Residential Care – Rick’s Story

When Rick came to stay at St. Joseph’s Hospice, he knew he didn’t have long to live. After eight years of cancer treatments, his battle was coming to an end. Upon his arrival at St. Joseph’s Hospice, Rick looked around and said: This is pretty close to home.

From that moment on, the staff and volunteers were eager to learn what was important to Rick and his family. They did all they could to make every moment in his new home as lovely as possible. Rick mentioned he was worried he was going to miss his 49th anniversary with his wife, Irene.

Rick was a true romantic, and he could not imagine leaving Irene without celebrating one last anniversary.

Even in their last few weeks together, Rick wanted to leave Irene with lasting, happy memories. The care team secretly helped Rick plan an intimate, anniversary dinner in May 2019, even though their anniversary wasn’t until June. Understanding the urgency, staff keenly began working on the surprise “date night.”

Rick and Irene

One of Rick and Irene’s favourite restaurants was Restaurant Ninety One. Once contacted, the restaurant manager eagerly joined in on the preparations. Rick selected a three-course meal for their intimate dinner. The food was personally delivered by the restaurant’s manager, along with the linens and the flowers. A private table was set beside the fireplace in the Great Room at Hospice. With the help of his son, Rick created a playlist for the occasion and brought an exceptional bottle of wine from home.

It was a perfect evening.

Celebrating their life together as a married couple one last time was crucial to them. But their anniversary celebration was just one of the beautiful memories of their time at Hospice. Irene fondly remembers evenings spent gathered around the television in their suite, watching hockey games with family and friends. From time-to-time, even the care staff gathered with them. Everyone is family at St. Joseph’s Hospice.

“I was at St. Joseph’s Hospice 24/7 since Rick arrived,” shares Irene. “Our stay was just like being at home. It’s comfort any way you want it. It’s amazing. It’s all about the patient. Not just a patient in a hospital; it really does put you first. When he first arrived, Rick said ‘It feels just like home,’ and I know I could never have given him this at home. I slept better at Hospice than I did at home because I could see him and I know if he needs anything, he’ll be taken care of.”

St. Joseph’s Hospice became our gathering place. Family and friends visited every weekend. We would cook meals together in the Bistro, reminisce, and laugh and laugh. Talking about good times was so important to Rick.

– Irene, Rick’s Wife

Rick and Irene’s story is not unique to St. Joseph’s Hospice. Providing a ‘home away from home’ for more than 160 families each year and taking care of their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are core to what we do. Going beyond the basic care, doing everything to ensure our patients and their families live life to the fullest in those last precious days of life, is part of the personalized attention provided at St. Joseph’s Hospice.

Donate to St. Joseph’s Hospice and make a profound difference in someone’s life, just like Rick’s and Irene’s. Only when our community comes together can we continue to provide the care that we do for our patients and their families, perhaps even someone you know.

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