For families caring for a family member facing a terminal illness, life is challenging to manage. Patients and caregivers feel a range of emotions like anger, sadness, loss, frustration, uncertainty, and fear.
This is a lot for families to handle on their own. CHP Home Care and Hospice offers services to meet the needs of patients and help lighten the load for families.
A peaceful place
Chris Liechty of Archbold spent weeks in the hospital battling a rare form of bone cancer. Eventually, it came a time when further medical treatments were no longer effective and hospice became an option.
The Liechty family chose to use the CHP – Defiance Area Inpatient Hospice Center.
“After weeks of visiting Dad in the hospital, we coveted the test-free tranquility, the comfortably carpeted hallways of CHP,” according to Liechty’s son, Caleb. “CHP is a peaceful place in my memory. It was a place that allowed, and encouraged, our family to feel all the grief, love, confusion, and hurt that comes with losing a loved one.”
Liechty passed a year ago, but his death is still fresh in a lot of ways according to Caleb.
“I’ve found myself not wanting to dwell on the sadness and pain of his last months alive,” he said. “I’d rather spend time in memories of his laughter around the table, his racing me barefoot across the green grass, or remembering him standing in front of a crowd telling stories and jokes.”
A Girl Named Tom
The Liechty siblings – Caleb, Joshua, and Bekah – make up the group Girl Named Tom, winners of season 21 of NBC’s “The Voice.” The Liechtys were raised in the village of Archbold. The band’s name is based on a childhood nickname. Joshua used to call Bekah “Thomas” when she was a baby, according to the group’s website.
In 2021, their father was given a terminal cancer diagnosis.
“For so long, we never knew what to expect day-to-day in terms of Dad’s health,” Caleb said. “When we got to the point of needing hospice, everything became simpler.”
“We felt educated by the staff for what was to come – as peaceful and prepared as a family can possibly be in such a traumatic and devastating hour.”
Comfort is the focus
Liechty says, at the CHP hospice center, the focus became providing comfort for their dad, and a place where the family could “grieve and celebrate the final precious moments with him.”
“One of our Dad’s biggest concerns was suffering while dying,” Liechty said, “and specifically, having us kids and our mom having to witness it.”
He said the CHP staff assured them that their father would not suffer – and he didn’t.
“We are all very grateful for that,” Liechty said. “While continually heartbroken, we are thankful for these last memories in the very safe space of CHP. We recognize how holy [the hospice staff] are.”
Knowledge is power
Hospice isn’t something most people want to think about. But, providers like CHP Home Care & Hospice say it’s important for families to be aware of what services are available locally before the need arises.
In-home hospice care can be a way to keep loved ones who are struggling with a terminal illness at home, alert, and pain-free. Hospice can begin anytime someone is determined to have a life expectancy of six months or less. (Hospice may be provided longer than six months). The earlier the better because the range of services available is greater the longer someone is cared for by hospice.
CHP Hospice offers services to meet physical, emotional, and spiritual needs for an improved quality of life while remaining at home.
When a patient’s home setting is not ideal for hospice care, the CHP inpatient hospice center serves all of Northwest Ohio with pain and symptom management, and 24-hour nursing care with supportive visits from social workers, chaplains, musicians, and volunteers in comforting surroundings. Hospice may also be delivered in many area nursing facilities.
It’s also important to choose a hospice provider that is located nearby. The nurses, aides, social workers, clergy, and support staff at CHP Home Care and Hospice are all local people.
“If you don’t know our nurses and staff personally, you probably know our parents or grandparents,” said Wendy Gericke, CHP Community Liaison. “We are rural, small-town people and we understand how much family means. We try to treat every patient like we’d want one of our own family treated.”
Top photo: Chris Liechty with his wife and caregiver, Holly, at the CHP-Defiance Area Inpatient Hospice Center