The Poiesz Family: Sharing Love, Laughter and Hope in Time of Grief

Among his countless accomplishments, Bob Poiesz of Mechanicsburg was a proud father and husband with a quick wit and contagious sense of humor. His belief in living each moment to its fullest created an atmosphere of love, laughter and hope during his end-of-life journey.

Rhonda Rush, LPN, with Homeland Hospice, connected with the Poiesz family during the final stages of Bob’s battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Her first day, Valentine’s Day of 2016, became an important anniversary for Rhonda and the Poiesz family. Bob insisted they mark the occasion with anniversary parties each month.

“Bob was a social guy who loved to tell stories,” says Bob’s wife Cathy. “He felt respected and connected to Rhonda and the Homeland staff.”

During their time together, Bob frequently shared photos of his three children with Rhonda and told her about their activities and successes. As Bob’s illness progressed and he became unable to speak with the many friends that visited, he would give Rhonda “the look” so she could show the photos and repeat the stories he had once told her.

“We grew to think of Rhonda as family,” says Cindy Poiesz, Bob’s daughter. “Her presence helped create a sense of normality for us. We needed this support as the rest of our world was changing.”

The special bond Rhonda and the Poiesz family created helped sustain the family during the progression of Bob’s disease and the final days of his life.

“Homeland helped Bob keep his dignity,” Cathy adds. “Rhonda was my rock. She helped us find our way through some very dark days.”

More than a year after Bob’s death, he continues to have a positive impact in the lives of others. At Bob’s urging, Rhonda is pursing her degree to become a registered nurse. She keeps a photo of Bob on her desk to motivate her when she is overwhelmed by the coursework.

“Bob became a mentor and cheerleader to me,” Rhonda says. “He encouraged me to grow my career and take on new challenges.”

Rhonda also uses the experiences she learned from caring for Bob to help other Homeland patients battling ALS.

Homeland provides a full continuum of services to care for patients, and to support families, as their needs change.

Homeland Hospice teams are comprised of a registered nurse case manager, hospice medical director, attending physician, volunteer coordinator, social workers, counselors, home health aides and others. All team members are patient and family-focused.

For more information, call Homeland Hospice at (717) 221-7890.