Livingston Retires from Caldwell Hospice after Decades of Service

LENOIR, NC (October 5, 2018) — “I believe in our mission. I believe in what we do here. It only takes one experience to be hooked,” a retiring Martha Livingston, CSW, said as she reflected on her nearly 29 years with Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care earlier this summer. “There comes a time that medicine can’t ‘fix it’…and people need comfort care and peace.”

CEO Cathy Swanson says it is in those moments that Livingston, now former Director of Support Services, excelled. “If you want to see Martha at her best, witness her at the bedside of a dying patient.”

She also excelled as a mentor—training, teaching and helping young social workers learn what it means to be patient-centered in the hospice philosophy.

“Martha holds a special place in my heart as she was the very one who helped mold me into a medical social worker,” adds Kelly Mitchell, BSW. “Her words of wisdom and encouragement will ring in our ears long after her retirement.”

Livingston began her work at Caldwell Hospice as a part-time medical social worker in 1989. When the Director of Support Services position was created in 1994, she moved into that leadership role. During her tenure, the organization experienced tremendous growth. Under her leadership, a full complement of enhanced supportive services was added including community bereavement care, cardiac and pulmonary care programs for patients with heart/lung disease and most recently a dementia care program.

Livingston has been an especially strong advocate for the dementia care program that seeks to help caregivers understand and better meet the unique needs of patients with memory loss and other dementia-related symptoms.

“I worked closely with Martha in our dementia care program, especially The Virtual Dementia Tour.® Her passion and commitment to even the smallest details continually ‘raised the bar’ in the quality of what we did,” explains Lisa Caviness, BS, Public Relations and Marketing Specialist. “She genuinely cares about the people for whom we have the privilege to provide care, and it shows in everything she does.”

Teaching support staff the “Caldwell Hospice way of doing things” was another specialty of Livingston’s says Jenni Patterson, BSW, who remembers what it was like to be a new social worker just starting out.

“I appreciated Martha because I knew she was molding me and building me a solid foundation to understand and provide all of our patients with the same quality of care,” adds Patterson. “I learned that her compassion and love for hospice is real, and that is something we share, and I only hope that I can carry on all that she has taught me.”

While everyone at Caldwell Hospice wishes Livingston well on her new endeavors, they also know she is leaving them and the organization a strong legacy.

“The Board of Directors works closely with and gets to know the senior leadership team. The success of Caldwell Hospice is truly a team effort, and when you look at Martha Livingston’s career you see that she’s one of the columns holding up that success,” says Marc Carpenter, chairperson of the Caldwell Hospice board of directors.

Never one comfortable in the spotlight, Livingston told those gathered at a retirement event in her honor she appreciates the accolades but could not have done it alone. “I have been successful here because I was surrounded by a great team. And, wow, what a great team!”

Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, the only not-for-profit hospice care provider in Caldwell County, provides expanded resources for you and your family. Referrals for palliative and hospice care may be made by the patients themselves, family members, friends, clergy, or physicians. For more information about Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care call 828.754.0101, visit, or follow on Facebook.