Kita has seen all sides of hospice care. She began working at Holy Family Hospice 15 years ago as a nursing assistant at the Parma site and in homes and soon advanced to a team leader supervising clinical staff. But seeing her own parents receive hospice care brought to light the beauty of compassionate care for the dying.
“My mom had breast cancer and received chemo in 2019. Holy Family nurses came out to change her dressings and help with symptoms and medications. When she couldn’t manage treatment anymore, she went to the hospital and then home with me. She was very spiritual, so the nuns brought communion and prayed with her. That was so important to her.”
Kita learned that a family could “second guess” everything when caring for a loved one, so it’s critical to have the Holy Family team of aides, nurses, and social workers for medical and emotional support. She remembers the sacred moment of watching her mom pass. “She was so open to God, with a smile on her face.”
Only two years later, Kita’s dad needed hospice care for congestive heart failure. After home care, he eventually came to Holy Family for nine months of inpatient care. “They treated him like a king,” says Kita with a laugh. “He thought he was the boss and called the nurses Dr. Joe or Dr. Paul. He thrived here and loved the whirlpool baths and having family close. Even during COVID, we never had to stop visiting.”
Kita knows the significance of family in the final moments. “The last sense to go is hearing. To hear our voice and hold our hand is so important.”
At Holy Family, she sees a different level of care, communication, and spiritual connection, including nuns and priests stopping by to talk or pray. “Even non-believers enjoy the prayers and that extra support,” says Kita.
She’s proud of the Holy Family team for keeping patients comfortable, providing the right medications, reducing fluids to ease breathing, and changing positions and bedding. “You can teach these skills, but at Holy Family we look for staff with compassion. We care for people and families facing a transition to death. That is a sacred responsibility.”
If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, please contact Hospice Care Services at 440.888.7722.