Recently, we had a patient on Good Samaritan Hospice with end-stage Alzheimer’s disease. She had been in the hospital several times in the last few weeks.  Each hospital visit was upsetting for her, because she didn’t know where she was or what was happening.  It was also tough on her family, who were unable to visit because of COVID-19. When they talked with her on the phone, she was tearful and scared, unable to remember why she was in the hospital.

The family called us to see if we could help.  We explained how hospice could support and care for her safely at home. Before she left the hospital, we delivered all the equipment she’d need for care, including a hospital bed which was placed in her living room, so she could be surrounded by the people she loved, and the things she recognized. Our registered nurses visited regularly and helped show the family how to administer her medications and care for her. Our chaplain prayed with the family, played guitar and sang her favorite hymns.  Our nursing assistants gave her bed baths and taught the family how to turn her in bed to prevent skin issues.  Our social worker found them additional caregiver support.  Our bereavement coordinator called regularly to help with the anticipatory grief of losing their loved one.

After her death, her family shared that although her time on hospice had been short, it was the most supported they had felt over the last year.  They had mistakenly been told by one of their medical providers that their loved one wouldn’t qualify for hospice because she had Alzheimer’s.  The last six months had been especially tough on the family as she declined. They wished she had been on our hospice service sooner.  If you need more information about how Good Samaritan Hospice and the Marley House can make a difference for your family, now or in the future, please call 928-778-5755.  We are always here, ready to help.

Submitted by Kelly Paradis, Good Samaritan Society Hospice