Making our patients feel special is always a major goal of the Connecticut Hospice Interdisciplinary Team. Helping our patients and family members to make the most of their time together and to make new memories is another rewarding focus of our work.
Recently our team came together creatively to help make hospice patient Catherine Simpson’s birthday a very special event for her and her family.
Knowing her birthday was approaching, Cathy’s caregivers casually asked what sort of cake she would like, and she shared that having her favorite ice cream cake was one of her final wishes. Big Y stepped in to donate a large ice cream cake, while Social Work and Arts Department staff prepared for a surprise birthday party with a twist.
Balloons decorated her room, along with a giant birthday banner, hand-painted by staff artist Karen Burgess and adorned with her favorite cat pictures.
Coming as a surprise to Cathy, arrangements had quickly been made for her to have a Zoom Party with three generations of family members who live out of state.
Sporting a tiara, and assisted with her make up by her CNA, Cathy saw her beloved sister, nieces and nephews far away in Nevada and California.
Each member of the family took it in turns to share a special memory of the patient with her. During this precious birthday “visit”, she smiled broadly and shed joyful tears. She clearly felt their love, and was able to say “I love you” to her closest family members “face-to-face” even though they are far away.
On speaking to the team later, Cathy’s sister said
“She looks so very happy. I can’t thank you enough for all the wonderful things you do and have done for my beautiful sister. I will be forever grateful”.
Permission was given to publish this story and the patient's name.