An Unexpected Blessing

Patty Ralko holds a photo of her mom,
Mary, and dad, John, on their wedding
day. The couple were married for 68
years before John’s passing last May.
In today’s digital age, hand-delivering a letter to someone is a rarity. But that’s exactly what Patty Ralko did when she brought her thank-you note to Angela Hospice.

After dropping it off, Patty said she got in her car, picked up her phone, and saw a photo pop up. It was a picture she had taken outside of her dad’s room at Independence Village in Plymouth, where he had been living the last few years with his wife, Mary.

“I thought, ‘Well Dad, guess you’re talking to me,’” Patty laughed.

Patty’s dad, John Hoffman, had received Angela Hospice care for about two weeks at his assisted living facility before passing in May 2015. John had vascular dementia, which can be caused after a stroke blocks an artery in the brain, and then developed aspirated pneumonia.

“We didn’t expect him to go quite that quickly, but it was really a blessing because you don’t want to see your loved one suffering like that,” she said. “It was just too hard.”

Three people, including John’s doctor, had recommended that they put John on hospice. Two of them specifically recommended Angela Hospice; so Patty made the call. She was immediately impressed with how quickly they were able to get John on hospice.

Patty said she had made an appointment with a social worker to come on Sunday, but had called the day before with a question. She was put on hold and then told a social worker would be at Independence Village in an hour.

“It was like bam, bam, bam,” she said. “So that very same day Dad was approved and under hospice care.”

Angela Hospice staff members were often in the building for other residents but would still make the time to see how Patty and her family were doing.

The staff also made sure the family knew what to expect, and how to keep John comfortable during his final days. Patty, her sister, and her mom were all there the night John died.

After John had died, Patty said one nurse came and sat with her mom for half an hour.

“She didn’t have to do any of that. Dad had already passed, and she just wanted to see how mom was doing,” Patty said. “I thought that was really, really wonderful.”

While some may have misconceptions about hospice, like putting a loved one in hospice is giving up on them, Patty is doing her part to change people’s views. Anyone she talks to she’s told how great hospice can be for a loved one, in hopes that the image will change.

“It was a difficult situation made a lot less difficult because of the professionalism, and the caring, and the kindness by the workers here,” Patty said. “If you love your loved one, then call Angela Hospice.”

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