Hammond locals provide free hospice care for those in need

The three bedroom Richard Murphy Hospice House is located on Chestnut Street.

The three bedroom Richard Murphy Hospice House is located on Chestnut Street.

Located in the midst of Hammond, The Richard Murphy Hospice House has been caring for terminally ill locals for more than 25 years.

In the early 1980s Richard Murphy, a local businessman, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. With no local hospice care available, his caretakers created him his own hospice right there in his home. Beloved by those around him, his death left a hole in the hearts of his family and friends; however, it also exposed the need for local hospice care.

Soon after Murphy’s death, the community raised funds to start a certified hospice in his name, and The Richard Murphy Hospice Home was established. This founding provided a comfortable, free home for those needing hospice care.

Darick Selders, a seven-year staff member of the house, said he finds joy in his work and that he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. “Most people don’t want to send their loved ones elsewhere to be cared for, so we make it feel like they’re right here at home. We’re determined to make every patient feel like part of a family,” said Selders.

Because hospice care is non-curative, the nurses don’t administer curative medications but instead provide pain medications. But with a strong family aspect embedded in its creation and staff, The Richard Murphy House is more than a living service for the terminally ill.

“The hardest part is when you become attached, but it makes it easier knowing that they are no longer suffering,” said Selders.

The hospice is a spacious three-bedroom house, located in a regular subdivision amongst other homes. Even with three bedrooms and more than 300 patients in passing, the hospice always has a long wait-list. Nurse and administrator, Donna Landry says she wishes they could provide for more people in need. The hospice has a “beautiful home-like setting where they can come and have a peaceful environment and know that somebody is going to be here to take care of them,” said Landry.

Patients are allowed to smoke and eat whatever they like to make sure they are comfortable in their last days.

“Many people may have a home, but they don’t have somebody who can take care of them 24 hours a day. Here, it is our job to make sure that they remain as comfortable as possible,” said Selders.

To keep the hospice operating, The Richard Murphy Foundation hosts an annual fundraising gala inviting local businesses to help support the hospice house.

“We have a lot of expenses on a day to day just to keep the house operating, plus paying for sitters 24 hours a day, so we value our volunteers,” said Landry.

Volunteers do it all: donating funds, taking care of the lawn, cooking, cleaning and making home repairs.

“They’re just helping their neighbor, making sure their neighbor is comfortable and is at a good place in a time of need. People are always willing to help. We have been blessed and fortunate to have this house,” said Landry.

Selders is known for his singing, which he does to bring some joy to his patients during their last days of life. The following clip is a taste of what those under Selders’ care enjoy regularly.

For more information on The Richard Murphy House visit:http://www.richardmurphyhospice.com

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