To Have Coffee with an Old Friend

Our stories about meaningful experiences are written as they unfold. Therefore, most stories are in the present tense. Some of the patients in these stories are no longer with us. They, and their families, gave us permission to share their experience with you. For those who have since passed, we share these in their memories with deep appreciation for what they have taught us about life and living.

When we ask our patients what’s most important to them or what’s on their minds, what we are trying to do is learn. We can’t meet a need that we haven’t learned about. Many needs are relatively obvious and easy to meet: a walker for support, a new medication to treat a new symptom, for instance. Other needs take time to reveal themselves, but they are no less important.

One of Fred’s needs was about home, routines, and the special companionship we often find in our four-legged friends.

Fred wanted to go home again and have a cup of coffee in his favorite spot on the couch with his dog, Sam.

We’ve cared for Fred at home for several months. Recently, though, his pain worsened and his symptoms changed. He chose to come to our Compassionate Care Center, where we’d work to get his symptoms under control.

He missed home, though. He missed his beloved dog, Sam. And he missed that comfortable spot on the couch where, every day, he would enjoy a cup of coffee.

So, as we have done many times, we partnered with the generous team at Madison County EMS. They worked with us to get Fred home safely. His Hospice Care Plus nurse, Jodi, arrived before Fred so she could make a pot of coffee. Madison County EMS stayed at home with Fred while he sat on his couch, had coffee, and reunited with Sam. They gave him all the space he needed to savor that time at home. Then, they took him back to the Center, where we continue to manage his pain and symptoms.

We’re so grateful to Fred for letting us do this with and for him and for reminding us that hospice care is about living each day to the fullest and making every moment matter.

Special thanks to Madison County EMS for being such good partners for those in our care, to Cheryl for facilitating Fred’s homecoming, to Jodi Neal for making a fantastic cup of coffee, and to all our staff in Berea and at our Center for pulling this together so quickly.

How can you honor life during National Hospice & Palliative Care Month? Visit the #WeHonorLife campaign page to learn about all the ways you can help, from volunteering and shopping to helping us increase access to specialized care for the seriously ill and their families.Questions? Contact us at or 859-986-1500 or visit our website.

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