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 Mertztown, PA, 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.

“It was hard on all of us,” she remembers. “I just wanted someone to call when we needed help.” After a family meeting, Ann’s daughter (Betty’s granddaughter) Emily DeOliviera, a nurse, reached out to a friend who referred the family to BAYADA Hospice.

“Hospice is for the family too, not just the patient,” Emily explained.

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 (Rebecca), spiritual support counselor (Rachel), and home health aide (Barb). 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.

Living her life to the fullest

When Betty said she wanted to attend her great-grandson’s choir concert, Rebecca knew that the trip would be much easier for her family if they had a smaller, travel-sized tank of oxygen instead of her large, heavy tank that was difficult to maneuver. Rebecca placed the order, letting the company know that it was needed for an outing that evening. Before Rebecca pulled out of the driveway, Betty received a call letting her know that her oxygen was on its way.

Her hospice team also came through that summer, when they made the necessary arrangements for her to spend a few days at a rented beach house on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. BAYADA partnered with another hospice agency in southern NJ that would be available to help Betty if she needed anything during her trip. Fortunately, she did not. “I love them all,” Betty said of her team. “They’re wonderful.”

The concert, the trip to the shore, and even her granddaughter’s wedding – some of the happiest times in Betty’s life – all occurred after Betty chose BAYADA Hospice. Betty still attends her monthly card clubs where her friends are constantly giving her new books to take home, since she reads a few a books a week -- preferably detective and romance stories.

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 approach the end of life. Unfortunately, many patients enroll in hospice much later than they could, missing out on services that would improve their quality of life at the end of life, and often suffering needlessly. In contrast, Betty, and many others like her, are able to take advantage of the myriad services that hospice offers.

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. They now know what to expect as the end of life nears and they begin to imagine life without her. They were able to share their feelings for each other while they could still hold hands and sit face to face.

There are no words left unspoken, and for Betty and her family, that is a priceless gift.


To find out how BAYADA Hospice can help you and your family, visit online or call 877-301-0008.

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