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Cultivating Memories of Farm Life

Submitted by: Carefirst



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Cultivating Memories of Farm Life

Submitted by: Carefirst


For Ed Cratsley, farming was not just his profession, but his way of life, and an integral part of who he is.  When listening to Ed talk about his life as a farmer, it is clear that the memories of his time spent working the land are near to his heart.

Experiencing the Benefits of Hospice and Palliative Care

Edward Cratsley was initially admitted to CareFirst as a hospice patient in October 2012 with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).  He was so successful in managing his condition that he transitioned to Carefirst’sPalliative Care program in August of 2013 and remained a palliative care patient until coming back onto hospice care in July 2014. 

A Difficult Decision

As Ed grew older, and his health declined, he was no longer able to continue farming.  He moved into a more manageable living situation where he can easily access medications, food, and other necessary supplies.  Leaving the farm was extremely difficult for Ed, to him it meant leaving home. But, his decision was made in hopes of improving his overall quality of life.

Making More Moments Possible

 A good hospice team does more than provide care – they are a shoulder to lean on and are always ready to listen. Once Ed had made the decision to transition back on to hospice care, he spoke with his nurses and social workers about how much he missed his life on the farm. When his team heard of his desire to return to the trails and fields of his farm, they realized an opportunity to go above and beyond.  Upon hearing Ed’s wish to spend a little more time in the countryside, they had decided.  The CareFirst team made it their mission to give Ed one more day at the farm.

Ed’s Return to the Farm

Edappreciating the John Deere tractor

On October 21, 2014, CareFirst staff picked Ed up from his home for his day on the farm.  The day was a little chilly and rainy, but as a farmer, Ed was well acquainted with bad weather and not at all deterred.  Shortly after arriving on the farm, the Kimball’s pulled their industrial John Deere tractor out of the barn and Ed was given the opportunity to ride it. 

Backroad Trails and ATVs

The entire grouphad the chance to take a drive around the farm in the Kimball’s ATV.  We drove back in the woods and around the property while Ed chatted in the front seat with Rick.  As it turned out, they had both grown up in the Southern Tier, and both knew many of the same people from growing up and raising families in the area.  They had the opportunity to reminisce and catch up on what everyone was up to now.  As we drove around, you could feel Ed simultaneously grow more excited and more at peace.  His happiness was contagious, and everyone’s spirits were lifted by the time we pulled back up at their log cabin.  It was a chilly ride, so the Kimball’s invited the team in for tea and pumpkin bread – a perfect way to end the day.

A Farmer’s Appreciation

On our drive home, Ed was in great spirits, and repeatedly thanked us for arranging the trip.  “I just can’t thank you enough for all you have done for me,” he said as we pulled into his driveway.  Back at his home, we were greeted by Ed’s girlfriend and three excited dogs, who were all happy to have him home. Ed is still a patient of ours today and we feel blessed every day for the opportunity to know him and learn from him.  His inner strength and happy disposition serve as an inspiration to all of us who have had the pleasure of working with him.

Read More Patient Stories!

Why we do what we do

Hospice is truly an interdisciplinary approach to care, and it took the whole team at CareFirst to make Ed’s dream a reality.  For several months, individuals from the spiritual care, social work, nursing, and volunteer departments worked together to coordinate a trip to the farm.. “Making these moments possible is what hospice care is all about,” said CareFirst Social Work Clinical Leader Stacey McMail.  “These days are at the heart of our mission.”

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