Evelyn’s House Pandemic Story 



“The evolution of Evelyln’s House started in June of 2017. It was designed specifically for a place for people to be able to care for their loved ones at the end of their life. Evelyn’s house is a GIP level of hospice. Which is hospital-level care in a home-like setting” said Hamish Segger. Hamish Seeger is a Chaplain at Eveyln’s House.

Most of the time patients want to die with their loved ones surrounding them and within the comfort of their own home and bed. This is why Evelyn’s House was created to give people that home-like comfort that can’t be provided in an ordinary hospital room. Evelyn’s house is a community-based hospice house that will provide love, amazing health care, and most important comfort.

Hamish Seeger is a Chaplain at Eveyln’s House. He shares with us about how hospice care works and the care that is provided through this Chanel and level of care. Hospice is holistic care which is all the symptoms that aren’t physical which entails social, spiritual, emotional, and psychological symptoms. A Chaplain is a person who helps patients understand, grasp, and figure out what they are going to do with their death sentence emotionally and spiritually. Chaplains help you come to an understanding of why things are how they are and what your meaning and purpose is. 

They help you do those things by guiding you in ways to articulate, experience, and express it. As well as help you gain a sense of control, peace, and comfort over it. Seggers said that “As a chaplain throughout the house I assess the needs of patients through a conversation I call a UFO. What do you understand? What do you fear? What are you hoping for?”

Seggers also shared that “hospice is a prime time to have your spiritual needs met. Spiritual needs of meaning and purpose. What is your purpose for living? Are you forgiven for the stuff you have done in life? Lastly, do you have a place where you are loved and able to be loved? Those are spiritual things everyone has and I have people get a clear sense of what those are. He shared how Eveyln’s house’s staff took charge when the pandemic hit and what the daily workplace looks like today. “Pre Covid we were all about families.” Said Segger. “ I would Jokingly say as I walked into a room that it looked like a dorm room because there would be beds, cots,mini-refrigerators, a table full of food, coolers, and ice.” Said Seeger. 

Seggers shares that since the world shut down they had several members who were furloughed such as their art and music therapist, volunteer coordinator, and maintenance manager. After they were furloughed they were then reassigned to different positions for almost a whole year. Team members would go through the process of being furloughed not because they weren’t doing their job correctly but because there wasn’t any work for them to do during that time period.  

Throughout the entirety of the pandemic Eveyln’s House never lost patients; they always had a fluid amount of patients coming and going because hospice doesn’t stop. Seeger shares that when the pandemic hit they had to adapt fairly quickly on how they were going to proceed with providing care when they themselves were unsure on how and if this disease was going to affect them. They also had to be extra cautious because of how small the Facility is. If they had a Covid outbreak within their staff they would have to shut down.

Guest Suite at Evelyn’s House

The whole staff had to cut down their contact time with patience and they had to put in various masking procedures such as face shields and 895’s which are the safest and highest protecting masks against viruses. Seggers shared “ We used to wear 895 masks for tuberculosis patients which I have only had a couple in my lifetime but then all a sudden it’s for every patient.” During the height of the pandemic chaplains and social workers were trying to do virtual visits to help limit the contact time they would have with their patients and their families. Fortunately, all the rooms in Evelyn’s House are set up for the virtual experience. Every room has a tv that has a built-in soundbar and a webcam. 


The first concern that the staff at Evelyns was getting sick themselves and passing it on to their families. That was a big concern for Seegers but so was getting fired and sent home with not enough work to do. Or being reassigned but because Seggers does his job with confidence and integrity he managed to stay busy. He described it as “wearing different types of hats.” When their maintenance manager was furloughed he took that role. He also became the IT guy and helped with all the zoom needs of each patient. He was able to stay fairly busy and not get furloughed. 

Evelyn’s House has about fifty-plus people on staff and only ⅕ of the staff has gotten covid so far. Seggers is certain that masking won’t go away once and if the pandemic dyes down. He feels that it will be a standard in the health care system. He also thinks that isolation rooms will be much more prevalent and air-borne illness will be treated with higher respect.

Currently, Evelyn’s house has been talking about lowering and raising its visitor policy. Currently, they are allowing two visitors per room. They have sixteen rooms throughout the whole house. Kids twelve and under are not allowed within the doors of Evelyn’s House because they aren’t eligible to be vaccinated. As of September 15, everyone in BJC was required to get vaccinated. Seggers said that “everyone except maybe 99.1% of people got the vaccine and that anyone who wanted an exemption got it.” If you choose an exemption you pay the price of getting tested weekly. Before the vaccine weekly testing was not required unless you had been in contact with a staff member who had gotten Covid or someone outside of the workplace.  Seggers quoted A tail Of Two Cities “It was the best of times it was the worst of times. I Sometimes it was two steps to heaven sometimes it was the other way around.”

He also shared that necessity drives innovation. Due to Covid Evelyn’s House was able to do a lot of things that they didn’t have a necessity for before. The zoom capabilities allowed virtual meetings which saved hours of your life because you didn’t have to commute to meetings and then back to the office. Seegers said that they had to get creative in figuring out how to work in a happy hour or a potluck to support their staff. He gave monthly staff meetings to allow the staff to open up and talk as a community. He has also hosted a tea party with Evelyn’s fancy tea set and chocolates and other little treats. It allowed the staff to come and go throughout the workday. Prior to Covid, the fridge in the kitchen at Evelyn’s House would be full of homemade meals that families would bring in to share and the freezer would be stocked full with ice cream that would be available to patients 24/7 because it was one of Evelyn’s favorite desserts. 

Work-life balance has been encouraged since the pandemic hit. In a sense, you need to put your forty hours in and then go home and rest and see your family because if you overdo it you will get overwhelmed and burnt out fairly quickly. 

“I value the work I do as a Chaplain and the impact it has for families and patients. It allows them to gain a better sense of control. Peace and comfort that wouldn’t otherwise be there,” said Seggers. “It’s unique to say I am a hospice Chaplain because most people don’t know what that is. I always tell people I am a better person because of all the people I get to meet and what they talk about during the beginning of their life and their whole experience of life overall. I can apply it to my life now. Hospice is unique and it takes a special type of person to be in Hospice, said Seggers.”

Evelyn’s house is still thriving throughout the pandemic and is serving patients and their families every day with grace and integrity. The work that the staff at Evelyn’s House does is remarkable and admirable. They touch and change the lives of patients and their families. They make an impact on the Saint Louis community with the honorable, unique, and special type of work they do every day. I am proud to be fortunate enough to be a part of Friends Of Wings and help give back to the amazing people and community at BJC Evelyn’s House.