Hospice Nurse Marks 35-Years of Compassionate Care


Tom Cassidy, RN has dedicated his entire career to caring for dying people. On August 1, 1988, he became a nursing assistant at Our Lady of Good Counsel, now the Our Lady of Peace residential hospice home. Tom believes it was divine intervention led him there, following the death of his mother from cancer. “It suddenly hit me,” he says. “It was like my mom was sending me a message, and at that point, I diverted my pathway towards being an accountant, and shifted to hospice care.”

Tom worked hard in the company of the Dominican sisters who originally ran the hospice home. “They were like a second family to me,” he says. “At first, I wasn’t sure if I could handle working with dying patients, but they taught me that simply being myself and getting to know them would ease my apprehension, and it did.”

Tom passed his boards in 1992, taking him from nursing assistant to registered nurse. His colleagues know him as a dependable, kind, and compassionate caregiver who is focused on charting to keep track of symptoms and manage patient care, contributing greatly to ensuring pain management and comfort.

Quality patient care is very important to Tom. “When a patient comes to our residential hospice, they’re given a whirlpool bath, a shampoo, and men are given a shave. They are dressed in clean clothes and put in a bed with clean, pressed sheets. This care puts families at ease, along with knowing that we’re very good at controlling pain. 

Tom says, “Sometimes it’s hard to see people pass and see the grief experienced by their family, especially when a younger person passes.” Tom feels he and his colleagues do their best to have family present at the time of passing, but if that’s not possible, staff tries to be there. “We do our best to have someone at their side when they die, so their family knows their loved one didn’t die alone.” He adds, “We want families to know we will do our best to provide excellent care and treat their loved one with respect and dignity. They can go to bed at night knowing their loved one is in a good place.” 

In a recent interview, Tom said, “Hospice care is my calling,” and anyone who has had a loved one in his care knows it’s true.

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