Hospice Makes a Difference to Breast Cancer Patients and Families
How VITAS Helped
“When I first started taking care of my mother, I didn’t know what she needed. I was lost,” remembers Marneice Wells. “I could not have made it without hospice.”
Marneice’s mother, Geraldine Wells, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. After a mastectomy, she underwent radiation and chemotherapy. The cancer reappeared in 2011 and by 2015 had metastasized into other parts of her body. Geraldine was admitted to hospice.
For Marneice, becoming a full-time caregiver to her mother while also working full time was overwhelming. She relied on the VITAS Healthcare hospice team “…for every little thing."
“The team was instrumental in helping me. Whether it was helping me get my mother’s medicine or being there for me to have someone to talk to, someone was there 24 hours a day and called me back immediately,” explains Marneice.
When the team wasn’t helping Marneice with direct patient care, including pain medications, symptom management, oxygen and medical equipment, they were directing Marneice to additional resources, such as Medicaid, other financial assistance and someone to care for her mother while Marneice was at work.
An Amazing Hospice Team
As the cancer progressed, the team helped calm an agitated Geraldine with lavender scented aromatherapy. When the cancer weakened her facial muscles and Geraldine couldn’t eat solid food anymore, the team’s dietician made sure she got the nutrition she needed. When Marneice wanted to take her mother out, the team was there with a portable oxygen pump to make it possible.
“Mom loved her team,” says Marneice. “And I don’t know what I would have done without them. If I had questions or concerns, if I needed moral support, I would call Charlie (Charlotte Collins, team manager) first.”
Geraldine Wells died on September 9, 2016. In her obituary, Marneice made sure to mention VITAS Team #137. Today, Marneice still gets assistance from the team, with the bereavement specialist offering her grief support.
Asked what she would tell someone in the same position she was in, Marniece says, “I would recommend hospice. I would recommend VITAS. With their help, I know I did everything I could for my mother.”