“I would love for people to not be afraid of the word ‘hospice,’ says Cathy Delgado, nurse supervisor of the Good Samaritan Society – Marley House, an inpatient hospice house in Prescott, Ariz. “People hear the word and instantly think ‘death.’ It’s so much more.”
It’s this “something more” that is at the heart of why Delgado is involved with the Marley House. The Marley House provides general inpatient care to people who need around-the-clock nursing services that cannot be managed at home. While there are other hospice houses in the United States, the Marley House is unique in the Prescott region. That’s why Delgado urges support for its mission.
“A larger endowment will mean that we can care for patients and do what is right for them without worrying about the bottom-line,” Delgado explains. “Inpatient hospice care is an absolute necessity if patients are going to receive the best care possible.”
The Marley House also offers respite care, which means they take patients for a short time – a few hours to a few days – when their family caregivers need a break.
Delgado has been with the Good Samaritan Society for nearly five years, coordinating the Marley House care team. A trained nurse, Delgado came to this career later in life; she didn’t start her training until her 40s.
“Best decision I ever made,” she says.
Hospice adds quality to final days
Delgado explains that when someone qualifies for hospice, she assigns the team that works with the patient and their family. At the Marley House, this team includes a medical director, nurses and nursing assistants as well as a social worker, a chaplain, volunteers and a bereavement coordinator to care for the body, mind and spirit.
Volunteers are critical, Delgado says, because they provide comfort by sitting and listening or by simply holding a hand. Some play an instruments for patients and others sing, read, do crafts, or bring a therapy dog.
“The Marley House changes the playing field,” Delgado explains. “Hospice care is not about curing a disease. It’s about adding quality to the patient’s final days.”