Family Stories Uncategorized

Barbara’s Family Story

Up until that moment, Barbara had been “managing” her memory losses. She had been functioning reasonably well with the help of family and outside organizations. You see, Barbara was adamant about staying in the familiar surroundings of her home and her routine. But as in most of these situations there came a time when the primary concern was no longer “comfort” but rather “safety”. By now, even Barbara herself knew this.

Close to Home

It was important to Barbara and her family that she stay close to home. She was a lower Bucks’ County girl. Yardley to be exact. While they researched many fine facilities close to home, it was Chandler Hall that felt right. It was 5 years ago that Barbara moved into Chandler Hall’s Phelps Manor House. The family was attracted by the Quaker values knowing that their Mother would be not only well cared for but given the respect that she deserved.

As Barbara was very social, she enjoyed the other residents and the Manor House staff and caregivers. And they enjoyed her. She made fast friends and enjoyed the many activities and programs designed to stimulate and challenge her cognitive skills.

When more intensive care is needed, Hicks Memory Care is here to help

Almost two years ago, Barbara’s dementia progressed to the point where she needed more intensive care and supervision. She was re-housed at Chandler Hall’s Hicks Memory Care building. Here she continues to receive personalized care and mental stimulation in a more secure environment suitable to her evolving needs.

Barbara’s daughter Laurie and her son Pete love the frequent Skype phone calls allowing friends and family to stay in constant touch with Barbara – a contact that is increasingly important in this time of covid-19 accommodations and social distancing. Laurie is also comforted by the weekly phone calls with her Mother’s medical team updating the family on Barbara’s health status, as well as the additional communications she receives from her Mother’s caregivers. Laurie and Pete feel that their Mother is receiving excellent care.

Barbara with her daughter, Laurie

As Hospice care becomes necessary….

… Barbara continues to be surrounded by the caring Hicks staff. Scheduled Zoom and Skype calls help to keep the family informed on Barbara’s health status. The family is able to have brief conversations with Barbara as she is able. Barbara’s daughter Laurie is appreciative of the extra effort that the Hicks unit staff takes to make sure that the family is informed when there is any change in Barbara’s health status. 

A Critical Part of the Community

Barbara’s Chandler Hall experience has encompassed 5+ years of care. From her beginnings at the Phelp’s Manor House to Hicks Memory Care and finally Hospice services, Barbara has experienced a continuum of person centered care in the Quaker tradition of individual need and individual respect.

As Barbara’s journey is continuing to her final chapter, her daughter Laurie shared her thoughts about her Mother’s time here; 

“I know that my Mother is warm, safe and cared for. I really believe in Chandler Hall. It is a critical resource in the community.”

Family Stories

Helen’s Story- The Best Care for a Long Road

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.

Family Stories Uncategorized

The Waye Family’s Experience

Like anyone looking for skilled nursing care for a loved one, Roger researched the basics. He checked off insurance, proximity to family and home, ease of visitation, appropriate services, the living environment and reputation. Check! Check! And Check! Chandler Hall fit all of his benchmark ideals. But hitting your base benchmarks should not be the sole reason to choose any one facility. In this case, it was an intangible that was going to drive his decision. “Will they really get to know and work with my Dad?”

Knowing What Your Loved One Needs

Each resident’s story is different and their medical requirements are unique to them. Roger’s father, Eugene, was a highly educated, well respected man with an impressive career as the former Deputy Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Prior to that, he had an impressive career as a litigator with a government agency in Washington, DC. He had lived and worked independently for his entire life until his stroke left him physically unable to care for himself. As so often happens, Eugene’s intellect and cognitive faculties were essentially unchanged. But he now had physical limitations that meant he needed assistance on a daily basis, with many tasks. Finding the right fit of compassion, understanding and flexibility was really going to drive the ultimate decision. 

Roger needed to make sure his dad would be respected and included in decision making. Eugene wouldn’t take well to being treated in a patronizing manner, talked down to, or just “humored”- he needed to be seen as the same in-charge person he had been all his life, despite the fact he now needed assistance.

The Way We Choose- What Factors Make a Difference?

Roger’s experience as a provider of general nursing services staffing meant that he had an understanding of the area’s skilled nursing home reputations, philosophies and staff turnover. He knew of Chandler Hall’s reputation as a caring, Quaker-based community whose operating principle was to “see the patient as an individual deserving respect”.  He knew that the simple philosophy of individual respect was “baked into” Chandler Hall’s culture. He felt certain that at Chandler Hall, his Dad would find the respect that he deserved- and needed. Eugene had high expectations of everyone in his life, including his children. This meant that Roger and his siblings needed to make sure his Dad was in a place where he would be respected, even when he needed personal care. And like many of us, Eugene didn’t want to “just hang out with all those old people” – the stereotype many of us have about assisted living, personal care and nursing homes.  Roger felt that Chandler Hall would be the perfect environment for his Dad.

The Chandler Hall Experience

Eugene’s experience was not disappointing. While he was in the Friends Nursing Home for only a little more than a year, it was a peaceful stay filled with many trips to the facility library and visits from friends and family.

Roger described his Dad’s stay at Chandler Hall in a positive light. He praised the staff’s attentiveness, and willingness to work with the family to provide his Dad with any additional comfort that he might need. 

