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Gratitude inspires
stories of hope

Nanette and Oliver Stevenson

Finding Peace at Evelyn's House

I had never seen care like that in my life. In addition to helping him be as pain free as possible, they honored him and took care of his whole body.

Nanette Stevenson

Nanette Stevenson knew she needed to be an advocate for her husband, Oliver, during the year he lived in a memory care facility. But her mind was put at ease after the couple, who had been married for 44 years, settled in at Evelyn’s House.

“He was in loving arms,” she says about the hospice home, where her husband passed away on March 30, 2018. “I had never seen care like that in my life. In addition to helping him be as pain free as possible, they honored him and took care of his whole body.”

However, Nanette says she hadn’t been quite sure what to expect when they first arrived at the facility and was worried that she might need to continue her vigilance.

Nanette's initial concern wasn’t that unusual for a family member who had been a caregiver for a loved one, says Katie Karr, one of the nurses on Oliver’s treatment team.

“Family members may come in feeling very guarded, but within 24 hours, you can see that change,” Katie says. She explains that it can be difficult for caregivers to feel it is safe to let go of responsibility when they have become so accustomed to making sure the patient gets the right medication and proper attention.

“We’re here to do all of that,” says Katie. “It allows them to be the loving family members they need to be.”

Indeed, Evelyn’s House provides a holistic approach to the emotional, spiritual and physical care of both terminally ill patients and their families. Designed to look like a home, rather than a medical facility, Evelyn’s House is a unique space that offers warmth, beauty and tranquility at a time when they are most needed.

In the case of the Stevenson family, Nanette says the staff at Evelyn’s House watched over her and her daughter, Rose, providing comfort and helping them find peace.

“I felt everyone had complete empathy, not just for my husband, but for me and my daughter,” she says.

It is that holistic approach that drew Katie, who has been a nurse for about 35 years, to Evelyn’s House. She joined the facility when it opened in 2017 after working in the home hospice field for five years.

She finds practicing in hospice to be very rewarding because it is the area in which she feels she can help patients and their families the most. Katie says that while many health care practices can feel very rushed, everything slows down in hospice. It’s a period when professionals can help patients and their families figure out where they are in their journey and if the timing is right for hospice.

“You have to think about the quality of life and hospice is a form of living,” Katie says. “You are giving them a choice to have a good journey. I just want patients and their families to experience a good, peaceful end.”

And that’s exactly what Evelyn’s House provided the Stevenson family, says Nanette.

“The nurses are a very special type of people. It’s something they do from the heart,” she says, adding that the Evelyn’s House team was able to bring beauty and spirituality to this very sad time. “Oliver died with dignity and that’s all I wanted.”