While filling in for one of her staff nurses, Michelle, Director of Professional Services for Heartland Hospice serving Metropolitan Denver and Boulder, met with hospice patient Anne who is also a resident at ManorCare Health Services—Boulder. During the visit, Anne expressed her love of the outdoors. She also talked about her wish to ride a horse. Anne suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and is confined to a wheel chair. Although she knew she could not ride a horse, she stated that was the one thing she really wanted to do.
Later in the week, Michelle mentioned Anne’s wish at a staff meeting. Heartland Hospice nurse, Sandy, offered the services of her horse, Cedar, to come and visit with Anne. Cedar, an Arabian horse, has made several special visits to seniors in the Boulder area.
Working together, staff members of both Heartland Hospice and ManorCare—Boulder made arrangements for Cedar to surprise and spend some time with Anne. Different types of animals make often visits to facilities however; it is very unusual to see a horse at a skilled nursing facility.
On the day of the surprise visit, Anne was amazed by the presence of Cedar at the entrance of the facility. Standing statuesque, Cedar waited patiently as Anne reached up to pet his nose. Other residents became excited at the sight of the horse and wanted to be part of the experience. With the help of staff members and volunteers, over 30 patients were assisted outside to the front of the building where they formed a semi-circle and waited their turn to pet and feed Cedar.
The event was memorable for Anne and other residents as well. This is a good example of how the staff at both Heartland Hospice and ManorCare—Boulder take pride in working together to enrich patients’ lives and help create meaningful experiences that can make wishes come true. Moments like this reaffirm our commitment to our patients; this is why we do what we do.