Woman Educates North Tulsa About Hospice Care, One Family at a Time

Thursday, August 19th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

An effort is underway to educate north Tulsans about the benefits of hospice. Experts say many African-American families have shied away from allowing others to care for their own. One woman is trying to change that way of thinking. The News on Six learned about her and the Senior World Hospice at a recent Six In Touch meeting.

Thursday was a good day for 83-year-old Rosalie Marshall. As a heart patient, there are plenty of days when Rosalie is not at her best. She used to depend on her husband for help. "After I lost my father, she was there by herself, so I moved her in with me," said son Norway Marshall. As his mother's condition worsened, Marshall needed professional help. But he didn't know where to turn.

A year ago, Marshall received a call from Senior World Hospice located in north Tulsa. Now, a hospice aid and nurse visit Rosalie every day to make sure she's comfortable and following doctor's orders. Virginia Dawson is the owner and administrator of the company. She says African-American families are missing out on the benefits of hospice care. "It is a specialized nursing care," said Dawson. "We also specialize in family care because we provide that support. It's an ongoing situation."

She says many black families also don't realize in most cases Medicaid pays for hospice care. "There is no of out pocket money for the care that is provided in the homes," said Dawson. "We come in every day. We even buy medication for our families."

Marshall faced another issue, though. He had to learn to trust outsiders to care for his ailing mother. "They are like family," he said. "Once they start coming, I guess it grows on you. You are skeptical at first. But once they are at your home, you find yourself asking them, `Can I get you a pop or you or a sandwich?'" He says the hospice workers have become a bright spot in his mother's life. Rosalie looks forward to their daily visits and the extra attention. Marshall depends on the visits too. "You would just have to have them in your home to really know what how much of a load it takes off of your mind," he said. "And the wonderful care they give your loved ones. It's just unbelievable."

Marshall says he made a promise to his mother years ago to never place her in a nursing home. He's determined to keep that promise, and says hospice care is helping him do it. For more information on hospice care in north Tulsa, call 425-1390.