Eugene’s scheduled external doctor’s appointments were efficient and on time. When the family came to visit, they were greeted by name, with information and updates on Eugene’s care and condition. Everyone always was on top of their game, just like Dad was, every day of his life.

Transitioning Through Levels of Care

Two weeks before Eugene passed away, the family was notified that it was time to consider Palliative Care and then Hospice. This decision was made especially difficult as restrictions due to Covid precautions made person to person visitation impossible. As it became clear that Eugene’s passing was imminent, Hospice contacted the family to bring them in to say their goodbyes. The staff communicated to the family that they needed to come in immediately if they wanted to say farewell to their Father and Grandfather. That clear, honest communication was so important. The family was able to change their plans and come in and say their goodbyes in time, in person.

Roger is grateful to Chandler Hall for helping his Dad and his family through a very difficult time. While the ultimate outcome was always understood, the time spent leading up to it was filled with comfort and respect for both Eugene and the family. The stroke set into motion a whole new way of living for Eugene. But as Roger put it “[at Chandler Hall]…it still felt like he had a home”. The dedication of the staff at every level helped make Eugene’s last year, as he struggled with the aftermath of a stroke, one filled with kindness, caring and dignity. And that’s why Chandler Hall is the choice of people who know what’s available throughout the community, when they make a choice for their loved ones.

If you have a loved one in need of additional assistance, whether it’s after a medical issue of any kind or in the course of aging, Chandler Hall has options ranging from independent living, to residential living with assistance, to personal care, memory care, skilled nursing at friends Nursing Home and even palliative and hospice care, to see your family through every step of life’s journey.

If you’d like more information about our programs and availability, just give us a call at (215) 860-4000, or fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch to answer any of your questions about navigating the care journey at Chandler Hall.

Family Stories Uncategorized

Jack’s Family Story

In 1992, Ann and Jack, the proud parents of three beautiful children – two boys and a girl –  were driving down the street when a woman lost control of her automobile hitting Ann and Jack’s car head-on, changing their life forever. Ann and Jack survived the crash but Jack, a former pilot and business executive sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury and ended up in a coma for six months. When the brain swelling receded and Jack emerged from his coma, the next chapter of Ann and Jack’s journey began.

As Jack emerged from his coma, it became clear that he was going to need specialized care and treatment. Initially, everyone was grateful that Jack had survived the crash. But he was left with balance issues and some expressive language impairments. While Jack’s intellectual abilities and temperament were largely unchanged, Jack was in need of a kind of supervision and assistance. Ann worked hard at this, along with raising her young children, the youngest of which was just three at the time of the accident. It was important to keep the family together.

After a number of years, it was clear that family-based care needed to be supplemented. By 2009, the kids were older, and Ann was largely left to try to manage Jack’s care on her own. She started to look for additional help, and began to consider whether or not personal care homes were an option. The hunt was on for a facility with a team of caring providers who could allow Jack his independence as he was capable, yet provide the support he needed.

The search was hard and difficult. Then Ann discovered Chandler Hall and the promise of acceptance, compassion and meeting the patient where they are in their journey. As Jack was highly functioning on an intellectual level, he began his Chandler Hall journey in independent living.  Chandler Hall became an extension of Jack and Ann’s family, where the family could meet, cook meals together in the common area, and even invite other residents to join them, expanding their family of five to include others Jack now lived with full time. They celebrated family events and milestones, much as they did prior to the accident and to Jack’s moving to Chandler Hall.

Over time, Jack’s care needs increased due to his brain injury, and he moved to the Jordan Manor House for Personal Care. Here, he receives assistance with his personal care and medical needs. His family, of course, is still an active presence – even in the age of COVID-19. Before the pandemic, Jack’s family visited often and life continued as before, with the family growing and changing to include his Chandler Hall family.

We asked Ann to try to pinpoint what made Chandler Hall stand out in her mind. She replied, “More than watching over him, they love him. Everyone knows Jack. They accept him as a unique individual. He has his dignity. There are things that you can’t make people do. At Chandler Hall [caring] is there. They willingly search for the person within. Maybe it’s the Quaker values. I don’t know. I just know it’s there.”

We asked Ann how Jack was doing with all of the adjustments brought on by COVID-19 and how that might have changed her thinking about Chandler Hall. She replied without hesitation, “When COVID first started, Chandler Hall shut down immediately. There were very few cases. They proved themselves willing to make the tough decisions to keep residents safe.” Every decision is made to ensure residents are safe, and still connect to their loved ones through video calls and window visits, to keep families together as much as possible.

Chandler Hall came through for Ann and Jack 12 years ago when there weren’t many solutions to be had. In spite of the unfortunate turn of events, Ann and Jack’s family adjusted to a new reality. In fact, one could argue that they have done more than just adjust – they have flourished. Their life has continued on together, adjusting along the way – thanks in part to the wonderful team at Chandler Hall. Again to quote Ann, “Chandler Hall offers solutions in a world where there aren’t many – with open arms!”. And Chandler Hall- including the residents and staff, have become a part of Ann and Jack’s family as well.

When you are looking for help and assistance in the care of a loved one, Chandler Hall can help find the perfect solution for you and your family. With many levels of care available and a caring, dedicated staff, they can help design programs and services to meet your family needs, and also change and adjust as needed over time. We can be that partner in care you need, whether it’s for a short-term rehab stay, residential living, or skilled nursing care- we’re here for you and your family.