News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Hospice House: An island of calm

Hospice House at Partners In Care in Bend provides more than end-of-life care for their patients who are on the last leg of their journey. Tollgate resident Dave Lysne describes it as “a place of extreme professionalism that is so obvious and calming,” that family members find it “very easy to go there and exhale.”

That place of calm where she could exhale was exactly what Dave’s wife Dale needed after seven years of intense caregiving – three when Dave experienced unexpected critical health issues and then four more after her mother, Judy Hayden, moved to Sisters from Florence in the spring of 2017. The Lysnes helped her move and got her house sold. In February 2018 Judy’s new home in The Pines was ready for move-in.

In December of 2017, Judy had begun to experience painful back issues. Palliative surgery followed in August 2019, necessitating powerful pain medication and three separate hospital stays for Judy. Dale’s level of stress and caregiver burnout reached a crescendo during that same fall with high blood pressure issues necessitating medication, an inability to sleep, and running the risk of having a stroke. Dale was transported twice to the emergency room, once requiring an overnight stay in the hospital. At that point in time, the doctor told Dale she needed help.

In October 2019, the Lysnes moved Judy to The Lodge in Sisters. Partners In Care was contacted to perform an assessment as to her appropriateness for hospice care due to her high level of pain medication and significant weight loss. But Judy rallied, her condition leveled out, and her mind was working fairly well. She even returned to visiting Dave and Dale once a week for dinner and her favorite game – Scrabble. With the doctor making house calls to The Lodge and the staff managing Judy’s medication, she was able to eventually discontinue the pain meds.

Then COVID-19 changed everything, and Judy became isolated from her family due to pandemic regulations.

“My mom was profoundly affected by the isolation,” Lysne said. “We could only see her through her outside window. In late 2020, she wasn’t eating and began to lose weight again. We couldn’t talk on the phone because she stopped wearing her hearing aids. Her mask kept getting caught on them. That was the beginning of a downward spiral, including more painful back spasms.”

By early February 2021, Judy wasn’t getting out of bed. With a precipitous drop in her heart rate, she was transferred to the emergency room where Dale was told Judy needed to go on hospice.

On Monday, February 8, Judy went on home hospice, with nurses coming to The Lodge to check on her and provide medication for her pain. That Wednesday, she tried to get out of bed by herself, not thinking to push the button for staff, and got tangled in her walker and fell. The decision was made to transfer Judy to Partners In Care Hospice House, as her care needs were beyond those that could be met at The Lodge.

“Above all, we felt so fortunate they had an empty room at the time of our need and Mom was able to stay for the duration,” Dale recounted. “It was a huge relief. I didn’t have to worry anymore.”

Dale described the entire Hospice House staff as “so compassionate, second to none. The way they cared for Mom and for the family was second to none.”

The staff took great interest in getting to know who Judy was and about her family. She was an extremely talented artist, and the care staff was delighted when Dale brought in notecards made from Judy’s watercolors, taking the time to go through them all.

Judy was expected to be at Hospice House through the following weekend, but on Thursday, February 18, she experienced a cardiac event late at night and Dale was notified at home. The staff took care of contacting the funeral home.

Dale is grateful for the loving care provided by everyone at Hospice House.

“The most important thing to us was that Mom was able to have pain relief and wasn’t suffering,” Dale added.

“We wanted to help others experience what we felt when Mom was at Hospice House. We knew we needed to donate (to the Sisters Community Challenge),” concluded Dale. “The donation put a period at the end of a chapter.”

Note: Through Sisters’ generosity, the Partners In Care Hospice House Capital Campaign has exceeded the original goal of $100,000 to cover the cost of the Three Sisters patient suite in the new Hospice House.

The total amount needed to be raised to cover construction costs of the entire new building is $6 million.

Every dollar the campaign raises by June will be matched by the Tykeson Family Foundation.

To make a donation to the Partners In Care Hospice House Capital Campaign, checks or pledges may be sent to: Partners In Care, 2075 NE Wyatt Ct., Bend, OR 97701, indicating the donation is part of the Sisters Challenge.

Donations by credit or debit cards may also be made online at indicating the Sisters Challenge.

For more information, contact Marlene Carlson at 541-706-1335.


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