"Death can arrive suddenly without warning, such as an accident, or it may come with a rapid diagnosis or a very long fought battle with an illness," said
St. Anthony's began serving its first patient in
"We still want our community members to have dignity when they die," she said.
So far in 2016, St. Anthony's has served 376 patients. As of Tuesday, when Bowen addressed the
Organizations like the
One of Bowen's first tasks when she started at St. Anthony's in February was to write a grant to
Medically indigent adults don't have health insurance and aren't eligible for health-care coverage such as
Bowen relayed the story of a man she referred to as
Smith was in his early 50s when he was diagnosed with cancer about 18 months before
About a month later, his cancer came back and he had do under chemotherapy, radiation and more surgery. In this stretch of time he was fired from his job.
There were complications from the second surgery. The doctors determined his cancer had spread and there was no other treatment option available.
Bowen recalls visiting Smith's home with an admissions nurse. She saw Smith sitting on a couch, exhausted from lack of sleep, talking on the phone.
He wasn't calling loved ones in what would be his final few weeks. Instead, he was tied up all day talking to a pharmaceutical representative to try to get his medications paid for.
That's how he'd been spending his last days. His family spent hours in the pharmacy trying to figure out what medications could be paid for, how many they could get and how long it would last.
"The man who once worked was now making
Smith lived another 20 days in hospice care. He received 10 nurse visits, four visits from a social worker, four visits from a chaplain and six aid visits to help with baths. His medication related to his diagnosis was also delivered to his house.
Instead of emergency room visits or talking to pharmaceutical reps, Smith spent his last days with his family.
"He got to go fishing with his son one last time," she said. "He got to spend time with his grandbaby for a few extra days. He hadn't gotten to do that because he was too worried and stressed and taking time to figure out how he was going to get his needs met before hospice came to visit him."
These hospice services were made possible by donations. A
"It's amazing the small donations that help us in the big picture to provide care to individuals like
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