A Special Wish for a Hospice Patient Provides Peace of Mind

Pictured from left to right Helene Purcell with Wardell Duncan, Volunteer Coordinator; Sarah Fabry, Hospice Social Worker; Megan Knight, Director of Development & Community Outreach and Michele Schweidel, hospice volunteer

Last August, the VNA’s RWJBarnabas hospice team members fulfilled hospice patient Helene Purcell’s wish by arranging for her to visit her beloved parish church. Saint Philomena Church in Livingston had recently undergone a major renovation, and Helene informed her social worker that she wanted to see those changes for herself. The team went into action, and through the Final Wishes Fund, arrangements were made for Helene to make a visit. The pastor at Saint Philomena, Reverend Monsignor Robert J. Fuhrman, gave Helene a full tour. He and the parish Musical Director then met with her privately to discuss her wishes, including the music she wanted to play for her funeral Mass.

With greater peace of mind and the comfort of knowing she had been heard, Helene joined the hospice staff for lunch out at her favorite restaurant. Helene made a personal gift to the Final Wishes Fund to show her appreciation for the experience and to help another hospice patient.

The Final Wishes Program is funded through contributions and provides hospice patients with the opportunity to fulfill their wishes without regard to financial obstacles. For more information, please contact Megan Knight, Director of Development & Community Outreach, 973.370.8134 or email her at Megan.Knight@BarnabasHealthHCH.org.

This story first appeared in VNA’s House Calls Newsletter. Click here to download the issue or fill out the form on the right to be added to our distribution list.

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