Nancy Kniebbe: A Last Wish Fulfilled
“Hospice care helped my family make the most of the time we had left with my mother at the end of her life,” said Debbie Howard. Debbie’s mother, 81-year-old Nancy Kniebbe, had loved being at home, cooking, baking, gardening and caring for her family. With the help of Henry Ford Allegiance Hospice, Nancy was able to fulfill her wish of dying peacefully in her home in Marshall, surrounded by her loved ones.
Debbie came from her home in Cincinnati to help her sister, Pamela Moore, take care of their mom—with the help of nieces Jessi and Brittney. “It gave us a sense of satisfaction and peace to have Mom home with us, as she wished, to be able to see her and not worry that she was alone,” Debbie said.
If the family had any doubts Hospice care was the right choice for their mother, they were immediately relieved when Dan Alexander, a Henry Ford Allegiance Hospice RN, came for an initial home visit. “Dan put everything into the right perspective. He was so kind and gentle, but also honest with us about what to expect in Mom’s final weeks,” Debbie said.
Nancy’s family found the entire Hospice care team to be “courteous, kind and aware of the emotions we were dealing with,” Debbie said. “They were also positive and reassuring. They told us, ‘You know your mother best. Don’t worry, you are doing all the right things for her.’”
Debbie recalled “special touches and acts of kindness that surprised us and meant so much” to Nancy and the family. They were pleased to discover the Hospice care team includes music therapist Alexandra (Alex) Kring, who soothes patients by singing whatever they wish to hear.
Alex sang Nancy’s favorite hymns, while visiting her with Hospital Spiritual Care Coordinator Greg Grotbeck. Debbie said the visit lifted Nancy’s spirits, especially since she had been unable to attend church services for the past three months, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Nancy had been drifting between alertness and confusion, but she had a day of clarity just before she died. This allowed her to say goodbye to visiting family and church friends. “That night, our nieces, Pam and I were even able to have a lighthearted time with Mom. We loved seeing that she was enjoying herself,” Debbie said.
Nancy passed away the following day, in the company of those she loved. The Hospice caregivers stayed on for a while to comfort the family, Debbie said. “We appreciated their kind support, and we were later touched when Alex attended Mom’s memorial service. It was more than we could have expected." The family also wishes to thank Hospice RNs Roberta Hill and Melissa Krajewski for the loving care they gave to Nancy.