Hospice Journeys – A Family’s Love

“He loved watching birds and being in nature,” shared Cindy Bode, when describing her father-in-law, Dale. “He was quiet and more of an introvert except when with his family.”

Dale’s wife, Sandy, of 63 years was the complete opposite, according to their son, David Bode. “She was a social butterfly.”

“Her whole heart was her family,” commented Cindy. “She put her faith first and her family second. She was crazy about her grandchildren and great grandchildren, and she always made you feel like you were the most important person in the world.” In September 2021, Dale at the age of 85, lost his battle with Alzheimer’s and cancer, and just eight months later in May 2022, Sandy passed away after a short illness at the age of 82.

“My mom had reached out to Hospice & Community Care to help care for my father in their home,” shared David. “My father had Alzheimer’s and cancer but was physically capable. My mother had arthritis and other issues and did not have the physical ability to do a lot of things, but she had the mental capacity. We always joked that the two of them made one good person in that manner.”

“When my father was becoming physically unable to take care of things around the house, it was a big relief to my mom to have Hospice there,” explained David. “Dad would not have done well being in a skilled care facility because of his dementia. Mom wanted to be there to take care of Dad. As Dad’s illness progressed, it was comforting to be able to keep my parents together in their home.”

While taking care of Dale, Hospice & Community Care also helped to alleviate Sandy’s stress. The organization took care of the physical parts of caregiving that Sandy could no longer do for Dale. David’s father first experienced Hospice & Community Care through its Supportive Care Program, now known as Choices Palliative & Supportive Care at Home. “The team helped change Dale’s bandages, took his blood pressure, brought in durable medical equipment, and checked his dementia to make sure that he wasn’t a harm to himself or to Sandy,” said Cindy. “Hospice eliminated the things that Sandy could no longer do for Dale; it gave her a break.”

When Dale’s symptoms were no longer able to be managed at home, he received care at the Bob Fryer & Family Inpatient Center before being transferred to a skilled care facility once his symptoms were under control. “When I was told that my dad was going to the Inpatient Center, I expected a nursing home-like atmosphere,” expressed David. “But, when Cindy and I visited him the first time, we were both blown away. From that moment, we were instantly sold on Hospice & Community Care. The Center was so beautiful, clean, spacious, peaceful, and allowed our family to be together. There’s no other facility around that I’m aware of that can provide that kind of comfort for the patient and the connectivity with the family.”

“When Dale was at his weakest, Hospice was there as a support system and we were confident in what they could do for him and the family,” explained Cindy. Hospice & Community Care team members helped to educate Sandy and the entire family about end-of-life care and what to expect before Dale’s death. “It felt like someone was by our side,” shared Cindy. Dale passed away peacefully at a skilled care facility with the support of Hospice & Community Care.

“After Dale’s long, hard-fought battle with dementia and cancer, we were praying that God would take him home, but with Sandy it was so quick,” explained Cindy.

“After being rushed to WellSpan York Hospital, we knew Mom didn’t have much time left so we contacted Hospice & Community Care,” shared David.

Hospice & Community Care’s Hospice Response Team is a program which provides care and comfort to hospitalized patients who are seriously ill, are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms, have hours to a few days to live, and are too fragile to be transported from the hospital.

“Throughout Mom’s illness, the Hospice team kept us informed about what to expect and would regularly update us to make sure we knew what was happening with Mom’s progression,” explained David.

“Within three days she was gone. We didn’t have the wherewithal to think about what we needed to do, we were devastated,” shared Cindy. “We couldn’t even think. The Hospice team members were such incredible advocates for Sandy and knew what her rights were. What medication would help her to feel better and pain free, because she spent her life in horrific pain due to her arthritis. They were so good to us, our children, Sandy’s grandchildren. They were comforting. They were a great guidance for us, but more than anything, they just were there for Sandy.”

Before she passed, Sandy asked for time with each grandchild so that she could give them her words of wisdom. “She never thought about herself. She only ever thought about others,” shared Cindy.

Cindy and David give back to Hospice & Community Care through their time and talents and as financial supporters. They are champions for the organization.

“It is really important to me to help get the word about Hospice & Community Care so that others know about the variety of services that are available to them when they are going through a life crisis,” said David. “There are so many services, it’s just amazing. We are blessed to have an organization of this size and capability serving York and Lancaster counties.”