The final moments of a loved one’s life are typically cherished among family members for eternity.
For the last 10 years, Haynes House of Hope, a non-profit organization on Route 149 in Granville has provided families of 109 patients the opportunity to step back and enjoy their time with those about to pass away, with its mission statement always labeled as the number one priority.
“To provide comfort care to end-of-life patients, and that includes not just the residents that live here, but their families because they need a lot of support,” said chair of the board at Haynes House of Hope, Joanna “Jodie” Prouty.
“We do mainly the kind of care that isn’t a big intervention, people don’t have all kinds of tubes and wires which is kind of comforting to families in some ways, but our purpose really is to keep the patient comfortable at the end of their life and to provide good nutrition and a healthy atmosphere.”
Former director and current board member Carol Finke emphasized the need for families to let the Haynes House do the work so they can appreciate that slowly disappearing family time.
“We are like an extension of the family, we’ll provide the hands-on care to give the families a break so that they can be family and not so much the caregiver,” Finke said.
The two bedrooms used for residents in the home in South Granville provides 24-hour mostly volunteer healthcare and a general feeling of “grandma’s house” to both the patients and the families.
Families who may be expecting the patient to pass overnight or understand the patient’s time is dwindling are allowed to stay overnight at the Haynes House as well.
Haynes House works hand-in-hand with High Peaks Hospice of Glens Falls in terms of managing medications, monitoring health conditions and determining whether or not the patient meets the guidelines to be admitted to Hospice healthcare.
“A resident’s time here could be from a few hours, which we’ve had, to six to eight months,” Finke said.
Prouty and Finke both said they provide training at the Haynes House for volunteers who may not have nursing or medical experience.
“We educate them (the workers) along the road and let them know that this is normal, and that they have done a great job,” Finke said. “We try to keep it as normal as possible and we reinforce with the family that they’ve done a good job but we want them to be family!”
COVID-19 has forced Prouty and the board to close the Haynes House to end-of-life patients and families due to health concerns – a decision that was unwanted and that Prouty cannot wait to lift and return to normal.
“Basically, what we have done is we have taken a break because we have a lot of volunteers that are up in age and are quite not willing to risk to come back yet,” Prouty said. “We know
there’s a need because we get calls, I had one today, and we’d really like to get back to normal. But again, COVID means we’re going to have to re-train staff… we will be asking people to take on a little bit more of a responsibility.”
Prouty said she would love to say Haynes House will be reopened on Jan. 1, but due to the rapid and constantly changing considerations of healthcare precautions and regulations, she and the board cannot guarantee anything.
“Three months ago we talked about possibly reopening in October, but as the situation changes daily, we have to reconsider. And unfortunately, it does mean postponing an opening right now because (of) safety not only for ourselves, but safety for the resident and their families,” Finke said.
Finke mentioned the next closest hospice house is Comfort Care Hospice House in Saratoga County. Prouty explained she would love to expand Haynes House when able to reopen.
“We’re trying to reach outside the area because one community can only support so much,” Prouty said.
The end-of-life experience is something the people at the Haynes House want the resident to feel a sense of ownership in the process, whether it is creating a knitting club or watching their favorite weekly tv show with the staff.
“I always like to tell the resident they’re in control,” Finke said.
Finke nailed the point on the head when she concluded with the purpose of everyone involved at the Haynes House.
“To give them (patients) a quality of life at the end of life.”