At Sanford Fargo Hospice, a little music can go a long way.
For one year now, the staff at the site known as Hospice House have been enriching the lives of patients, and providing comfort and care for their families as the end draws near. Liz Weisbrich is the manager at Hospice House. She’s also the piano player.
“I don’t read music. I just play by ear,” said Weisbrich. “I tell them to be kind, and I will happily play. They can sing along or just listen. So, I think those types of things do definitely help fulfill and make our jobs even more meaningful.”
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Weisbrich, and the rest of the staff at Hospice House, have cared for more than 200 patients and families since the facility became the first of its kind in North Dakota last February, and they don’t take their roles lightly.
“That’s one of the great privileges of working in hospice care, and all of the team will tell you that. It’s a privilege to care for people at end of life,” Weisbrich said.
Serving patients and their families
One of the families that has come through Hospice House is the Rheault family. In the span of just a couple of weeks, Dennis Rheault lost his wife Denise, and his sister, Audrey. Rheault said he’s grateful that both of his loved ones were able to spend their final days at Hospice House, and that he was able to be with them at the end as well.
“(Denise) was in about four different facilities up until this point,” said Rheault. “With COVID and everything, I couldn’t see her. We went through our anniversary, her birthday, and I couldn’t see her at that time. I had to do something different to be able have family members and everybody else to see her.”
“When we first met with Dennis, it was really important to him to know that Denise was in good hands, and that they could visit,” said Weisbrich. “That was really important to have family present, both their children and their two beautiful grandsons. That’s what hospice aims to do is support not only the patient, but the family.”
“She was very comfortable there,” Rheault said. “The staff just treated her phenomenal. Her life was much better at the end.”
In Sanford Hospice House’s first full year, making end-of-life care easier for patients and families has been the mission. So far they’ve accomplished just that, with dignity and grace.
- Hospice: Loving care in final days
- Sanford Fargo begins hospice services
- Natural death: Practical information for this phase of life