Hospice of Olathe Medical Center
Hospice teaches, guides, supports, and nurtures the patient, family and caregivers in a caring service that is, in the words of one hospice nurse, “giving back to people at the most intimate time in their life.”
According to their daughters, Bill and Kiddy Sullivan were great parents and “a great team. He was larger than life and she was his best fan.” When Bill Sullivan’s cancer advanced to a point where there was nothing more that treatment could do for his condition, they were referred to hospice care. Tammi Watkins became his hospice care nurse.
“He had to know when I was coming, what my game plan was, what my role in his dying was going to be,” said Tammi Watkins, RN at Olathe Medical Center Hospice. “That’s what we focused on. And it came to be a really good friendship.”
“She was very honest with us and yet very kind and she helped us see what was ahead,” said Deb King, daughter of Bill and Kiddy Sullivan.
Mr. Sullivan died very peacefully and with dignity. As is the custom, Olathe Medical Center kept in touch with the family in the year following a death. Within about six months, there was a recurrence of cancer that Kiddy Sullivan had six years earlier. When the time was appropriate for her to receive hospice care, the family again turned to Tammi Watkins.
“She looked up at me and said, ‘Oh, Tammi, you’re here. I know what this means. Now I can start saying goodbye to my family,” said Watkins.
The entire family gathered and had a really good week. She was able to say goodbye to all her grandchildren. Like her husband before her, she too died with dignity and peace with her family around her.
“I would say that hospice really was a gift for us,” said King. “In some ways you could say it’s the smoothest hand off to eternity. You get to give care and love all the way through and there’s no regrets. That’s the great thing.”