From Monday, March 8th until his passing on March 12th, 2021, Ed Whiteside had the privilege to spend his final days in the new Stettler Hospice.
He would have preferred to be at home, but this was the closest thing to home while still receiving the care he required at the end.
He was in the hospital for a few weeks and was scheduled to move to the hospice, however, he took a turn for the worse and was moved into palliative care instead.
We are grateful for the palliative room as it was much better than a regular room.
It had more space, a better bed and access to a couch, fridge and a hot drink when needed. Staff were great, too.
But as nice as it was, it still had bells ringing and other loud noises, and still had the smell and feel of a hospital which is a scary place for children to go in to visit.
In contrast, when my four young boys and I walked into the hospice after the transfer, they said, ‘Wow, Papa’s new house is beautiful’.
It wasn’t a scary place to visit him. They were able to climb up on the bed beside him and snuggled in for their hugs and tell him how much they loved him without fear. Priceless!
The hospice is gorgeous! The staff was so amazing and genuinely made us feel welcome, loved and comfortable.
It was two bedrooms, a bathroom with a special chair in the shower, laundry, a full kitchen and a living room with beautiful pictures and furniture from Wells Furniture.
Someone had even donated a basket of wonderful products from FW Soap Company that we used on Dad’s lips and hands.
There was private parking donated by the County of Stettler, and a private entrance so we did not have to bother people going through Points West.
For those that would be there in the warmer weather, there is a little area to take your loved one outside to enjoy the green grass and flowers.
Dad was not stuck in his room all day starring at the same four walls. With the lift and the Broda chair, he was able to come sit in the living room and smell the home-cooked meals from the kitchen just like he would at home.
It was nice to be able to keep food cold in the fridge and prepare meals right there instead of going out for every meal.
Our family was able to sit in comfortable chairs and couches, holding his hand and relaxing.
I had come down to visit him with only enough clothes to last the weekend, but when his health got worse, I stayed the rest of the week. With laundry right there, I could wash my clothes as well as keep dad’s laundry fresh for him.
As well, with having two bedrooms, we were able to have two people stay there, one resting while the other visited with Dad so he was never alone.
Especially in this time of a pandemic, when many had to die alone or with only one person with them, we were extremely blessed. Because of the Stettler Hospice Society, we were able to take turns spending the last few days of his life surrounding him with love. Due to the separate entrance, a few at a time, most of our family was able to come and say their good-byes.
There are no words to express the gratitude our whole family feels to all of the people who contributed in any way to the Hospice Society to make this happen.
It all runs on donations and volunteers.
Losing someone is already hard enough to have to go through, but with a place like the hospice, it made it so much easier.
I believe we need more of these places as I can’t imagine a better place to spend those last few days with our loved one.
Thank you from the whole family.
Amberlyn Myshaniuk and all of the Whiteside family