VNA Hospice was my safety net and lifeline

VNA Hospice was my safety net and lifeline

I had no idea what that picture would look like and I was dreading what it meant. My husband had stage 4 melanoma and passed away nearly two years from his diagnosis. While hearing the word “hospice” was frightening in the beginning, by the end it was my safety net.

Initially, everything seemed so overwhelming and I had so many questions: who do I call, how does it work, what will happen, how are supplies and medications coordinated, how does insurance work? I contacted VNA Hospice because of their solid reputation in Porter County. With one phone call, they took care of everything; all I had to do was focus on my husband.

My husband wanted to stay at home, so that was our plan. We were assigned the most amazing nurse, Crystal, with whom we bonded immediately. My husband required some additional care that she was specifically trained to provide. She visited routinely and answered my never-ending phone calls and questions with care and concern. I worked full-time during most of my husband’s illness and she arranged her visits so that I could be home when she was there and be involved in everything. I quickly learned that what was important to us was important to her, and I knew we could count on getting honest information about what to expect every step of the way. For us, Crystal represents what hospice care is all about.

Eventually, remaining at home was no longer an option for my husband; he was admitted to the VNA Hospice Center for 21 days, much longer than the average stay. From the nurses to volunteers, the VNA Hospice staff are an amazing group of people who see their occupation as a calling and not just a job. There are no words for the genuine care and comfort they provided to my husband. And not only did they take care of my husband, but they also took care of me and my children. They made sure I ate, got outside for fresh air, and helped me not to feel guilty for needing to step away for a break.

One aide working the night shift, Ruth, even brought me blankets from the warmer to make sure I was tucked in and cozy at night. We could never have gotten through this difficult time without them.

Our time with VNA Hospice spanned a total of nearly six months. Our community is so fortunate to have them but unfortunately, they are not usually top of mind until you need them. I learned so much about hospice care during this time and continue to be passionate about the mission of VNA Hospice. Although my husband passed away, VNA Hospice staff stayed with me and offered valuable grief support. What they provide and how they help patients and families get through difficult and painful times just can’t be described with words. VNA Hospice was our lifeline and I will be forever grateful.