Answers When You Need Them

August 21, 2020, Hospice, Hospice Patient Stories

Before coming to Gilchrist, Debbie Dasher’s experience with the healthcare system was harrowing. After a surgery to remove a tumor on her lung, doctors said the cancer was gone and did not refer her for radiation. Unfortunately, they were wrong, and the cancer spread.

A few months later, Debbie was experiencing pain, headaches and trouble keeping food down. When her sister, Diane—her primary caregiver—repeatedly reported these symptoms to the doctor, she felt brushed off. Diane had so many questions, but no one seemed to be listening.

It wasn’t until they came to Gilchrist that the family finally found answers.

Debbie and Diane now had a team of experts to provide care and explain what was happening. Gilchrist put Debbie on the correct medications to control her symptoms. Whereas previously Debbie was in intense pain and not getting out of bed, once the Gilchrist team began overseeing her care, everything changed. “The difference was night and day,” recalled Diane. “Debbie was able to communicate, and the light was back in her eyes.”

Before, Debbie worried she would no longer be able to spend time with her grandchildren. But once under the proper care, she was able to enjoy their company and even hold her new baby grandchild. “Seeing her interact with her grandchildren was wonderful,” said Diane. “It was so meaningful to her and our entire family.”

The Gilchrist team took care of everything and put the family at ease. Brittany Frazier, their social worker, provided emotional support for both sisters and offered suggestions for Diane on how to care for herself while also caring for her sister and elderly mother. Brittany also let her know about a Gilchrist service that could help her mother—Elder Medical Care, which provides medical care and emotional support to older individuals at home.

“The difference was night and day…Debbie was able to communicate, and the light was back in her eyes.”

-Diane Duggan, Debbie’s sister

Diane describes their nurse, Carson Savage, as their “rock.” Carson helped Diane understand her sister’s symptoms and how to best care for her. She told Diane to call her any time with questions, day or night. Talking to Carson and Brittany was like talking to her own daughters, Diane said.

As her sister’s condition worsened, Diane felt she had the emotional strength and support she needed. She is so grateful for her Gilchrist team’s skilled guidance and care.

“They’re incredible,” she said. “I’d be lost without them.”

Debbie Dasher died on March 7, 2020, surrounded by family.

To learn more about hospice care at Gilchrist, visit

Note: This story was reported before the COVID pandemic. Gilchrist employs full safety protocols including personal protective equipment to keep patients, families and staff safe.

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