November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. Hospice of the
Ozarks has been providing end-of-life care since 1979 in Baxter and Marion
County. Not everyone is aware of
Hospice of the Ozarks and the many services they provide, so here is a story of what hospice
and palliative (comfort) care meant in the end-of-life journey for one
of the patients and families Hospice of the Ozarks was recently privileged to serve.
After hearing of one of her patientandrsquo;s love of the Christmas season,
Christina Stone, Nursing Assistant at Hospice of the Ozarks, set out to
create some Christmas magic for her patient, Sherry McGoldrick. With permission
from Sherry, Christina sent a letter out to the Hospice of the Ozarks
staff and volunteers asking for help to decorate Sherry’s home for
Christmas a bit early. Although Christmas was only two months away, Christina
knew that Sherry might not have that much time.
In the late afternoon on Wednesday, October 28, cars lined the street on
both sides of Sherryandrsquo;s home as family, friends and caring hearts
arrived to decorate and celebrate the Christmas season. A canoe with Mickey
and Minnie sailing away in the blue sea of lights covered the front lawn.
A six foot tree in the family room was decorated to the hilt by busy little
elves working together. Her home was adorned with wreaths, lights and
decorations on every available surface. The dining room table was overflowing
with finger foods, holiday cookies and desserts of every kind. The spirit
of Christmas filled her home as Sherry celebrated Christmas with those
Later that evening, Sherry left her home for the last time for what would
become her new home for the final few days of her life, Hospice of the
Ozarksand#39; Hospice House. Lori Stanton, Social Worker and Volunteer Coordinator
for Hospice of the Ozarks, said it best, ”I think celebrating Christmas
early with Sherry is just a reminder to us all that we need to celebrate
life’s occasions as we feel it is needed, rather than by a date
on a calendar. If we had waited to celebrate Christmas with Sherry on
December 25th, we would have missed out on a wonderful afternoon with
an amazing lady.”
Sherry entered into eternal rest on Monday, November 9th; however, she
wanted everyone to know how much she appreciated all that Christina and
the caring staff and volunteers at Hospice of the Ozarks did for her and
her family and friends during her end-of-life journey.
Caregivers and friends that helped Sherry celebrate her last Christmas
include Tammy Moore, CNA; Christina Stone, Nursing Assistant; Aleta Newberry,
BRMC Education Coordinator; Amy McGoldrick, Sherryand#39;s sister-in-law;
Cindy Davenport, RN, retired.