Having experienced the compassion of hospice care with family members and friends, Mike Everhart and his family knew that hospice care was exactly what they wanted when he was diagnosed with lung cancer in addition to the heart disease that already made it difficult for him to breathe. Mike entered hospice care in September 2017.

Mike’s goals were to spend his last months at home where he was happiest and to celebrate his 60th wedding anniversary with his wife Pat and their son and three daughters.

Mike was a large, tall man, making moving him difficult for his wife and daughters to move him. Hospice nurses and certified nursing assistants showed family members how to move him with ease. CNAs also assisted with bathing and other personal care.

In December, Mike’s doctor told him that it was unlikely that he would live long enough to celebrate his anniversary on January 25th. Mike and Pat’s daughters say that because of the care of Hospice of the Panhandle and his family, Mike and Pat celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary surrounded by their family. Despite his doctor’s prediction, Mike was looking forward to spring.

He lived another two months enjoying the company of his family and friends. He spent most of his time on the home’s enclosed porch. Mike, an avid hunter, called the porch his “tree stand.”

Mike’s family members credit Hospice of the Panhandle with helping them keep their husband and father at home during his illness.

“It (Hospice care) was a beautiful thing,” said Mike’s daughter, Vickie Elliott. “Having my dad home in his final days really drew our family closer together. We were all able to spend valuable time with him and he was happy being home. We wanted him to be comfortable and to be able to do as much as he could.”

Hospice of the Panhandle helps patients live as well as possible for as long as possible. This includes teaching families how to care for their loved ones at home.