96-year-old Edna Spratt of Melrose passionately volunteered at Haven from 1982 to 2011, according to her daughter Jeanne Homany.
Edna, an LPN, had nurse training and experience but was unable to work as a hospice nurse, as it would negatively impact her husband’s pension. She found a place to channel the love and care she had to give: Haven Hospice.
Primarily a patient-facing volunteer, Edna’s actions always went beyond the call of duty. Her daughter recalls Edna juggling quite a load of patient visits. “She would do the most interesting things for hospice patients. I remember she went to visit a patient in Waldo who didn’t have air conditioning, so she ran to Sears right away, bought a unit and had my father install it.”
Jeanne said her mother didn’t have a lot of money, but she always found a way to do generous things for patients. She would often arrive at patient homes with nonslip rugs to put by the bedside, making it easier for them to get up so they could get comfortable in a chair or go outside. She would also work with a local ministry to help patients acquire the medical equipment they needed, as there were more equipment challenges with insurance decades ago than there are now.
Edna, while trained in patient care, vowed to not medically care for patients, as she knew the volunteer rules and was familiar with which duties to perform as a volunteer. She would sometimes make patient visits late at night. Jeanne remembers that her mother was never afraid of the neighborhoods that others wouldn’t go to. Jeanne started to ride along with her mother once her children were old enough to safely leave home. “Mom just loved hospice, and everyone who had her as a volunteer loved her,” said Jeanne. “I still run in to people in Melrose who ask about my mom because she cared for their parent.”
from patient care, Edna was also heavily involved during the building of the E.T. York Hospice Care Center in Gainesville and the Roberts Hospice Care Center in Palatka. Her family did runs to help raise funds for the new hospice care centers. She was also incredibly proud of the Angel Tree (now called Light Up a Life) fundraising program in which loved ones are honored during the holidays. Jeanne says her mom looked forward to coordinating the trees each year. The family still has the ornaments they collected during their mom’s involvement in the program.
Edna, now in an assisted living facility, stopped volunteering when she was no longer able to drive. Jeanne said something she admires most about her mom is that she has always called her own shots. She found a way to serve her community through Haven when a nursing career wasn’t possible, she announced to her family the moment she realized she needed more supervision, and she declared how happy she was when healthcare providers recommended for her to be put on Haven’s hospice services.
Haven’s care team routinely visits Edna at her assisted living facility, where her family says she is happy and most comfortable. Edna’s husband was cared for at home by Haven years ago. Jeanne is grateful that Haven provides options that best fit patient and family needs, as she was concerned about the quality of care the family could have provided to their mom on their own.
Haven is honored to care for Edna now in her time of need and is grateful for her years of dedication to patients and families.
“Mom always said that Haven’s business was the nursing of families,” said Jeanne. “Hospice is about helping families accept what’s going on with their loved one, talking about it and being able to move on. It’s like everything has come full-circle now. I am relieved that she can be cared for by Haven.”