I was aware of Hospice because I live in the area and because my husband’s family used the Hospice services for his grandparents. Still, until I experienced the Hospice service first-hand, I really never appreciated what they do.
My mother was diagnosed with cancer and spent most of her last 1 ½ years in and out of the hospital. Finally, we decided to move her the day the hospital said she wouldn’t make it through the night. After the social worker talked to the Truman Hospice house, they made all the arrangements to make her comfortable. She was surrounded by family during her last hours. Everyone was wonderful and compassionate throughout the entire short-term process. Still, it wasn’t until my father started declining and needed Hospice did we fully understand everything that Hospice does for their patients and the family.
My dad had past stroke history and dementia. Unfortunately, his health started to fade quickly. During this time, the hospital recommended using our local Palliative Care for in-home service. After meeting with our wonderful nurse, my dad started having seizures and another stroke…things were simply getting worse. Palliative Care made all the arrangements for my dad to move into Hospice care, and it was seamless, with no extra stress on my family and me.
The Hospice nursing staff came immediately to assess my dad, and it amazed me how quickly they came…the same day! Each and every nurse was absolutely wonderful! They made me feel confident that I could continue to honor my dad’s wishes by keeping him home and being the primary caregiver for him. The nurses always reassured me that I was doing things correctly and always gave me encouragement. Being a full-time caregiver takes a lot out of you, and you need that encouragement to do your best! I can’t tell you how much that meant to me personally! The nurses were also always at my fingertips during the middle of the night when dad had very restless nights. They walked me through administering the correct medication. If I lacked the confidence needed, they would send a nurse out to help me! Again, that’s just a lifesaving part of what Hospice does daily.
During one of our most challenging weeks with my dad, his nurse recognized that I needed a respite break. I was burning out and running on empty. He made the necessary calls to the Truman House, and that evening, they sent an ambulance to pick him up and get him to the Truman House! Relief, something I immediately felt, was instant for my husband and me. I knew he was in great hands. They walked me through the process of what respite was and how much we needed it. Upon arriving at the Truman House, the entire staff welcomed my dad and treated him with love and compassion.
After five days of respite care, they assessed again and recommended further care. We all knew his time was short but didn’t know just how long he’d last here on earth. This extra time there was so needed for both of us! He began to recognize each nurse, and he would light up when they walked into the room! Can you imagine how that made my heart feel!! I was thrilled that he didn’t mind being there and not being at home. He’d wink at his favorite nurses too! He just loved them!! And, each of them made sure they were giving him the absolute best care and watching them at times, I realized that they loved him too!
Dad received such excellent care at the Truman House that they had to release him. It was time for him to come home. They also helped me with that decision and reassured me that they were only a phone call away and that the nursing staff and aids would be coming in and assisting as they did before. Once dad got home, he had a true rally for almost two weeks! He was sitting up, eating again, laughing, looking at pictures and books, talking to everyone. It seemed like a miracle, but deep down, we knew this was most likely his rally time, but we simply enjoyed each minute we had with him.
Within two weeks, he started to go downhill again. The nurse came to our home and knew in an instant that he required more care and transported him again to the Truman House. Upon dad’s arrival, the nurses rushed to his side to welcome him with hugs and love. Seriously, the entire staff at the Truman house and the nursing staff and aides for in-home care are truly angels on earth!
They reassessed him. After several days, he went into non-responsive mode. The staff was simply amazing to my dad and to my family and me during all of this. They walked beside us every step of the way. They explained things to us in a compassionate way, with empathy for what we were experiencing. This transition was more manageable and lighter because of everything they did. They understood my tears and my pain. Each of them is special with extraordinary gifts and talents, and they lovingly share it with us…each and every day.
We are truly humbled by what Hospice does and will forever be grateful to all of you!
Sherry Schie and family