Answering the call

It was eight years ago when Casey Keysor answered what he referred to as “a calling,” which led him to a new career of caring for others.

Keysor, an Evart native, is currently a registered nurse case manager with Hospice of Michigan and works within the Big Rapids area. Keysor shares his story of switching careers this month in honor of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month.

Prior to his career in the healthcare world, Keysor worked in sales with his father and grandpa at their family business, Twin Creek Reality.

Keysor said he and his grandpa, Lloyd Keysor, shared a tight-knit relationship. In December 2012, while wintering in Florida, Lloyd Keysor became ill. Family members helped move him back to Michigan, and from there, Casey Keysor — without knowing it yet — would get an understanding of his soon-to-be new role in life.

“My grandpa and I were always the best of buddies,” he said. “I wanted to spend a lot of time with him, but he felt more comfortable with me helping care for him.”

Keysor said his family enrolled his grandpa with Hospice of Michigan. 

“It was necessary care and time I could spend with him,” Keysor said. “I felt that was probably one of the most rewarding things I could do in life.”

Lloyd Keysor passed away July 4, 2013, and with his passing, Casey Keysor said he started to feel an emptiness working at the family business.

“I felt a calling out of that position like I needed to do something else,” he said. 

Prior to his grandpa’s passing, Keysor said the two discussed Casey moving onto another career. Without hesitating, Keysor said his grandpa “gave him his blessing to do so.”

In fall 2013, Keysor began his new journey. At 34 years old — and with a wife and four children — Keysor enrolled at Baker College of Cadillac to pursue a nursing degree. After years of hard work and dedication, Keysor graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

When a position with Hospice of Michigan became available, Keysor recalled quickly jumping at the opportunity. He became a registered nurse case manager with HOM in July 2019.

Hospice of Michigan is the state’s most experienced provider of hospice care. Annually, the organization serves over 4,000 patients in 50 of Michigan’s counties. 

“Anyone considering hospice service for their loved ones, I would always encourage checking into it sooner rather than later,” Keysor said. 

As a hospice case manager nurse, Keysor works to educates families patients on recognizing potential symptoms and providing safe and competent care for the patient.

“It really is an honor and a blessing to be allowed into these personal and intimate settings,” Keysor said. “You really become almost like family when you’re caring for someone that has end-of-life needs on hospice care.”

“The way I look at it is I’m helping these patients live well,” he added. “I’m helping them live to their highest ability for as long as possible.”

Since beginning his new career, Keysor said he’s enjoyed every aspect of the job. He also encourages others to follow their dreams and make a shift in careers, if they desire. 

“It’s not abnormal. I was nervous at first, too, to make that jump,” he said. “In my new field, I find each day rewarding.”