“Anyone can do end-of-life care. You just have to be properly trained and understand how to take care of someone properly, ”said Amanda Neveu, Executive Director of Joan Nicole Prince Home.
With this motto in mind, Neveu released his first book, “Living with the dying: the journey of a comfortable home ”, June 19, the 15th anniversary of the house. The book covers the history of the Joan Nicole Prince House, the stories of residents and volunteers, resources on end-of-life care, and a dying person’s bill of rights, Neveu said.
“The Comfort Nursing Home model is not well known, so I wanted to make our voice and our mission heard, and connect it with the stories of our residents,” she added.
Founded in 2006 with a large donation from the family of Joan Nicole Prince, the Scotia Home provides end-of-life care to two residents at a time. According to Neveu, the idea of comfort homes originated in western New York state, and nurses at Schenectady County hospices were inspired by the comfort home model for the Joan Nicole Prince Home.
Anyone who is enrolled in a local hospice, has a terminal illness, and has a prognosis of three months or less is eligible to become a resident at the home. Priority for residency is given to people with a caregiver who have difficulty caring for them, or people in a life-threatening situation, such as living alone, Neveu said.
The house is free to residents and operates entirely through donations and grants. The majority of funds the home receives are memorial donations from family members and friends of residents, while they also receive money from periodic fundraisers and church donations, Neveu said.
A key aspect of the Comfort Care Home is its combination of hospice services and volunteer caregivers. The home’s 30 to 40 resident care volunteers work four-hour shifts from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., providing what Neveu has described as “one-on-one nurturing.”
Students at Union, Saint Rose, Maria College and SUNY Schenectady are frequent volunteers at home, as well as retirees or people with 9 to 5 jobs, Neveu said. In addition to the resident care volunteers, the home has four paid staff – Nephew, the executive director, and Toni Warren, the assistant director, and two residential coordinators. They also have non-residential care volunteers who perform tasks such as gardening, lawn care, maintenance and other tasks.
Libby Horn, a retired family nurse practitioner and eight-year residential care volunteer, said she typically works two to three four-hour shifts at home each week. A typical shift includes preparing meals and snacks, administering medication, cleaning and, most importantly, keeping residents company, Horn added.
“The most rewarding part is seeing that people can die comfortably and give up life in a graceful way. So many people are afraid of dying, and working with a hospice helps you not to be afraid of dying, ”Horn said.
Another important aspect of the home, according to Neveu, is that it can ease the burden on family members of residents who previously had to be caregivers. “When someone comes here, we encourage their family members to go back to being a son, daughter or niece because they no longer need to be a caregiver,” said Neveu.
Suzanne Wilber, from Guilderland, whose mother spent time at home, said “she was receiving the best care. She was cleaner and people paid more attention to her than when she was in Kingston hospital.
Since his mother has been a resident, Wilber has volunteered at home, doing weekly groceries. “I have no words for this place. It’s so amazing, ”Wilber said. “When I walk through the front door, I get an inner peace that I can’t explain to anyone.”
For Neveu, who has been an executive director for two years and involved with the house in other capacities for three more years, the donations and community support they received during the pandemic have been uplifting. “Everyone was so compassionate, giving what they could,” she said.
Neveu said she hopes her new book will give people in the capital region more information about what Comfort Homes are and how they can provide their loved ones with appropriate end-of-life care. .
Jeffrey Berman, Distinguished English Teacher at SUNY Albany, has also just published a book on end-of-life care, titled “The art of healing in fiction, cinema and memories. “According to Berman, the comfortable home model of places like the Joan Nicole Prince House is a valuable way for people to feel loved and cared for at the end of their lives.
“He receives medical care, but he also talks with other people and doesn’t feel socially isolated. Social isolation is one of the worst aspects of death, partly because we live in a culture where death is not openly spoken about, and partly because there is so much fear around. the end of life, ”Berman said.
Spreading the word about Comfort Homes and featuring the stories of the residents of the Joan Nicole Prince Home is the ultimate goal of her book, Neveu said. “Anyone we can get this to read, we would have made a difference in our community and for end-of-life care,” she added.
“Living with the dying: the journey of a comfortable home” is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Joan Nicole Prince Home.
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