Hettie and Roger were as close as petals on a rose. They tended their 66-year marriage like a colorful garden that grew in beauty and memories with every season. You never saw one without the other. “They were totally devoted to each other,” explains their daughter, Cheryl.
Cheryl attended all of her parents’ medical appointments and remembers the day in June 2010 when Bryan Petersen, MD, suggested Hettie and Roger receive services from Allina Health Home Care Services, formerly called ConnectCare. The agency provides nursing, home care and a multitude of other services to help individuals continue to live at home, and also provides hospice care – “comfort care” for the end of life – at home or in a long term care setting.
After an evaluation of their needs, an Allina Health Home Care Services aide visited Roger and Hettie’s home regularly to bathe Roger, and a nurse checked his health status and medications. Another aide helped Hettie with household tasks such as washing and changing bedding. “They also helped me, too, because I didn’t need to be there so often,” Cheryl says.
Allina Health Home Care Services fulfilled her parents’ wishes to live at home until it was no longer possible. For Roger, that day came when he fell in the bathroom. He moved to GRHS Long Term Care where he received nursing and hospice care services until he passed away in December 2010.
After Roger died, Hettie continued to live at home. A few months later, she was admitted to hospice as well, due to her own decline in health. Allina Health hospice staff and volunteers visited her at home each day during this time. When Hettie experienced leg swelling that required inpatient care, Allina Health’s hospice team worked with her physician to admit her to GRHS Long Term Care. While her placement was considered temporary, unfortunately she passed away just 11 days later, in August 2011.
“It was the first time I actually saw Mom give in and not fight so hard,” Cheryl says. “She missed Dad so much.” Cheryl praises both Allina Health Home Care Services and the GRHS Long Term Care staff. “With their help, when I visited Mom, I could just concentrate on her,” Cheryl says. “Thank heavens we have these services in our community,” she says. “It can make someone’s last journey more peaceful for everyone.”