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Hospice: care for patient, peace of mind for family

Laura Donnay of Glencoe, at the suggestion of medical staff, arranged for hospice care for her grandmother, Ruth Klukas, as age-related health issues made living at home difficult.

Ruth Klukas, 92, was living alone on her farm near Gibbon in 2013, and her family was concerned about her well-being as the effects of aging took their toll.
Klukas’ granddaughter, Laura Donnay of Glencoe, had experience with home health care, and was familiar with the hospice program offered in the past by ConnectCare and now by Allina Home Health. Donnay also used to work with ConnectCare.
“At some point, the doctor suggested hospice care and we made the call,” said Donnay.
ConnectCare arranged for a home health aide and nursing services for Klukas.
“They helped with cleaning, managing her meds, made sure she had something to eat,” said Donnay. “They would help her wash up and wash her hair, things like that.”
Donnay said her grandmother was from an era in which help is accepted reluctantly, if at all.
On the one hand, Klukas seemed resentful of what she felt was interference by outsiders.
On the other hand, if her nurses or aides couldn’t get to the farm because of weather or a conflict, Klukas “would be upset they didn’t come. She missed the visits,” said Donnay.
Donnay said the nurses were especially helpful in keeping the family up to date on what was going on with her grandmother.
“They’d let us know that everything was fine, that there was nothing to worry about — or they would let us know if there was a reason to worry,” said Donnay. “It was a real peace of mind for the family … to know that someone was popping in on her when we couldn’t.”

For more, see the Jan. 21 print edition of The Chronicle.