh, in the first week, I think 10 or 15 people stepped up and said they’d like to donate candy or chips or comfort food,” she says. “A company I get samples from for my oncology massage and hospice classes donated 200 foot-massage cream packages. Everybody I’ve asked has been happy to donate.”
One donor makes facemask extenders that ease pressure on the ears.
“They go very fast,” says Lin. “They’re a hot commodity.”
Lin’s journey to Homeland is a winding one. She started her career in nursing, discovering that she liked working in oncology and hospice. At age 30, she returned to school and became a social worker. For about 15 years, she worked with the homeless population of Lancaster city. An area hospice asked her to help create a program for homeless people and also sent her to massage school.
She also was motivated to learn the skill by a friend who was dying from melanoma and couldn’t find a massage therapist. The experience underscored the benefits of massage therapy for oncology and hospice patients.
“They taught me how to listen,” she says. “They taught me patience. Gratefulness. Compassion. I always wanted to make a difference, and I felt like I was making a difference.”
Lin says Homeland Hospice’s massage therapists help with symptom management – dealing with pain, stress, or anxiety.
Through the Society for Oncology Massage, Lin teaches courses for oncology massage therapists nationwide. Her classes often teach massage therapists to hone their compassion and patience: “Being able to take a breath and just be with the person, letting them control the environment and the massage. And listening. Listening is the most important thing.”
Outside of work, Lin, a Lancaster County native who lives in Lititz, enjoys hiking and antiquing with her husband, Jim. They have four grown children living in the area and, mindful of coronavirus, Lin enjoys socially distanced walks with her 14-year-old granddaughter.
Lin is passionate about the quality attention she says is Homeland Hospice’s hallmark.
“Everyone at Homeland Hospice is compassionate and caring,” she says. “They’re always on, no matter when or what time. Somebody’s always there to help.”