For 22 years Sara Triplett cared for the City of Redwood Falls, but it was time for others to care for her. When the former mayor and city council member learned that her cancer was terminal, family and friends flocked to her side and Triplett entered Redwood Area Hospital Hospice.
Hospice provides comfort and support for terminally ill people and their families. Patients of all ages may receive hospice care if their life expectancy is six months or less, or if they have decided to forgo curative treatment. Sometimes patients seek hospice care because they can’t tolerate life-prolonging treatments, or they’ve exhausted all medical options.
Sara had a strong support system of family and friends through her battle. When she first joined hospice, she didn’t know what services she would need, so she signed up for everything offered. Soon she was able to determine what she could do for herself or with the help of family or friends and adjusted her care plan accordingly.
“At first it was very hard for me to accept help,” said Triplett. “But now I have accepted what I can and cannot do on my own and appreciate the support of others.”
The Hospice team looks for the best ways to meet the physical, spiritual, and psychosocial needs of the client and family. Every hospice patient has access to a registered nurse, hospice aide, social worker, volunteer and chaplain (also known as the interdisciplinary team). The interdisciplinary team works with the patient/family to write a care plan to determine the personalized care they need from the team.
“Our dear Sara is such a strong person and was able to learn many things about her care with the help of her personal caregivers,” said hospice nurse Maydra Maas. Whenever she felt comfortable, the hospice team worked with her to teach her the care techniques suitable for her situation.
Sara was grateful for the care and support she received in hospice. “When I was working for the City, I was proud to have such a strong hospital for our community,” Triplett said. “Now I am grateful that the hospital is here to provide the services I need throughout the journey of my illness.”
Editorial Note: Sara Triplett passed away on August 26, 2012. She was excited to share her experience in hospice with others through this article.