Our dad, Tom DeVeau, became very sick over Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2016. At 81 years old, he had been functioning fine with the help of oxygen for his COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), but his symptoms suddenly got much worse. He spent six weeks in and out of Boston-area hospitals and had a short rehabilitation stay.
One of Dad’s nurses at Winchester Hospital mentioned the option of getting him hospice care when he returned home, where he lived alone. We all knew that he would require more care than he had before he entered the hospital, but the word “hospice” was very frightening to him – and to us. He equated “hospice” with “dying,” but we soon learned that wasn’t the case.
Improving quality of life
Initially, Dad had a palliative care consultation with Care Dimensions. We discussed his goals, and the biggest one was to remain in his own home. After receiving reassurance that hospice would help Dad’s quality of life, he agreed to the service.
From the first visit with the hospice nurse case manager and social worker at his home in January 2017, we knew it was the right fit for Dad. They were friendly and comforting and gave him the help he needed to stay at home. They enrolled him in their Respiratory Program, which provided the specialized care he needed for his COPD. If he wasn’t feeling well, we called Care Dimensions and the nurse was able to treat him at home. Sometimes they adjusted his oxygen level; other times they answered questions and made necessary changes to his medications.
Having visited the doctor and hospital many times before Dad started hospice care, the change was a welcome one for all of us. The thought of having to transport him always gave us anxiety, but knowing help was available by calling Care Dimensions gave us a sense of relief and reduced our stress level enormously.
Every staff member on Dad’s care team was professional, friendly, helpful and always comforting. His nurse, Maureen, was extraordinary and became like a part of our family. Dad looked forward to all of the visits. The services went above and beyond the medical aspect. Dad took advantage of massage therapy and enjoyed visits from the chaplain, which contributed to his health and well-being.
Supporting the Walk for Hospice
When we learned that Care Dimensions was having its annual Walk for Hospice that September, we all agreed that we wanted to take part. Dad was so excited to participate also. We came up with a team name, “Dad’s Dream Team,” and had T-shirts made that captured the essence of our dad – a happy guy sitting in his recliner giving the thumbs up. Our team of 13 was made up of his children, grandchildren, and in-laws. We had a great day. Our family and friends knew how thankful we were to have Care Dimensions’ help and were happy to support our team. Giving back and making donations to the Walk was our way of saying thank you.
We were lucky enough to have 11 months with our dad after he started hospice services with Care Dimensions. As Dad’s health began to fail during the late fall of 2017, we always knew that help was just a phone call away – no matter what time of day or night. When he could no longer be cared for at home and the time had come for us to move him to the Kaplan Family Hospice House, Maureen stood by our side and walked us through everything. From the minute we walked through the doors at Kaplan, the nurses and staff made it perfectly clear that their goal was to make Dad comfortable, and they did that. He spent a short eight hours there before he passed away. We will be forever grateful that his last day was peaceful.
The services Care Dimensions provides to their patients and their families are truly priceless. We will continue to show support by walking in memory of our dad and seeking donations to help other families like ours who have a member living with an advanced illness.
When we received the Care Dimensions Walk for Hospice save-the-date postcard for this year’s walk, we were thrilled to see it featured three of Dad’s grandchildren in their “Dad’s Dream Team” shirts. We’re gearing up for the Walk for Hospice and hope you will please consider supporting this important fundraiser.