Comfort. Peace. Love. What more could anyone ask for when it comes to caring for aging parents? Beth Ann Hirschmann, her seven siblings and their extended family experienced all of this and more when their parents, residents at Pine Run Retirement Community, suddenly experienced dual health crises.
James and Betty Hirschmann moved to Pine Run five years ago, when both were in their mid-70s and in good health. Pine Run was James' preferred choice, because his doctors were part of the Doylestown Health system. He wanted to remain with his physicians and have access to the medical capabilities of Doylestown Hospital. That turned out to be a very wise decision.
In April 2016, Betty fell and broke her hip. She underwent surgery at Doylestown Hospital, followed by a stay in the Pine Run Rehabilitation Center. While her mom was recuperating, Beth stayed with dad at his condo and quickly realized he needed support with everyday tasks. With help from Pine Run Senior Director of Villager Services, Maria Santangelo, and social worker, Nancy Pellegrini, the family made the decision to move James to the Pine Run Health Center. "It was a hard conversation to have with dad," said Beth. “But Maria and Nancy exhibited so much grace in helping him adjust. They also understood how hard this was for our family and extended extra care and support to us as well."
Unfortunately, Betty's crisis soon became worse. Shortly after her hip was healed, Betty was diagnosed with cancer. She began a two-month journey of tests, procedures, changing symptoms, emergency care, hospitalization, and ultimately hospice as her condition worsened. The Hirschmann family began a journey of their own as they navigated a myriad of concerns related to both parents.
A Network of Care
"At every turn, someone was always there caring for my mom, my dad and our family," Beth recalled. "The interconnectivity of care we experienced at Doylestown Health and Pine Run was incredible. It was as if there was an invisible safety net of care around us all the time. Help would appear before we even knew enough to ask for it."
Beth notes that it was the respect and love displayed for each of her parents that impressed her the most. "The doctors, nurses and staff sacrificed for them, putting in long hours and going above and beyond to help them and to ease our concerns," she said.
Betty Hirschmann lost her battle with cancer in June 2016. James Hirschmann has since moved back into independent living with the aid of companion services. The family recalls their two-month crisis as a time that showed them what it means to have a village of support.
With the hope that others can experience the same love and care, the Hirschmann family has generously invested in the mission of Pine Run with annual contributions of support. "We all want the best for our parents," said Beth. "Pine Run provides that in every way."
About Doylestown Health Foundation
As the philanthropic arm of Doylestown Health, the Doylestown Health Foundation raises funds to safeguard the future of excellence in patient care and improves the quality of life for all members of our Central Bucks County community and beyond.
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