ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – When you think ‘hospice,’ odds are you’re not exactly thinking about warmth. But for some loved ones of patients at Hendrick Hospice Care, it’s described as caring and warm as can be.

Hendrick Health employee, Lauren Spindler told KTAB/KRBC she lost her mother to cancer in 2019. Through that trying time, she said she knew Hendrick Hospice Care was the best option.

“My mom was a lovely woman. She really made me the woman that I am today,” Spindler said.

Many are under the wrong impression that hospice care may mean the very end of life- rather than helping to keep the quality of it. Hospice care is intended for both long and short-term care, keeping patients comfortable and happy, and extend additional help to patients’ families and loved ones.

“It’s a support team, and I think a lot of people hear it as scary,” explained Lauren Templeton, Hendrick Hospice’s Medical Director. “Hospice is truly a supportive surrounding of you and your loved one in a very challenging medical time.”

Hendrick Hospice care has been serving Abilene since the 1980s and has grown to include a 65-mile radius, serving 13 counties.

“It was a great experience with my family,” Spindler encouraged. “The care they provided, the people they provided to us… It was a benefit not just to my mother, but it was a benefit to us.”

Thanks to donations made to the hospice center, Spindler’s family, along with many others, didn’t have to worry about their ability to pay. These donations also allow Hendrick Health to provide services directly to family members- such as bereavement counseling.

“We offer grief counseling, grief support groups,” said Adrianna Golden-Smith, the Hospice care’s Bereavement Coordinator. “After someone has lost a loved one in our services, we follow up with that family individually; offer them a phone call, just touch base, see how they’re doing, [and] kind of assess what support they do have available, and what might be most beneficial for them going forward.”

Counseling is available to any age and is not solely limited to grief counseling. There is counseling for children whose parents are deployed, and even ways to help navigate lingering effects of COVID-19. Ultimately, though, the goal is simple: Making sure the patient and families are well cared for.

“The hospice staff, all the way from the volunteers to the doctors, they treated my mother with so much respect, dignity,” Spindler said. “I recommend it to any families that I know are going through a hard time and they need the help, because hospice can provide it.”

Tap here to donate to Hendrick Hospice Care. You can also visit any Hendrick center, or even swing by its booth at the Mall of Abilene.