Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hospice of Southern Illinois Homerun: All Good Things Come With Fredbird

Hospice of Southern Illinois Homerun
“All Good Things Come With Fredbird”

Fredbird arrived at Patsy’s home on Friday, June 13, 2014. Although Friday the 13th is usually recognized as a superstitious day, this day definitely wasn’t an unlucky one and will be considered “super” for this patient and family who will always cherish the memories Fredbird made in their home that day.
Hospice of Southern Illinois’ patient, Patsy, has been less responsive in the recent weeks. There is a joy of summer that still excites her, St. Louis Cardinals Baseball, as many who live in the metro-east can relate. Patsy’s caregivers and hospice interdisciplinary team learned about her love of Cardinals Baseball during their visits to her home and conversations with her children, noticing it was one thing that would bring her joy. In an attempt to bring some fun-loving excitement which the family hasn’t seen lately due to caregiver stress, Patsy’s terminal illness, and the inconsistencies of day-to-day living, the employees at Hospice of Southern Illinois  reached out to Fredbird, who without words, said it all!
He was welcomed with a yard sign created by Patsy’s granddaughter and friend and a warm, yet quiet family in the living room, for Patsy did not know who was visiting that day. Patsy’s daughter had told her that she was getting a special surprise visitor that day, but she wouldn’t say who. As Patsy patiently waited for this “super” surprise guest, everyone’s excitement was building because we all knew what was about to happen.

Fredbird entered the kitchen where Patsy was waiting. Her face was in total shock. She had no idea what to say or how to respond to this 6’ 3”, red bird character we all know and love! He instantly was able to make her smile with a, “Whoot woo,” and boy did she blush. It was so beautiful to see her eyes light up and joy in her face. He proceeded to serenade her, dance with her, and shake his tail feather at her. Fredbird decided there was not enough laughing and decided to go through the pantry, gulp some milk, and share a round of high fives with Patsy, the family, and the Hospice of Southern Illinois team.

The volume in the house then exploded. All stresses and illness at that moment were nonexistent. Everyone was laughing, taking photos, and shaking a tail feather. “I have never seen anyone turn a room so fast. It was an epic moment to capture and moment to experience,” explained Christine Litteken, Hospice of Southern Illinois’ Print and Social Media Coordinator, who was taking photos. Fredbird turned his attention back to his guest of honor to give her one final kiss before he left. Of course he couldn’t leave without a bang. In a cabinet he found a blow horn which a family member blew his way. It knocked him off his feet as he stumbled down the hall and out the door leaving us all with a smile and memory to cherish in our hearts forever. As a Hospice of Southern Illinois’ employee, Kim Oplet mentioned when she saw the photos, “All good things come with Fredbird.”
A few days later some Hospice of Southern Illinois’ employees went back to deliver photos from the day to Patsy and her family. The same joy was reignited from Friday as she was sitting in her room waiting for the game to start. We knew it was a hospice homerun! With Fredbird’s help, we were able to eliminate all stress, pain, and worries in that moment; give the family a memorable day together; give our patient, Patsy, the experience of a lifetime that few get to have.  
That night the Cardinals played the Nationals with a 1-0 victory. We all know that Patsy’s love for the Cardinals, especially Fredbird, Yadier Molina and Matt Holiday, helped play a part in the win that night. A special thank you goes to the St. Louis Cardinals, Fredbird, and his team for the above-and-beyond effort that impacted someone’s life at such an important and critical time. That day he was a vision of our mission, to enhance the quality of life for individuals and their loved ones touched by a terminal illness. It meant more to them and us than he will ever know.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hospice of Southern Illinois Announces New Medical Director

Hospice of Southern Illinois Announces New Medical Director

Hospice of Southern Illinois is pleased to announce the hiring of Ellen Middendorf, M.D. as a full-time, on-staff Medical Director. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Middendorf to our organization. She will play a critical role to ensure the highest quality end-of-life care in the area to patients and families.  
Hospice of Southern Illinois’ President and CEO, Rebecca Wisdom, announces, “Dr. Middendorf will continue to maintain positive relationships with the medical community as well as the mission of Hospice of Southern Illinois. The addition of Dr. Middendorf to our staff confirms our commitment to end-of-life care in our communities.” All hospices are required by the government to have oversight from a Medical Director, or physician who reviews the needs of patients, but a full-time, on-staff Medical Director will play a more integral role for Hospice of Southern Illinois’ patients and families. Dr. Middendorf will be managing symptoms related to the diagnosis, visiting patients, and providing our professional staff with direct access to a doctor for on-the-spot medication and symptom management. Additionally, she will work with other healthcare physicians, advocate the importance of hospice care at the end-of-life, and educate the community on hospice services for their loved ones.
Dr. Ellen Middendorf shared, "I am excited to begin this next chapter in my career as the medical director of Hospice of Southern Illinois. I have always found it my passion to take care of families and their loved ones as they grow and thrive. As the lives of those we care for change, it is imperative to ensure that medical, emotional and spiritual issues continue to remain a priority, even, and particularly, at the end of life. Thus, I am eager to coordinate with Hospice of Southern Illinois to continue to provide this level of care to the families that need it most."
Hospice of Southern Illinois is your community not-for-profit hospice program serving 27 counties in southern Illinois since 1981. Our commitment at Hospice of Southern Illinois is to be with our patients and their loved ones through the changing needs of the end-of-life process and the grief experience. For more information about Hospice of Southern Illinois, visit our website, www.hospice.org, or contact Lisa Phillipson, 618-235-1703 or lphillipson@hospice.org.