Quintessential Care Summit 2024

On March 15, over 250 students, clinicians, healthcare administrators, and caregivers gathered at Sacramento State University for the second Quintessential Care Summit. Hosted by YoloCares, the California Hospice Network and Sacramento State Department of Gerontology, the summit united an array of professionals and community members under a singular mission; to explore unique perspectives within the end-of-life experience.

The final chapter of the human journey is so much more than medical treatment and palliation. Staying true to its name, the Quintessential Care Summit delved into the rich humanist side of care through a variety of speakers. Keynote speaker Mark Doty, shared beautiful readings from his memoirs, Heaven’s Coast and Dog Years, taking the opportunity to delve into the exquisite pain of loving and losing. Frish Brandt, a letter midwife, taught participants how to craft their life story through letter writing, and Fred Grewe, a retired chaplain and podcast host, helped attendees grasp the value of existential dread. These presentations and more helped participants reflect on their own humanity as well as those of the patients or loved ones they care for.

Without a doubt, the most popular sessions featured topics for clinicians. Margeret Pasquesi, music-thanatologist, drew a full room with her exploration of non-verbal signs of pain and how music can alleviate suffering during a person’s final hours. Dr. Michele DiTomas, the chief hospice medical director for the CA Department of Corrections, shared her experiences of caring for terminally ill incarcerated people while weaving elements of compassion and empathy into her message. Laura Wayman, known as the Dementia Whisperer, led a two-part session for clinicians and caregivers alike, offering tools to increase positive interactions for people living with brain change.

Rounding out the day, healthcare administrators and compliance leaders enjoyed presentations from Carrie Cooley, CEO of Weatherbee Resources and Bill Taylor, CPA and hospice finance consultant. Keynote speaker Dr. Cameron Muir, chief innovation officer for the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation, painted a picture of the future of Medicare in which there is an increased focus on preventative care to ease end-of-life suffering.

Many of these presenters recognized the palpable energy of the summit, enjoyed participating in other sessions and sent messages of gratitude afterwards. Thanks to the strong partnership between YoloCares and Sacramento State Department of Gerontology, the summit offered a seamless participant experience for all in attendance.
The summit would not have been a success without the support of Louise Joyce, director of community programs; Gia Martucci, marketing and communications specialists; Joe Oba, Monique Hollowell, Clark Wright and Natha Bonds of the business development team; Volunteer Manager Dee Rasilau; Administrative Manager Rosita Patterson; and Volunteers Renee Steele, Jim Mayer, Pat Grieshop, Libby McGill, Nancy Hardaker, Lori Dwrye, Riley Savage, and Evelyn Wong.

As YoloCares prioritizes the education of its employees and future healthcare workers, readers can expect the announcement of a future summit in 2025!

Luminaries of Life 2023

On October 19, friends and supporters of YoloCares gathered at Park Winters Estate for the annual Luminaries of Life Gala which raised $50,000. The night’s honorees included Alborz Alali, MD; Sanaz Ghafouri, MD; Sonia Reichert, MD; and the Cancer Care Team at Dignity Health Woodland Clinic; former board member and Sutter Health surgeon Virginia Joyce, MD; longtime volunteer Mary Olander; and Mike Deitz of Dietz Corporation, and Nick Avdis of Avdis and Cucchi, LLC, community partners who have supported Joshua’s House.

Over 150 attendees had the opportunity to explore the grounds of Park Winters Estate and enjoyed cocktail hour on the veranda before an expertly prepared farm-to-fork dinner. The event’s program was kicked off by CEO Craig Dresang who announced the five honorees of the evening, celebrating each individual for their contributions to the mission of YoloCares.

The evening’s entertainment was led by nationally-recognized auctioneer Keith McClane of KLM Auctions who directed the live auction and the evening’s most memorable segment—Fund a Need, which was kicked off with a generous $10,000 gift from Board President Keith Volkerts and his wife, Lynn, and saw guests donating gifts of $2,500 or more to support YoloCares’ unfunded community programs.

Generous sponsors of Luminaries of Life include Hanson Bridgett, Eskaton, HR Done Right, Horizon Oxygen, First Northern Bank, Northstar Care Community, Woodbridge Winery and VIP Photography.

“Every year, Luminaries of Life affords us the opportunity to highlight the incredible work of YoloCares, from expert end-of-life care to grief counseling and beyond,” says CEO Craig Dresang. This year’s event turned the spotlight on The Center for Loss & Hope, which is the premiere grief support program in the Sacramento Valley. With a dozen unique support groups, frequent community memorials and workshops, as well as one-on-one counseling for the families of YoloCares, The Center’s mission is to change the way our community processes and recovers from grief.

“Nights like Luminaries of Life are so beautiful to watch. Not only is it heartening to see the community rally around YoloCares and The Center, but it is an avenue to express our pride for the wonderful work our team and agency does in the community,” says Chris Erdman, director of The Center for Loss & Hope.

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities for future YoloCares events, please reach out to Louise Joyce, director of community programs, at