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Couple Finds Comfort, Compassion, and Support with VNA Care's Hospice 

Leona Keefe found herself drawn to the Rose Monahan Hospice Home on the fifth anniversary of her husband David’s passing there.

VNA Care’s hospice team was a source of compassion and comfort for the couple in their final months together. As she spent time reflecting in the residence’s peaceful surroundings, she knew their decision to transition from hospice care at home to the Monahan Home had been a good one.

Leona and David met in 1972 while working together at Raytheon. They became best friends and later partners. They blended their families, David with two children and Leona with one, and bought a home. They were married for 15 of the 35 years they spent building a life together, and loved seeing their family grow with the addition of six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

During their retirement, David’s health began suddenly failing. His time would now be measured in months instead of years.

Leona and David turned to VNA Care’s hospice program for medical care, counseling, and support during this incredibly difficult time. The team, including hospice nurses, social worker, and spiritual counselor, initially visited the couple in their own home.

Hospice focuses on helping people faced with terminal diagnoses live with dignity through expert pain and symptom management and a comprehensive range of physical, emotional, social, practical, and spiritual support. The hospice team prepared the couple for what they could expect during the end-of-life journey, and introduced the Rose Monahan Hospice Home as a homelike alternative for care should David be unable to remain at home.

Leona was dealing with her own health issues while also caring for David. She said, “It was a big relief having the hospice staff here. I think it was also a relief for David. That put him at ease as well.”

As David’s needs changed over the course of two months, the team adapted the care plans to promote his quality of life. They arranged for a hospital bed to be placed on the home’s first floor when David could no longer safely use the stairs to his bedroom. David had a long talk with the hospice team’s spiritual counselor, who later reassured Leona that David was at peace with what’s happening.

She said, “There were so many aspects of their help — the concern, the care, the compassion, and the willingness to go the extra mile to get information.”

Considering David’s deteriorating condition and Leona’s own health, the couple opted to transition to end-of-life care at the Rose Monahan Hospice Home. The residence has nurses available around the clock to provide general in-patient and residential hospice care.

“We loved it right away,” shared Leona. “It’s very homey, very picturesque. David loved looking out at the lake with every window at the home facing Coes Pond. He loved the birds, ducks, swans, and everything.”

Nearly one month at the residence brought the couple “a lot of support. The nurses and other staff were very compassionate and understanding,” said Leona.

The team kept David comfortable, and he passed away peacefully.

Leona, wanting to give back to VNA Care, asked for donations to be made in David’s memory to the Rose Monahan Hospice Home. She said, “It’s what served us beautifully, and that’s where I wanted the money to go. Why not keep it local?”

When Leona learned that a family friend was facing a terminal cancer diagnosis, she recommended the woman’s family seek care from the clinicians at the Rose Monahan Hospice Home.

They took her advice, and Leona’s friend was soon in the same room where David had lived his final weeks. Leona remembered her friend was just as appreciative as David had been with the care and beautiful setting.

Leona said that no matter where the hospice care was provided, “everybody was so helpful and so kind. They were great.”