For Tim McGuiness, the care that was available from Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) of Manchester and Southern New Hampshire was unknown. Determined to continue caring for his rapidly ailing father, Cliff at the age of 89, Tim was not sure if he was doing the best he could for him. Tim could not have known that in April 2022, when he and his father were introduced to the VNA, a life-changing experience was beginning.
“My father had COPD badly. He saw a pulmonologist, who over the course of these visits, recommended palliative care. I wanted to take care of my father until the end, so I continued to care for him. But it became increasingly clear that he needed experts—people who were trained and could work with him in a way that I couldn’t,” said Tim. “I called palliative care at The Elliot, and that is how I found the VNA. I knew right away that this is what we needed—they sent a nurse to my dad’s apartment, and he and I were immediately in good hands with trusted professionals. Lori Wilkinson was his nurse who first arrived. She explained how it all worked on day one.”
Over the course of six months, Lori Wilkinson RN, Jen Rydeen MSW, Ruth Davis, and Sylvie Garrity cared for Cliff and supported Tim. Tim refers to his father’s VNA team as the “Fab Four”. Today, Tim reflects on the last days and weeks of his father’s life, with gratitude for the help and care that both he and his father received from the VNA of Manchester and Southern NH.
“My dad often didn’t want to listen to me because I was his son, but he did listen to the VNA team because they were experts from the outside—this gave me peace of mind. Staff also sat and talked with him and made a real connection with him, which was so important. For me, the VNA team helped by letting me know what to expect. They explained what to look for with my dad, and sure enough, everything they told me to expect, happened. I was prepared to be a better support for my dad because of the VNA team. As much as they helped my dad, they don’t know how much they helped me.”
“Ensuring that Cliff and all of our hospice patients have comfort, safety and the best care possible is the focus of our work,” said Lori Wilkinson RN with VNA of Manchester and Southern NH. “For me as a staff member, it’s incredibly meaningful knowing that I am helping patients and their families in this way.”
“In hospice, care we care for everyone. There is a great deal of change happening that can be challenging to process and understand as a family member. It was an honor to help Cliff and Tim throughout their experience. I feel fortunate to serve our community,” said Jen Rydeen MSW with VNA of Manchester and Southern NH.
For families who need for home care for ailing family members, Tim offers some advice. “I strongly suggest getting involved with the VNA. The team helps the patient and the caregiver with expertise, equipment and support. It was the best decision I made. There are no words to express my gratitude to the VNA. I will be a supporter of the VNA for life.”