Leslie Rice and her family were no strangers to Hospice & Community Care when her mother, Janice Fishel, and father, John Fishel, used the organization’s services in 1987 and 2011, respectively. “In the early seventies, my mother was privileged to work with The Reverend Dr. Donald Wilson at First Presbyterian Church,” shared Leslie. “As a result I became familiar with Dr. Wilson’s publication, Terminal Candor, and his vision for hospice care in Lancaster County.” Then in the mid-eighties, Leslie’s husband, Don, served on the board of directors of Hospice of Lancaster County [now Hospice & Community Care]. “Through my husband’s involvement I became even more aware of the impact that the organization was already making on our community,” explained Leslie.
When Janice was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March of 1987 she opted not to pursue chemotherapy and/or radiation and asked her physician to connect her with the services of then Hospice of Lancaster County. “I will never forget sitting in my parents’ living room, meeting with Janet Carroll, [then Hospice of Lancaster County’s Vice President of Clinical Services], and
discussing the plan for my mother’s care,” shared Leslie. “I remember more than anything Janet’s compassion and the care and support that she offered to all of us during that meeting, knowing that we were each dealing with our own fears and uncertainty.” Hospice of Lancaster County did not have an Inpatient Center at that time.
“I can remember my mother putting moisturizer on her face days before she passed away,” smiled Leslie. “That was just the type of person she was. If she could have put makeup on, too, she would have. A month before Mom passed she asked me to take her shopping at Park City Center for a sundress because all of her clothing was too big because of her illness. And she would often come over to Don’s and my house throughout her illness and we would sit on the porch together. She even had a chance to attend her granddaughter’s birthday party in July.” These memorable moments were all made possible because of Hospice of Lancaster County’s team members. “They helped to manage my mother’s pain so that she was able to comfortably do these types of things throughout her illness,” shared Leslie. “When I received the phone call from my mother’s physician telling me that she was going to pass away, it was on my birthday,” shared Leslie. “Mom was still alert to wish me a happy birthday; something I will never forget.”
Janice passed away at home in August of 1987 at the age of 67, cared for by a team of nurses who were, at the same time, caring for and supporting Leslie and her father through their grief. “After my mother passed away, the nurses knew exactly what to do,” commented Leslie. “They called the funeral home, disposed of her medications, and so much more. My father and I did not need to worry about a thing at that moment. It was not only comforting, but to have someone there to help us get organized was so invaluable.”
Twenty-four years later, at the age of 97, Leslie’s father, John, suddenly became very ill and within hours was in ICU on a ventilator. “The attending physician asked if I was familiar with Hospice & Community Care and, without hesitation, I assured him that I was familiar with their services and wanted that level of care for my father at end of life,” shared Leslie.
A Hospice & Community Care nurse met Leslie at the hospital to discuss next steps and the nurse expressed her concern that John may not survive the transfer to the Bob Fryer & Family Inpatient Center. “She didn’t know my dad,” Leslie shared with a laugh. John was in the Inpatient Center for two weeks. “There was such a level of respect for the patient and family,” shared Leslie. “When my father was agitated the nurses never got frustrated and were such a calming presence.” Leslie and her family were supported, too, while at the Inpatient Center. “The emotional support meant the most,” explained Leslie. “I stayed overnight the first few nights with Dad at the Center, but the nurses encouraged me to go home and rest,” shard Leslie. “They were taking care of me, too. Little did I realize that at the time.”
Leslie’s brother lived in North Carolina at the time of his father’s illness and drove to the Inpatient Center to visit him. His father’s end-of-life progression was taking longer than anticipated so he needed to return home for work. “Hospice & Community Care staff were very comforting to my brother,” shared Leslie. “It was hard for him to leave our father, but the nurses reassured my brother before he went home that our dad knew he had visited.”
Leslie and her husband would often have dinner together at the Inpatient Center. “He would bring us one of the many casseroles that we received from friends and we would use the microwave in the Center’s kitchen to heat up our meals,” commented Leslie. “It was nice that we could be there with my father, but still have a little break.”
“I think a lot of people hesitate to use the Inpatient Center, because they think it will be a clinical atmosphere,” shared Leslie. “It is anything but that. Between the grounds and kitchen and lounge, it is amazing. When you are in the room with your loved one, you have this sense that you are the only person there. Although I knew other things were happening throughout the building, there was privacy and respect for the family. I am not sure how Hospice & Community Care designed the building, but it works.”
If you think that you and your loved one could benefit from Hospice & Community Care’s Bob Fryer & Family Inpatient Center, please contact us today at (717) 295-3900 or visit www.hospiceandcommunitycare.org/inpatient-center/ Our staff will be glad to talk with you about our inpatient care and there is no obligation to receive information.
Extended Stay Fund
While Medicare pays for care in the Bob Fryer & Family Inpatient Center, once symptoms are managed Medicare no longer pays for care and plans are made to transfer a patient back to their home or to a senior living facility. In some circumstances, the Inpatient Center remains the most appropriate setting for continued care for a period of time or if a patient is expected to reach the end of their life. Hospice & Community Care’s Extended Stay Fund provides the financial means for seamless care and support in the Bob Fryer & Family Inpatient Center when Medicare no longer reimburses for general inpatient level of care. It also provides immense relief from the angst and feeling of helplessness our families experience when confronted with caregiving decisions and financial challenges during an incredibly difficult time.
To make a gift to the Extended Stay Fund, please contact Amy Lewis, Director of Philanthropy, Hospice & Community Care at (717) 735-8729 or email@example.com.