They’re dying and have nowhere to go. Hildegard House helps them die with dignity.
Originally published by the Courier Journal November 21, 2023
When Family Health Centers referred Monique Smith to Norton Hospital for testing, she did not suspect cancer. She certainly did not expect to learn that she was at the end of her life.
Monique was 58 years old and had nowhere to go. I sat next to her bed at Hildegard House in early October as she told me what happened. She was living under a bridge, away from family who had no idea where she was. Smith qualified for hospice and so Hildegard House stepped in to champion her care.
Before she founded the Hildegard House, Karen Cassidy was a palliative care nurse at Mary and Elizabeth Hospital. She would lament to her co-workers, “I can’t keep doing this.” Cassidy could not bear to know that some of her patients were being discharged from the hospital, going home without support at the end of their lives. She would sit in the parking lot after work and cry, knowing someone was leaving to die alone.
Read the entire article about the work and need for Hildegard House, founded by Loretto co-member Karen Cassidy, here.