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Hospice Austin’s Blog

In February 2017, 16-year-old Madelyn Shoales was diagnosed with a rare type of brain cancer. She underwent surgery to remove the tumor, followed by six weeks of radiation. One year later, when it became apparent that Madelyn would not survive her courageous battle, her last wish was to die at home. Her parents, Suzannah and Jason Shoales, and her Hospice Austin pediatric care team were determined to do everything they could to honor her wish. Bethany Miller was Madelyn’s RN case manager.

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The Austin-American Statesman’s Season for Caring campaign has made a profound difference in the lives of our past two recipients. As you may remember, our 48-year-old ALS patient Marcelo Gracia and his son, Gael, were featured in the Austin American-Statesman’s Season for Caring campaign in December.

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Jun 14

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Loving Spirits

Stacy Pruitt became a certified nurse aide after witnessing the subpar care her grandmother received from a nursing home in her small town. Suzanne Armistead became a CNA after seeing the excellent care her brother received. Andrew Stratman became a CNA after visiting his grandmother in a nursing home several times a day for about a year. “It was never a chore for me to help her,” he said. “I felt privileged to do it. It made me realize I have an aptitude.”

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She was sitting propped up in bed in one of the sun-filled corner rooms at Hospice Austin's Christopher House.  I saw that she had thick, dark hair with a few streaks of silver through it, noticeable because so often our patients have little or no hair after undergoing chemotherapy. 

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Hospice Austin social workers are on the emotional front lines for patients and families coming to the end of life’s journey. They help families heal fractured relationships, plan funerals, access social support services, normalize symptoms, and give voice to their sadness and fear. They provide a calming presence by holding space and offering support for the social and emotional issues that arise during this agonizing time. They help patients and families build on their own emotional strength.

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