Having your loved one on hospice services can sometimes be difficult to accept. But when the hospice team goes above and beyond what is expected, it can help make this challenging time a little bit easier for the patient and their loved ones. Karen Hudson and her husband Al shared their thoughts about their experience with Heartland Hospice serving South Central Wisconsin, who cared for Karen’s uncle, Tom Carmann.
"In one word: WONDERFUL!"
"Your services were recommended to us by the staff at Wisconsin Dialysis East. They were also recommended by Kate, a Palliative Care Physician with The University of Wisconsin, who works primarily with patients of Wisconsin Dialysis. Prior to those recommendations, I had not heard of Heartland Hospice.
Tom was a cognitively disabled adult who did not always make decisions that were in his best interest, and at times he tried the patience of everyone around him. At other times, he was delightful, funny and a joy to be around.
Tom’s one clear wish was to continue dialysis as long as possible. Dialysis was his social outlet and his one reason to leave his apartment. Kidney failure was not the primary reason for his decline in the past few months, as his serious health issues were recurrent pneumonia and autoimmune vasculitis. Other hospice organizations would have required Tom to stop dialysis, but Heartland did not.
Everyone I met from Heartland expressed the same clear message of patient-centered care; the needs and wishes of patients and families come first. I don’t think words can express how it feels to be on the receiving end of that level of acceptance at a time when we needed it most.
I first met Social Worker, Karla, when Tom was preparing for discharge from University of Wisconsin Hospital at the American Center. I spoke with her privately before she met Tom. I found her to be a great listener. She was kind, compassionate and reassuring with both of us. She told Tom everything he needed to hear to alleviate his fear and reluctance about entering hospice.
Tom was discharged from the University of Wisconsin Hospice American Center to the Karmenta Center with the hope of improving to his former independent status and then returning home. But he faded over the next few weeks and was enrolled with Heartland Hospice instead. Heartland’s team stepped in and made the necessary changes for Tom in order for him to remain comfortable in his final week. For this we are forever grateful.
In Tom’s final days, the nurses compassionately and tactfully pointed out changes in Tom’s declining physical status. Chaplains were with us shortly after Tom’s passing and even came to Tom’s visitation the day after Thanksgiving.
On the emotional side, we’re all coping fairly well. While his loss is painful, we have no regrets about the time and energy we spent. We are comforted in knowing that he is no longer suffering. The kind and compassionate warmth of the Heartland Hospice staff eased his pain in his final weeks and we appreciate the ongoing support.”