Johnston Family Was Able To Be A Family Again

A Life-Long Nurse Received “The Best of Care” at Chatham-Kent Hospice.

The Johnston family found peace, compassion, and laughter in their final days together at Chatham-Kent Hospice. Most importantly, they rediscovered the essence of being a family after more than a decade of illness.

Rose Johnston, a beacon of kindness with a vibrant sense of humor and a lifelong nurse herself, encountered ‘the best of nursing’ during her time at Hospice.

Throughout her nursing career and personal life, Rose used her humor as a healing balm, uplifting spirits and touching lives with grace. Despite battling various health challenges, including a heart attack, breast cancer, and COPD, Rose faced each hurdle with resilience, embodying the values she imparted to others.

Coming from a large family of nine children, Rose cherished the importance of family. Married to her teenage sweetheart, John, she raised two sons, Byron and Brandon, and reveled in the joys of grandparenthood. When illness struck, Hospice provided the haven of care she and her family needed. “Hugs, jokes, singing, dancing, and meals,” reminisced her son Brandon, echoing the sentiment that Hospice allowed them to be a family again, unburdened by the roles of caretakers.

The transformation was palpable as they entered Hospice, transitioning from apprehension to relief and from fear to peace. Brandon recalled, “After so much worry and fear, it was just peace the minute you hit that door.” Thanks to the warmth and compassion of the staff and volunteers, a weight was lifted, allowing them to focus on being present with Rose, cherishing each moment.

“After years of taking care of Mum, Hospice allowed my Dad to just be himself again. To be a husband and a father again. I got to be a son again. It allowed all of us to just be a family.”

Rose and the Johnston family attest that the soul of Hospice lay in its ability to blend the best elements of nursing, home care, and hospital care while eliminating the negatives. Every detail, from the physical layout to the personalized gestures of care, spoke volumes of the dedication of the entire team. For Rose, it was a reunion with the spirit of nursing she cherished, where human touch and compassion reigned supreme.

“Every little subtlety showed care and compassion,” added Brandon. “It could be as simple as spending one-on-one time with Mum or asking her for advice from her years in the field. It was getting her morning coffee, bringing the therapy dogs to her bed, going through old pictures, or knowing she loved hard candies. That’s who Mum was as a nurse, and that’s what surrounded her every day at Hospice.”

Rose’s final days were filled with laughter, love, and continued peace for both her and her family members. Her passing, though somber, was filled with tranquility, offering comfort to her loved ones. As they navigated the difficult terrain of end-of-life care, the Johnston family was deeply moved by the unwavering dedication of the entire Hospice staff.

“They are not staff. They are truly angels,” they remarked, acknowledging the impact each member had on their lives. From the moment they arrived, the staff and volunteer’s genuine compassion and commitment to their well-being was evident, creating an environment where they felt supported and understood. The family was struck by the level of personalized care and attention to detail they received at Hospice. “Every single nurse, personal support worker, direct support worker, social worker, volunteer and staff member went on Mum’s list of favorites,” they shared, highlighting the connection that was forged between Rose and her new caregivers.

Reflecting on their journey, the Johnston family extends a heartfelt message to others considering Hospice care: “Don’t hesitate.” Their experience, characterized by love, respect, and inclusivity, transcends boundaries of background or belief. At Hospice, they found not just care but a sanctuary where families are embraced as cherished members, where burdens are lifted, and where love abounds.

The Johnston family’s story weaves a poignant narrative of love, laughter, and the enduring spirit of compassion, handed down by Rose. Through their experience, they testify to the transformative power of hospice care, affirming that even in life’s most challenging moments, there exists a place where families can find solace, support, and the freedom to simply be together.

“It’s the biggest weight off your shoulders instantly. It’s the most loving, kind, caring, respectful, peaceful environment you could ever ask for. You walk through those doors and you’re family. Hospice is the best thing that has ever happened to Chatham-Kent.”