For Suzanne Davis, making quilts is her passion and volunteering for Hosparus Health of Central Kentucky (HCK) is a “labor of love.” Her passion and love came together when she organized a day of quilting to benefit HCK’s Care Blanket program this summer.
Suzanne is one of about 80 members of the Stitchers Quilt Guild in Elizabethtown, a homemaker club that often uses their sewing talents to make quilts for local charities. They’ve made hundreds of blankets for HCK over the years. When Suzanne asked fellow members if they would be interested in spending an entire day making blankets for Hosparus Health’s patients and families, about 25 women came to the University of Kentucky Extension office starting at 8 a.m. on June 14 to sew.
Because it was so close to the 4th of July holiday, Suzanne chose a patriotic theme for the day and the blankets, which will be presented to HCK’s veteran patients. Quilters enjoyed a delicious lunch, complete with a red, white and blue dessert brought in by HCK staff — and each received a goody bag full of items donated by local businesses that were more than happy to help out.
“It’s amazing. When you say ‘Hosparus,’ people ask what they can do and how much you need,” Suzanne says.
Six quilts were finished on site that day, with another 19 completed in time for the Guild’s next regular monthly meeting. Much of the fabric was donated by the sister-in-law of two other HCK volunteers, Diane and Jeff Myers, as well as the quilters themselves.
“It was so much fun,” Suzanne says. “We just enjoy each other’s company, and it was for a good cause. Everyone’s excited to do it again.”
As a volunteer, Suzanne has been delivering care blankets to HCK patients and families for about 5 years, and she is always looking for ways to do more. “I can’t say enough about Hosparus, and I can’t do enough,” she says.
That’s because of the excellent experience she had with HCK’s care for her husband, who passed away 20 years ago at age 48 from cancer, and her mother, who died in hospice care in March of this year, at age 94. “They were just wonderful, such a godsend,” she says. “They have been so good to me, so anytime I can give back, I do it.”
Suzanne was very close with her mom, Estelle Harper, who she says was very social and loved to connect with people. She was the secretary at North Hardin High School for 43 years and loved by her community.
Estelle had been living at Tender Touch Senior Living in Elizabethtown, when she suffered a fall due to a urinary tract infection. In the elderly, UTIs can cause weakness and confusion, and present symptoms that resemble a stroke.
That started a series of chronic UTIs and overall physical decline, but her mind stayed sharp, Suzanne says. The family called Hosparus Health on Monday, March 11, and Estelle died on Sunday, March 17. She was a devout Christian and loved St. Patrick’s Day, so her daughter says it’s fitting that’s when she passed away.
Though Estelle was only in our care for a short time, “It was the best possible ending to her life,” Suzanne says. “The care and the information you get from the nurses and staff, it’s just phenomenal. It’s the support you need at a very difficult time.”
Her family was so grateful to be able to count on Estelle’s care team, day or night. “Anytime we would call, Hosparus was there. If they didn’t have the answer, they would find out and call us right back. They did exactly what they said they were going to do, and they did it promptly.”
Her mother’s care team went above and beyond, even visiting the family at the funeral home after she passed. “They didn’t have to do that,” Suzanne says.
Suzanne saw her mother-in-law die in a hospital about 30 years ago, and “it was horrific. I was traumatized by that. Thanks to Hosparus Health, it was not at all like that for my mother. It was beautiful.”
Her hospice experience with her husband was just as positive, but he, too, was only in our care for a few days. Suzanne says that now, she wants to get the word out that hospice and palliative care is not just for the last few days of life. “You can have Hosparus care for many months or even years. I wish people knew they could get this wonderful care sooner.”