Pictured: Mary Sitterding, Donald Dickey, Jr., John Dickey and James Dickey look at old pictures of their parents, Cathryn and Donald, Sr.; Not pictured: Beverly Ehrhardt, Glenn Dickey and Janine Burkhart
The Dickey family knows firsthand what a blessing Margaret Mary’s hospice program can be when a loved one is dying. Last summer, this close-knit family called on hospice to help provide care for not one, but both of their parents.
“When Father experienced heart failure last April, we made the decision to call hospice and move him to St. Andrews Health Campus,” said Mary Sitterding. “We had already moved Mother there the year before following her stroke. When we contacted Margaret Mary Hospice, with the help of St. Andrews, they ensured my parents could share the same room and promised they would be available 24/7 to meet our needs.”
Hospice care is designed for people who are nearing the end of life. Unlike other medical care, the focus of hospice isn’t to cure patients, but instead to control their pain, make them comfortable and ensure the highest quality of life for whatever time remains. Hospice care can be provided in homes, hospitals, nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
“Hospice allowed us to give Mom and Dad the care they deserved while balancing our own jobs and schedules,” said Donald Dickey, Jr. “I was able to check in on my parents before I left for work in the morning and then hand their care over to hospice when I left. They provided comfort and compassion, and we knew we could put our trust in them.”
Not only can hospice care help patients live more comfortably, it can also decrease the physical and emotional burden on families.
“Many of us had never closely experienced the death of a loved one, so we had a lot of questions,” said John Dickey. “Hospice was incredibly responsive to our needs. They not only cared for our parents, but they cared for our entire family. When the end was near and emotions were high, they were precise in preparing us for what would happen next.”
On May 22, Donald Sr. passed away with his family by his side. On June 2, just seven days after his funeral, his wife of 67 years, Cathryn, passed away as well.
“Being a nurse myself, I was well aware of what a blessing Hospice could be, but Margaret Mary’s hospice team far exceeded my expectations,” said Mary. “I often visited my parents in the evenings. Knowing they were in the care of Hospice when I left gave me the peace of mind I needed to go home and sleep each night.”