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A Birthday Surprise

Raphael Morris was grinning from ear to ear after just having blown out the candles and making his 91st birthday wish. Surrounded by his Hosparus Health team, including Social Worker Michelle Sanders, volunteer Wendy Ottman, and nurse Kim Cummings, the celebration had been a surprise for the guest of honor. “They’re really making me happy!” he exclaimed joyfully to his daughter, who joined the party via video chat after everyone, including Mr. Morris, sang the Happy Birthday song. “It’s a treat that you women can think that much of one person!” he added. “It’s a treat.”

Michelle met his smile and assured him, “You’re a special person.”

Over birthday cake, conversation, and a lot of laughter, the special connection they share is abundantly clear. Michelle and Wendy began providing services to Mr. Morris two years ago. Kim stepped in to help when the team nurse, Brittany Deterville, went on maternity leave. During their time together, they all formed a close bond. The hospice team was a consistent presence in his home and supported the family when they decided it was time to relocate Mr. Morris to a senior living facility.

By Your Side

Mr. Morris had lived independently to that point and had specific criteria in mind for his new home. Although his family members lived out of state, having Wendy, Michelle, and Kim close by to help with arrangements kept the process moving in a timely manner. Together, they toured several locations with Mr. Morris before he selected a facility that met both his needs and his wants.

Throughout the decision-making process, Mr. Morris made it clear it was important to him that his Hosparus team stay by his side. Part of Hosparus’ mission is to care for people in whatever setting they call home. If a location change is needed to better serve the patient, the Hosparus team transitions as well to provide services at the new location.

The team assured Mr. Morris they weren’t going anywhere and would make the move along with him, wherever he decided to go. “They said they’d be over here when I moved,” he noted. “And they’re here!”

“We weren’t going to give you up!” said Michelle. “We all are a team.”

“It’s a package deal, pal,” Wendy jokingly added.

Creating Comfort

The hospice care team’s goal was to make the transition as easy as possible for Mr. Morris. More than anything else, they wanted him to feel comfortable in his new surroundings. They brought special items from his home and made sure he had his favorite breakfast: fresh pears and Aldi oatmeal cookies. Wendy even recruited her husband to safely extend the telephone landline cord so Mr. Morris could make phone calls from his lounge chair.

“These three ladies have been a huge resource for me to help him. They know everything about this man, inside and out,” said Kelly Miller, the facility’s community relations director. She praised the team, “We need more of you all in this world.”

“It’s been a good team,” Wendy replied. “We’re thankful that God chose to cross all of our paths.”

To Mr. Morris, Kelly shared, “You’ve got some special people in this room with you here, mister.”

“You all are doing great work,” Mr. Morris agreed. He reflectively added, “It’s a good feeling.”

We’re Here to Help

If you or your loved one are facing serious illness, give us a call today at (800)-HOSPICE. We’re here to answer your questions about qualifying for hospice services and ways that we can help. Starting sooner rather than later can offer you the extra support you need to create more moments.


*This post was originally published in December 2022.

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