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Giving back to hospice: one family's story

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By Kortney Scroger

Ian Swankie was introduced to hospice when his first wife, Vicky, was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma. Over the course of a year and a half, she underwent a series of radiation, chemo, surgeries and clinical trials.

“Even though we had a great team and they did absolutely everything they could, they told us there was nothing else they could do,” Swankie, a MultiCare employee, says. “I will never forget when the surgeon said, ‘There’s always hope.’ That was the best he could offer.”

The hospital told Swankie that the next step would be hospice. He was very hesitant at first but quickly warmed up to the idea.

“As difficult as it is to watch your loved one die, it is a rewarding and meaningful experience to be their caregiver,” he says.

For Swankie, it was one of the best decisions he made for his late wife. Although Vicky was only in hospice for three months, it gave her time with her two sons and two daughters.

“The beauty of hospice is that you don’t miss moments,” Swankie says. “When you are in the hospital you feel guilty for leaving to do things like eat and shower. With hospice you could do all of that. My wife, Vicky, could be with our kids and our pets.

“I would recommend this experience to anyone. It is the most compassionate and caring thing you can do for a loved one.”

In 2016, MultiCare served 1,506 hospice patients in Kitsap, Pierce and South King counties. MultiCare Hospice employees and volunteers provided 2,804 comfort therapy visits. Insurance does not fully cover the cost of granting last wishes or providing comfort therapies, resulting in nearly $550,000 in uncompensated hospice care annually.

Because of his family’s experience, Swankie designates a portion of each paycheck to MultiCare Hospice through MultiCare Gives, an employee giving program at MultiCare that directly supports patients and families. His donation helps ensure that other families can access hospice care, regardless of their ability to pay.

“Money comes and goes,” says Swankie. “I am so fortunate to have been able to share 20 wonderful years with Vicky. I consider myself blessed, and I give whatever I can.”


Donor contributions to MultiCare Hospice provide uncompensated hospice care, comfort therapies bereavement support and more. You don’t have to be a MultiCare employee to support Hospice.


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