Imagine, for a moment, facing the news that two of your closest loved ones are terminally ill. Jayne Collins experienced just that, when her mother, Sophie, and aunt, Felicia, began receiving hospice within a few short days of each other. While for many the decision to call hospice is a last resort, for Jayne, making the call for her most precious loved ones was made with little reluctance.
In April 2019, Sophie, who had been battling congestive heart failure for years, began receiving home maker services through Day Kimball Healthcare (DKH) At Home to help manage personal care needs and daily living tasks. As her illness progressed to an advanced stage, she was placed on hospice a few weeks before passing away on November 3, 2020 at the age of 97.
Choosing hospice isn’t always easy when it’s someone you love – even when you know it’s the right choice. “At first, I was a little hesitant to put my mom on hospice because I didn’t want to accept that she was dying,” said Jayne.
But, with support from the DKH At Home team, she was able to take a step back and see firsthand what they could do for her mom. With hospice services in place, Sophie was able to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations. It also helped reduce her congestive heart failure symptoms and enabled her to enjoy the people and activities most important to her during her final days.
In the middle of Sophie’s illness, her sister, Felicia, was diagnosed with endometrial cancer, a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the endometrium. Having already seen the value hospice care brought to her mother’s life, when the time came to call Hospice for her aunt, Jayne didn’t hesitate. Felicia started receiving hospice services three months before losing her battle to cancer on January 15, 2021 at the age of 95.
During their end-of-life Journey, Sophie and Felicia were cared for by Haylna Nevystyuk, a live-in caregiver, in the comfort of their home – a home they had shared for over 40 years together – where they experienced the full scope and support of hospice services. Looking back, Jayne could not imagine balancing the care of her elderly mother and aunt without the support offered by their home care team.
“Many people don’t realize that hospice is care for the whole family, not just the patient,” said Jayne. “I honestly don’t know how I would have made it through that stressful time without the help of the entire home care team. Being able to call them at any time lifted a huge burden off of my shoulders and allowed me to spend quality time with my mother and aunt in their final days. And, having Haylna helped me feel more comfortable going home at night knowing that there was always a trained professional with them.”
Hospice is a specialized form of medical care that seeks to provide comfort and maintain a patient’s quality of life for those facing a life-limiting illness, disease or terminal condition. It helps patients and their families address the complex issues related to serious illness — including medical, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual needs. The earlier hospice services are initiated, the more time available for the individual and family to benefit from the services.
Hospice & Palliative Care of Northeastern Connecticut is a Medicare certified hospice program, licensed by the state of Connecticut and is accredited by The Joint Commission. To learn more about Hospice & Palliative Care of Northeastern Connecticut, and other home care services available at Day Kimball Healthcare At Home, please visit www.daykimball.org/athome.
PHOTO CAPTION: Jayne Collins, of Woodstock, Connecticut, shares her family’s story with Hospice & Palliative Care of Northeastern Connecticut.