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Finding Support At End of Life

27 Feb 2018, Posted by Seasons in Community

Sometimes when you know that the one you love is dying, there is little you can do to tear yourself away, because you want to cherish each moment you have left together. This is how it was for Yolanda, who sat at the hospital bedside of her husband Joseph for more than 21 days. She refused to leave the room, and slept only occasionally on a chair or roll-away bed provided by the hospital.

Joseph was a social worker, and while he and Yolanda had been married just two years, they had been together for more than 17 years, and had formed a close bond. Joseph had had heart disease for a few years, and was recently told that he was in the final stages. During this hospital stay there was no improvement in his health, and the decision was made to go onto hospice services. Because of Joseph’s grave condition he was moved to our inpatient center at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.

Yolanda didn’t want to leave her husband and best friend’s side; she felt like she needed to be there to support him, but this long stay in the hospital had worn on her so much that she was starting to need support. The couple had no family living nearby, so there was no one to turn to for respite, advice, or emotional support. Thankfully, that’s when Seasons’ social worker PreciousToni stepped in.

Yolanda and PreciousToni formed an instant connection when they met. After they talked, Yolanda realized that she needed to take care of herself as well as her husband. Besides visits, PreciousToni began calling her several times a day to make sure that she was eating and resting, and that all her needs were met. The support that PreciousToni provided brought comfort to Yolanda, and allowed her to be more present for her husband before he passed, nine days later.

When Yolanda shared with PreciousToni that the family did not have sufficient funds for a funeral and the associated costs, PreciousToni sprang into action and got the Seasons Hospice Foundation involved. On the day of the funeral, there was no one to be with Yolanda during a private viewing of her husband’s body, so PreciousToni came and supported her during that difficult time.

During Joseph’s memorial service almost a month later, Yolanda spoke eloquently about her husband and best friend; how he had loved, cared for, and supported her for as long as she had known him. She also expressed her gratitude to Seasons Hospice, the Seasons Hospice Foundation, and especially PreciousToni, who she requested stand by her side as she offered up her reflections on her husband: in closing, Yolanda said, “I am extremely sad for the loss of my husband, but I thank God for people like Seasons who care.”

We are privileged to be able to provide support of every kind for the patients and families we care for, and grateful for staff that go above-and-beyond to build special relationships with those we serve.