Hospice Aide: Every Day is a Reward

Care Dimensions hospice aide Elena Connelly with patient Jeanne Dunn at Brookdale Assisted Living in Danvers, MA

Care Dimensions hospice aide Elena Connelly shares a moment with one of her patients, Jeanne Dunn, at Brookdale Assisted Living in Danvers.

I have been a certified nursing assistant (CNA) for 25 years, and a hospice aide at Care Dimensions for the past 10 years.  Every day is a reward for me because I get to help people who really need it.


I knew from an early age that I would devote my life to helping others.  I had a traumatic experience that shaped who I am, and only recently have I been able to share it.


When I was a four-year-old girl living in El Salvador during the 1970s, both of my parents were executed in front of me. I was sent to an orphanage, where I lived for three years. When I was almost eight years old, I was brought to the U.S. by an adoption agency. I met my adoptive mother at the airport in Boston. I felt blessed! I was mute for the first two years living with her, but once I could speak, I kept saying that I wanted to give back.


I attended public school in Salem, MA. It wasn’t easy, but I graduated high school when I was 19 and became a CNA at a long-term care facility. A lot of the patients I saw were lonely. I believed it was my job to make them feel better, and I wanted to succeed. I would read their expressions and try to put them at ease.


Enjoying my role as hospice aide


When I came to Care Dimensions as a hospice aide, I immediately liked how much closer I could get to my patients. My visits with them are one hour; when I was working in long-term care, I had less time with each patient.


I didn’t know what to expect when I started working at Care Dimensions, but any anxiety I may have had was quickly erased by my coworkers and managers. Everyone on a clinical team here is equal. As a hospice aide, I am the person on my team who often sees the patient most frequently. I am their voice. So if I notice one of my patients is behaving differently, experiencing pain, or could use other help, I tell the appropriate team member right away. I want to do all I can to ensure that the patient gets the care he or she needs.


I always greet people with a smile. Patients feel what you’re feeling. Even patients with Alzheimer’s disease can sense a difference in how you’re feeling, so it’s important to always have a positive attitude.


Some patients don’t have family members or friends with them. When I bathe them, give them a drink, sit and hold their hand, or just listen to them, I know I’m doing my job.


For example, I was with a patient who was in pain. I knew that her favorite singer was Barbra Streisand, so I found a 50-minute YouTube video of Streisand singing, and showed it to her. I just held her hand while the video played, and she relaxed. Moments like that give me a lot of positive reinforcement.


I told my sons at an early age that life is about giving. I took them to the long-term care facility where I worked at the time and wanted them to see how the residents lived. I told them it’s important to think about others and have compassion. I still strongly believe that, and being a hospice aide for Care Dimensions allows me to live that belief every day. It doesn’t seem like work; it’s like I get to be an angel. I love it. This is what I was meant to do.



Care Dimensions hires certified nursing assistants as hospice aides to work with patients in their homes, in care facilities, and at our hospice houses.

View all current job openings at Care Dimensions.


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Elena Connelly, CNA, is a Care Dimensions hospice aide who cares for hospice patients in their private homes and in assisted living and long-term care facilities.

6 comments on “Hospice Aide: Every Day is a Reward
  1. Patricia Ahern says:

    Elena – thank you for sharing this amazing post. Your words are beautiful and you are a gifted writer. And your story inspires and humbles me. Pat Ahern

  2. sharon collins says:

    I remember Elena from Rosewood Nsg Center.She was a terrific cna,was sorry when she left.Glad to see her recognized for her good work

  3. Pam says:

    So proud of you Elena☺

  4. Kathy McAdams says:

    What a beautiful story, and a beautiful life. Thank you for sharing, Elena.



  5. denise says:

    You are by far one of the most caring people I know, your residents are very lucky!

  6. Mrs. B says:

    Elena, when I first meet you when you were in high school I knew right away that you were a giving caring person. I have always thought of you as a outstanding human being!!! I am so glad that we met and I honor you for everything you have done and for the way you have shared your love with everyone you meet. ❤️ Mrs. B

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"Since 1978, Care Dimensions has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As the non-profit leader in advanced illness care, we offer services in more than 90 communities in Eastern Massachusetts."