Registered nurse Robert Heim is a natural-born caregiver who often serves as a guiding hand, voice of reason and shoulder to lean on. Robert is said to leave a strong impact on the lives he touches, including fellow Masonic Village Hospice staff and, most importantly, patients and their families.

Robert learned his trade in part from his mother, also a registered nurse, whom he looked up to while she cared for his grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

As the youngest nurse in the family, he went on to care for his own mother for 10 years during her struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. He also cared for his father-in-law and his wife’s grandmother during their times of illness. He views the end of life as an opportunity to make memories that will last forever.

“Most patients receive care long enough that we form very special relationships with them,” Robert said. “Unfortunately, most patients pass away, and we’re always in the process of losing good friends.”

On a daily basis, Robert recommends care plans for patients, administers medications and provides invaluable emotional support to families. He strongly advocates for the service each day.

“Identifying when hospice services are needed early is important,” he said. “If it’s early enough, we can become involved in enriching the patient’s quality of life. If you wait too close to the end of life, it unfortunately becomes more about pain management.”

Over the last three years, working in hospice care has changed his perception on life. “It has shown me the impermanence of everything,” he says.