Giving Patients and Families Quality Time Together

“One of the most rewarding parts of my job is walking with patients on their end-of-life journey,” shared Twila Jantzi, RN, Inpatient Center Day Shift Supervisor, Hospice & Community Care. “It is so rewarding to offer them reassurance, provide education, be a calm presence, and actively manage patients’ symptoms as they arise.”

Twila has been working for Hospice & Community Care for 16 years. She began her career with the organization as a Registered Nurse (RN) at the Bob Fryer & Family Inpatient Center. She worked directly with patients helping to manage their symptoms and plan of care. While she still continues to care for patients and families in her current role, she also oversees nurses and aides, as well as collaborates with Home Hospice team members to assist with patient transfers to and from the Inpatient Center. “I welcome this collaboration,” shared Twila. “It allows us to all give the best care possible to our patients and their loved ones.”

Twila and her fellow clinicians at the Bob Fryer & Family Inpatient Center provide patients with short-term treatment of difficult or challenging symptoms. This option is typically offered when symptoms cannot be managed at home, with patients often returning home once symptoms are resolved. The Inpatient Center team works collaboratively with patients, families, and the Home Hospice team to meet patients’ goals. Twila and the Inpatient Center staff also provide the day to day caregiving to allow families to focus on spending quality time with their loved ones.

Prior to joining Hospice & Community Care, Twila worked in a hospital administering chemotherapy to and caring for cancer patients. “A patient of mine, who was in her 90s, was nearing end of life and verbalized her desire to stop fighting a losing battle,” shared Twila. “Her granddaughter insisted that she continue her chemo treatments and I administered chemo to her the day before she died. That experience, along with others, gave me the desire to refocus my career toward end-of-life care. I wanted to be able to communicate with family members, like that granddaughter, to help her see what her grandmother’s wishes were and to help her come to peace with her grandmother’s decisions.”

Twila has had many memorable experiences at Hospice & Community Care. “Years ago I walked through a very difficult time with a family as they said goodbye to their two-year-old child,” shared Twila. “His mom was withdrawn and grieving, but with our help she was able to re-engage. She helped to bathe him and held him. She became his mother again, not just someone who was standing by watching this terrible thing happen, and she was the person holding him as he passed.”

And most recently, Twila cared for a patient who was rapidly progressing toward end of life. She called his family and they were on their way to the Inpatient Center, but he passed before they arrived. Twila stayed with him and quietly reassured him that he was not alone. “It is a sacred time to be with someone who is dying,” shared Twila. “I am always grateful when I am permitted to be present at that moment.”