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One of Dewanda Pederson’s bucket-list dreams was to get a tattoo in memory of her late mom. When her Hosparus Health Southern Indiana care team learned how much it meant to her, they quickly jumped into action to make her final wish a reality.

“This was a classic example of how our approach to care works, and how impactful we can be as an interdisciplinary team,” said Clinical Manager Amber Dewitt. “Literally, every single member of the team helped to make this happen.”

A hospice patient at Rolling Hills Healthcare Center, Dewanda had been talking with her CNAs “nonstop” about her desire for a tattoo. Word got around to Rolling Hills Social Worker, Kristi Holcomb, who brought up the idea to her Hosparus team.

They discussed it during their regular clinical meeting, and the wheels were set in motion. “All of our ears perked up, and everyone thought it was an awesome idea,” Amber said.

HSI’s administrative assistant previously had a good experience with Bananafish Tattoo Parlour in New Albany, so she called to find out if the shop could accommodate Dewanda. They happened to have an opening at 3 p.m. the same day! “Usually, they are booked up weeks in advance, so this was meant to be,” said Amber.

Another Hosparus team member coordinated the details with Rolling Hills, who were thrilled with the idea. Manager of Community Outreach Lindsey Fleming arranged for transportation.

Dewanda was not feeling well on June 24, the day of her appointment. But when Kristi went to talk to her, she was determined not to miss her chance. “Not 10 minutes later, she was up and dressed and ready to go. She was so excited.”

Amber volunteered to ride with Dewanda to Bananafish. “I can’t explain how excited she was. She thanked me over and over again and told me we were all angels. It was so sweet.”

“My mom was my best friend,” Dewanda said during the appointment. “She would be so proud of this, even though she didn’t like tattoos.”

Tattoo artist, Elizabeth “Rose” Redder said while she was applying the tattoo, “I lost my mom at a young age, so mom tattoos are really special to me. You have no idea how much this made my day, to be able to do this for you.”

“Talk about creating a moment. This is exactly what our care is about,” said Amber.

When Dewanda got back to Rolling Hills, she was so proud to show off her new ink to everyone she saw. She was so happy and excited, and incredibly appreciative of everyone who helped make it happen, Kristi said. Just before she passed away peacefully on June 30, she was able to realize another final wish — video chatting with her estranged son.

“For me personally, I feel so blessed to have been part of this.” Amber said. “In the nine years I have been with Hosparus Health, this was one of the coolest things we have been able to do for a patient.”

Hosparus Health would like to thank Bananafish Tattoo Parlour for donating their time and talents, and Steve Day with Assisting Transport for providing transportation. Also, a big thanks to Rolling Hills Healthcare for partnering with us to grant Dewanda’s wish.

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