Client Welcomes BAYADA like Family

Mary Lynn W. and her family opened their home and their hearts to her BAYADA caregivers

Bayada ALS client Mary W.
BAYADA client Mary Lynn W.

Mike W. has only warm, loving memories of Mary Lynn — his best friend, the mother of his daughter, and his wife of 42 years. “She always offered a smile, even when it seemed there was nothing to smile about,” says Mike. “Mary Lynn could always make big problems seem small. She was very considerate and very kind hearted. Mary Lynn never met a stranger and developed friendships that truly lasted a lifetime.”

In 2004, Mary Lynn began losing strength in her foot and her doctors originally thought she had suffered a mini stroke. As her weakness progressed, she began using a cane and then a walker, eventually requiring a wheelchair. Four years after her symptoms began, Mary Lynn was diagnosed with ALS. Mike shared that although she was declining physically, “her mind was still as sharp as the day that we met.”

Lisa, the couple’s daughter, and Mike were Mary Lynn’s primary caregivers in the early years after her diagnosis, juggling care responsibilities without any outside help. Although it was difficult for them to adjust their schedules to Mary Lynn’s care needs, they remember that she was a great patient, especially considering the circumstances. Several years after her diagnosis, Mary Lynn suffered from severe respiratory complications due to ALS, was hospitalized, and then moved to a long-term skilled care facility. Mary Lynn desperately wanted to be in her home, so that is when they called BAYADA Home Health Care.

BAYADA Clinical Manager Pat Pagano, RN, shares, “I was asked to visit and assess Mary Lynn for potential home care. At first, Mary Lynn received a limited number of covered hours from her insurance company, so Mike and Lisa continued to care for Mary Lynn during the times when BAYADA was not there.” However, when Mary Lynn was approved for 24-hour care, Mike remembers, “Everything changed and BAYADA saved the day. I was suddenly able to cut the grass or go grocery shopping if I needed to, without having to worry because BAYADA was there.”

Mary's husband and daughter pictured with her caregiver, Pat
BAYADA Clinical Manager Pat Pagano with Mary Lynn’s husband Mike and daughter Lisa

Mary Lynn and Mike were so appreciative of everything that Mary Lynn’s BAYADA caregivers did for her. Her nurses did their best to bring enjoyment to her life while managing her care. In addition to providing her tracheostomy and ventilator care, along with her medications, tube feedings, personal care, and managing her symptoms of ALS, they did extra things like polishing her nails and having “spa days” for Mary Lynn.

Mary Lynn and her family formed a close bond with her BAYADA Nurses and even those in the office, becoming like a large, extended family. After her passing, her care team hosted a food truck fundraiser in her memory, serving gourmet burgers and sweet desserts. They raised $650 and donated it to The ALS Association’s Greater Philadelphia Chapter in her honor.

Pat says, “Mary Lynn was a wonderful woman and a dear client of ours. We wanted to host an event to honor her life and the experiences we had with her. Mary Lynn was an everlasting hostess, who, even on her worst day, would ask if she could get me anything as soon as I walked into her home. Since she especially loved sweets and baking, the food truck idea fits her well. We know she would have enjoyed it.”

Mary's team of Bayada caregivers
Mary Lynn W’s BAYADA care team at the food truck fundraiser that they hosted in her memory

Lisa and Mike still maintain close ties with the caregivers and staff who became such an important part of their lives. “We could not have survived my mom’s journey with ALS without the endless support of this organization,” says Lisa. “The acquaintances we met and the friends we made are so special to us. I know in my heart that my dad and I, and our entire family will forever support fundraising for ALS and support BAYADA. Pat and her team are our extended family who we will fondly think of and love always. They are our living angels.”