Hospital News

A Place She Could Call Home

The closing chapter of a loved one’s life is never easy to navigate. For Linda Walker of Finzel, her mother’s final days were made easier due to the care she was given at Western Maryland Health System’s Frostburg Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Naomi Savage came to FNRC at the age of 94 with Alzheimer’s and dementia. As could be expected, Linda had mixed feelings about admitting her.

“It was a big decision,” she said. “To be honest, at the time FNRC was not our first choice, but it ended up being the best choice. We had connections to another local facility, but there was a long waiting list. I didn’t even know that FNRC had a dementia unit until one day I ran into Terri Rodeheaver (Director of FNRC), who I previously knew. She told me all about the facility and everything just worked out so well.”

While the change from home care at the Walker’s house to FNRC lifted a burden for Linda, a new level of stress was created by having Naomi leave her home. Thankfully, the staff at FNRC made the process as painless as they could, and that worry quickly dissipated.

“Previously she had been living with us and she was not happy,” Linda said. “She just wanted to go home, but she had no idea where home was anymore. We worried she would be twice as unhappy, but I believe she was happier at FNRC than she was at our house. For some reason, she felt comfortable. I think that had a lot to do with the staff. I believe she felt it was her own place.”

The logistics of the move were also handled with care. “Admission was so easy. We didn’t have some necessary information at the time, but they indicated it would be taken care of and not to worry about it. We were made to feel welcome when we got there.”

Naomi lived at FNRC for about 10 months. “She was a very challenging patient in a lot of ways,” Linda said. “With dementia, things can be unpredictable. They never made us feel she was not welcome there because of that. They just did for her what they could do. Her treatment was wonderful. We felt very confident. When there was any problem, they were very quick to call and tell us what was going on and what they were doing about it. We were always kept in the loop.”

After suffering a fall, Naomi spent a week in the hospital and after being readmitted to FNRC, Linda and her family knew her days were drawing to a close. The staff at FNRC went above and beyond to take care of the family. “It was a challenging time,” Linda said. “One of us was there every day with her. They made it very accessible for family and visitors. They did everything they could for her, but the fall was just too much at her age.”

Though, of course, it is hard to classify her mother’s final months of her life as a good experience, Linda said she regularly recommends FNRC to friends and other family members due to the compassion, care and communication she experienced.

“They were all so considerate the whole time. I just appreciated that so much.”