November is National Home Care and Hospice Month

Contact: Shirley Freyer
Concordia Lutheran Ministries
Tel: 1-724-352-1571 x8266

November is National Home Care and Hospice Month

Cabot, PA - November is National Home Care and Hospice Month and Concordia Lutheran Ministries recognizes our nearly 500 staff members working in the Concordia Visiting Nurses and Good Samaritan Hospice divisions who are committed to serving our patients and their families.

Of the hundreds of patients and families who are touched by our hospice caregivers Beaver County resident Donna Belich tells of her experience. Just before Thanksgiving in 2010, Donna's father Nick Manojlovich, 89-years-old, was given his final diagnosis of prostate cancer with advanced bone metastasis. For two years prior to that fateful day, he battled bile duct cancer, diabetes, macular degeneration and signs of heart failure. His wife Sophie, a three-time breast cancer survivor, was determined to care for her husband at home without help from a professional caregiver. They'd been independent their entire lives - why change that now?

As Sophie unfortunately found out, caregiving 24-hours per day can take its toll. A few weeks after Nick's diagnosis, his health started failing rapidly, to the point where Sophie was becoming overwhelmed by not only the responsibility of caregiving, but also the physical and emotional strain.

"A hospice nurse specifically outlined what assistance Good Samaritan could provide", Donna said, and "My mother agreed." By that same evening, a hospital bed was delivered and hospice care was immediately in place. Nick's condition progressed as anticipated three weeks after Good Samaritan Hospice began comfort measures. On New Year's Day Nick was transported to the Good Samaritan Hospice House in Wexford to receive around-the-clock care. The next afternoon, it was clear he would be going to heaven at any moment. At 9:21 p.m. on January 2 Sophie was by his side when he died - surrounded by his family, his Good Samaritan Hospice caregivers and the beautiful and peaceful setting at the House.

"This was my first experience losing someone very close to me, yet I felt such a peace and calm around me that evening, being at that House," Donna said. "Our family has talked about that night often, and we all agree that my father's passing would not have been as peaceful had it not been for Good Samaritan's care." Now, months later, Donna is able to look back and reflect on how her father spent his final days, and the role she and her family played in making those days the best they could be. Everything, from the late-night call to a Good Samaritan Hospice nurse on Christmas Eve to the genuine sympathy given to her mother and family, comes flooding back.

"Good Samaritan Hospice care far exceeded our expectations," Donna said. "They not only provided care and monitoring, but someone was always available to answer any questions we had… We could not have handled Dad's passing the way we did without Good Samaritan."

No one at Good Samaritan Hospice would say that experiencing the final days and passing of a loved one is easy. But having help allows family and friends to enrich those days - to make every day matter.