August 14, 2020

When faced with arranging for Palliative Care or Hospice Care for a loved one, you’re likely to face difficult decisions about trying to ensure your loved one gets the best care possible, alongside the reality that it might be more than you can handle on your own.

It’s so hard to know what being a care provider is really like unless you can speak to people who have walked a mile in your shoes. And if you need assistance, how do you find someone who will care as much as you do? Sure, there are online reviews and checklists you can look at. But choosing a caregiver is fundamentally different and more important than comparing household appliances. The most important thing to learn about is the experience of others who have walked those same challenging journeys you now face.

Helen’s Story

Helen had been in and out of medical treatment and hospitals for over 17 years for congestive heart failure.  As Helen’s condition became more chronic, She was frequently admitted to the hospital and would occasionally need to be transferred to a short-term rehab to try to get her stabilized and able to come home.  Her daughter, Lois, would help with her care while at home.  Lois was also a certified nursing assistant (CNA), so she knew she could do a lot of the care her mother needed, as home is where everyone is most comfortable. Helen loved being able to spend time with her granddaughter with whom she had a special, close relationship. 

After one of Helen’s hospitalizations, she was released to another short-term care facility but rapidly developed a fever and ended up back in the hospital.  That’s when Lois knew it was time to look at palliative care, and she gave Chandler Hall a call. Chandler Hall’s community-based palliative care program could be that additional set of eyes and hands that could help manage Helen’s care needs and help keep her healthy and out of the hospital.

As a CNA herself, Lois knew what she could manage and what she needed help with. Chandler Hall’s team approach would help supplement what she could do herself, and help guide her to make the best decisions possible for Helen. This made it possible for Helen to really thrive and focus on “living” within her abilities with the people that she loved and in the place she loved best – home. 

Helen spent the last 5 years in the Palliative Care at Home program at Chandler Hall. Chandler Hall’s team helped supplement the care Lois gave Helen, and provided a bit of respite when needed. Lois could work with the care providers and tailor the care Helen got, so when Helen wanted to go to the beach or even Disney, they figured out a way to make that happen. Like so many people with long-term health care issues like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or heart disease, Helen’s abilities would ebb and flow – so the care she needed had to be able to adjust accordingly. 

Chandler Hall’s community-based Palliative Care program provides just that – care. Care that is about enabling patients to do what they want to do and to continue living a full life while dealing with long-term health issues. Chandler Hall provides care that is flexible and adjusts to suit the patient and family’s goals and needs. And as the patient’s needs change over time, Chandler Hall adapts to meet those needs.

During this time, Helen, Lois and Helen’s entire family came to really know the Palliative Care team on a first name basis. And when it was time for Helen to transition into Hospice care for end of life treatment, the team didn’t change. Only the mission changed slightly- to provide spiritual, emotional and medical comfort to Helen and emotional support to Lois and the rest of the family as Lois neared the end of her life.

When it was clear that Helen was ready to pass, her Chandler Hall caregivers maintained constant contact with Lois as primary caregiver, and helped to keep Helen as comfortable as possible, with great respect for the person she still was. This helped Helen to have a calm and peaceful passing, surrounded by her loved ones.

Lois shared her thoughts with us. She said, “I can’t say enough about my Mother’s Chandler Hall team. They were not only here for my Mom – they were here for me, my daughter, my whole family.“

After Helen passed and Lois was left at home alone with her family, one of her Mother’s Chandler Hall caregivers, Jamie, called to make sure that Lois was OK. That small act of kindness meant the world to Lois. The Chandler Hall team had become like family. And reaching out to make sure we are ok is what family does.

When you or a family member are facing a serious medical condition or illness, the Chandler Hall Community-based Palliative Care team can help provide additional care and assistance right in your own home. The comprehensive team, which includes physicians, nurses, certified nurse assistants, therapists, licensed clinical social workers and a chaplain can help you navigate the course of treatment, and adapt to your needs over time. Palliative care has also been shown to help decrease hospitalizations and help increase quality of life, which is so important when facing medical challenges.  If you or a loved one want to learn more about palliative care, click here for more information, or just give us a call the 24 hour Hotline at 267-291-2270 and speak to our care team.  Let our team help you live your best life.

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