HPCT: Making a hospice patient’s wish come true

by | Aug 16, 2013 | Other News

Lisa’s* face lit up with joy when she reflected on visits to the “Big Top” with her son until his untimely death to cancer several years ago. She described happier times gone by, but her voice reflected sadness, as if she had already accepted that her circus days were over. Lisa, a patient of the Freda H. Gordon Hospice & Palliative Care of Tidewater (HPCT), was simply sharing part of her life story with a member of her hospice team.

But Lisa didn’t know that her dreams were about to come true, thanks to the acute listening skills of Keya Bhagirath, spiritual care coordinator. “As I listened to Lisa talk about trips to the circus with her son, I knew that because of the hospice team’s “we can make it happen” approach, a little bit of hospice magic was about to happen,” Bhagirath says.

Once the hospice team determined that Lisa was physically able to handle an outing, Ashley Lewis, hospice volunteer coordinator, went about securing tickets. Dreamquest Cirquesa had just arrived in town and it seemed like the perfect solution for this special wish. From her first encounter with the Dreamquest staff, it was clear to Lewis that she was dealing with a special organization. The show’s owners and creators Ivan and Noe España understood from their own personal loss how precious life is, and they shared the HPCT philosophy of “embracing every moment.”

The generosity of the Españas was incredible. Not only did they provide tickets to the best seats in the house for Lisa and the support staff, but extended the invitation to other hospice patients and residents from Beth Sholom Village.

When it comes to hospice, most people think “death and dying.” But for the HPCT team, it’s about more than just controlling a patient’s pain and symptoms. It’s about helping patients live out the remainder of their days—however long they may be—with the best quality of life possible. For HPCT, listening for, and being able to re-kindle a wish that a patient may have given up on, is just as important as selecting the most comfortable wheelchair for a patient. The highest priority is controlling disease symptoms and finding the unique spot that ensures the patient is comfortable and pain free. This allows the patient to enjoy quality time with family and friends. Since opening in May 2012, HPCT has quickly gained a reputation for providing a superior level of care to their patients that encourages them to embrace every moment.

Whether it’s a circus visit, coordinating a room makeover, arranging a surprise visit from a favorite pet, or remembering to pick up a patient’s favorite candy bar, the HPCT team lives their philosophy of embracing every moment. Ask any one of the skilled professionals what the word “hospice” means to them, and they will say it’s far more about living than dying.

To help make a hospice patient’s wishes come true, contact Jessica Willingham, RN, BSN, at 757-321-2242.

*Patient’s name is changed to protect her privacy.