Letter: Nipissing Serenity Hospice has given us an incredible, compassionate gift.
My dad’s journey to hospice began in early November 2019 and our lives changed quickly.
In the fall of 2019 I remember going on a long walk to town with my father, at that time he was in good health. I would have never thought I’d be told, in a few short months, he likely wouldn’t make it to his birthday (Feb 11, 2020).
Thus began a series of health complications that compounded quickly. Dad was in and out of the hospital (Muskoka Region) several times with his conditions worsening and worsening each time. He had lost significant strength and his cognitive abilities were diminishing. His health care team at the hospital did an amazing job and dad was a model patient, well loved by everyone. It wasn’t enough, it came to a point that they were unable to help any further. Dad wasn’t afraid of dying; his biggest worry was that he would be suffering. This is when our family was referred to hospice care.
My first call was to my childhood neighbour who works at the Hospice Muskoka. At that time my dad lived in Bracebridge, it was a natural fit. We toured and were immediately impressed with what hospice care had to offer. Unfortunately, we were presented with a logistical problem. At this hospice, the meals need to be provided by the family, but my family lives here in the Nipissing region. It just wouldn’t have been possible.
What about Nipissing Serenity Hospice?
Feeling discouraged, my wife (Leslie) suggested Nipissing Serenity Hospice. “What is the worst that could happen? They say no,” she said to me. Leslie went to the facility for a tour and much to our surprise, my dad was accepted because our family lives in the Nipissing region. What I know now is that this was the best decision we have ever made.
The moment I walked through the doors at Nipissing Serenity Hospice it was so peaceful and quiet. I was overwhelmed by the kindness and compassion that flows through the facility, at a time that my family needed it the most. The facility is brand new and beautiful and extremely clean all the time but it’s the people here that really make the difference. The staff is unbelievable. The love, care and compassion from every single person you encounter are just incredible.
Personalized Care Plans for Comfort
On February 14, 2020 we moved dad into Nipissing Serenity Hospice. At this point dad could no longer sit up and he could barely talk, he shouldn’t have even made it that far, but thankfully he did. Immediately the hospice team went to work on a care plan carefully crafted to make my father as comfortable as possible.
In week 1, Dr. Rappaport changed his medication and we immediately saw improvements. By week 2, Dr. Jinnah made another modification; my dad was sitting up in his bed. He just kept improving from there.
As a family member, I wouldn’t even know where to start helping dad with comfort at this point in his condition. Dad’s worries of suffering have vanished and he just loves the staff here. The team comes in and they just know what he needs. Sometimes it’s to relieve anxiety or adjust a cushion. They take care of any pain or anxious feeling very quickly. He loves the therapeutic tub! Whatever dad needs he gets and the team is always available for any request.
The care doesn’t stop there. My dad loves the music; one of his first trips out of his room was to watch the volunteer piano player. The hospice team took the time to learn about dad’s favourite things; they played Def Leopard in his room and put train videos on the TV. One of the nurses even brought him a crib board. Plus, the food is really good and takes a lot of the stress off of my family.
Above and Beyond My Expectations for Compassionate Care
The level of compassionate care is given to all the residents. Being there everyday with dad for many weeks, I see the tremendous amount of effort that the team puts into taking care of each and every resident and their families.
They learned of one resident who loved to knit and so they gathered supplies and sat with her learning how to knit.
A nurse noticed a resident who didn’t have many personal clothing items and received few visitors. The nurse went out and discretely purchased items with her own money.
On a Sunday, the passing of one resident was imminent. The chef arrived at 4:30am, in the morning of his day off. By the time the family arrived, he had worked to prepare all the comforts of home cooked goods and made sure they were available for everyone.
Anybody who doesn’t bring their loved one to the hospice is doing them a great disservice.
This hospice and the team here is unbelievable. It is very clear that hospice care is labour of love to them. This hospice is a remarkable gift to our community. If you have a loved one, don’t wait too long to get them into hospice. The earlier the better!
What has Nipissing Serenity Hospice Given Us?
Nipissing Serenity Hospice has given me the gift of quality time with my dad. Without the care he has received, I wouldn’t have had this time with him.
I visit every day and spend as much time as I want, we play cards for hours and have meals together, we even went for a little walk outside on a nice day. Dad is not just making do, he is living a quality life. It’s been an absolute blessing.
We’ve had such an amazing time through our experience; my wife and I are now looking to become volunteers so we can help other families just like ours.
Thank you to Nipissing Serenity Hospice for this gift you have given to my family.
(son of NSH resident)
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