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A Q&A with Pat Roche Hospice Home Manager Jeanne Truehart

Jeanne Truehart, LPN is the clinical manager of the Pat Roche Hospice Home in Hingham. Working with the administrative director, Jeanne oversees 24-hour care that includes three shifts of nurses, aides, chaplains, and social workers.

A lengthy career in home care brought Jeanne to the realization that she had a particular passion for bringing comfort to patients and families through hospice.

Jeanne has been with NVNA and Hospice for almost a decade.

NVNA and Hospice considers it a privilege to operate our non-profit hospice home for those facing the end of life. Below, Jeanne illuminates the ways in which she works with the clinical team to support families and why this resource is so important for families on the South Shore.

Q: As the clinical manager of the Pat Roche Hospice Home, you play a meaningful role in helping families feel supported while they are here as they navigate the transition for their loved one. How do you facilitate this both individually and with the team?

A: I’m sometimes the first person a family sees when they arrive. I am always sure to let them know exactly what it is we do here and what our goal is, which is to keep their loved one comfortable and make sure the family is part of the process. As a team, we all take on the responsibility of making sure each family is okay and that their needs are met, too. We provide end-of-life care for our patients and work in tandem with the family so that we can support them during this challenging time.

With all the emotions, worries, and family dynamics that come into play, it is an honor to be able to offer moments of solace and peace for every person involved. I have spoken with many family members who have said, “I just don’t know what I would do without this team to talk to.” When a loved one is dying, it can be helpful for a neutral voice to step in and help families navigate the many different emotions that surface.

Q: What does a typical day at the hospice home look like for you?

A: When I arrive here in the morning, my first assignment is to receive the clinical report from overnight and to facilitate any issues that may have surfaced during that time. Often I am checking in on a specific clinical case, and then immediately connecting with the entire team as we start our day.

I love that no two days are ever structured in the same way yet always revolve around creating a positive experience for the families we serve. And the complexity of our patients is always changing. I also am keenly aware to connect with my colleagues, as we become close to our patients. I am so incredibly proud of the team at the Pat Roche Hospice Home when they meet the moment every day.

I feel connected to the uniqueness and mission of this house and what we are able to do here. It is not always possible for people to remain at home at the end of life, and whatever the reason may be, we are right here to make sure they feel supported the whole way through. Many of the same services we offer to home hospice patients throughout the region are available to our residents, from spiritual care to music or pet therapy visits.

Q: What is something you would want people to know about what goes on here at the hospice home that you wish was more understood?

A: First and foremost, I would love for people to simply know that this is here. That they can bring their loved one to the Pat Roche Hospice Home and trust that they are going to receive the best end-of-life care available. Since our staff here only works with hospice patients, it is a very specialized level of care where everyone knows what they are seeing and how to treat end-of-life symptoms as they arise.

Although it's not every patient's story, many of our patients are admitted to the hospice home and are still participating in the community. Of course, there are limitations, but it does happen. It is a common misconception that if you come to our hospice home, you are never going to leave again. They may live here, but as residents are able, they can still enjoy anything they want outside these walls from visiting a friend’s house to attending a grandchild’s basketball game.

Q: What do you feel it means to families to go home at night and know their loved ones are being taken care of 24/7 here at the home?

A: Family members can come and be just that: family. We have witnessed family gatherings, special anniversary dinners, and more. I think helping make those little things happen really, truly means a lot to people. Knowing someone is always taking care of their loved ones’ physical and emotional needs when they are unable to be present is a gift.

We have close to 30 colleagues working day and night to provide compassionate, comprehensive care for up to 12 residents at a time. While we feel every loss, we all feel called and honored to do this work.

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