Hospice: A Priceless Gift
BAYADA lightens the burden; helps patient and her family focus on living
On a cool December night, Betty Fairchild, 85, sat in the auditorium of her great-grandson’s school for his holiday choir concert. Hearing that first note when he began singing was a moment that she would cherish, and she hoped he would always remember her presence there.
Despite her heart failure and COPD, Betty was able to venture out in the late fall in a wheelchair, with a fresh tank of oxygen, because of the decision she and her family had made a few months earlier – the decision to enroll in hospice care.
After repeated hospital visits to battle pneumonia, Betty told her family, ”I don’t want to go to the hospital any more. I just want to be home.“ Home is Betty’s suite in the home of her daughter, Ann Eckroat, and son-in-law, David. However, it was exhausting and getting more difficult for Ann to take care of Betty while also working.
The family called BAYADA on a Saturday evening and an admission nurse came out to the house that night. Within a day, a bed, oxygen, and wheelchair were all delivered. Since then, the family has welcomed in a team of caregivers including her nurse, spiritual support counselor, and home health aide. Betty’s team provides nursing care, medication to manage her pain, personal care to help with her bathing and grooming, and much-needed emotional and spiritual support for the entire family.
”Each and every person we’ve come in contact with has become like part of the family,“ said Ann. ”Having BAYADA has absolutely lightened the burden.“
Betty gushes over her hospice team. ”I love the girls. And I don’t have to go out of the house to the doctor’s any more. They take care of the medicine and everything else.“ Her team helps Betty reach her goals for the time she has remaining in her life. And for Betty, one of those goals is maintaining her busy social calendar that has included school concerts, a trip to the shore, two monthly card clubs, and her granddaughter’s wedding.
While hospice care is often thought of as only necessary in the final days or hours of life, Betty is living proof of how hospice care can benefit people and their families for many months as they continue to set and achieve goals as they approach the end of life.
Because of hospice care and support during this time, Betty had the opportunity to speak individually with her three children, six grandchildren, and many of her seven great-grandchildren. In those private conversations, she created moments that her family can cherish forever. There are no words left unspoken, and for Betty and her family, that is a priceless gift.