Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sarasota Hospice House - Making a Difficult Time Very Meaningful

On May 1, my Mom, Janet Klineman passed peacefully. Two and a half weeks earlier she had begun internal bleeding and at age 90 she elected to not do any testing and instead to work with Hospice. As we were discharged from Sarasota’s Memorial Hospital the ER doctor said we would be pleased with Hospice and he respected her decision.

Early the next morning we had a call from a staff member of Hospice who arranged to interview us and within a few hours Hospice was helping us adjust to this “transition” period. My sister joined me later in the day and together we began providing care for Mom at her apartment assisted by a Hospice nurse. We received a package of emergency medicine by Fed Express, which we kept in the refrigerator.

When it began to be difficult to care for Mom at home, the nurse suggested moving her to Sarasota’s Hospice House. Knowing how Mom wanted to be at home we included her in our discussions and the nurse assured her it would not feel like she was in a hospital setting and that all the rooms were spacious and lovely. As family members we would be free to come and go and even stay overnight if we wanted. And most important of all the staff would know how to care for Mom in the best way possible rather than my sister and I improvising and guessing what to do. Mom agreed.

A room was available later that day. Hospice arranged an easy transport. We were wonderfully surprised and pleased with Mom’s room. Spacious and airy with a screened in porch that overlooked a butterfly garden we immediately felt at ease and Mom was very pleased. Over the next 10 days we got to know the staff well and to appreciate their sensitivity and care. All was done to make Mom comfortable and to support us as family members.

Mom was alert and very present with us until about 24 hours before going into a deep sleep from which she did not wake. During the time she was awake we had many meaningful moments together which a storyteller friend of mine, Regina Ress, referred to as golden moments.

Mom had long been a supporter of Hospice and now having experienced it first hand I am too. I am most grateful to the Sarasota Tidewell Hospice House for the outstanding work they are doing. I commend the volunteer staff who were there to open doors, tend the garden, bring in therapy pets, and assist anyway they were needed. The professional staff was outstanding from the doctors to the nursing assistants. There were simply no weak links.

When Mom died one of the nurses suggested I quietly spend some time in Mom’s room before they called the funeral home. I was hesitant at first but so glad I did. Those twenty minutes of being able to sit quietly beside her even though she had passed has proven to be very meaningful. Thank you Sarasota Tidewell Hospice.

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