Skip to main content

Hospice Helps Family Matriarch Live the Way She Wanted at the End of Life 

Debra Haire was known for saying exactly what she thought. So when her physician broke the news that she had stage four cancer, she didn’t waste any time telling him how she wanted to live during her last months of life.

Daughter-in-law Joyce Decker remembered Debra saying, “If it’s not curable and I’m not going to get any better, then just let me live out the rest of my life the way I am now. ...I don’t want to take treatment.”

She was referred to VNA Care so that her family would be supported in making Debra’s wishes a reality — to continue living in her own home and spending time with her children, grandchildren, and extended family that were central to her life.

VNA Care offers palliative care to manage pain and symptoms for individuals with advanced illnesses. When a condition is terminal, the hospice team provides physical, emotional, social, practical, and spiritual support for patients and families. The hospice team cares for patients at home, assisted living and other facilities, and the Rose Monahan Hospice Home.

Dorothy Lavallee said her mother “totally embraced” the hospice experience. Paulette Hallihan, RN, visited Debra at home and “became like a member of our family. ...I really felt like she loved and cared about who my mother was as a person. I can’t express enough how great that was as a family member to know that whatever my mother needed or wanted to say was just accepted with open arms.”

Joyce, along with her husband Ronald Decker and daughter Brittany Decker, RN, lived with Debra. Joyce said that the hospice team was always a phone call away if they had any questions or concerns. The hospice team kept Debra comfortable and prepared the family for what to expect during the end-of-life journey.

Debra was able to have quality time with her family. One of Brittany’s favorite memories of her grandmother happened while Debra was on hospice. It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining. Debra liked to joke that she was allergic to the sun, but she told her family she wanted to go outside. They got her into a wheelchair and took her out on the porch.

“She looked at me and said, ‘Brit, don’t I look so beautiful in the sun.’ I said, ‘You look beautiful all the time Nana. But yes, you do look so beautiful, and you look so happy,’” remembered Brittany. “That was a great day.”

Debra passed away peacefully at home with her family at her side.

Joyce said, “I don’t know if we could have done it all without hospice. ...Every moment that hospice was there was a blessing.”

Share this page