From ER to hospice, family is grateful for care close by

Denny De Jong appreciates local, expert health care from Sanford Sheldon

Portrait of a mature couple who were patients at Sanford Sheldon.

Whether it was at Sanford Sheldon Clinic, the medical center or the care center in Sheldon, Iowa, Dennis “Denny” De Jong says the care his wife, Carol, received was a blessing.

Carol dealt with various health issues for 15 years and the De Jongs could always count on the teams at Sanford Health for the support they needed.

“There were numerous times we had to go to the emergency room,” said Denny. “If you saw her list of issues through the years, you wouldn’t believe it.”

Carol had knee surgery, breast and lung cancer, and Parkinson’s disease and heart issues, not to mention chronic pain and occasional broken bones.

“I think the staff at Sanford Sheldon are key. It was a 100% good experience,” Denny stated. “The nurses are just fabulous. We were really pleased with the care and love they showed.”

Extra support at home

For nearly a year, when Carol and Denny needed more support at home, they were thankful for Sanford Home Health & Hospice. Caregivers provided Carol with comfort and relief from her symptoms while Denny was able to go to work or run errands.

“Hospice got me out of the house,” he said. “The hospice people were wonderful.”

Throughout all her health challenges, Carol wasn’t one to sit still. She was able to work and continued to do the things she liked — baking, cooking and spending time with her grandkids.

“She was a busy, busy person all her life. I can remember as long as we were married she never really sat,” Denny stated.

Dedicated caregivers

When Carol moved to the Sanford Health Sheldon Care Center, Denny remembers how she continued to be busy and liked to look for things to see and do.

He was impressed by the caregivers who were there for her and able to help manage her pain.

“Some are just so good at it. It’s amazing,” he said. “Those CNAs were just so caring and helpful.”

Denny spent five to six hours a day at the nursing home with Carol, often at her bedside. The couple, married for 56 years, enjoyed many meals together.

“The food at the Care Center is outstanding. I ate there frequently with her and it was like home cooking,” Denny stated.

Faith, family and health care

Throughout Carol’s life and especially as she dealt with her health challenges, her faith, family (including four children and 15 grandchildren) and health care team helped her live a fulfilling life.

Carol spent about two months in the Care Center before she passed away on March 26, 2022, with her family by her side.

“Now she’s in a much better place and there wasn’t as much sorrow because there was some joy, too,” said Denny. “We got a lot of support from friends, our church and our pastor and all those things really add up.”

Denny and his children are forever grateful for the caregivers at Sanford Sheldon.

“We were treated wonderfully and with special care,” he said.

Learn more

Posted In Hospice, Rural Health, Senior Services, Sheldon