Honoring and celebrating (literally) the uniqueness of our patients

May 1, 2015

One of the reasons for Housecall Providers exceptional care is our willingness to listen to our patients when they convey their thoughts and feelings around treatment options and the kind of care desired at the end of the lives. But equally important are the non-medical interactions, times when our patients shares with us where they found support, guidance and connection throughout their lives.

It was in one such exchange that hospice chaplain Cari Dawson heard her patient Lois Thornton speak about how much music had enhanced her life, especially accordion music. As a young girl, Lois played accordion with a troop of other college-aged women and performed at various spots in their hometown of Salem, OR. Their talents were rewarded with an invitation to play every performers dream, New York City.

Growing up, her son Roger remembers accordion and piano music filling their home, either by his mother’s hand or that of the eager and not-so-eager children who were learning her craft. After numerous times of hearing Lois talk about the joy that the music had brought to her life, Cari did some research and found the Rose City Accordion Club, spoke with its president, Wayne Tiusanen, and arranged a time for him to come and play a “private concert” for Lois.

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Once the date was set, Lois’ hospice nurse, Nancy Gregory made arrangements with the owners of Just Like Home, the adult foster home where Lois lives, to have a reception following Wayne’s performance. They would provide delicious treats for the invited friends, family and hospice staff – the party was on!

Because Lois is bedbound, all in attendance gathered in her room decorated with various memorabilia, including a group photograph of Lois as a young girl when she played accordion. Wayne played with enthusiasm and empathy, a variety of old songs that touched the heart of our patient. Lois leaned back with an angelic smile on her face listening, occasionally asking questions about chords, but mostly reveling in the sounds she has loved all her life.

Lois’ family was touched by the events of the day. “We are so appreciative to the hospice team of Housecall Providers for going above and beyond to make these memories for Mom,” said daughter Jeanice Smith. “She loved playing and teaching the accordion and has fond memories that she will always treasure. Thank you Housecall Providers for all you do for Mom and our family.”

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