November is National Home Care and Hospice Month — an opportunity to honor the millions of nurses, home care aides, therapists and social workers who impact the lives of those they serve.
Here, team members from D’Iberville-based Saad Healthcare — Sarah Rumery, director of hospice, and Cari- Ann Dunning, patient care coordinator — share some insights about Saad and the role it plays in the community.
HOW DID SAAD START?
Dunning: Our family has provided health care for over 50 years. Saad Healthcare was founded by our grandparents, John and Dorothy Saad, on two important principles, faith and family. Both (my grandparents) were Army veterans who served in World War II; my grandmother was an Army nurse, and both served overseas.
(My grandmother’s) passion for nursing and making a difference for her patients motivated her and my grandfather to get into healthcare. They worked as a team, my grandfather in administration and my grandmother in nursing — a perfect pair.
Providing quality healthcare is the foundation of our business, and today, Dorothy Saad Dunning is the administrator, along with the third generation working in our family business. Being a locally owned, family business allows us independence in providing personal care to our patients and their families.
HOW DOES YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FAMILIES USUALLY BEGIN? WHAT DO YOU TRY TO IMPART TO THEM AT THE BEGINNING?
Dunning: At times, I am the first face from Saad they may see. First and foremost, I get to know the patient and explain our services and what we will be providing in their home. It is my goal for each patient and their families to know we are there not only to provide care to the patient, but also to make this process easier for them with us than it would be without.
Our program is more than a nurse coming out for her visit or an aide coming to give a good bath and extra TLC. Our program is about treating all as our own family. From the beginning, I promise the family they will never feel alone in this end-of-life transition and that the best care will be provided to their loved one, and I stand by that promise. It is easy to make this promise with a staff as loving and professional as ours.
DECIDING TO ENLIST HOME CARE/HOSPICE SERVICES CAN BE HARD EMOTIONALLY. HOW DO YOU AND SAAD WALK FAMILIES THROUGH THIS TRANSITION?
Rumery: We strive to meet with the families in person to not only establish a rapport, but to have an intimate and inviting conversation regarding the program in general, as well as answer any questions they may have so that they can make an informed decision when the time comes. There are many instances where we meet with them more than once and are available to travel to meet them wherever it is convenient. In many cases, a social worker and chaplain are involved to ensure the psychosocial and spiritual aspects of the decision-making are covered as well.
WHAT KIND OF TALKS DO YOU HAVE WITH PATIENTS AND FAMILIES? WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO MEET PATIENTS AT THE END OF THEIR LIVES, AND WHAT HELP OR COMFORT DO YOU PROVIDE ONCE THAT PERSON HAS PASSED?
Rumery: A big part of our job consists of educating patients regarding their expected disease progression, as well as providing guidance and support regarding symptom management. Additionally, we strive to maintain dignity and to respect whatever their final wishes and goals are. Our focus is on compassionate care for the whole person — mental, social, emotional, and spiritual — as well as the patients’ physical needs.
This holistic approach to care extends beyond the patient’s passing, as part of our bereavement program for the caregivers and loved ones. This program consists of the availability of in-person visits from both our social worker and chaplain, as well as followup calls and mailings. In addition, an annual celebration of life takes place as a way to reflect, remember and honor those patients we have lost.