Hospice patient’s wish granted

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice patient Jan Frew sits with her dog and VNA social worker Jennifer McMahon in a golf cart given at a reduced cost to the family by Torello Motorized Carts. VNACHCH paid for the cart using donations made to support the agency hospice wish program to grant Jan’s wish to be able to visit the beach nearby her home daily this summer.


Every person deserves the chance to live life to the fullest.

That is why VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice, a century-old nonprofit devoted to helping its home healthcare patients and all members of the 35 communities it serves to achieve their best quality of life, launched a program to grant the wishes of its hospice patients.

Although hospice is a service engaged by those who have a terminal diagnosis of 6 months or less, hospice is focused on living – not on dying. VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice offers a holistic plan of care comprised of symptom management rather than curative treatment. It includes personal and medical care enhanced by therapies to address all needs ranging from those of the body to those of the spirit and mind.

While the VNACHCH team of registered nurses, a hospice physician, home health aides, social workers, volunteers, bereavement counselors and spiritual counselors has always provided high-quality care since the agency began its hospice program three years ago, the agency decided to increase its commitment by utilizing donation dollars to grant the wishes of hospice patients.

These wishes range from simple but powerful – such as a candlelit, white glove service dinner at home for a husband and wife – to more complex requests.

The care team for Guilford hospice patient Jan Frew recently brought forward a wish to help Jan and her husband continue their daily walks to the beach by their home. Due to her diagnosis, Jan now uses an oxygen tank and is unable to make the walk unassisted.

With the help of Torello Motorized Carts owner Sherry Purvis-Torello, VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice was able to give Jan a way to enjoy this summer fully. The business provided a two-month rental of a two-seat electric golf cart to the Frew family for a significantly reduced rate, which VNACHCH paid for using the generous gifts donors have made to the hospice wish program.

Purvis-Torello then offered to donate the cart at the end of the contract, free of charge.

“Sherry has a long-standing history with VNACHCH and, when she heard what we were trying to accomplish, she had a golf cart detailed and ready for delivery within hours,” explained VNACHCH Development Coordinator Kassandra Hernandez. “They were such a joy to work with. They delivered the cart directly to Jan’s house and were so thoughtful in their use and care instructions. We are so grateful to Torello Motorized Carts and to all the generous individuals in the community who support our efforts to help improve the lives of our hospice patients.”

With the help of a $5,000 grant from the Branford Community Foundation, the wish program launched as a pilot program in 2019 to benefit VNACHCH Branford patients. As the agency is now expanding the program throughout its territory, it will be reliant on donations to continue granting wishes, and providing other comfort items that are not covered by Medicare and other insurances for hospice patients.

For her part, Jan was tremendously grateful for the difference this wish granting made on her quality of life. She said being able to go to the beach to see and smell the ocean has made a significant impact on her mental and emotional health.

“I am so overwhelmed that the VNA did this for me,” Jan said. “We are so grateful they made this happen. Our neighbor’s are so tickled that the Torello’s did this – it was so generous of them. They are a wonderful family and everyone in the cove loves them. This freed me from being stuck inside one room in my house. I never thought I would be able to make it down to the beach again, but this made it possible.”

She said to VNACHCH and the Torello family, “You are angels on earth taking care of me and I don’t have enough words to say thank you.”

To make a donation to support the work of VNACHCH, click here.