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Toni’s Story: Hospice Care Team Feels Like Family


In this video, Toni, a Hospice of the Northwest patient, shares about how her hospice care team is helping her live every moment with compassion and dignity.

Toni had been diagnosed with kidney cancer, and, despite trying several treatment options, was in a great deal of pain.

“I could not sit, I was not able to walk and it just kept getting worse and worse,” she said. Toni had been admitted to the hospital several times when doctors finally told her there was nothing more they could do to help her. At that point, she asked to go home. “I don’t want to end my life suffering like that.”

Toni had lived very independently her whole life, but was now worried. “My very first thought was, 'I don’t know how I’m going to be able to do that alone,’” she said. “I don’t have a family. I don’t have anyone to take care of me.”

Her friend, Lynn, had been receiving hospice services and recommended she call Hospice of the Northwest. Toni said, “I got the most wonderful woman on the other end of the line. She was so kind and so easy to talk to.”

Like all Hospice of the Northwest patients, Toni was assigned a dedicated care team. Hospice services are generally provided by a core team that includes a hospice provider, registered nurse, social worker and spiritual counselor. They work together with the patient to develop an individualized, holistic care plan focused on the person’s needs and goals. For Toni, this meant adding several other members to her care team, including a CNA to help with bathing and personal care, a massage therapist to help her with pain and swelling in her legs and a volunteer who visits every week, offering conversation and companionship.

Once on hospice care, Toni’s pain started to subside and she was able to enjoy some of her favorite activities – such as gardening and walking along the river near her home. “It’s so different from traditional medicine,” Toni said of hospice care. “I am cared for totally. I feel healthier than I have in years.”

Toni’s fears about being alone also subsided. “I don’t feel that way anymore,” she said. “I have a whole team of people who have my back. And, over time, I feel like they have become a family to me.”