When It Is One of Your Own


~ Written by Helen Haddick, Homeland Hospice Nurse

Painted Angel with a galaxy and sparklesWhen my work phone rings early on a day off, I tend to not wake up. When it rings twice, I start to get conscious. By the time it’s the third try and it’s my personal phone, I am wide awake. Before my eyes even opened, I knew it was a phone call I would probably not want to take.

It was a dear coworker. Her voice… her muffled cries…. trying and stopping to tell me news that would make my world slow to a screeching halt. A fellow hospice nurse, a friend, a longtime acquaintance had passed. It was like I heard the news but, it really took a moment to register.

It couldn’t be. She was younger than me. She was so spunky and full of life. She was, hands down, the hardest working nurse I had ever met. She has this energy that never seemed to end – except during a few staff meetings when her head would kind of fall. She was loud and infectious…. unorthodox and magical. Her heart… bigger than her personality and unbounded. She can’t be dead. Her kids…. her daughter that she worked so hard for…That just doesn’t die.

I see death everyday. More than most, my coworkers and myself have a deep understanding of how fleeting life is. We see that moment when it is no more… disappearing as if it was never there. We prepare families and patients for it. We share their journeys and feel their emotions. But, this is different. She was one of our own.

I kept thinking about other coworkers. We are a smaller company. We all interact with each other all the time. We bounce ideas, we chat about our adventures … conversations that begin with “I can only ask you guys because I don’t want anyone to think I am dumb …”

My friend … who spent so much time holding the hands of those that were passing. She passed alone … my heart hurts for that reason more than I could ever explain. My only prayer is that it happened so she never knew it was happening.

This pain is almost searing.

Just … how?

I tried to calm my mind a few times today … closing my eyes and trying to just breathe … only to open them with hot heavy tears flowing like rivers down my cheeks. It’s a bad dream, right?

As the day has gone by and I have tried to make sense of it all, I realized that there is no making sense of it. There is a hole in our little company that will never be filled. Her absence will forever remind us of how much her presence meant.

My prayer this evening is simple … that all those she helped … all the hands she held … all the eyes she closed …all the souls she comforted … that they all met her … that they all now comforted her … that they showed her all the love she showed them … that they welcomed her into a place of love, light and peace.

See you on the other side, my dear friend. You will forever be missed.

Planning Ahead to Age in Place: Understanding Home Care and Home Health


caregiver serving a resident their mealOur home tells the story of our lives. It is the place where we find comfort among our memories and personal belongings. We also feel independent and free by living each day according to our own schedule, but with age comes fundamental changes in how to remain at home and thrive. Understanding the challenges and options available to families is essential to safely aging in place.

Homeland specializes in home care and home health as part of its continuum of care through Homeland at Home, the community outreach program of Homeland Center. While both services provide support to patients and families, there are differences between the options.

“Home care includes non-medical assistance,” says Barbara Goll, B.S., Community Education Liaison/Nutritionist at Homeland at Home. “Home health is a physician ordered plan of care provided by licensed health professionals.”

For many patients and families, home care helps improve a patient’s quality of life while living safely at home. Home care also assists the primary caregiver who may be unable to perform the daily tasks required for the patient. This support gives caregivers a brief respite from the emotional pressures of caring for a loved one.

Home care can be tailored to suit specific needs. Primary services include:

  • Meal preparation
  • Companionship
  • Personal hygiene
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
  • Toileting
  • Feeding
  • Transferring
  • Light housekeeping

Families exploring home care are encouraged to research the costs and coverage of these services as long-term insurance plans and Medicare coverage may vary.

Home health is usually prescribed by a physician as part of a healthcare plan following hospitalization, injury or onset of a new diagnosis. Home health uses a team approach of medical professionals including nurses; physical, occupational and speech therapists; social workers and certified nursing assistants. The primary goal is to treat an illness or injury to help the patient heal and return to an independent lifestyle, or regain as much self-sufficiency as possible.

For many patients and their families, home health is preferred over recuperation in a hospital or skilled nursing facility because of the comfort of being in one’s home. The level of care provided by Homeland’s Home Health team is just as effective as services provided by an in-patient facility.

Home health services may include:

  • Health monitoring
  • Wound care
  • IV therapy and injections
  • Medical tests
  • Medication administration and reminders
  • Rehabilitation therapy
  • Pain management
  • Cardiac care
  • Patient and caregiver education

Health insurance plans and Medicare may cover the cost and coverage of home health services. A physician must certify this type of service and a Medicare-certified home healthcare agency must coordinate the care.

Understanding home care and home health before you or your loved one needs these services is essential to creating a plan of care that brings comfort and safety to your life. At each step, Homeland is available to help answer your questions and discuss options to age in place.

“Decisions about home care and home health can be overwhelming,” Barbara says. “We are here to discuss options and provide information with compassion to help families make the choice that is right for them.”

End-of-Life and Planning Webinar

Barb Goll, Community Education Liaison and Nutritionist

Barb Goll, Community Education Liaison and Nutritionist

Homeland Hospice and Rolling Green Cemetery have teamed up to present an important webinar:

End-of-Life and Pre-planning
Tuesday, January 26th, 11:30 am – 12:00 pm EST

Discussion will include vital information regarding end-life-care and advanced planning. Please join us and learn how to protect your loved ones from some of life’s most difficult decisions.

  • Receive helpful information in a no-contact setting
  • Learn how to prepare BEFORE a crisis occurs
  • Discover how to set up a plan using four simple steps
  • Receive a complimentary “My Reflections” workbook and personal pre-planning guide

Registration is required. Please call, text or email to sign-up! bgoll@homelandhospice.org or 717-829-5246.