September-October 2014 | LIVING WITH DIGNITY




For nearly 35 years, Coastal Hospice has provided peace of mind and tender loving care to people like Emily Clayton and her mother, Lea

Written By: Nick Brandi | Photographer: Grant L. Gursky

When the world lost 16-year-old Emily Clayton last year, it saw the extinguishment of a beautiful light. But while Emily’s family and many friends are convinced she continues to shine in a realm beyond our perception, her last days were made much better because of Coastal Hospice & Palliative Care.

In service to Wicomico, Worcester, Dorchester and Somerset counties since 1980, Coastal Hospice offers compassion, comfort and care to anyone facing a life-limiting condition. Whether it’s in your own home, an assisted-living or a nursing facility, or at Coastal Hospice at the Lake — their short-term inpatient hospice center in Salisbury’s historic Deer’s Head Hospital — Coastal Hospice works with you and your doctor to focus on living and making every moment count, while providing peace of mind and dignity.

Emily battled Hirschsprung’s disease from the moment she was born. The improper development of her large intestine condemned her to a life in and out of hospitals, often for weeks or months at a time. Though the courageous brunette with the soulful eyes was able to overcome the cancer that resulted from her medication, the fact that her body ultimately rejected the intestinal transplant she’d received was, for Emily and her mother, Lea Clayton, the handwriting on the wall.

“Emily had the option of undergoing more surgeries and treatments, and continuing to fight,” Lea said, “but her quality of life would have been so poor, she decided just to let nature take its course.”

It was in 2012 that the Claytons had invited Coastal Hospice into their Sharptown home, coming a couple of times a day in the beginning, then a couple of times a week thereafter.

“The people of Coastal Hospice and the care they gave to Emily were just wonderful,” Lea praised. “They would bring and administer Emily’s medication and supplies, deploy and utilize the equipment, help her with movement and exercise, bathe her when she requested it, provide catheterization, provide all kinds of medical information and, just as important, provide quality companionship. We wound up bonding with her nurse caregiver so strongly that she became like family. In fact, we still keep in touch today. Coastal Hospice even helped with the logistics of the sweet-16/prom party we had at our church in December 2012, as well as helped make sure that Emily enjoyed the holidays.”

Emily died January 6, 2013 from an infection related to her condition. The popular teenager left the world the same way she entered it: in the comfort of her mother’s arms.

“The thing that I love best about Coastal Hospice is that they give you the care that you need,” said Lea. “It’s not the same as a visiting nurse service, which has institutional procedures and guidelines to observe that are their first priority and that may conflict with the best interests of your loved one. With Coastal Hospice, Emily’s comfort and happiness were their first priority.”

Henry Hanna agrees. An industrial real estate broker for Sperry Van Ness/Miller Commercial Real Estate in Salisbury, Henry turned to Coastal Hospice in 2007, when his 86-year-old mother’s dementia graduated to the point of requiring next-level care.

“Coastal Hospice was extremely professional yet caring,” extolled Henry. “They would visit her regularly where she lived in Mallard’s Landing and attend to her needs and comfort with great dedication and even cheerfulness. I wouldn’t have trusted my mother’s care to just anyone, but I’m glad I trusted it to Coastal Hospice. I’d recommend them without hesitation.”

It’s fitting that in the same year that marks the 10th anniversary of Coastal Hospice at the Lake, the organization is moving forward with its newest addition, Coastal Hospice at the Ocean. To be located on Broad Street in Berlin, Coastal Hospice at the Ocean will be a 16,000 sq. ft., $3.5 million facility designed to look and feel like home by eminent architect Tom Mullinax of Hospice Design Resource, PLLC and the Becker Morgan Group.

Coastal Hospice & Palliative Care is a nonprofit organization that does not turn away patients based on their inability to pay, having provided more than $500,000 in charity care last fiscal year alone. They are certified by the Joint Commission, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring quality healthcare around the United States.

Macky’s Bayside Bar & Grill will host the sixth annual “Blues on the Bay” fundraiser Sept. 24 on behalf of the Coastal Hospice at the Ocean capital campaign.


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