In 2022, Ken Swart received Centrica Care Navigators hospice service for just over 2 months before his death. Now, Ken’s wife Sarah says what she remembers most is how partnering with us meant she didn’t have to do all of the caretaking herself any longer.
“I felt so much was taken off my shoulders,” Sarah says.
Ken and Sarah were married for 41 years. Ken and Sarah knew when it was the right time for hospice, and what they wanted out of Ken’s care. In the 1990s, Sarah had been a hospice volunteer in another state, so she was familiar with what hospice care offered to patients and caregivers.
The care they needed
The care each patient is given depends on their needs and their wishes. Ken needed the kind of attention that can be taken for granted, like baths and clean bedsheets. Those are tasks that can be difficult for a single caregiver to manage on their own, but they’re part of making sure every patient is comfortable during their time in Centrica Care Navigators service.
While she spent as much time with Ken as she could, Sarah says she also appreciated having skilled hospice staff partnering with her. That gave her opportunities to run errands and simply take breaks from what is a stressful situation for both the caregiver and the patient.
“I needed that block of time to do what I wanted to do, even if it was just sitting at Starbucks for a few hours,” she says. “It was nice to get out, knowing everything was taken care of.”
Members of the team
Ken’s Centrica Care Navigators interdisciplinary group (IDG) also helped with their move to a local senior living center. It was a move they had planned before he became a hospice patient, but since it took place during his time in care, Ken was set up in their room with all the appropriate equipment and medication.
“I knew it was the right thing for him,” Sarah says. “They had care for him as a whole person. The hospice people knew exactly what he needed.”
Sarah, who regularly attends church, says she was also glad Ken’s IDG included a chaplain, partly for Ken but also for herself.
“The chaplain helped me to refocus on life besides having a sick husband,” she says. “While taking care of him, it was hard for me to give prayer and other things time.”
Ken died in May 2022, and shortly after his death Sarah continued receiving services from Centrica Care Navigators. She’s been meeting with Grief Support staff, who helped her to understand and live with her loss. They have held regular meetings over 13 months, supplemented with articles and information that helped Sarah think about ways she was facing Ken’s death.
“It was a safe place to have, and someone who understood my grief,” she says. “The grief support is a significant reason why we chose hospice. The 13-month grief walk was such an assurance to me after the death of my husband and his long illness. He was so concerned about what would happen to me and you have provided all the difference. He would be so pleased, as am I.”
Sarah recommends hospice for anyone living with a life-limiting illness. It makes the multiple day-to-day tasks of caregiving easier, and provides expert advice to people who only know a loved one is not doing well.
“Hospice made such a huge difference in my life,” she says. “Do it sooner rather than later.”
Find out more about Centrica Hospice Care and Centrica Grief Support. Explore our website or call Centrica Care Navigators at 269.345.0273.