My first introduction to hospice care came when I began practicing in Manhattan with two fellow physicians, Dr. Gene Klingler, and Dr. George Bascom. During that time period, Dr. Bascom had started a volunteer hospice program in the community in which he and other volunteers did everything they could to comfort individuals in their final days of life. Years later, I became more aware of hospice care through my wife, Shannon’s, involvement in helping with the Homecare & Hospice Fundraising events.
When Shannon and I learned about the campaign to build the hospice house, we were very interested in donating to the project. We had both seen patients die in the hospital setting and were very much in favor of a facility that would be better equipped to handle all of the aspects of end of life care. We are honored to have given our largest charitable gift ever to help build The Good Shepherd.
In 2011, my awareness of hospice care increased once again when my mother-in-law was admitted to the hospice house in Salina. The hospice house was an absolute lifesaver for our family as we simply could not keep her at home any longer. The combination of a lovely facility and kind staff allowed us to be completely comfortable having her there. In 2012, shortly after my mother-in-law’s passing, her daughter, my sister-in-law was also admitted to the hospice house in Salina where she and our family received excellent care during her final days.
Shortly after our experience in Salina, the Assistant Medical Director position became open here at Homecare & Hospice. I was very interested in becoming involved and having decided to semi-retire from my practice, the timing was perfect. My role is to visit the clients that have been on hospice care for at least six months and to ensure that they continue to meet hospice eligibility. This task is sometimes very easy and other times very difficult, but I am honored to volunteer my time and talent to help our hospice organization in any way I can.
I’m Dr. Tom Shields of Surgical Associates and I am Homecare & Hospice.