Cami Leech Florio: St. Francis Reflections Hospice Was Truly a Gift to Our Family
By Cami Leech Florio // June 3, 2021
St. Francis Reflections Lifestage Care has developed expertise, services across all stages of end-of-life care
WATCH: Do you need help with a family member or a friend that is very sick or in need of end-of-life care? Cami Leech Florio talks about the passing of her father and how she found the help she needed from St. Francis Reflections Lifestage Care in Brevard County on Florida’s Space Coast.
On January 1, 2020, my father quietly took his last breath. It was the most peaceful ending that I could have envisioned for my sweet Dad. Our journey during his final months is one that I will cherish forever. It was a journey shaped by love.
Several months earlier, EMS flashed on the caller ID. Although I have worked in healthcare for nearly 20 years, there is nothing that could have prepared me to see my Dad in an ICU bed, breathing on a ventilator. Dad slowly improved, but we discovered a diagnosis of Stage IV cancer.
Throughout his hospitalization, Dad talked about the aspects of life that were most important to him: faith, family and his favorite foods. We vowed to care for him and decided that he would come to live with my husband and me.
We settled into a weekday routine of doctor’s appointments and treatments. Weekends were reserved for faith, family and food. We were comfortable at home, but it was challenging. Caregiving was the most rewarding experience of my life; it was also all-consuming.
Dad’s energy waned after a couple of months, and he told us that he didn’t want to continue spending his best hours at the doctor’s office. We supported his decision and talked about whether it was the right time for hospice.
We talked for hours about what Dad valued most: time with family, attending church and eating his favorite foods. We decided that hospice was the right fit for our family, and Dad enrolled in St. Francis Reflections Hospice a few days later. My colleagues quickly became an extension of my family.
Hospice made everything so much easier. We were able to devote more of our energy to spending time with Dad instead of managing every aspect of his care. Our nurse arranged to have equipment and medications delivered, and she came to visit us regularly. The massage therapist helped so much with his stiff muscles and aching bones.
The first three months that Dad was on hospice were fairly routine. He often wanted to eat bacon for breakfast and pie for dinner. We indulged every request and enjoyed our meals together.
In December, his strength and stamina started to decline. The days became more challenging, but they are some of my fondest memories. Our focus was solely on the simple joys in life. We arranged a special family Christmas, knowing in our hearts that it would be our last.
After that joyous weekend, Dad slowly faded away. On New Year’s Eve, he fell into a deep sleep. He was comfortable, but I was scared. Two hospice nurses spent most of the day at our home, providing comfort and reassurance.
They were so kind as they helped me through an emotionally draining day. Dad passed away the next morning. It was surreal, but also very peaceful. Our hospice nurse provided so much support, compassion and love on that sacred day. St. Francis Reflections Hospice was truly a gift to our family.
– Cami Leech Florio
WATCH: Shawn Bassham, the Chief Philanthropy Officer with St. Francis Reflections Lifestage Care based in Titusville on Florida’s Space Coast, talks about the 40-year tradition of St. Francis helping people all across Brevard County.
St. Francis Reflections Lifestage Care is a Name that Reflects the Organization’s Legacy of Care and Compassion
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – For more than 40 years, Hospice of St. Francis has served Brevard County as a compassionate provider of hospice services.
Over time, St. Francis Reflections Lifestage Care has developed expertise and services across all stages of end-of-life care, from pre-hospice to post-hospice.
The legacy of care established by founder Emilie Sasko and a group of volunteers in 1977, has grown to become a multi-faceted provider of care and resources for the residents of Florida’s Space Coast.
St. Francis Reflections Lifestage Care’s scope of services has progressed to include a non-hospice palliative care program for individuals coping with serious illness, and a robust grief support program including extensive program offerings for both adults and children.
As a service to its beloved community, St. Francis Reflections Lifestage Care also provides large-scale community memorial services, a pet placement program for hospice patients, and specialized programming in support of our large population of veterans.
“In honor of the organization’s legacy, and to inspire our future, St. Francis Reflections Lifestage Care’s new name was carefully chosen as a reflection of its broad scope of compassionate care, service and commitment to our community,” said Chief Philanthropy Officer Shawn Bassham.
As they uplifted the lives of so many in so many different stages of life, St. Francis’ leadership came to realize that the name, Hospice of St. Francis, was not fully reflective of the broad scope of services offered.
When the St. Francis leadership explored new names, they found that Hospice of St. Francis had earned a great reputation in the community, and was highly regarded for its compassionate approach.
From focus groups to online surveys, their staff and their community told them that St. Francis was a brand that resonated with their mission: Uplifting Lives. Uplifting Each Other. Uplifting Our Community.
Thus, the new, carefully chosen St. Francis Reflections Lifestage Care is a name that reflects the organization’s legacy of care and compassion along with its present-day depth of services. The new color scheme is evocative of the natural elements in its beautiful coastal environment.
Contact St. Francis Reflections Lifestage Care at 321-269-4240 or visit their website at reflectionslsc.org
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