Case Manager, Our Lady of Peace Hospice & Home Health Care
When Kae Evensen meets a new hospice patient, she immediately sees them as a deeply beloved human being; a child of God. And, with great respect, she begins a process of discovering more about who they are. She says, “The care I give depends on who the person is, so I talk to them and look at photos in their home to get to know them. I find out who they are, who they love, what makes them happy, and what’s important to them. Everything I do begins here.” Evensen admits that she doesn’t meet her patients at a high point in their life from their perspective, but through their stories, she can see into their past when they were prom queen or the little child who excitedly ran down the stairs on Christmas morning. “I don’t see them as broken,” she says. “I see them as beautiful.”
Kae is a hospice nurse and former pastor who cares for patients in their homes. She says, “Being invited into someone’s home is a very intimate thing,” she says. “It makes people more vulnerable because you see where they live and sleep. There’s a certain tenderness that I’m aware of when I go into a patient’s home. I bring clinical skills, but I want to be respectful of what that place means for them, and why they want to pass there.”
As a former pastor, Kae views everything she does as spiritual care. She says, “When people get a scary, terminal diagnosis, she wants them to know there are compassionate options for them. She tells her patients, “It’s okay to be afraid and to fight, but you can let go because there are angels amongst us who will care for you and love you along the way.” In addition to nurses, those angels appear in the form of social workers and chaplains who recognize the needs to be met and Kae describes them working together as a team to lift burdens and care for the body and soul. “The staff of our community hospice are the kindest people I’ve ever met,” says Kae. “I’ve made referrals and would put my loved one in our care. Nancy Larson, our Director of Nursing, has a gift for hiring kind people.”
The hospice team also provides support to family members, many of whom are exhausted from caring for their loved one who is dying. Kae says, “Kindness transcends everything and it unites us. And, peace and kindness are universal, no matter what your faith is based in. It will follow you, and how we connect as human beings around our differences is what’s important.”
According to Kae, “The Our Lady of Peace Hospice team doesn’t hasten death; we simply make sure that people are as loved on this side of life as they will be on the next, and I want that journey to be seamless.”
During National Nurses Month, Our Lady of Peace is proud to honor our hospice nurses, and the compassionate end of life care they provide to patients and their families. All OLP nurses have taken the extra step of training and certification in the care of Alzheimer’s patients. Often referred to as “midwives of the soul,” in addition to medical care, these dedicated people have a gift of love and compassion for the dying.