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The Sweetest Dance

Yesterday, we were asked to admit Oscar onto our service. (This story is shared with the patient and family’s permission.) Oscar wanted to get home so that he could dance with his wife one last time. He was on a BiPap (oxygen) and Cardiac Pressors (heart medications) which made his ability to go home complicated. Stacy Agee (our Access Specialist) was phenomenal in getting Dell Seton staff on the phone to answer my many questions about the patient. After the discussion, it made the most sense for me to go see the patient as he was extremely complicated. Upon arrival to the hospital, our Access Supervisor Latasha Hill was waiting for me so that she could have the admission paperwork signed by the family for the admission. We were stopped and told the family doesn’t want Christopher House because they were told that he could be weaned off the BiPAP and Pressors at home.

After a discussion with the family, I received a hard no regarding admission to Christopher House. I thanked them for letting me discuss Oscar’s condition and Hospice Austin’s options. I was worried because I knew it could be a traumatic death at home due to stopping the air flow and medications. I stayed and asked the nurse if I could talk with the provider to understand why he thought these measures can be done at home. Dr. Jorgensen (who did hospice and palliative training at Christopher House) was the provider so I felt comfortable enough to have the challenging conversation. Dr. Jorgensen said he had heard somewhere that a hospice could do these measures at home. He stated, “I love Hospice Austin but is there another hospice that is willing to do this at home?” I told him and the team present to see if another hospice could, but I could pretty much guarantee this would not be possible from another hospice.

We came up with options and decided to go talk to the patient and his family. We were completely transparent, and they understood the risks of trying to get him home. They chose to come to Hospice Austin’s Christopher House first to see if Oscar could tolerate coming off the BiPAP and the Cardiac Pressors. If he could, I would work my hardest to get him home. The entire family (30 family members present) agreed, and the patient was moved to Christopher House.

When he arrived at Christopher House, I asked for the name of their favorite song to dance to, and it was Gary Hobb, Las Miradas. Once in the room, I gathered all the family outside of the room, in the room and around the bed to witness Oscar dance the last time with his sweet wife. I helped stand the patient up and he said to me, “You are granting me my final wish and I thank you.”

They are very happy with the choice to come to Chrisotpher House. Oscar has weaned off the Cardiac Pressors, off BiPAP and is actively dying. When I walked in this morning, his wife stated Hospice Austin’s Christopher House was the place their family needed because it feels like home.

This is why we do what we do!


Keisha Jones
Director of Hospice Austin’s Christopher House

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